You know you are a martial arts geek when you are riding a camel and primarily focusing on the connection of your dantien/hara with that of your camel's.
Both getting from the down position to the up position and vice versa on a camel are an interesting study in both geometry and gravity. The camels back legs go up first when he is preparing to stand while the front legs go down first when he is preparing to lie down. Both of these movements seem to create a 45 degree angle. The camel is also moving laterally as one leg moves before the other. This gives you some sway to consider with your angulation. Camels in case you need to be reminded are very large- tall and wide- with one large hump (Egypt's kind anyway). These camels are outfitted with a saddle with a single handle/nub (I'm sure this has a name). The ability to utilize this handle/nub which enables you to shift your weight to compensate for the angles and sway during the up/down process would determine whether the newbie camel rider will be eating a little Saharan sand or become the next Eddie Arcaro on a camel.
As our group/caravan started to move, the bizarre camel rising process didn't escape me and left me feeling a little uncomfortable. Outside of riding a donkey in Greece this would be the second time in my life I would have to ride on the back of an animal. In order to shift the focus of this ride, I decided to use my martial arts training to try to connect with this odorous and oddly shaped beast. I know this sounds weird unless you have been to enough classes where this concept is brought up often enough that it seems natural. Anyway, it worked and I started to enjoy my ride, up until the point where my camel handler handed me the rope and decided to leave. Having been newly liberated, my camel jumped at the opportunity to test our new found connection and began to run. Bizarre re-entered the equation. It's funny how your mind works when you are quickly confronted with a situation that requires an immediate resolution. Jump and die. Jump, get trampled and die (alright dying is probably an exaggeration). Or suck it up and stay on. I decided to reconnect with my camel and enjoy the sights of the now very rapidly approaching Nubian village. My camel handler did return only to insure that he got his tip. Christal, my son, my mother and our guide made the wise choice of sailing in a boat down the Nile to meet us at the village. At the Nubian village, my mother commented that I looked very relaxed on the camel while my guide thought I was very brave for "wanting" my camel to run."
A few days later, my niece wanted to ride with someone on a camel again before the great Pyramids. Guess who the lucky one was.