Friday, April 11, 2008

Ahhhh, stress relief...

So, I was away from the gym for a bit, and I came back today to discover we were doing.... tournament practice sparring. Sparring is cool, it's one of those times where you get to discover if you really actually have technique that might be useful against a real opponent. The school practices a couple different types of sparing, each with different rules and equipment (for safety). And we do some training on switching it up.

A couple interesting things happened today. First, for the first time ever, I was the ranking color (non-black) belt. Second, is the story I'm about to tell.

The instructor had us rotate through partners all class. Among my sparring partners was a bit of a surprise - a woman. Now, most of the people reading this will know that - 1. I'm male, and 2. I'm not exactly petite. So, as a 6'6" 230 lb guy, I have some reservations about fighting someone about the same size/weight as Janet (half my weight, a foot shorter). Not to mention, my mom and father constantly repeated the mantra "don't hit girls".

So, here I stand, ready for the start command with my new sparring partner. I timidly step up, and enter the usual sparring stance. The Master yells "SIJAK!" and the round begins. It probably looked comical, almost David vs. Goliath. But this time, David was a chic. Aha! An opening!


I kick and connect, but it's really nothing more than a light tap. The only sound is a small release of air from padding. I have visions of disapproving parents looking at me, saying "oh my, he hit a girl."


She returns a light tap to my side. Crazy, I realize, she didn't even try that time. She didn't have to. As I throw another kick, I hear her mocking cry "Is that all you can do?"

And, I realize, I'm at the gym, and I'm worried about hurting someone while wearing all this safety equipment. Why shouldn't I try to win? Damn it! This is my time to shine! Now usually, this would be a safe assumption when you weigh 2x as much as someone, but not today.


Yes! A hit! I connected. And this time not just a light tap - a full on hit. Woohooo! A point! I'm dedicated to trying at this point. As you can imagine from my even telling, this doesn't end well. You see, my sparring partner isn't just a smallish woman, she's a 4th degree black belt, and a world title holder in Martial Arts sparring. For those unfamiliar with Martial Arts, there's a concept known as "reciprocity". It generally goes like this - a Master rank instructor will spar as you do to make you better at it. If I choose to go full contact, he/she'll do the same. And, well, I chose.


Crap... The hits start to come. The details of the match aren't all that important, but let's just say the feminists reading here would be happy. At the end of the match, we bow, and she let's me know

"Wow, you've gotten a lot better"

Damn, not even a real sweat.

I smile and bow to the teacher, beaten yet having learned. (The other part of sparing a Master is that they come down to your level + 1 and try to teach you something through the match, if you're smart you know this and figure out what they're showing you...)

The awesome thing is that this wasn't out of the ordinary. But today, for some reason, either my generally bad week or crap from my family - well, it felt good having an excellent athlete teach me some new moves at the minor expense of getting beat up a bit.

So, doing the whole Martial Arts thing - one of the best decisions I've made.

Now, I'm gonna go collapse. I'd like to post pictures of the bruises inflected upon me from this match, but as I've lost my USB cable, I'll share some applicable music instead:


Spyder said...

Love the "Boot to the head"!

louie said...
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