Chapter 2

21 Oct

Kuk Sool Won Part 2: Seeds of Doubt

The following Tuesday I return to the school for my first real class. I line up with all of the other students, including the asian guy, his girlfriend, and the obese sister. I stand next to that trio because A), I know them, and B), they suck just as bad as I do. We do a less than energetic jog around the room, and do various stretches; the lazy man’s stretch (one foot out, the other bent in, reach for the out foot), the bridge, the legs in a V, and so on. Despite never really exercising, I’m not out of breath.

One thing I instantly take notice of are the people standing in front of the mirros; in the center was the man I met with only four full fingers (Henceforth referred to as “Johnny Four fingers”), a short chubby latino man with a goatee (“Joe”), and a man who looked strikingly similar to Norm MacDonald with a goatee (“Norm”). Norm and Joe both wear black belts as well, and follow along with Johnny Four fingers as he leads the warm up. He assigns Joe to the orange belts and below, Norm to the blue belts to brown belts, and Johnny Four fingers leaves to the back room. I’m disappointed that he won’t be instructing me; I kind of liked the guy.

Joe begins to show us how to switch stances; you jump in the air, and switch your feet. He goes on to explain you switch stances to confuse your opponent. This is all fine and dandy, but I hadn’t learned anything combat worthy yet. How am I supposed to defend U with a U if I don’t know, well, how to fight? Luckily, Joe transitions to round house kicks. He tells us to raise our legs, like dogs taking a whiz (I laughed at this part; I decide I like Joe as well), and then snap our leg out fast. He tells us to kick with our right leg, and hold it. Our left arm comes across to our right ear, and our right arm goes down to almost cup the groin. He says this is so we don’t get kicked in the privates, while the other arm protects our face. We truly have all the bases covered (no pun intended).

Joe gets a pad, shaped like a tear drop, and tells us to “unleash the beast”. He holds the base such that the wide part of the tear is the area we kick. I snap my kick out with a resounding krizzack! Joe comments that I did well, but I need to remember to drop my right hand. He tells it will give me more power, and that I definately don’t want to get kicked in the junk. I agree.

Next is obese sister. She goes to kick the target, but misses by a mile. She lacks flexibility, and can’t kick above thigh height. He lowers it, she makes a crummy thud, and I smile inside. After her is Asian guy. He kicks, and makes a kick just as sharp as mine and kicks a little higher than I did. At this point, I’ve decided he is my rival. Finally is his girlfriend. Her performance was mediocre, and I didn’t pay that much attention.

Joe gets rid of the kicking target, and informs us we are going to learn something called “Kibonsu”. I don’t know what it is, but I’m ecstatic. He tells asian guy to stand in the normal stance, with his left foot forward. They look like mirror images, until Joe commands him to grab his wrist.

What happens next was so lightning fast, I didn’t notice it had happened. Joe grabbed Asian guy’s hand as it was coming to grab, twisted it out, turned 90 degrees, kick the back of his knee, let him fall down, put a knee on his stomach, and punched him in the face. Holy crap.

He tells us this is Kibonsu #1. The fact that there are more of these excites me, and I’m eager to practice it. He pairs me up, to my dismay, with obese sister. I had hoped for the more attractive Girlfriend, but I wasn’t going to say anything. She grabs my wrist, then I grab the back of her hand. Her hand suddenly goes limp, and I’m confused. I drop it in my confusion at the EXACT time Joe walks over to us.

“No no no, try it on me.”

Joe grabs my wrist, and I grab and twist. Again, it goes limp. I perform the rest of the motion, but ask him does it matter if the person relaxes or not. He says for now we should relax to train the technique, and then it won’t matter if they relax or resist. It makes sense.

We end with basic kata; nothing exciting here. The normal, punch punch kick turn, block punch kick, etc. Joe told us that kata was one of the greatest parts of our art. We could practice our techniques at home, even if we didn’t have a partner! I decide I like kata. This will ultimately lead to my demise in 8 years.

We bow, I head home, end of the day.

This continues for two weeks, and all is well. One day during these two weeks, I see an older guy who as a blue belt. He is practicing his kicks, but something is off. Instead of holding his hands in a U and moving one to his crotch, he has his hands in a boxing stance. I recognize this because my Mom is an avid boxing fan. Since he was a blue belt, I deduced this was some form of advanced stance. I would clearly exceed Asian guy using his stance, and I practice my kicks with my hands up, fists at the face.

Joe walks over, almost disappointed. He sighs, and puts my hands down into the U shape.

“You put your hands in a U to protect U, remember?”

“But that guy-”

“U to protect U.”

I am slightly saddened, but whatever. Joe is, after all, a black belt, while this guy is only blue.

During the course of these two weeks, a friend of my Dad’s visited us for the weekend. He is a crazy German fellow, who is usually always drunk. My dad tells him I’m doing kung fu, and that I’m getting good. GerMan tells me to show him some of my stuff.

I get in my U stance, and throw a few kicks. Then I tell him I’m going to show him a kibonsu.

“Kibons? What are the Kibons?”

Excellent. He doesn’t even know what they are; I’ll throw it on him with the element of surprise! I tell him to just grab my wrist, and anticipate his actions.

He grabs it. I grab his hand, and go to twist, except it isn’t twisting. In fact, he’s still holding on to my wrist. Hard. I can’t get his hand off of my wrist.

He slurs out, “When does it start?”

I inform him he’s holding too tight, and he laughs. As he laughs, he lightens his grip! I use this chance and twist his wrist, and go to kick his leg. Except he doesn’t fall down or anything. He then twists his wrist back into place, grabs my arm, twists it, and puts me on the ground. I’m slighly afraid because he’s both drunk, and in a position to hurt me. My dad says that’s enough, and the GerMan walks away laughing.

Now, I chalk this up to the fact that he’s a grown adult and I’m a child. Except Joe said to the kids could use this technique not to get abducted. I’m confused, and ask him about it at the next class.

“You just need to practice more! In fact, we’ll spend all day today doing Kibonsu #1, and new kibonsu too!”

I was a little iffy. This didn’t make sense; why teach me more if I couldn’t get the first one to work? My technique was PERFECT, just like I had practiced on fat girl plenty of times!

I brood on this for a few days, until at the end of the next class it is announced that there will be…a belt test.

Not only that, but he tells me I’m ready for my yellow belt.


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