Chapter 3

21 Oct

Kuk Sool Won Part 3: Undefeated

I had practiced my kibonsu almost a dozen times, gone through the form, and honed my kicks. The belt test had approached, and I was ready.

The test began like a normal day; we performed our jog / power walking, and standard stretching routine, yet something was different. Tension filled the air, with a slight hint of excitement. Finally, we get separated into our respective belt colors; whites with whites, blacks with blacks, and so on. This segregation continued until we were in little clusters; noticably missing was TKD black belt from the first day. I laugh to myself that apparently he couldn’t stand the heat. I make the judgement that TKD is for wussies. This sticks with me for the next 6 years.

Our cluster is lead by Norm; his monotone voice somewhat calms me, and he has us perform our white belt form. I do it flawlessly! Not a step is missed. Unfortunately, Girlfriend must have gotten too nervous and messed up, so we had to perform it again. I speed through it yet again, but this time Obesity messes up, so we’re forced to do it a third time. After everyone does it without messing up horribly, we are told we have passed the kata section. Hoo-ah.

Next is the kibonsu demonstration. We are put into pairs, and have a kibonsu randomly shouted to us; at this point, we only know 5. The man calls out “Kibonsu #1!” I twist his hand so fast, he doesn’t know what hit him. “Kibonsu #3!” I have to remind him to grab my wrist, and wrench his arm around so fast that I almost surprise myself. I am bad ass, and all the practice is paying off. He informs me I’m done, and my partner, Obesity, now must perform. “Kibonsu #4!” Another wrist grabbing kibonsu, I grab her wrist and wait. And wait.

Obesity has forgotten Kibonsu #4.

She stands there, petrified. This was the test, for christ sake! How could she not have practiced? This test cost 30$, I don’t see how a person would not be prepared! “Kibonsu #1” An easy one, she pulls it off sloppily. They inform her that she passes.

What the crap!?

She failed 50% of that test and screwed up 1/3 of the kata, and she still passes? Where is the justice? I was performing these things like a well oiled machine, yet she deserves the same belt?

My musings are interrupted by Johnny four fingers. He pulls out a plank of wood, and informs us we’re going to have to break it with a palm hand strike.

Terror washes over me. They didn’t tell us this was going to be on the test; I hadn’t practiced palm hand strikes. What’s more is, I’m only 8 years old! How do they expect me to break through that wood? If that wasn’t enough, I’m called to go first.

I timidly walk up to Norm, who is holding my plank. He tells me to imagine going through the board. I make my U. I chamber my palming arm; I chose the right arm since it was stronger. I palm the christ out of that board and let out a fearsome “KAIAHA!”

What was once one board is now two.

The room explodes in applause, and I take my broken board and set it next to my shoes. I’m keeping that (For the record, I still have it). One by one, everyone busts through the boards on the first try, with the exception of Girlfriend and Obesity, who take 2 and 3 tries respectively. They line us up by rank, and begin to call out names. Each person is given a belt, and a certificate stating they have achieved that belt rank. I got my belt, certificate, and broken board and rush home. I am no longer some faceless whitebelt; I’m a somebody.

Next class, wearing my still stiff yellow belt, I’m informed that those who are yellowbelt are experienced enough to spar. I felt scared since I had only been there for roughly a month, but I was assured by my rank that I could hold my own. The instructor informs my dad that it will be 50$ for sparring gear, and he regretfully hands over the money. I, on the other hand, am ecstatic. Finally I can try out my moves on real people, and show that damn GerMan that I know what I’m doing.

The following class, we warm up. We perform our kata. And we spar.

We put on the gear, which is foamy; I’m slightly concerned as to how much protection it actually offers. I notice that there is no protection for my face either, which is unsettling. The entire class sits down, clad in sparring gear, and we are assigned sparring partners. I get paried with….


I thought this was wrong in every sense of justice ever conceived. She was a grown adult, and I’m a child! How am I supposed to spar against her?! At least let me work my way up or something!

However, luckily, it appeared I jumped the gun. He continues explaining sparring to detail the fact that we are not supposed to make contact. We stop right before we hit. I have mixed feelings; on the one hand, I’m glad to not have to deal with a full force obese adult woman, but on the other, how are they going to tell if I actually hit them or not? What if they had dodged, or moved? More importantly, what if I dodged or moved and they gave the point anyway? I didn’t have long to think about this, because I and Obesity were the first to spar.

I stand up, and harden my resolve. The eternal battle between Davy and Goliath will be replayed before the eyes of these onlookers, and they will see me triumph over her size with my agility and technique.


We both adopt bouncing U’s. We bounce, neither of us wanting to make the first move. I throw a few crappy punches, but she bounces away. Why was I throwing punches anyway? We had practiced many, many more kicks! I snap out a roundhouse kick, which I pull short right about thigh/stomach high; it is hard to differentiate.


Oh ho! I had won my first point! How sweet it tasted; I wanted more.

We reset, he yells begin, and the bouncing resumes. I throw a round house kick, but she blocks it. I throw another, she blocks again. I’m going to have to get crafty. I fake one roundhouse kick, then switch to another!

“Two points!”

Two points? But I only threw one real roundhouse kick! Did he interpret my feint as a real kick? I wasn’t going to complain, because I currently had 3 points, and that was all it took to win.

“Obesity, you’re out, Girlfriend, you’re in.”

I felt bad about beating up the slightly attractive girlfriend, but damn it, I wasn’t going to lose to a girl. I don’t remember the specifics of this match, and it wasn’t that interesting. I flurried her with combo’s of roundhouses and snap front kicks. I won 3-1. Next was the true test of my manhood.

“Girlfriend, you’re out. Asian guy, you’re in.”

Now, some real competition. I’ll admit, I was intimidated. A), He wasn’t so obese he couldn’t avoid me, and B), he could probably hit fairly hard.


Not wasting any time, he throws a series of punches, which I step back to evade, and he snaps a front kick. I didn’t even see it coming. We reset, and begin bouncing. He throws a punch, and I sidestep, he front kicks, I keep side stepping, until he mocks a hook. He gets a point.

It’s 0-2, and I’m about to lose. I’m desperate; I can’t let him win without even getting a single point. I use my feint roundhouse roundhouse, and only score 1 point this time (?). We reset, bounce, and I steal his trick; I throw a flurry of punches, roundhouse! I score again! Tied, we begin bouncing. We’re both on the defensive; bouncing, waiting, watching. He throws a flurry of punches, can I see the front kick coming?! Yes, I see it clearly! I sidestep the front kick, and kick at his balls. We both stand there, and wait for the call. “Since you didn’t have your hand low to protect your groin, I’m going to award the point.”


He sits us all down, and now it’s the other belt’s turn to spar. I sit, beaming happiness and sunshine on everyone in the room. I go home, and feel awesome.


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