Chapter 28

23 Oct

Shotokan Karate Part 4: How sweet it is

Two months had passed since the last belt test. The yellow belt days were, as per usual, filled with kata. My brother and I aced the test to orange (it was the exact same as yellow, but with a different kata at the end), as did all of the other below 7 children. Sensei was bringing a friend of his in from another school; he was a black belt.

He showed up as early as I did, and let us in. I liked this man’s punctuality. We get to chatting, and our conversation ineveitably ends on MMA. “You know, nothing against the MMA guys, but they’re just too….you know, aggressive. They don’t really know that martial arts aren’t just for developing your body, but also your mind.” I nod along. I don’t really believe this, because since joining this dojo the only development I’ve had mentally is getting progressively more homicidal.

He was a short little black belt, and he definately look more fit than Sensei. He actually leads a small warm up of jogging, some jumping, and some stretches. Nothing that great, but it was something new. I was beginning to like the guy, despite his stance on MMA and its practitioners.

He leads us in punching drills, and big sensei comes in. They both stand at the front, and we do the bow in ceremony. We did the warm up and punching drills in the time it took sensei to arrive and get dressed.

Sensei and his black belt converse, and ask us what we want to do. I’ve been waiting two months for this chance. Two months to exact my reve-

“KATA!” Yells one of the dumb little girls.


“Sparring?” I ask. Surely they won’t pick kata. Surely they won’t just do today WHAT WE DO EVERY OTHER GOD DAMN DAY.

Sensei looks partial to kata, but his black belt looks partial to sparring. I hit my little brother, and he says, “I’d like to do sparring too!” All the boys chime in, and the black belt eventually convinces sensei.

He gets out the protective gear. Now, normally the standard point sparring protective gear is a helmet, gloves, booties, and a chest protector. Sensei spared every expense, and only had the gloves. The children were instructed, “little to no contact”, but he didn’t say anything to me.

My brother is first up against a kid a little bigger than he is. They adopt the normal karate stances, and black belt says, “Start!”.

They circle, and the bigger kid throws some half assed kicks. My brother is more competitive than I could ever be, so he quickly sinks in for the kill. He grabs the leg with one hand, and punches the kid in the stomach with the other. Contact is light, but the bigger kid makes a big deal out of it. Wuss.

“Hey, good job!” black belt says to both of them. He then pits my brother against an even bigger kid while the original kid sits down and pouts. Apparently it’s first point wins.

My brother has thrown away the Zenkutsudachi for a more bouncy kickboxing stance. Sensei goes “Good, good! Do his stance!” pointing at my brother. I’m guessing that there is some kind of sparring stance, just sensei neglected to teach it to us.

My brother dances around, and does the classic front kick to lunge punch. The other kid spazzes out, and forgets to counter attack. My brother rushes him with a flurry of punches while the other kid tries to apply karate blocks to each one, and eventually trips over his own feet. He gets back up and hits my brother hard in the arm after black belt said stop. Black belt gets very angry, but not nearly as angry as my brother. Normally I would be pissed off, but I’m 1000% sure my brother could kick his ass, so I just laugh it off. My brother’s anger soon turns to joy at having defeated all of the boys in his class.

Now the girls fight, and no one really pays attention. It’s boring, they dance around, and they’re afraid of getting hit. Sure they’re a higher belt than I am (!??!?), but sparring isn’t a prerequisite for belts. Or maybe they were hiding secret techniques from us lowly peons; I will never know.

I sit through the excruciatingly long girl match to finally have my turn. I’m the biggest dude in the class, and they don’t want JMILF to go against me. I don’t know for whose protection this decision was made. Eventually black belt decides just to go at it with me.

I adopt a more kickboxing esque stance, keeping my chin low, rounding my shoulders and-

“Wrong wrong wrong!”

Sensei comes over and slaps my shoulders down. He informs me that during sparring you sould not turtle in, but keep your back straight, with your head up. Also, he tells me keeping my hands in close to my face will get me “binded”. I don’t know what that means, and the grammar of the sentence didn’t make sense either, but whatever. I just wanted to spar. I adopt the retarded sparring stance he puts me in (Imagine when fighters taunt other fighters by sticking their chin out. Now put your hands, palms facing the ceiling, almost side by side in front of your chest), and get to dancing.

Black belt throws a kick, I dodge, and do a jab. Sensei chastizes me again for not making a definitive punch.

Black belt dances around, and I keep him at bay with what are now lingering jabs. Eventually I lingerjab, and roundhouse kick him in the leg. Contact is pretty light. “Ooh, [Brother’s Name] got a point!” Sensei exlaims. Black belt comments that “this kid knows what he’s doing”, and that maybe doing harder contact would be fine. Sensei accepts.

I commence bouncing, and black belt comes in with a fake-front-kick-roundhouse kick. I block it with a classic Gedan Barai (However it is spelled), and reverse punch his stomach. Not hard, but just enough to throw him off balance. His arms wildly swing as he tries to catch his balance, and he accidentally hits a kid who was standing too close. I must suppress every urge I have to laugh right now.

“Let me try!” Big sensei steps in, and takes off his jacket. I see his glistening gray chest hairs protrude from his flabby man bosoms and gigantic pregnant woman stomach. Why this was neccesary, I do not know. Maybe it was meant to keep body blows at bay, because I didn’t really want to touch his gut.

We bounce, and sensei rushes me with a series of chambered punches. I dance away from it, and sensei yells at me for not counter attacking. Fine. He does it again, and I side step linger jab his right man breast. It is disgusting, because it’s already covered in sweat. I wipe the sweat from my hand when sensei isn’t looking. “Good!”, sensei says. Now, he tells me, he is going to go for real.

He does some more lunge punches, reverse punches, and kicks that I dance around. Eventually after one of his “hold the bottom of my leg” kicks I do a non contact 1-2 to his face. “Good, good!” Sensei starts again with another kick, and I tap him on the belly this time. Every time he kicks it’s a guaranteed punch. “You can hit me as hard as you want, I won’t break!” Thank you sensei.

He goes, punches, and I dodge again. “Are you afraid of me or something!? Why dun you fight instead of running away!” sensei exclaims while laughing. He’s getting pretty tired and frustrated. He keeps chasing me and punching with punches that are well out of range to hit me. One of his random punches happens to extend as I mis time my dance, and he catches me in the chest. Not too bad, but sensei laughs and laughs now. “Beginner mistake! You should’ve dodged.”

Well, that’s pretty much it now.

I’m ready. He starts with a front kick from far away, then front punch, then a reverse punch. Then he round house kicks, reverse punch, forward punch, and now he’s in actual hitting range. He goes for another reverse punch, I go to the outside, and tap him on the tum tum. Not hard, but as hard as he caught me in the chest.

Sensei dramatically falls to the ground, clutching his gut. Black belt rushes over, and I kneel down feeling immense guilt. I’d just punched an old dumb fat man in the gut. He says I hit a stomach pressure point, that I learned in jiu jitsu, and that it was cheating. I’m assuming by stomach pressure point he meant solar plexus, but I was feeling too guilty to comment.

Sensei gets up, and we close class with some kata while sensei sits in the back room. We bow out, and sensei calls me back in there.

“I know that was an accident, but if you hit a pressure point like that on me again, we’ll take it into the parking lot, ok? No hard feelings buddy, but don’t do it again.”

I just bow out speechless. The entire class was almost too much to handle. My revenge felt tainted. I don’t know how I expected to feel, but this was most certainly not it. I did not feel satisfied; I felt dirty, I felt like a bad man (not in the good way, either).


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