The uppity idiot.
Our instructor Memnoch the Devil is made of granite and has about a hundred different belts. He is a no nonsense kind of guy, doesn't drink or smoke, eats correctly and frowns on any kind of excuses. If you say 'I can't do it.' he gets a look in his eye and you suddenly start thinking that well, maybe you can do it after all.
We don't strictly stick to kickboxing. We train with weapons, we use kettlebells for strength. after a very hard workout sometimes Memnoch makes us do conditioning for half an hour, constant motion that can make us vomit -but is great for endurance. We use Thai techniques-for confined space and boxing, feints and bobs. We use elbows, headbutting and eyegouging and any sort of defense we can. Memnoch believes in certain principles. The main principe of his class is 'No whining.' The second -he says- is to be able to run, and run really fast. So we -his pupils/servants - learn how to run and can run flat out for a kilometre. We learn how to overcome the natural hesitation in humans -especially women- for hurting someone first ask questions later. We are learning, in his words 'not be stupid, keep your eyes open. If it looks dodgy it is. If you can escape, find a way.'
I have been kicked, cut, knocked down and trod on. I've pulled muscles, ripped tendons and been bruised from head to toe. I have been on the recieving end of a bout and I have been the aggressor in a bout. I have learned a great deal, I now know how much stronger men are than women. It has thought me to respect others.
My least favourite sparring partner is Canadian. He is 24, he is 6'3' and he out- weighs me by about fifty pounds, none of it fat. Every time we spar he flings me around like a rag doll and boots me from one end of the hall to the other. The only way to tackle this guy is to go in hard and fast and not give him room to swing or use his superior reach, and even then I usually end up on the mat, admiring the ceiling and trying not to whinge, wondering if I might breathe again any time soon.
Memnoch likes all of us women to spar with the men at least once a month. He believes it sharpens our resolve, makes us more aware of our weakness and strengths(if we have any) and also puts us in our place, especially if we are getting 'uppity'. I am better than most of the other women, I am taller than most and use my reach, I am very fit, and also I am not inclined to pull my punches- like some of the girls do, despite Memnoch's threat of violence if he catches them doing this. I like to kick the back of the knee in and when they drop follow up hard with a cross to the side of the head and after hours of practice I can do this from lots of different positions. And trust me, when you are down on the mat looking up it is hard not to feel intimidated. I use this to my advantage and once I see that a person is trying to stay out of my way or 'dancing' I know I've won. This makes me uppity. I know it does. This is usually when I end up sweating and facing the Canadian.
Due to unspeakable uppityness last weak- when in my stupidity- I whooped when I took down Claire- my usual sparring partner- with a leg sweep, I will face the Canadian later on today. Memnoch is putting me back in line.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous already. I hate being sore, and I will be sore tomorrow and the day after that. I am sitting here planning my attack with a military forethought that is unusal. I am pondering over the safety of hitting him with an uppercut after a knee(close contact sure to make him bend forward slightly) But I don't have the strongest uppercut and I need something impressive to follow it. My right cross is the strongest weapon, but he knows that and guards against it. I MUST do something different. My elbows are vicious, but if I start down that path he will surely use his and his are worse. It is only nine minutes. I can do it, I might not win but I can survive it, right? Right?
After a day of romance yesterday, today brings war. Surely there is a lesson there somewhere.