Rival rival, your face is a mess...
Good morning Bloggers. I am sitting here pungently, happily, about to run off to the shower.
I have been to kickboxing this morning. We have a new pupil, his name is 'Dax?'. Dax? is from Flaawwwwrida, he has been in iiiirland? for some months now. Dax? holds about, oh I don't know, say five different belts, including two black belts. Dax? was telling us all during pre warm up how, "he couldn't rilly find a school that you know, was to the same standard as, you know, the dojos in Flawwwwwrida?" But then "This guy? had told him about here and he thought you know, he'd check it out? But that it probably wasn't rilly his scene? You know? Cause you don't rilly grade the same way? You know? But like, he's here for a year? And he might as well stay fit as least, you know?'
I did know. Memnoch says most black belts should be used for holding up pants. He usually says this with a ferocious look of contempt on his face.
Undeterred by our expressions of frozen politeness, Dax? proceeds to tell us all about his bouts and belts, various fights, injuries and so on and so forth, and when he plans to go for next belt. Each sentence starts with the words, 'So, like...'
I start scanning the room for the Canadian who usually kicks me senseless, thinking it might be less painless just to let him knock me out and be done with it.
All the while 'Dax??' was blathering on, a few of us, were watching Memnoch's stone cold face. He does not approve of chit-chat. He sure as shit does not approve of bragging (or uppitiness) or people that end every sentence in a question.
So we begin, we warm up. After twenty minutes it becomes clear that Dax? ain't as fit as Dax? thinks, you know?
'You guys do a lot of skipping?' he huffs as we put the ropes back. He is pink in the face and sweating. So are we but we can breath normally.
'In Flawwwwrida we don't do that much skipping?'
Claire, my usual partner sighs. 'Listen er Dax, sush, he', she jabs her head towards Memnoch, who is busy eavesdropping on every word while wrapping his hand, 'doesn't like it when people talk a lot, you can talk after, tell us all about Flawww... er Florida.'
He smiles then and winks at her- actually winks!
We stretch out. Memnoch point to the white board. He has written out the patterns we are working with today. It is mostly boxing, with not a hunge amount of leg work. But the last twenty-five minutes of class was marked for condtioning. This involves kicking, in burst of three and five rounds. I've done this a few times before, it is very hard on the legs after a full class. Claire and I exchange weary glances. Dax? is squinting at the board. He looks puzzled.
'You guys? what kind of formations are these?
We hastily explain the squiggles, cross, cross angled, hook, upper, inner leg, outer leg, side, knee, elbow...
'Elbow?' He looks more puzzled.
We begin. Memnoch pairs Dax? up with Colm as they are roughly the same height and weight.
Colm is fairly new, like myself he's only been doing it a year. But it begins to be apparent after a few minutes that Dax? is a 'show stopper'(lots of fancy moves, very little accuracy)
After a few minutes Memnoch calls a halt.
'Come here.' he says to Dax?
Dax trots up to the main mat.
Memnoch hold up a pad. 'You know why this is a focus pad?'
Dax? nods. 'Sure.'
'Pretend Colm is a pad, hit the pad, not the air beside it.'
Memnoch sends him on his way.
Dax? flushes and retreats.
Two minutes later he is lying flat on his back on the mat, Colm no belts has knocked him down. He looks confused.
I wince for him, I have been a great admirer of that ceiling many times.
He gets back up and shakes himself off. But now he moves with a wariness and a steely determination. Claire and I exchange nervous glances, Colm is bound to get a hiding. Everyone in the gym is sort of sparring, but also with one eye firmly on the bout developing. Memnoch pretends he doesn't notice.
Less than a minute later Dax? is down again. Colm no belts took his standing leg out while he attempted a side kick.
Up and down he went for the next ten minutes. Most of us had given up our pretence at sparring and were openly watching as Dax? became more and more frustrated and less and less upright. Colm is not tall, he doesn't bounce, but he is super bloody fast. And Dax? Well he might as well have signposted his every move before he preformed it.
By the end of eleven minutes he was pouring with sweat, red in the face and had started to drop his hands even though Colm had hit him twice in the face. He took a wild swing, Colm shifted to the side and batted him on the back of the head as he went sailing past.
Dax was lucky, Colm could have used and elbow and would have in a real fight.
Memnoch called time out.
We all went back to looking busy as he summoned Dax to the main mat. We don't gloat, we have all had a 'talking to' at some point or other.
Memnoch spoke in a low voice, but the Canadian over heard him.
He said.' Do you want to learn how to fight or do you want a collection of belts in your wardrobe?'
'I wanna fight.' Dax said, no question lilt, no brag, no real eye contact.
'You eye is starting to close. Go home and come back Monday to the evening class.' Memnoch dismissed him.
Class continued as Dax? changed and packed up his bag. He left, his head was down, his humilation plain. He did not wave. Or wink.
If he is serious, he will be front row and centre on Monday.
If not, hey, just another rilly rilly showy fighter, you know?