I have a second degree black belt and 40 years of life experience. Tonight my 40 years helped me through class more than my belt ranking for sure. It was what let me set an expectation of how I am to be treated by an almost-black-belt-dad and a red belt teenaged boy while fighting them both. At once.
There were five black belts in class tonight and twelve other coloured belt students. The black belts were me, aged 40, and four teenagers. *sigh* The other students were teens except for one over-zealous, soon to be black belt dad. The black belts were lined up on one side of the room and the remaining twelve students on the other side. When our instructor said “GO” the coloured belts chose one of us to fight. When the fight was done the coloured belt went back to their side to rest and a fresh student would take their place. That means the black belts were continuously fighting. Can you say “cardio”? This wasn’t bad really, although I did groin a kid with a very sad roundhouse kick. PSA: wear your spoons boys. Things took a downward turn when our instructor decided that the black belts should practice a little two-on-one. WHAT? Multiple attackers in self defence is one thing, but multiple attackers in sparring? Ya, this should be fun (so not fun).
I had to go first, because of course I did, and I got aggressive dad and fairly high ranking teenaged boy as opponents, because apparently there are no karate partnering gods. What’s that I hear? Oh, it’s the sound of an approaching train wreck. I could see by the body language of my two partners that this was not going to be good so I said “Don’t be jerks you two, this is a game of tag.” That’s when dad hit me in the head, hard. I said to him “Do not be a jerk Frank*.” in a steely ‘I will not put up with your crap for one second’ voice. It was the voice of a 40 year old mother of four. I did not have that voice (or that crazy look in my eyes) when I was in my twenties. Or maybe I did, but I don’t know if I would have known how to use them properly. I have to say, Frank* was still a bit of a jerk, but not as much as he would have been. Yes, I got pummelled, but the guys basically respected the line I had draw and reined themselves in a bit. Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t go easy on me, they just exerted more control. Between me standing up for myself and the few punches and a surprisingly fast spinning side kick that I got in, I am happy with the way things turned out. So tonight I give thanks to my years of experience and recognize them for the weapons they truly are.
*I so wanted to use his real name, but I think it’s a faux-pas, so you’re off the hook Karl.