What you see above is not the Triple-Death-Round Championship Belt from WWF's pay per view match last night. It is the rib guard I wear for sparring class at karate. I also wear shin guards, foot guards, mitts, and a sweat-inducing helmet.
When I began sparring I noticed that the other women in class had chest guards that had breast molds--think the metal bustier you see on the opera soprano wearing a viking costume. I also noticed that all the other women in class had much larger bosoms than me. So I assumed the instructor gave me the man's rib guard for purely anatomical reasons.
Last night another woman joined sparring class (I've been sparring for 8 months, this is the first new female to be brought up through the ranks). The instructor pulled through a small mountain of sparring gear to outfit her. Then the instructor pulled out a man's rib guard and a chest guard with breast molds. "Which one do you want?" she asked the new sparring student.
"Definitely this one," the new sparring student said, reaching for the chest guard with breast molds. The new sparring student also has much larger mammary glands than me.
"That's the last one. The company doesn't make those anymore. I forgot I had it," the instructor replied, helping the new student into the gear.
"Really?" I asked. "I always thought you gave me this one because I was so flat chested!"
Every woman in the room was howling with laughter. My sparring partner dropped his teenaged jaw and turned pink.
"Yeah, I may not be able to win a round sparring with you," I told him, "but I can make you pretty dang uncomfortable which might give me an edge tonight."
And that is how I managed to score 8 points on the very skilled, fast and agile teenaged boy who usually wipes the mat with me on Wednesday nights at karate class.
*Fun Fact: A Breeches role in opera is a male character acted and sung by a female singer