Thursday, October 8, 2009

guilty feet

I haven't sparred since the end of July, making Saturday's Black Belt Test #1 with the combat sparring VERY SCARY. So when I arrived at class last night and learned we were sparring, I felt a little relieved to get the review. Sparring in class is "Point Sparring" which means you only get credit for contact with your opponent's head or stomach area. Because it's "Point Sparring," you only use enough force to get the point--sometimes that amounts to a mere tap, other times a WHALLOP!

I also dial it down or up depending on my opponent. We had one beginner in class last night, she's only using her hands because she's totally overwhelmed by the entire thing so when facing her I moved at a very slow speed, nothing fancy, allowed her a couple points to build her confidence. Another woman in class is very quick and athletic--with her I have to force through to get points. We hit each other harder and it's an exhausting and very physical round.

Then I faced Mr. K, one of the assistant instructors. He's wicked fast and does lots of fancy spinny-turny-twisty kicks (yep, that's official martial arts terminology for those of you new to karate). I'm not good enough to beat him in a match, but I am good enough to defend, evade, keep his score down and get a few points to my credit. But Mr. K doesn't wear full gear and as a result we always end up hurting each other. His heel in my chest cavity. My bony shin against his bony kneecap. This unintentional (and often bruise-inducing) contact is a result of speed--Physics 101.

I hate sparring instructors who aren't wearing full gear, but I've had to learn to get over it or I get my a@@ handed to me. So last night we were at it full throttle when in a final move as the other instructor yelled "TIME!" we both sent up kicks--a classic "Clash of the Titians" move--except his kick went higher and mine landed in his--erhm--tenders.

Mr. K fell to his knees, eyes watering, voice a tad higher. Oh boy, did I feel awful. I mean, he should have been wearing a cup, but still...

The night progressed and then it was time for the final round of the class. I looked for a new sparring partner. All that remained was Mr. K, now recovered from his earlier injury. "Salute. Touch Gloves. Defensive Stance." Final round before Saturday, when I know I'll face off against Mr. K in combat style. Huge breath and Go!

I scored two points. He scored fifteen or so (I lost count). Then, as the other instructor yelled "TIME!" Mr. K came at me with one of his spinny-twisty-turny kicks and in one of my new defenses against that move, I ducked and turned around because contact with my butt doesn't count (and doesn't hurt so much). Success! I ducked low enough and fast enough that his leg missed me completely. I stepped forward, momentarily elated that I had evaded his kick. And then I watched as the momentum from his kick kept him spinning full circle--then over--then onto his foot which then rolled and turned in a horrible way. Mr. K never got up again.

I feel terrible. For a half hour I watched him writhe in pain on the floor, face pale, shaking, toes turning purple. We applied an ice pack, elevated his foot and called his dad. I watched him ride away towards the hospital where they probably told him his ankle or foot is broken. There are 28 bones in his foot--how many are involved? How long will it take him to recover? How will this affect his classes (he's a college student) or his income? Does he have insurance to cover the ER visit and treatment?

The only thing that makes me feel an eensy bit better is that I didn't cause his injury through direct contact--that would make me completely guilty. Landing on his foot and rolling it was a fluke--a horrible mistake. But a dreadful knot remains in my gut even this morning.


  1. Oh no, I'm so sorry that the evening ended on such a bad note.

  2. The Bad Teri keeps wondering if you could've earned two points for the "tenders" kick. Sorry, just puttin' that out there.

    I am so bad.

    But I really hope he recovers quickly. (promise)

  3. Okay... I know this is going to sound callous...

    But, at least his tenders are the least of his worries.

    Maybe you could do something nice, like check on him in the hospital or give him a silly award or something. Maybe you could let him kick you in the face with his good foot? Or, watch you kick yourself in the face?

    No, seriously...

    If he's as good as you say he is, then he understands that injury is a possibility, especially on sparring night and when he's doing fancy moves. Good for you for finding a way to evade his spinny-turbo-kick (its a technical term).

    I'm sure he won't blame you.

    - Julia

  4. My son NEVER gets sick. I've always said I worry most that he'll get hurt badly at KungFu. I don't worry about when he's teaching, it's tournaments that are tough.
    He's tall and wiry and his black belt category usually means he's fighting people that outweigh him.
    At his last tournament, he sort of threw the match because it was right before weapons and forms and he didn't want to chance having to withdraw.

    I guess getting injured is part of the game in Martial Arts.

    When you get your black belt, you are going to be SO Kick-ass

  5. Seriously, could you tell us the outcome of the injury. This is like not telling how someone died in the obits :)

  6. That is awful but you were just doing you are supposed to. I hope he feels better. Aiiii.

  7. Wow, your had a big night at the gymn. It really isn't your worry if he has insurance, because he did put himself in a position to get hurt--you all do in that class!

  8. Ouch! I hope he's OK. I really don't think this is your fault though. I have no idea what "full gear" means, but I'm guessing it might have helped him in the injuries department if he had worn it.

    I like the idea of doing something nice. Maybe bake him a treat with an "I'm sorry I kicked your @ss" card. :)

  9. Oh my! That takes me back to my kickboxing sparring days... when my best friend (at the time) and I almost gave each other black eyes... we got into it so much. I think there were some hurt feelings too. She was a spitfire, and I felt the need to defend myself (even though I tower over her by a good 3 or 4 inches). It's easy to get carried away. Hopefully the injury will recover soon. (((hugs)))

  10. Eek. With two kids in karate, I'm going to try to forget this post.
    Hope his injury isn't too bad.

  11. Yeah, I did taekwondo for a while and had some awful bruises. Poor guy, I hope he heals quickly... But don't feel bad, it sounds like he's very serious about his sport so he will have learned from the experience, and he's young enough to heal fully. Send him some cookies or something!

  12. Jesh ~ I can just look at my leg and cause a black & blue spot! Mr & I used to take fencing classes. I had breast plates and just couldn't stop laughing half the time 'cause ... well, they were obvioucly made by men! Never the right size, shaped like fakers and uncomfortably plastic pieces of junk. Anywho ~ with both parties volunteering by being in the class I have to say he needs to 'Man Up' and you need to put your 'big girl panties on.' It's bound to happen. Keep your friendship healthy and all will be fine.

  13. Oh,dear. That just brings up the motherly guilt, even though you didn't cause the injury. As to the first one? It's kind of like playing football without a helmet: duh.

  14. Yea, what Jen on the Edge said.

  15. Ohh....ouch! I feel for you.
    Makes me wonder if I should put my boys in karate one day...if I do I'll make sure they protect themselves. :-)

  16. did all the things you're SUPPOSED to do! I say give yourself a break!


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