Ego Much?

January 22, 2013

Tonight my instructor introduced me to ipon (pronounced ee-pon) sparring. It’s where there are five judges calling points for a fight. There is one judge in each corner and a centre judge. The centre judge starts and stops the fight so all the judges can say what fighter they believe got a point. To win the match a fighter must have all five judges award him/her the point. Sometimes there is a single clash and all the judges see the point scored and the match is over. Other times the angle of the fighters or a sloppy technique make it hard to see the point and the match drags on and on.

I had three fights tonight. The first I lost in about five seconds. I was frustrated, but totally deserved to lose. I wanted to fight the same girl again because I knew I could do better. The second fight I won, but it took a while and my opponent actually scored more points on me than I did on him. It’s just that not all the judges could see his points. I was so surprised by my victory I threw my hands in the air. I wasn’t being a jerk, I was just shocked and happy that something so unexpected happened. The third fight was a rematch with the first girl. It went on for about five thousand years (that number was given to me by my woeful cardiovascular system). Time after time judges would award me the point, but not all of the judges. Once, I gave the only judge not to call in my favour a look that should have turned his liver to ice and simultaneously melted his face off. Sadly, he did not expire on the spot, but instead just stood there, hands crossed in front of his chest. Finally, my opponent took me out with a kick to the face. The face! Mother f! Now, she too must die.

I cannot lie, I had a few minutes of unsportsmanlike thoughts. Totally ego driven thoughts. It was like there were two of me in my head. One little punk that wanted payback for that kick to the face. The other, is the me that I like. I am so glad that when asked who fought the better fight, I answered “It doesn’t matter, she won the point.” And she did. She deserved to win that match as much as I deserved to win my second one.

P.S. I should also mention that my male opponent was a great sportsman and that my female opponent is absolutely lovely and twelve years old. Seriously. In defense of my wanting to crush a twelve year old, she is taller than me, wears makeup and could easily pass for fifteen.


How to Fight Like The Fonz

January 16, 2013

My heart sinks just a wee bit every time my karate instructor yells “Gear on everybody!” Sparring is not my forte. I rarely get paired with the overzealous dudes that want to pummel each other, but still. These guys range in age from teenagers to middle aged desk jockeys. There are a few that are very zen, but will totally kick your ass. They just do it very calmly. You don’t see them coming, you just all of a sudden find yourself looking at the chin strap of your head gear. Then there are those that are all jittery, like they chugged a Red Bull and downed too many over the counter daytime cough meds before class. They will also kick your ass, but they do it in a way that is much scarier because you do see them coming. I stay away from these guys at all cost because they get me all riled up too. It is hard to move quickly and strategize when you feel like a hunted rabbit (insert Elmer Fudd joke here).

This is where my real lesson of the night came. My instructor basically said to not let the other person’s energy contaminate my own. Yes, my opponent might be excited and jumpy, but I need to keep calm and fight the way I normally fight. I do not have to match the style of my nemesis partner, especially if they are high strung. In fact, I need to be calm so that my arch enemy partner can absorb some of my vibe and bring it down a notch.

Apparently, this technique can also be used if you are arguing with your spouse. I would not know what it is like to YELL AT MY SPOUSE, because I never do that (snort laugh), but my instructor says it does happen and I can practice staying calm in the face of fury that has been festering for days by keeping cool “like The Fonz”. Yes, he referenced a character from Happy Days and I showed my appreciation and understanding of the lesson by letting out the most relaxed and tranquil “eeehhh” of all time.