Kuk Sool Won Part 3: Undefeated
I had practiced my kibonsu almost a dozen times, gone through the form, and honed my kicks. The belt test had approached, and I was ready.
The test began like a normal day; we performed our jog / power walking, and standard stretching routine, yet something was different. Tension filled the air, with a slight hint of excitement. Finally, we get separated into our respective belt colors; whites with whites, blacks with blacks, and so on. This segregation continued until we were in little clusters; noticably missing was TKD black belt from the first day. I laugh to myself that apparently he couldn't stand the heat. I make the judgement that TKD is for wussies. This sticks with me for the next 6 years.
Our cluster is lead by Norm; his monotone voice somewhat calms me, and he has us perform our white belt form. I do it flawlessly! Not a step is missed. Unfortunately, Girlfriend must have gotten too nervous and messed up, so we had to perform it again. I speed through it yet again, but this time Obesity messes up, so we're forced to do it a third time. After everyone does it without messing up horribly, we are told we have passed the kata section. Hoo-ah.
Next is the kibonsu demonstration. We are put into pairs, and have a kibonsu randomly shouted to us; at this point, we only know 5. The man calls out "Kibonsu #1!" I twist his hand so fast, he doesn't know what hit him. "Kibonsu #3!" I have to remind him to grab my wrist, and wrench his arm around so fast that I almost surprise myself. I am bad ass, and all the practice is paying off. He informs me I'm done, and my partner, Obesity, now must perform. "Kibonsu #4!" Another wrist grabbing kibonsu, I grab her wrist and wait. And wait.
Obesity has forgotten Kibonsu #4.
She stands there, petrified. This was the test, for christ sake! How could she not have practiced? This test cost 30$, I don't see how a person would not be prepared! "Kibonsu #1" An easy one, she pulls it off sloppily. They inform her that she passes.
What the crap!?
She failed 50% of that test and screwed up 1/3 of the kata, and she still passes? Where is the justice? I was performing these things like a well oiled machine, yet she deserves the same belt?
My musings are interrupted by Johnny four fingers. He pulls out a plank of wood, and informs us we're going to have to break it with a palm hand strike.
Terror washes over me. They didn't tell us this was going to be on the test; I hadn't practiced palm hand strikes. What's more is, I'm only 8 years old! How do they expect me to break through that wood? If that wasn't enough, I'm called to go first.
I timidly walk up to Norm, who is holding my plank. He tells me to imagine going through the board. I make my U. I chamber my palming arm; I chose the right arm since it was stronger. I palm the christ out of that board and let out a fearsome "KAIAHA!"
What was once one board is now two.
The room explodes in applause, and I take my broken board and set it next to my shoes. I'm keeping that (For the record, I still have it). One by one, everyone busts through the boards on the first try, with the exception of Girlfriend and Obesity, who take 2 and 3 tries respectively. They line us up by rank, and begin to call out names. Each person is given a belt, and a certificate stating they have achieved that belt rank. I got my belt, certificate, and broken board and rush home. I am no longer some faceless whitebelt; I'm a somebody.
Next class, wearing my still stiff yellow belt, I'm informed that those who are yellowbelt are experienced enough to spar. I felt scared since I had only been there for roughly a month, but I was assured by my rank that I could hold my own. The instructor informs my dad that it will be 50$ for sparring gear, and he regretfully hands over the money. I, on the other hand, am ecstatic. Finally I can try out my moves on real people, and show that damn GerMan that I know what I'm doing.
The following class, we warm up. We perform our kata. And we spar.
We put on the gear, which is foamy; I'm slightly concerned as to how much protection it actually offers. I notice that there is no protection for my face either, which is unsettling. The entire class sits down, clad in sparring gear, and we are assigned sparring partners. I get paried with....
I thought this was wrong in every sense of justice ever conceived. She was a grown adult, and I'm a child! How am I supposed to spar against her?! At least let me work my way up or something!
However, luckily, it appeared I jumped the gun. He continues explaining sparring to detail the fact that we are not supposed to make contact. We stop right before we hit. I have mixed feelings; on the one hand, I'm glad to not have to deal with a full force obese adult woman, but on the other, how are they going to tell if I actually hit them or not? What if they had dodged, or moved? More importantly, what if I dodged or moved and they gave the point anyway? I didn't have long to think about this, because I and Obesity were the first to spar.
I stand up, and harden my resolve. The eternal battle between Davy and Goliath will be replayed before the eyes of these onlookers, and they will see me triumph over her size with my agility and technique.
We both adopt bouncing U's. We bounce, neither of us wanting to make the first move. I throw a few crappy punches, but she bounces away. Why was I throwing punches anyway? We had practiced many, many more kicks! I snap out a roundhouse kick, which I pull short right about thigh/stomach high; it is hard to differentiate.
Oh ho! I had won my first point! How sweet it tasted; I wanted more.
We reset, he yells begin, and the bouncing resumes. I throw a round house kick, but she blocks it. I throw another, she blocks again. I'm going to have to get crafty. I fake one roundhouse kick, then switch to another!
Two points? But I only threw one real roundhouse kick! Did he interpret my feint as a real kick? I wasn't going to complain, because I currently had 3 points, and that was all it took to win.
"Obesity, you're out, Girlfriend, you're in."
I felt bad about beating up the slightly attractive girlfriend, but damn it, I wasn't going to lose to a girl. I don't remember the specifics of this match, and it wasn't that interesting. I flurried her with combo's of roundhouses and snap front kicks. I won 3-1. Next was the true test of my manhood.
"Girlfriend, you're out. Asian guy, you're in."
Now, some real competition. I'll admit, I was intimidated. A), He wasn't so obese he couldn't avoid me, and B), he could probably hit fairly hard.
Not wasting any time, he throws a series of punches, which I step back to evade, and he snaps a front kick. I didn't even see it coming. We reset, and begin bouncing. He throws a punch, and I sidestep, he front kicks, I keep side stepping, until he mocks a hook. He gets a point.
It's 0-2, and I'm about to lose. I'm desperate; I can't let him win without even getting a single point. I use my feint roundhouse roundhouse, and only score 1 point this time (?). We reset, bounce, and I steal his trick; I throw a flurry of punches, roundhouse! I score again! Tied, we begin bouncing. We're both on the defensive; bouncing, waiting, watching. He throws a flurry of punches, can I see the front kick coming?! Yes, I see it clearly! I sidestep the front kick, and kick at his balls. We both stand there, and wait for the call. "Since you didn't have your hand low to protect your groin, I'm going to award the point."
He sits us all down, and now it's the other belt's turn to spar. I sit, beaming happiness and sunshine on everyone in the room. I go home, and feel awesome.
Next time, Kuk Sool Won Part 4: Tournament fighter
This is awesome... and well-written from the grammar side of things, unlike the other Diary of X threads, most of which make up for it in content.
As others have said before me: moar plz
Fuckin nice, I can't wait to hear more. You and AMK should collab.
Can the asian guy be called Dr. Kwan? It would mean alot to me...
Well written and entertaining. Thanks for posting!
Kuk Sool Won Part 4: Tournament fighter
And so, for the two weeks after my delicious undefeated victories over my fellow yellow belts, I trained hard. I mastered every kibonsu I was shown, and knew all the forms by heart. One day, Joe approached me.
"So, today I'm going to teach you a new kibonsu."
He tells me it is kibonsu #10. Little does he know that I not already learned it, but mastered it.
"Oh. Do you know Kibonsu #11?"
I perform it flawlessly.
"Well! We're going to have to put you on the adult learning scale then!"
There are not words that can adequately express the joy and pride I felt during that moment. Here I was, a mere 8 year old, learning this system as fast as grown ups do. At this rate, I'd be a black belt in no time.
My hunches were more accurate than I expected, since the following week there was another belt test. This belt test was rather, well, bland. It was very similar to the yellowbelt test; in fact, it was exactly the same as the yellowbelt test. The same kibonsu, an extremely similar kata, and break a board with a palm strike. I'm a little disappointed; someone who learned on the same level as adults should be more challenged by his cirriculum! I wallowed in self pity for the following week as no new kata or kibonsu were taught. I became bored and angry towards the students who were learning new information. Finally, Joe came along to bring me out of the darkness, and into the light. He proposed something more challenging than anything I had ever faced.
This was no regular tournament; there would be kata, AND sparring, in two weeks time. He told me to do both, and that he personally would help me prepare. This was most excellent, most excellent indeed!
The next class, I meander around until Joe walks into the room. I scoot closer to him, hoping he'll remember he promised to help me prepare. He leads the class in the warm up while Johnny Four fingers escapes to his office. After the warm up, I stand close to him again, waiting patiently for him to privately fine tune my kata, and turn me into a sparring mad man. What happened instead was being paired with Obesity for more kibonsu. Kibonsu I had already mastered. Kibonsu that weren't in the tournament. What the hell Joe!?
Next class I'm met with routine disappointment, practicing kicks the entire class. The last week before the tournament Norm helps me with my kata; we hadn't sparred since I defeated all of the then yellowbelts.
Finally, the Saturday of the tournament appears. My mom irons my uniform, and I steady my mind. There is a long day ahead of me, and I need to be prepared.
We arrive and pay the fee of 150$. My dad mumbles about how outrageous it is, but I don't care. It is my day to test my mettle against other KSW users from across the Houston/Texas area. I'm given the number of 12, and am told to listen for either my name or my number. I sit among the huddled masses and wait patiently. I scope out the competition; nothing of merit.
I stand up, my stomach tied in knots from nervousness. I am to perform katas first; the kata I have chosen is the second kata, and I perform it very well. I hit every cue, and move forcefully! I sit down after I'm done.
They announce the Kata winners....
"In third place, #6!"
A small pigtailed 5 year old jumps and screams in happiness. She is given a decent sized trophy, and stands there.
"In second place, #22!"
An obese 12 year old steps up, and takes his trophy, which is twice the size of the third place trophy. I'm beginning to feel nervous.
"In first place..."
My heart stops.
My heart breaks.
A skinny ugly kid with freckles takes his trophy, which is taller than he is. They all bow, and I hate all of them. To this day, I still hope they all die of colon cancer.
Next is the sparring. The group is noticably smaller; I don't see any of the kata winners. This is a shame, because I wanted to put them in their ugly places. I wait patiently until 12 is called; I'm to spar a normal looking kid.
What worries me is the person the kid was just joking and talking to is now standing in front of us as the referee, and looks to be about 12 or 13.
We begin the fight. I throw a roundhouse that almost touched his stomach, and reset. Except no point was given. The normal kid throws a front kick, and gets a point. I'm infuriated.
We reset, and I use the Asian Guy Special; flurry of punches, followed by a front kick. I'm still not awarded the point. He throws a roundhouse that I block, then I roundhouse him. I finally, finally get a point. I hate the judge.
We reset, begin is shouted, and we both storm forward and fire off front kicks. We both get the points.
Now is the true test of our mettle, the true test of my abilities! We U ourselves, and bounce. Begin! He charges forward again, I side step. He front kicks, I step back and block at the same time.
Suddenly he explodes in joy, and I explode in confusion as to why he's exploding in joy. I turn and look, and the judge had given the point to him. They hug eachother, and he runs off.
"Uh, Judge, I blocked."
"No, you missed. Go sit down."
"No I didn't! I stepped back too!"
"Which was it? Blocked or stepped back?"
" I did both!"
"Go sit down."
I stamp off the mat, and say loudly "BULLSHIT." I'm 8, and my parents didn't really care about using bad words. I still get angry about this.
We leave immediately, and my dad is angry about wasting 150$, and I'm angry about being cheated out of the kata and sparring competitions. The next class I tell joe what happened.
"Wait right here."
Joe runs off to back room, while I sit and fume. He returns holding something in his hand.
"This is a medal I got from a tournament last year. Here, I want you to have it, because I know you did your best."
I don't even know how to respond. I'm excited to get the medal more than anything else, including hatred towards other KSW practitioners. I thank Joe, and he tells me to do the best I can next time too, and when I get a medal of my own, I can give that one back to him. In retrospect, that was pretty cool.
Next time: Kuk Sool Won Part 5: The end!