Saturday, December 16, 2006


My father and I were walking along the beach at Shell Point (a place we used to go all the time when I was little). It was early morning, wet and misty like it can sometimes be. We were headed towards his big white pickup truck to go for coffee and breakfast after a nice long chat when a strange man stepped out from behind the truck and pointed a gun at us. He ordered us into the truck, into the backseat. We climbed in and he climbed into the frontseat, still holding the gun. He began asking us questions we couldn't answer and becoming more and more agitated. My father had had enough of this and ordered the man out of the car. This brought the gun to my father's temple. I curled up in a ball next to him, appearing to cower, but in fact was weighing my options. I shifted around a little, freeing one hip and rolling a little further on my back, whimpered and watched. Dad hadn't said anything else and the gunman was tiring a bit. I suspect he was either drunk or strung out on drugs because he wasn't actually making much sense. As the man was talking, he started waving the gun around a bit, away from Dad's head. He looked me in the eye and asked, "... you know what I mean?"

"I do," I replied as my foot shot out from its chambered position and caught him square in the chin. He was down and out instantly.

As my foot came back to me, I woke up chilly and realized I'd kicked the covers off the bed. The kick was so explosive that it woke me up (but not my granddaughter snoozing at my shoulder).

Pulling the covers back on, I realized that the mind/body connection had been made. It was like this when I was learning to fly. I read all the technicalities, what each piece of equipment did, what would happen if I did this or that, and mentally practiced both awake and asleep. When I finally got in an airplane and took the controls for the first time, the instructor didn't believe me when I told him I'd never flown a plane before.

Lucky for me, the connection happened just before testing for my KenPo yellow belt. My husband, Z-boy and I all tested today. We showed up for the 10am class and did that, then stayed for the test at 11. I really didn't know what to expect, but we had about 20 people testing and we did it as a group. Punches, kicks, half-mooning, blocks. There were four black belt instructors walking around observing and making notes of how well we did things. I'm afraid my half-mooning wasn't as good as it could be, but I kept going.

Then we paired up to do our KenPos and combinations. I was paired with my husband. We ran through everything several times as the instructors walked around. We were dripping wet by the time we finished that part. Then the higher ranks did some of their own tests while we stayed in front position facing the back wall. I'm not sure what the purpose of that was, but we were there for a long time. Then the testing part was over, but Master always finishes his tests with a physical challenge. For us white/soon-to-be yellow belts, it was 35 12-point squat kicks. The yellows to orange had 55, and it increased in increments of 20 up to the higest testers going for their blue stripes. A 12-point squat kick is: 1) squat; 2) right front ball kick; 3) squat; 4) left front ball kick; 5) squat; 6) right side thrust kick; 7) squat; 8) left side thrust kick; 9) squat; 10) right back heel kick; 11) squat; 12) left back heel kick. 35 times. OMG. I was seriously wobbly after that and was thankful for the opportunity to kneel while I waited for the higher testers to finish their 12-pointers. Finally, everyone was kneeling and everything was quiet.

The instructors walked around placing certificates and belts in front of us. Devon, who's probably 12 or 13 and a special buddy of mine, didn't get a certificate. Apparently his name was missed on the list while they were printing them out, but he got his belt and someone ran back and printed a certificate for him. We ALL passed. Even Z-boy, who has talent, but doesn't seem to know how to work hard and listen like he should. Devon was so thrilled... he came and gave me and my husband a big hug. We're all pretty chuffed, actually!

Then we all lined up like kindergardners holding up our certificates and wearing our new belts to have a group picture made.

My two very tired, but very pleased boys.

I could have done better... Some of it was test anxiety, some of it was an inflamed tendon (which I think happened during my nocturnal kick). But I passed, and now that I know what to expect, I know that I need to work hard to strengthen my body, practice as much as I can stand it so that my knowledge becomes second nature. After all, next time I'm the one who's going to be doing 55 12-pointers!!!!


quinn said...

Congratulations to all of you on your first belt testing..welcome to the world of martial arts..

IT is a world with no end. it has many milestones and pleanty of goals to be reached.

As you know my son is a black belt and he is now working toward achieving an adult black belt within the year.
The other day he was being put through the paces in a class his sensei was having them perform blocks on eachother the ENTIRE class and real speed and strength.

They did low blocks, inside chest blocks, outside chest blocks etc.
45 minutes of nothing but blocks each in 3 minute increments then the other one would punch and the other block etc.

Poor boy has some nasty bruises on his arms today..but....I was so proud to say that not a wimper not an "ouch", not a word ..he just did the class and showed true strength of endurance and commitment.

I was very proud of him and other senseis had noticed and commented on his level of maturity in his martial arts.

Remember, a black belt is a white belt that never quit ..and when you reach black belt you are only just beginning to learn the martial arts.

Oh, The Joys said...

Congratulations! You had me scared...!!!

Anonymous said...

Jeez, You had me so scared for you both.
Congrats on the belts!!!!!


Sayre said...

I was scared too. It seemed so real at the time. See my dad is a very big, very loud man. No one in his right mind would mess with him, so obviously this man was NOT in his right mind. Also, my dad's truck doesn't have a back seat in real life, but in the dream it did. Funny what details your mind can come up with. But the kick was real. It WOULD have hurt someone pretty badly if it had really connected with someone. Luckily, it was just dream stranger that got the business end of my leg.

I hope my dreams tonight are a little less... disturbing.

S William said...

I had a dream that I got picked for Survivor, but I couldn't tell them that I didn't know how to swim. I knew I was going to die.

Grats on the belts!

ablondeblogger said...

Oh my gosh, I was thinking, "Holy crap...I can't believe this happened to Sayre!" So glad it was just a dream, and congratulations on the belts. Those kicks sound, very, very hard!

Janet said...

Ive had the sensation I was falling a few times when falling asleep. I dont know what that is, but it's pretty freaky when it happens in the moment.

nikki said...

dude, you had me scared shitless for you for a moment! congrats on everyones yellow belt!

Anonymous said...

You know, either Andy is or I am usually available for dream-ass-kicking-reinforcement when we are not otherwise occupied by various women dreaming about us. DOn't hesitate to ask next time!

Seriously, though, congratulations on the belt test. My sons, Andy, and I were talking about it, and we have agreed that it would be extremely cool to have three more black belts in the family. That would make a total of seven. When Matty finishes his black belt in Coung Nu (within the year), eight!


Sayre said...

You know we're going to be some serious ass-kickers then!