Defense against weapons typically begins once the student has achieved first degree black belt. Our school is small so we sometimes have to make do with the mix of students we have on any given day. I was the only bo dan among black belts in our tiny Friday night adult class, and that was my first opportunity to learn defense against weapons. We’ve been spending a lot of time on my test requirements, but my instructor didn’t want to neglect the learning needs of my black belt classmates, so he decided to bring out the rubber knives.
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Ha! Made Ya Flinch!
It’s become a running joke that I flinch when a kick is thrown at my head during free sparring. In situations outside of a taekwondo school one might think that this is a perfectly normal reaction. Something startles us, we flinch. It’s human nature.
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Swan Lake Would Have Been a Lot More Interesting with an Odile/Odette Smackdown
“Move over, ballerina,” my instructor said impatiently as I was attempting a takedown during hand-to-hand practice. “You’re taking these little steps and going nowhere,” he continued. “Take one big step around like THIS,” he said, swooping his leg around into a low stance and swiftly pulling the other student to the ground.
“So I can’t do little pique turns?” I said, grinning and waggling my eyebrows. He rolled his eyes and stalked off.
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Dragged Kicking and Screaming Into…well, Kicking and Screaming
“Don’t let it escalate,” my instructor offered as a final tip for the evening. We were hanging around the dojang practicing some self-defense techniques. I was a little disappointed when he said that. I’ll admit that I’ve daydreamed about snapping the elbow and repeatedly stomping on the face of some nameless gropey man, a drunk at a bar or perhaps a cocky teenager trying to show off for his friends, screaming “Women aren’t squeeze toys! If you do this to me or any woman again I’ll hunt you down and gut you like a f*cking fish!! Now apologize!!!”
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The Devil is in the Details
“I’m not good with this technical mechanical stuff!” I shrieked in mock-desperation after a number of flubbed attempts at hand-to-hand techniques (painful twists and joint locks) with my partner. Including my instructor there were only four of us in advanced red and black belt class. It was getting late, and three of us were already worn out from an intense sparring class beforehand, so we were all getting a little loopy and giggly. Throwing in complicated and intricate self-defense work after a long day only fried my brain even more.