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Punching Plus Procrastination
Author’s Note: (Hee. Only I would call myself an author. NO, that’s not the note.) This entry was actually written… November 3rd. That’s how busy I’ve been this month. I act like I’m all Miss Responsible Chairperson/News Director, all on top of things and organized, but several times this month, I looked at my list of things to do, and my schedule of places to be, and all I wanted to do was curl up all fetal and cry and cry. Anyway, we can call this entry “vintage,” if that makes you more comfortable.

Man, I feel like someone who fought four times Saturday morning.

Mostly because I fought four times Saturday morning.

I tested for my red belt. Isn’t that amazing? In case you aren’t impressed with my mad martial arts skills, here’s how the belts go in my sect of Tae Kwon Do:

White Belt









Red (<- Look! There’s me! There I am!)


Deputy Black

Black Belt

I’ll bet you’re impressed now, huh? The tests used to be run by just my instructor, but because of certain grandmaster involvement with the school, the testing process has gotten more and more formal, as well, which I like. My instructor’s instructor (grandmaster) is the big test guy now.

Anyway, this newfound formality meant that I had to have a pre-test conference, where I sat down with my instructor and talked about what I would need to know to get my belt. We filled out a sheet together with various qualities and skills that red belts should possess, and mine was pretty standard, except for a big red circle around this section:

Respect And Discipline.

I have a really hard time calling anyone “sir.” I’ve never called my dad anything but dad or daddy, and the teachers of my youth didn’t ask me to call them “sir” or “ma’am” or anything, either. You see, my instructor is 5 years younger than me, so… the whole “Sir” thing isn’t exactly coming out naturally.

Not to mention, “Yep” and “Yeah” are also a couple of my favorite words, and it’s always supposed to be “Yes, sir!”

I can’t even TYPE that without giggling.

Adding to the Respect And Discipline static, I’m a big talker. (You: “Nooo!” Me: “Yes. It’s true.”) The longer I’m on the radio, the worse it gets, and I’m really used to talking my way through/out of/into things. In a world where I’m only supposed to say, “Yes, sir!” and “No, sir!” and “Keeya!”, my charming banter falls a little flat.

So flat that after my last test, my instructor told me that HIS instructor hit him, because of me.

You: “Would you get to the girl-on-girl fights, already?”


Showed up just after 9 a.m., spiffed up in my little uniform and itching to lose that pesky blue belt with its black stripe. There were 8 million kids there, all ready to test. The din was astonishing. As was the heat.

The night before, I spoke to a friend whose son was testing for the first time, and he was really terrified, not knowing what to expect. Even though I hadn’t seen him for a few months, I talked to him a little on the phone, and told her I’d look out for him the next day. As I was stretching out, I noticed him sitting by himself, so I went over and squatted down in front of him.

Me: “Hi, Max!”

Him (blank look): “Hi.”

Me: “Do you know your forms and your blocks? Did you remember to go over your kicks with your mom?”

Him (blank look): “Yes.”

Me: “Don’t be scared, okay? I’ll be right here by the wall the whole time you’re testing.”

Him (blank look): “Okay.”

Me (sinking feeling): “Wait a minute. Are you Max?”

Fortunately, he was.

The test was pretty run-of-the-mill, until it came time to spar. My first fight was against a red/black. It was a good, good fight. I was so in the zone that when I knocked her down, for a split second I moved to keep punching her, until I remembered that you’re supposed to stop when they’re on the ground. So good that afterwards, she told me that I was excellent, and she could hardly get a hit in. Awesome.

My second fight was right after – another blue belt I’ve written about before: Talon Toes. We’re officially friends, but I kind of think of her as my nemesis – she’s a cop, she’s uncoordinated, she’s gangly, and sparring her is like fighting 9 elbows and 6 knees. Everything I’m not. Oh, and those damn, sharp, terrifying toenails.

We had a pretty good fight, too. At one point, I had her up against the wall and just kept punching and punching her chest pad, like Agent Smith did to Neo in the first Matrix – remember, when it was a good movie? I could hear everyone going, “Kick more!” but all that punching is really fun.

For me.

Next, I got a break, while two others sparred. Then, Talon Toes fought someone else. After that fight, the grandmaster asked her who she hadn’t fought yet. She replied, “Jamie.”

The room fell silent. Froze. Even the kids shut the hell up for a second. We all just stared at her, dumbfounded. If I didn’t have a mouthpiece in, I think Respect And Discipline would have flown right out the window when I retorted, “It was FIVE MINUTES AGO, fucktard!”

Fortunately for my instructor, it just sounded like, “Mmmf rrrrgh MMF MMMMFRGH, rrrshmf!”

That fight was pretty uneventful, except for a moment when I kind of got tangled in her 9 elbows and 6 knees, got frustrated, and just hauled off with a back fist to the side of her head.

My instructor had to act officially all shocked and appalled, but later he took me aside and whispered, “I would have done the same thing.”

Then I had to fight AGAIN. During this bout, I looked like Rocky in the last round, all slow motion and barely able to move, but with less hugging. And probably less sweat. No, definitely less sweat.

I passed, though. And my instructor said I didn’t even get him hit this time.

Heh. He better be nice to me, or I’ll make sure he gets his NEXT TIME.

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