Ouch. Well, I now have my brown belt, and I’m on my way for grading to Black at the end of next year. A couple of people seem to think I got off easily since I didn’t have to do any sets of exercise at the grading’s conclusion, like most of the other people who graded for different belts had to. Those people are evidently unaware that having a 1st degree black belt and a kung fu master chasing them around a room trying to beat them up is a whole different sorta exercise. Still, it went well, thought during the sparring I seemed to automatically stop breathing, which is a bizarrely bad reflexive response to have… I’m going to have to work on that over the next twelve months, since my next grading involves about 20 minutes of sparring rather than 5 like this one. I came away mostly unscathed, coping one spinning back kick to my ribs, which miraculously don’t seem to have even bruised. During the ground-fighting segment I fell prey to a technique we call Cum Nar which is using a hand in eagle-claw formation to crush the aortal artery and jugular vein closed against the windpipe – a technique that rather effectively made me go limp and gave me some wonderful bruising around the throat. Still, that’s only twice I was hit with anything, and I managed to get my own stuff in, so all in all I think I acquitted myself reasonably well.
I’m happy that I managed to get at least one set of bruises from the whole event - if I hadn’t I might have suspected they were holding back, but weren’t, which makes me happy.
On another completely different point, has anyone else noticed how incredibly sanitized this year’s Christmas is? Around some of the suburbs in Melbourne they have signs and flags proclaiming “Celebrate!”, and while everything looks festive, there is nothing that I can pin down as all that Christmassy. One of our American colleagues at work wished us “Happy Holidays” rather than “Season’s greetings” or similar, which seems to be becoming the standard over there. Now I know that celebrating Christmas by sharing stories about an old guy in a Coca-Cola company uniform is not exactly in the spirit of the holiday itself, but it seems to me that there comes a point where by attempting to please everyone you expunge all the meaning that was there in the first place.
Anyway, while some of you may have been writing letters to Santa, some kids have been writing
Precocious li'l critters, ain't they?