Since the days of my life feel like a series of dittos recently [recently? – Ed] and I have piled several projects on top of myself at once, the time seems to have come to cease this foolish, five-year habit of writing an (allegedly) humorous account of every single day and just stick to the parts where, you know, stuff actually happens. Expect an update roughly every six months, therefore, and even then I’ll be pushing it to call it ‘interesting’.
And therefore, to the Surprise Fightclub Grading Fiasco!
For a shock, despite the long hours at work, and then the longer hours of maths done on the fly at my desk after hours, and the long walk into town and the longer walk home, and the eye-watering headache that has had me living off lemsip and painkillers for nearly a week now, not to mention the bellyaching regarding all of the above, I made it to fightclub on both the final two days before the grading. Thus it was that, twenty-four hours before being Assessed on this shit, I finally got my first shuftie at pad drills six and seven. A snowflake’s chance in hell, you say? Well, and let’s look at it this way: failing to get me yellow belt will not have an adverse effect on my career, at least. Still, I was determined to go down all guns blazing [if you were that determined, you woulda shown up on Saturday – Ed] and Wednesday morning found me up at six ay-em, floundering around in me leopard-print jammies, practising what I could remember of them.
I was not helped out in my last-minute preparations by being paired up with the new lassies in the class, but them’s the breaks, right? Every so often, some poor sod has to babysit me, thus wasting valuable prep time; I, in turn, do my time. Wish it hadn’t been right before the grading, right enough.
Mind you, karma strikes with equal opportunity – half an hour of that, and I was hauled off to practice pad drills six and seven with the biggest guy in the entire class. Glad, I was, to see him because I hoped to be able to pick up some last minute Mad Skillz (and people say I’m a natural born pessimist). Horrified, he was, to see me, especially because he seriously expected me to be able to divine the pad drill feeds, having never ever done it before. Aghast, he was, when I told him this. What belt are you going for? he yelped. So I told him.
There would be a certain cachet in being able to say that, lo! the biggest guy in the whole class – with a black belt in karate, it later turned out – blanched in terror on hearing that, tonight, he would be fighting me. If it wasn’t for the fact that he quite obviously only did so because he reckoned I would fail spectacularly and take him down with me.
I had had thoughts in this direction myself, but the Well-ard Chick had assured me that we do not get passed or failed as a pair, so I hastened in turn to reassure him. He did not, in turn, hasten to reassure me that he had meant nothing of the sort, alas. Well, it would have been a blatant lie, but it would have been polite.
And we were off. Now it should be remembered that I am probably not the only person in the whole class who really, really hates having to shadowbox In Public (or indeed, take any sort of limelight unless it is ‘telling what I firmly believe is a really funny story to an audience of no more than five’). Well, apart from the instructors, they probably don’t mind. And the red belts, they probably don’t mind. And the white belts; well, they probably mind but there are about two dozen of them. Which leaves… me and the biggest guy in the class up there on our own. In front of many, many eyes. See, by this time I had become somewhat reliant on the blinding mask of pain, because focussing on that at least keeps the world on the other side of it. So it should come as no surprise that today the damn thing finally wore off, leaving me completely exposed, haha.
Sometimes I think the whole point of gradings is to manage to get into a mindset where you don’t think, ohgodohgodohgodIsuck, and then immediately start sucking like a siphon that stretches to the centre of the earth. Or maybe, the point is to manage to claw your way back out once you’ve reached that point; something philosophical and all about the Mental Challenge of it all and all that. If the point is to look good, however, I’m screwed. Mainly because the Cute Chick has repeatedly pointed out that I make ‘hilarious’ faces while fighting, and lo, it has come to pass that now, nearly every single time I have to fight someone, this phrase floats back into my mind and I get paranoid about what my expression is doing, think ohgodohgodohgodIsuck, and immediately suck. And as often as not, get my left and right confused to boot.
Needless to say, being paired up with someone who clearly also thinks, ohgodohgodohgodyousuck, is not terribly helpful either.
I felt I did okay once we were split up for our own good, though that was somewhat embarrassing in itself. Groundwork? Haven’t done it since around September, I had to have instructions hissed in my ear all the way through, oh god, the shame. Followed by a nice break while we watched the instructors doing kata with wooden poles, ooh there was something hypnotic about it – which was not good because by this point I had decided to get into a ‘we who are about to die and all that’ mindset and zoning out was not part of the programme.
There was a final chance to redeem myself, however; every pair had five minutes to construct and perform a series of set moves on each other. The biggest guy in the class went for groundwork, which suited me down to the well, quite, because I just had to kinda lie there while he tied me in a knot (and did something absolutely brutal to my shoulder, but we’ll deal with that later) and for my one – well, if you’re fighting a giant, you just gotta do the flying arm-bar, right? Spin upside down, wrap your legs around his head and splat!
To my shock, we passed. Well, everyone passed, leading me to seriously consider that the couple running the place had decided ‘better not pass everyone except Beshemoth, eh, let’s just pray she manages to justify it somehow’. I mean, it woulda been ‘scruciating, yes it would, but better that than an undeserved pass. I woulda got the opportunity to Take it On The Chin and everything! But I am so glad I didn’t have to.
And then there were hugs and photos and the whole thing ended around quarter to ten, dammit, I have not made it home before nine so far all week, and I have to be out the house at half seven and I am not as young as I was. So I got a cab home. Wuss.
But yeah. I am officially slightly harder than I used to be. It’ll be good for bugger all no doubt (even if I was officially Really Hard, there’s always a bigger fish, and if you’re caught on the hop, no amount of hardness will save you*), but I am pretty damn chuffed nonetheless.
*(And how relevant that sentiment suddenly turns out to be.)
Now, to kick the arse of the Sums!