I was nervous about sparring.
I was actually shaking while I waited for my turn. So, I kept breathing consciously deep.
When I began sparring, I destroyed.
Both of my classmates, I utterly destroyed. Yes, the first got in a few points – we were doing practice, so there was no stopping just because a point was made – and the second finally did, when I purposely slowed up on him. And the third opponent was the main instructor. She definitely got me several times, but I was right there with her, getting point after point against her.
In my second one, I initially just went for it. When, however, my opponent’s splotchy face caught my eye, and I saw tears brimming, I found that I all too clearly could relate. I was, basically, pummeling him. Just as we were told to do, I gave combination after combination. And almost every strike hit home. In his first bout, he and his opponent had rather fooled around, hadn’t maintained stances, and hadn’t done almost any combinations, despite the real-time encouragement from both instructors. (The lead is his mother.) I was matched with him, I believe, to help teach him a lesson.
And he learned it hard. No, the locks and punches were not hard. Just the lesson was. When I saw his brimming tears, I knew the lesson had settled. I calmed my attack, gave him some words of encouragement to, ‘Come on,’ and allowed him some breathing time and space between my attacks. He eventually rallied himself and got there, landing a few points with his combinations and my relaxed defense.
I patted him on the back and shook his shoulders after we finished. We both knew exactly what had just happened a all of it. He knew I had seen him crying. He knew I had let up. And he knew I had wanted him to figure it out and get it right.
And we necessarily had bonded over it.
It was really cool. And I was certainly grateful to be on the other end of such an encounter for once – so many times have I been in that intense space of frustration and tears. I imagine I likely will be back there again at some point, if not many points in my future. For this time, though, I am grateful that I was able to help the person on that end, to encourage and empower him, and to remind him that, despite his frustration, he has enough to offer and he can do it.
Nonetheless, it’s still a bit silly: I made a kid cry. 😛
When I sparred with the instructor, I was ready to be the one not as prepared. And I took it on comfortably and with gratitude for the opportunity to spar against one who is much more experienced than I am. And, I believe, it is because I maintained that calm comfort that I was able to do so well against her.
A lot seems to be amiss in my life right now. This is not one of those things. For whatever reason, karate is exactly where I need to be right now.
Thank you, God and Cosmos.
P.S. Happy Earth Day, folks!! ❤