Monday, June 23, 2008

Sensei's killin' buddy runs the gauntlet

Back in the day, I want to say it was around 1992 or so, we had the pleasure of having Steve Steed join our college club. Steve was about 4th dan in tangsoodo and had just come off active Army duty during or around the time of the first Gulf War.
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Well, it was a Sunday afternoon practice and it was a kick-punch sparring day, so I showed up and the instructor tells us, "This is Steve," and we began sparring. I thought it was interesting that Steve was made to start with the highest ranked guy and consecutively spar a few minutes with each successively lower-ranked guy. Though I'd never seen it, Steve was pretty savvy. He knew how things worked. He knew he was being made to run the gauntlet, and that was just okay by him.
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I watched him demolish our highest-ranked guy quite easily, barely working up a froth. He moved on to his second course of the afternoon, and tore our second-highest-ranked guy apart. Hmmm, I was thinking that the situation looked pretty glum for me, as about the 4th highest rank that day.
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Fortunately the head instructor suavely announced that the remainder of the matches would be special condition matches, and when Steve got to me, all lathered up and ready to kill (and eat dead, burnt bodies), they announced that Steve could only kick and I could only punch for this match. AHA, my chance!
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They called go, Steve threw a kick, and I slipped it, stepped in, and glued myself to his chest. I didn't even bother punching because that might have separated us back into kicking range. I just moved with him and checked his legs to keep him from getting any momentum going. We went the entire time period with me glued to him, frustrating his ability to hurt me.
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After that we rapidly became great buddies and had many adventures. So great was the Legend of Steve, that my first batch of students in southwest Mississippi came to know him as "Sensei's killin' buddy, Steve." I suppose the implication of that title was that Steve was the guy I'd most like to have around when killin' time comes.
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Don't know what dragged that memory out of the old data banks, but it popped into my mind this morning and I just had to write it down.

1 comment:

  1. Love it Pat! Great story. Reminds me of my first day at the boxing gym (I was kickboxing). I was told to jump in the ring and sparred 3 minutes with a guy who was underweight at 6'2" or so (I'm 5'9" and stocky), and I pummeled him him around the ring. Next I faced another guy - competitive kickboxer about my size. Still no problem, I handled him just fine. And so it went. I went through several rounds like this, then the best fighter in the joint climbs through the ropes and proceeds to beat the tar out of me while I watched (I could do nothing else) and tried to cover up. I nearly died, but survived and earned some respect. I think I was the opposite of the "killin' buddy" that day!

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