Today me, another black belt and a brown belt played Monkey in the Middle at Kempo class.
What is this Monkey in the Middle, do you ask?
Well, it goes like this. Student 1 stands on one side, and student 2 stands on the other side, and one poor sucker gets to stand in the middle. The Monkey in the Middle faces student 1. Student 1 attempts to punch the Monkey, who is supposed to pull off a technique. If the Monkey manages that, then they turn around and get the same treatment from student 2. If the Monkey pulls off a technique on student 2, then they get to go back to student 1. When the Monkey finally messes up (which happens far to often) they’re out and another, er, victim takes their place.
Being black belts (or close to it) the time between turning around and someone punching at you is, well, no time at all. If you’re lucky they’re still dragging themselves off the floor from when you tossed them on the last go around and you get a half a second to think.
Which is bad. Thinking is bad. Well, okay, thinking is good, but only if it’s forward thinking and not backward thinking.
Let me explain. There is a particular technique called Easy Leopard (I personally think that the word easy should not be in the name) that I struggle with. There are a few well-placed punches and then a sweep from behind. Without actually hitting the person twice in the ribs, once to the temple and then once with your elbow on their back (which would certainly put them stumbling and in a bad situation), it’s rather difficult to do the sweep.
So I got all focused on the sweep, did it fantastically, turned around…and promptly forgot what I had planned to do. In order not to get hit by the next person, I have to start thinking about what I’m going to do before I finish the technique I’m doing. If I dwell on what I just did, the next part falls all to pieces. And it did. And I got hit.
As I’m punching in for the next Monkey, it came to me that I have the same problem when I write.
Punch. Whack, whack, sweep—ouch. Get up off floor.
When I write, I tend to try to make the bit I’m working on the best it can be. Which is good. But I get all caught up in wondering if I’m using all of the writing tools that I could be, and if I’m leaving out something important or if I could say the whole thing in a better way. And as I…
Punch, whack, whack, whack.
…get all caught up in what I’m doing then, I forget to look forward to what’s coming up. Then I get sucker punched as I realize that my mind is stuck in the last chapter and I can’t figure out where the next chapter should go.
I don’t have an answer to this yet. But I’m going to try not to get hit in the face every other chapter. Blocking with your face is bad.