26 September 2012

The Intimidation Factor

As stated before, I have earned a black belt in Shaolin Kempo. Does this mean that I can move through the night making less sound than a whisper of a breeze and take down small nations on the weekends?

Not really.

Well, maybe, but not that I'm telling you.

Okay, seriously, there are days when I wish I could line up with the white belts on the back row in the far corner so no one would watch me when I messed up a kicking combination for the third time. Then there are days when I feel like I could take the other black belts in a semi-friendly brawl. So what I'm saying is that just because I have a black belt does not mean that I can kick everyone I meets butts.

Meets butts? Is that right? Hmmm...moving on.

The other night in class we had a new guy—an exchange student from Italy. His English was pretty good (way better than my any other language) and he picked up on things quickly.

The stars must have aligned in my “favor” because I got to be the punch in dummy for Sensei. The technique we were working on consisted of a block then multiple strikes to the face and neck. There was an elbow involved, which always makes everything better. I got hit a bunch of times, then turned around the other way so the rest of class could see. Being the punch in dummy makes you look tough and may leave marks.

When Sensei put me with the new guy, the poor kid looked like he would rather go take a nap in the street. Sensei assured him that I had the best control in the class (which is pretty much true) and that I would not hurt him. The new guy still didn't look convinced, but did as Sensei said. Which is a wise course of action.

We practiced. The new guy did a good job. I got faster and faster and after eight or nine times he told me I was lethal. Best compliment I got all week. I may have gently whacked him with an elbow once in the jaw, but it was soft! I swear.

Anyway, when Sensei revealed that the final move was a hit to the groin, my Italian partner's eyes went wide, he stepped back, put up his hands and said, “I cannot.”

I'm still not sure if he didn't want to hit me or he didn't want me to hit him. Still, I think he lost a shade of color from his face. Sensei assured him that I would not be hitting him in the groin. Not even the leg. I would stay far, far away.

When we started practicing again I was sure the new guy was going to bolt. But he didn't. He stuck it out, and I did NOT hit him in the groin. Like I want to do that. Even thumping a cup is kind of disturbing. Sorry, maybe TMI there.

My point is that it feels strange to be the intimidator. I'm short, more round than slim and blonde. I go to Kempo for fun and to learn mean things that I hope never to have to use on anyone. It is so strange that anyone looks at me and thinks, “Oh crap, she can kick my trash.” Then again, it's kind of cool.

Right now in the writing world I am the white belt, looking at all of the published authors with wide eyes and slacked jaws, wondering if I'm even worthy to say hello.

I wonder if they feel about their being published like I do about being a black belt; awesome, horrible, conflicted and like I need to work harder.


Anthony Dutson said...

Neil Gaiman began one of his blogs once by saying, "I'm writing. The pages are starting to stack up. My morale is improving the more I feel like a writer." And if Neil Gaiman has times when he's suffering from imposter syndrome, then we're screwed.

But then again, he gives the light at the end of the tunnel as well. The more we do, the more we feel like what we are. There's gotta be some kinda Zen philosophy in there somewhere...

Great post! I was expecting you to recreate that chapter of mine. ;)

susie said...

You are just incredibly cool!