Robots and Movies

Teacher leans over to me at half time and whispers, “I’m going to test the Wonder Twins tonight, but first we’re going to do some sparring to tire them out.”  While they get put through their paces Teacher leans over to me and whispers again, “I’m going to put you with Robot.  Just take it easy because he’s never done this kind of thing before.” 

The class theme before sparring was infighting and developing some comfort with elbows and targets up close. 

Robot and I bow to each other and he immediately gets inside my arms and legs and begins to thrash me.  Since we were in hugging distance he kept throwing knees into my thighs – unfortunately for me, they were accurate and effective.  I tried to step into him to throw him off his pace and his knee painfully collided with mine. 

The reason I call him Robot is that he had his knee replaced with a titanium one about 15 years ago due to cancer. 

What this meant to me is that his knee strikes are incredibly effective because he doesn’t have pain there whereas the next day I have a bruise on the knee cap.  Ouch.

Not to be outdone I decided to back out and use my kicks.  I tried a roundhouse and he caught it (beginners mistake) so I twisted my hips over farther and gently slapped him on the face with the top of my foot.  Awesome!  I got a lot of laughs and some respect with that one. 
While basking in the glow of a nice sparring session I noticed that the students were really doing a great job at blocking and kicking.  Much to my chagrin I realized considering their time in and level that they were much better than I was. 

I go through this occasionally – a moment where I see new folks performing so much better than I ever could and realize that I’m not gifted athletically; that everything I ever learned was hard won and never a natural feeling. 

I saw this boxing movie a long time ago which may have starred Wesley Snipes, where a young white guy and young black guy apprentice to a Russian drunk guy.  We find out that the Russian was an incredibly gifted boxer that had dreams, but they played out when he defected to the states.  So he teaches the guys – living his dreams though them.  Anyway Wesley is incredibly gifted and the white guy brings nothing to the table, but always has the will to do better.  They both end up getting close to the Olympics and Wesley gets cut in a street fight.  So white boy gets on the team (because we knew he wouldn’t make it originally) and, of course, wins the gold. 

I can’t help drawing comparisons to myself.  Not that I’m going to the Olympics or anything, but I know I’m not gifted in any sense – I just happen to be the guy that goes to class forever.  That’s not even saying much either.  I’m the guy that goes to class forever because I have an unencumbered life. 

I don’t mean to have a pity party, because I’m proud of the things I have achieved, but to see people that will easily surpass my dreams of physical achievement sometimes stings.  


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