Happy New Year, everyone! In the spirit of this joyful holiday, I offer three bruise stories for your entertainment and amusement.
Here’s my favorite bruise story from when I trained as a teen. I was sparring and ran my face right into my opponent’s fist. This resulted in a spectacular black eye. The guy apologized profusely both to me and my father. I laughed so hard at my sparring partner – the guy was apologizing to my Dad for something that was my fault, carrying on as if my Dad would tear him apart even though he outranked Dad considerably. I didn’t even feel pain because I was laughing too hard. Three days later, when the shiner was at the peak of its color, was school picture day. Yeah. I actually did manage to pull it off with some heavy duty makeup, and the photography lab did their magic with their airbrushes too.
Here’s three more recent bruise stories for you.
A couple of months ago, the weather was warm enough to allow me to wear a cute 3/4 sleeve cranberry-colored blouse I’d just bought. At the last minute before I left, I saw a livid bruise on my right forearm. There wasn’t time to change to a blouse with longer sleeves. During the church service, I sang in choir. Front row. Dead center. Holding up a music folder. Everyone in the small church saw that big purple, blue, black, yellow, and green splodge against my pale skin. Oh golly. It’s a good thing everyone knows I’m not being abused by my husband – I’m taking Karate. But they don’t have to know that bruise was in the wrong spot on my arm. The bruise should have been lower down for the block I was using. For that matter, I should’ve either dodged, caught the kick and swept, or used a block better suited for use against a kick to my upper midsection. What the congregation doesn’t know won’t hurt them 😉
A few days later, Sensei gave us the option of sparring or continuing to work on kata. I chose sparring because class time is limited and I can work on kata on my own. Only three of us chose sparring, so Sensei himself made a fourth. I’d never sparred with a black belt before. Sensei and I bowed to each other. I fought down nerves and launched an attack – or that was the idea, anyway. WHOOMP! Sensei landed a kick to my gut. I felt it but didn’t think much of it. A few moments later I went for Sensei again – WHOOMP! Another kick to my gut. I called a halt and asked what I was doing wrong. Sensei spent a few minutes coaching me, then it was the end of class. I didn’t think I’d been hit hard – it didn’t hurt much and I hadn’t had the wind knocked out of me! But next day in the locker room before swimming I discovered a deep bruise. Fortunately the bruise was covered by my swimsuit. Every time I felt that little ache throughout that weekend, I reminded myself of what I’d learned when Sensei coached me.
Earlier this week I discovered four little bruises just above my ankle. No doubt these were from four human fingers. I was sparring with a tall guy who outranks me and he caught my kick. Message received – speed those legs up! I had no idea I’d been bruised while hopping around on one leg – in fact, I was laughing at the time. I’m kinda proud of those bruises because we were the only ones actually doing something before class (my daughter was sick, otherwise she’d have gleefully asked to have a turn).
This is karate, not knitting.
If I get hurt, I try not to think much about the other person or to stew about what he or she did to me. I think about what I could have done differently. I think about how badly I could get hurt in a fight for survival. Those thoughts put bruises in perspective in a hurry! I remind myself that I am building skills and next time I’ll hopefully do better. Bruises eventually fade, but the lessons stay.
Please pass the arnica gel while you share your favorite bruise stories…