In order to keep fit, Steve went kickboxing. He had trained in this martial art for years at a dojo in SmogCity. After grading through the junior belts, he upped the training in the intermediate stage. Every time he trained, Steve sparred and learned how to put punches and kicks into combinations against an opponent. But, almost as soon as he entered the senior ranks, there was a problem. The atmosphere in the dojo had been growing hostile and Steve noticed the black belts picking on some of the middle ranking belts. On more than one occasion, students got knocked out in sparring.

During a training session, Steve wrapped his hands for protection and put a mouth guard in. He talked to some friends as they prepared for a sparring session. Reaching for his blue and white boxing gloves, he noticed two instructors deep in conversation. They nodded in Steve’s direction. One instructor strolled over.

“It’s your turn,” the Instructor said.

“My turn for what?”

“To be taught a lesson you won’t forget. Let’s see what you’ve got.”

They touched gloves and the instructor did a roundhouse kick and connected with Steve’s face. As he reeled backwards, blood seeped from his mouth. Breathing hard, he tried to keep some space between him and the instructor. Steve moved around the padded mats until he was closed down and received a punch to the face. But the instructor’s smile dropped when Steve attacked. He rushed into the instructor’s space and shoved him backwards while hooking his right foot around the instructor’s rear leg. Steve swept the instructor’s leg toward him and brought him to the ground. The round finished when a timer beeped. Steve walked away. The instructor jumped up and glared at Steve.

As the next round began, the instructor stormed in with heavy punches and kicks. Steve tried to cover up, but had to take the punishment. He used the pain to focus his mind, determined never to back down. A jab connected with Steve’s face. In the split second where the instructor’s left fist moved back and his right glove powered forward, an opportunity arose. Without thinking, he blasted a left uppercut into the instructor’s throat. Hurt, he tried to turn away but Steve launched a barrage of punches to his face. The fight was brought to an end by another instructor. Steve realised his time at that dojo had just come to an end. He was not prepared to train there any more so he grabbed his gear and walked out.

Steve moved to a local dojo to continue training. It was much friendlier there and he soon made new friends. In a more controlled and less egotistical training environment, he soon progressed through the senior ranks. Steve was training seven days a week and his fitness approached the level he reached in the military. On a cold December day, Steve did his black belt grading. It was a two hour demonstration of all the techniques he had learned, finished off with several rounds of controlled sparring. He received his black belt that day.

Copyright © 2023 Callum Stanford.  All rights reserved.

Author: C.Stanford

Writer, blogger, outsider, survivor.

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