Bad Break


We had 3 people testing in HKD this week: One for red belt, one for green belt & one for yellow belt. The good news is all of them passed.

The bad news is that one of them (testing for red belt) suffered a broken radial bone in his right arm that could not be set at a local doctor's office & had to wait until the next morning. He's a tough kid of 17 years & there's no doubt he'll be fine. This guy can hang with me in most situations & he's giving up at least 50lbs...so yeah, he can hold his own.

We have a final drill in every test that we call the "Circle of Death". This is very much a tongue-in-cheek thing & consists of the four most senior belts standing at the corners of the mats & attacking the defender in succession. There's no break in between attackers & the adrenaline gets pumping. Unfortunately, this is where the break happened.

Now, I've talked to the guy ("green") who did the breaking & let him know he didn't do anything wrong: HKD is a rough & tumble art (I've got a chipped tooth to prove it) that brings about injuries. There was no malicious intent & he simply went faster than expected when taking "red" down. "Green" does great at this art & needs to know that these things will rattle someone...to which I shared with him my story of being rattled once.

I was also an orange belt, over 5 years ago, and we were working on throws. The particular technique is called the "One-Step Throw" & can really send the attacker flying for distance. Now, when we do this sort of throw with someone of a low rank (below brown belt), it's customary to let them know what we're planning to do. It helps avoid accidents (in theory).

So, a young lady who was also an orange belt (all of 15, I think) was the "attacker" & I let her know we were going to do the one-step throw. Upon her acknowledging this, I repeated the name of the technique, did a couple of set-ups & then did a "ki-hap" to let her know I was ready to go. She did the same & I performed a breakaway from her grab, stepped deep & turned around to step for the throw.

She whipped forward & didn't tuck her head down for the rolling fall that was supposed to happen. Literally, time seemed to hold its breath as she bounced once on the mats (thankfully very cushioned) & lay there for a second - it seemed like much longer - crumpled in a heap.

My first thought was, "Oh my God! I just killed this poor girl because I did something wrong!". My instructor (who is still my instructor), came up to me after seeing what happened & noticed how upset I was. He simply & calmly asked if I told her what technique was going to happen. When I replied that, yes, she did know & we had done a couple set-ups, he replied plainly that she failed to roll properly & it wasn't my fault in any way.

The most important part, however, is that she was perfectly fine. Stunned a bit, but no worse for wear & completely understanding that she didn't roll properly. To be honest, I was just happy she was OK.

So, as I was telling "green", I know what it's like to be rattled to the core & feel like you've done a horrible thing. While knowing you didn't mean any harm may not help, we all assume the same risk coming into that class. "Red" knew that as well as anyone & there's no doubt in my mind he'll be just fine. "Green" is a spectacular student & I know he'll bounce back from this.


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