Last night I attended my kung fu class. At one point in the evening, we were working with partners on a reaction drill. The drill entailed us to approach and attempt to punch our partner, and switch roles, and be the person approached. The purpose of the drill was to be able to identify the moment of attack, and react in a way that will give you an advantage. By noting the direction of the punch, angle of swing, positioning of feet and cover hand, etc, you can gauge your counterattack to obtain an advantage, such as breaking an ankle or knee, poking the eyes out, sucker punches, etc., to be able to get away from your attacker and get to safety. I think the guy I was working with was named Jonathan; he appeared fit, a little older then me, perhaps n his early 40’s. I noticed immediately that he was annoying to work with, because he wouldn’t set up the drill with full intention, would make comments about stuff, block and defend before my attacking punch would come in and make contact when he was only supposed to be coming within 1 inch of his target.
Jonathan wasn’t horrible to work with, and after a few rounds I got a good handle on his strategy and how he was operating. At one point during the drill, he was approaching me and another pair of students practicing the same drill accidentally walked backwards, colliding into Jonathan. Now, Jonathan was barefoot, and the person who was involved in the collision had wrestling shoes on, and stepped on Jonathan’s big toe. As a result, it flipped the toenail on his big toe backwards. He started yelling, then reached down and flipped it back to normal. This has happened to me in the past when I was growing my fingernails long, and it is a weird uncomfortable gross sensation. I guess it’s a little painful, but it’s more that I equate the sensation with scratching your nails on chalkboard, or chewing on tinfoil. Or scraping a plastic fork on a Styrofoam anything. In any event, Jonathan should have engaged in more toenail maintenance, they were a little on the long side. Jonathan hopped around for a few minutes, and yelled while I waited in a horse stance so we could continue our drill. Then Jonathan was trying to engage me in conversation about his foot, and I, waiting in my stance replied, “Yeah, man that sucks, you ready to get back to it?” Jonathan debated if he should get an ice pack and kept complaining, and walked around on his foot all funny.
I noticed him approaching the teacher, and telling him what happened. I saw the teacher smile and reply, “Cool,” and offer no more advice. Jonathan asked if he should get an ice pack, and was voicing concern about his toenail. The teacher said, “You know what, if you want to go ahead, but I think if you just get back to it you’ll be fine.” I agree with the teacher, if I get hurt I feel like it’s an inconvenience if I have to take time to step away from the drill to tape a broken toe to another so it doesn’t flop all over the place. Or if I’m bleeding, I always cover it and clean the floor where I bled. But I really don’t bleed or break much stuff; it’s mostly bruises, on my forearms, or on my shins. Sometimes I might have a fat lip for a few hours or one eye looks more swollen then the other for a day, but that doesn’t ‘happen often. Most of my injuries occur when someone else blocks my punches or kicks. If an injury does occur, I find the best thing to do is walk it off while all of your endorphins are flowing.
Shortly after Jonathan was done talking to the teacher, he opted to step off of the floor and we got to choose new partners again. I heard Jonathan later telling someone else he was working with about his toe, and even though it didn’t bleed, I noticed a band-aid on it.