Friday, December 7, 2007

Super Mario

My mind was reeling last Wednesday due to some family stuff that I don't think I can go into yet. Suffice it to say I told my wife before leaving for class Wednesday I would be happy if I just came out of sparring in one piece.

One of my favorite new classmates is a 24-year-old named Mario, whom I faced Wednesday. Henceforth, for reasons that will become clear, he will be known as Super Mario.

Super Mario hit me with a move that I'd seen on TV in mixed-martial-arts bouts, but never faced in sparring: The Superman Punch. The essence is that the attacker fakes a kick with his back leg, but then transitions into a cross punch. The natural reaction of the defender, upon expecting a kick, is to drop the hands--you know you're supposed to keep them up, but the reaction is hard to resist. And then, while your hands are down, the cross punch comes in--boom!--to your face.

Super Mario has good control, so he just sort of tapped me hard to let me know he got me. I should have kept sparring, but I just stopped and congratulated him on totally fooling me. It's going to take training to learn not to drop my hands.

Elsewhere Wednesday, I felt bad because I was sparring with my buddy Ilicia, and twice I "tapped" her in the head when she was moving forward. When you are moving forward into a punch, you effectively double the power--the punch is a LOT harder. She was just great about it, she said it wasn't my fault because she moved into it, but it was jarring for her, and I felt guilty.

Ilicia and Maria, from The Family That Fights Together, had both competed in a tournament the Sunday before. It was Maria's third tournament and Ilicia's first. It takes so much courage to compete, I'm proud of both of them. Ilicia used to be very nervous, so to compete took great courage. Some other students also competed--I heard that Tony, a father in his, 30s, did well but injured his previously-injured toe. I haven't seen him yet.

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