Friday, September 09, 2005

Sound as a Pound

The tumblings of soft training batons poking up like rude finger gestures, laying against chest pads with their flopped, buckly, velcroly, harnesses; white arm-guards tangled with convex shaped kick pads and knuckle-protecting gloves: fingerless gloves,like leather gauntlets fashioned for homeless people. Each pile of body-shaped protectors together with an arsenal of pretend weaponry, now sweat-drenched, peeled and shaken off with heavy breaths and relief-sighs, and foot swept, kicked or dropped onto blue heavy rubber gym mats with half-hearted concessions towards tidiness. Rubber moulded armless manikins with boxer-bad boy faces and solidly crafted, wish-they-were-yours torsos stand sentinel in their water filled stands. Each one facing a different direction as if obeying orders, their hard flat pecs and shoulder muscles still fizzing with the unrestrained poundings of a thousand trial hits.

Self Defence Course 23/05 assemble and huddle around towels and water bottles and survey the erstwhile arena of elegantly co-ordinated violence, all thoughts of mock-anger and controlled antagonisim now a memory and dissipating like the dying echoes of threats, challenges, protests and pain. Parched throats are slaked, sticky mouths are swished-swirled, grazes and joint sores are dabbed at,tentatively. And exhausted mutterings about how much harder it is, each year, to pass the test. This mandatory test. To learn and remember the repertoire of defensive moves and sequence of counter-attacks, to memorise the specialised jargon and the gratuitous technical terminology - from the relatively simple palm distractions, parallel punches and arm entanglements, to the forward and backward upper and lower fluid cutting and shockwave strikes. And to then bear the aches, and the pains, and the stiffness.

Body and mind's getting to old for all this.

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