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Stabbing Erique
An Addendum to Winter of A Fighting Life
I thought, this time last year, when I began writing Winter that I had received all of the injuries I was bound to incur. In fact the sour gifts of the Combat Gods had become redundant as of late: 7.5 ankle sprains a year; sprained middle finger on my left hand every month of the past three years, and so on.
Then, on the second Sunday of September, I stepped out on the floor to spar with Erique. We were using 14 inch rattan rods as ‘knives’ and went at it. Erique is built like a clunky superhero action figure whose adolescent creator used too much sculpting clay on the arms. I noticed Erique’s guard was open—as square as his cinderblock body—and launched a supinated stab from way out. He ate it in the chest and I felt a pain in my right flexor tendon at the base of the pinkie severe enough to give up any idea of stabbing again. I slashed for the rest of the session.
With Gabriel’s Agon seven weeks off Charles wanted to do some stick sparring. When we went at it my outside beats and checks came off too slowly, resulting in my hands getting severely bruised up. All off this contusive action masked what was going on with the flexor tendon, which was actually torn. I continued with the session unwisely.
Since I had a mental block against accepting an injury to one of my remaining ‘fresh parts’ I ignored the injury and proceeded to break down six tons of freight at work the next night, and the night after that, and then the following Friday night. By the following Saturday morning the wrist was obviously trashed. I began belatedly pampering the abused part, plastering it with duct tape, eventually even seeing Doc Lumsden, who suggested an actual ace bandage.
A few weeks later, after a seeming eternity not able to spar, I began knife sparring with Erique at Sifu Clark’s—left handed of course. I have trouble slashing with the left because of an old injury to the collateral ligament in the elbow. The stab was on the mark though! I was feeling great: the old man taking it to his muscled-up young ass—and left handed at that! Stab, stab, stab to the face cage. Then, as I backed Erique toward Sifu Clark I landed a pronated stab to his face cage and felt the same sensation at the base of the hand in the flexor tendon that I had felt in my left.
So it was true after all, what Grandma said about too much of a good thing being bad—even stabbing muscular young men. Who would have thought that would make the karmic list? What’s next, conclusive evidence that the Easter Bunny is a Buddhist?
That tear felt just as bad as the other. But now, practiced at tending to that part when injured, I called myself out, wrapped it, and began monitoring it for signs that it was ready to rehab. Now, two months after the first flexor tendon tear, my left is doing significantly better than my right, even though it was only injured a month ago.
I should be sparring by the end of November and fighting by January. Nearing the end of the line as I am, I don’t want to miss any more sparring or training opportunities than absolutely necessary. This is the downside of being the coach. It’s like being your own doctor, letting your ego cloud your judgment. I would have never let one of my guys keep sparring after the initial buckling of the wrist.
Of course, now that the flexor tendons have joined the swelling ranks of my injured parts, I have procedures in place. I won’t spar again without a wrapped or taped wrist and I’ll be careful about putting excessive force into a blunt knife stab. Most of all, I’m done stabbing cyborgs that disguise themselves as a comic book geek turned stick-fighter.
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Add Comment
EriqueNovember 1, 2013 3:42 PM UTC

About time I told you...my ultimate strategy is your systematic physical destruction via my repeated, simulated death at your hands. Quit hitting yourself, quit hitting yourself, indeed.