After doing my katas and defenses against knife- and Billy-club attacks, I’m already gasping for air from the stress.
“Mr. Turner,” Murphy commands, “On deck.” He points to my first opponent signaling for him to step forward. Then he says with an emotionless tone, “Bow to me, bow to your opponent, Hajimay-fight.”
I charge with a volley of kicks and punches. It is folly for me to wait for my opponent to strike first; due to my limited vision, I cannot prevail as a counter puncher. If I wait, I get hit! During my first volley, I miss every shot. However, my opponent’s first three punches predictably sail toward my blind hole. They connect with my face. Bam! Bam! Bam! Their sting stung. My fight-or-flight adrenalin surges.
Murphy commands, “Keep your hands up and keep fighting!”
Flailing, I throw a number of counter-punches. I trained hard but as I now realize – not hard enough to deal with the mental stress of having strangers coming after me with violent intent. I can feel my heart pounding like a sledgehammer inside my chest. At the end of the round, my body pulsates with throbs with pain, the result of absorbing a number of strikes to my body and face.