dal niente

Month: September, 2011

Progress Reports

I got back my Torts assignment today– rather pissed off at the result to be honest. I got 77%, but in reading the teacher’s comments, I lost points on the same part multiple times– it was a section of the New South Wales Civil Liability act, section 30(1). I just somehow overlooked mentioning it. I always had it in the back of my head, but somehow, that key part didn’t make it onto the paper.

To be fair, I guess a 77 is still a distinction grade, but it pisses me off because I didn’t lose marks because of something I didn’t know– I lost marks because of something I knew about but for whatever reason didn’t actually write into the paper. Sigh. You know what they say about hindsight, right?

I’m finding it kind of annoying to care about marks so much. I guess this is all entirely new to me– to be honest, when I was doing my undergrad, I didn’t give a flying damn what my grades were, so long as I passed. It probably has something to do with how much money and opportunity is on the line here, but I really feel like I’m fighting something important.

It’s hard, though, to find that work-life balance. There’s a lot of stuff on my plate and it’s honestly really hard at a certain point to squeeze those extra marks out. I find myself having episodes of burnout, sometimes manifesting as extreme procrastination– for example, in the past few weeks, I’ve managed to watch all 140+ episodes of an anime called Eyeshield 21.


I haven’t been to kickboxing in about two weeks. There’s something slightly not-right about my right wrist. Probably sprained it partly because it hurts at certain angles. It’s nothing serious, I’m certain I’ll be fine with another two or three weeks of recovery time. It is kinda discouraging, because I was looking forward to fighting against [Ironman] in a tournament match. He’s a beginner, but he’s incredibly athletic and has an huge weight, cardio and reach advantage over me. Uh… doesn’t sound too good for me right?

In the meantime, I’m still cycling as always, and I’ve changed my technique a bit. Now, instead of rocking the bike on high gear to get up mountains, I’m using a lower gear spinning technique. I’m also riding with a mask on, which, on the plus side filtering out all the crap in the road air, makes it significantly harder for me to breathe. I hope that by the time I get back to Kicksoc, I’ll just take a few sessions to get my arms back in the habit, and that my overal core cardio will have been improoved.

Kicksoc isn’t a really high priority on my list lately though, on account of all the work I’ve had to do for school. Physically, the amount of energy that Kicksoc takes out of my system is simply too much– on top of the daily 20km commute, it just makes it impossible to study on nights with Kicksoc because all i want to do is eat, shower and sleep.


I went to the Baduk club today. Instead of just going for an hour, I went to an early alternate class for torts, so that I could go to Baduk for the full afternoon. I got to play two games against the president– without handicaps, I won both of my games against him by a good 30 or so points, so he’s probably somewhere in the ballpark of 11 or 12kyu. Our second game was pretty damn fun, because I was getting into all these super-high risk ko wars. I suppose they wouldn’t be high risk if I’d think all my moves through in advance, right?

I think I definately enjoy playing human opponents in person more than I do playing them online. It’s one thing to just see the opponent online not moving for several seconds as the clock ticks away because you’ve played a particularly confounding move. It’s entirely different (and delicious) in person when you get to see their expression when you try something out of the blue that seems to make no sense, but later leads to a nice trick reversal.

I remember from playing [SiB] that it was extremely hard to read his intentions while playing a game– it’s true that he is almost 7kyu higher than me, so that might seem obvious– but I mean, when he’s playing, the conversation we’re having is almost completely disconnected from the game, as if he uses one half of his brain to deal with each. I’d like to develop that, I think. I think I play baduk way too much like a game of poker– I’m trying to mislead my opponents through certain emphasis or behaviour on my part that will make my trick reversals easier. That likely won’t work on people who have stronger technical ability though. It is, however, a fun edge to have in person that isn’t available to me in online formats.


I’m running for a position of representative on the Faculty Board. Basically, I’d be the representative for the Juris Doctors (if elected). My nominee statement is as follows:

[Jinryu] (xyzxyzxyz)
Nominee Statement for Faculty Board — JD Representative

I can give you all the generic talk about how communication is important and all that, but frankly, you’re JDs and I don’t need to baby you. You are a cohort of mature students who have perspectives of the world that our undergrad peers do not. This starting point is what distinguishes the JD experience; it’s what I’m here to represent, as one of your colleagues, on your behalf. What you need to know: I’m a “global citizen” who has worked with government, unions, NGOs, educators, and students across three continents. I expect a lot from students and UNSW, but that’s because you can always expect a lot from me. I don’t always have all the answers, but I do have the competency, the dedication, and the grit to hear you and represent us.

Our voices warrant an audience. My candidacy is our opportunity.

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rkyen thub

(a tibeten word that translates, roughly to endurance, fortitude, or willpower)

Last night I was watching some friends learn to play baduk. It was pretty fun to help [CM] show them the ropes, for the same reason I think that it was interesting to teach children in Korea. I’m not saying that these people are as dumb as children, not in the least– they actually were quite clever considering that it was their first time playing.

I’m saying that I find it insightful to observe the developmental stages of the logics that we’ll be using for the rest of our lives.

(For those of you interested, you can check out the game briefly at Wikipedia. If any of you play on KGS, let me know and we can play some day!)

In a game of baduk, you play on any intersection of a 19×19 grid. That’s pretty huge, considering a chess board is 8×8.

There’s a lot of space for everyone.

But one of the things I find present in a game of baduk that isn’t in most board games is strong emphasis on the need to balance agressiveness with deffensiveness. When two players of similar strength play eachother, and one person opts for all out agression while the other plays a bit more conservatively, the conservative player is likely to take the lead. Mathematically, the game somewhat favours a deffender because any invasion you attempt is in enemy territory.

I guess what I’m getting at is that when people start off at a lot of things, they tend to think that strong, forward movement is the path to victory. I watched my friends play go for the first time and they were going after all the little battles– they wouldn’t give up an inch of territory. Every little corner was a bloodbath, and by the end of the quarter-board game, there were more dead pieces than there were spaces on the board. Teaching in Korea revealed a similar mentality– chidlren tend to associate with the strongest of the children. They want to dominate the others and climb the heirarchy, rather than function cooperatively.

I daresay the same mentality is starting to emerge in law school as well.

It’s hard to put my finger on the idea, but what I’m getting at is that there’s this impression I’m getting that people are going after the flashy battles. I’m not sure if it’s the thrill of winning high profile fights (whatever fights they may be) or if it’s just a natural tendency for agression… but isn’t it easier to win where there is no resistence?

In class for example, the system in Australia for grades goes from P (pass), to C (credit), to D (distinction) to HD (high distinction). That’s roughly equivalent to getting a D, C, B or A grade in classes back in North America. In our law school classes, we get grades for class participation– basically, you get marks for arguing your points well, and participating in discussions effectively. It’s obvious that there are some classes that are more controversial than others– but sometimes, people get into shouting matches about who is right and who is wrong. Meanwhile, in more boring classes, almost no discussion goes on at all, even though we’re still graded for participation.

So, what’s the smarter strategy? And, indeed, what promotes the most learning? Should everybody duke it out in the classes where the subject matter is interesting?

My strategy has been to save my energy for the classes that are a bit less boring– if I put in a lot of energy in that one class where there is constant debate, I’ll just be one among 20 other people who gets a few words in. In order to get the HD in that class, I’d really have to climb up an exponentially more difficult hill. Whereas, if I target the other 4 classes where nothing much is going on, the same amount of effort on my part gets me way more results– I don’t have to fight, there’s less competition, and my chances of being noticed by the teacher are much higher. Thus, I’m trading a glorious (but in effect, ineffectual) battle in 1 class for easy pickings in 4 others.

The truth is, humans have limitations. We have limited money, we have limited energy. Somehow, we’ve not gotten into the habit though of picking a fight with whatever gets in our face.

I’m not sure how it develops, but I think that the change that occurs somewhere is that as we get to understand things more, we learn to put things in perspective. We learn to endure the little things, and transfer our energy more efficiently. We learn about short term sacrifices.

I’m not saying that we should only fight the battles that we can win– there are times where we need to fight the battles that need winning. I am, however, saying that we need to really, deeply look at a situation, and figure out what battles need winning. To the extent that that says anything, it blurs the lines between objectivity and subjectivity, I think– because when we decide what we want to win, and take responsibility for it, that’s when our subjectivity and the objectivity of our environments meld. It’s a tao, really.

I think the word sacrifice is important. In both chess and go, and, indeed, even a game of Marvel versus Capcom 3, an understanding of sacrifice is essential to the upper levels of play– same goes for real life.

But we won’t learn sacrifice if we don’t develop any endurance, fortitude, or willpower– so perhaps we start there?

NumLock

Why would anyone want to start their machine up without NumLock on?

Grab Bag

Time: 11:45 Sydney time
Location: UNSW Law Library Computer Labs
Batteries (me, not my computer): 25%

I’m kinda amazed that I’m still awake. I was up until 2am finishing the midsemester assignment for Contracts Law, and I woke up at something like 6am. I think it was because I was worried that I would sleep through my alarm or something and miss the 9am in-person submission deadline.

I’m pretty exhausted, but after attending contracts class this morning I felt like it was worth getting out of bed. About a week or two ago was the midsemester break, when we were off for two weeks. Our contracts class is behind schedule, so the prof basically told us to read an entire chapter of the book on our own, and that he intended to skim it at lightspeed when we got back from the break.

It was a grueling chapter. I spend a fair amount of time reading through it, doing a bit of background reading and even hosting a study group to try and compare notes with everyone. By the end of the endeavour, we all had agreed on what we thought the cases meant… but especially in Contracts, the legalese is very finicky when it comes to the meanings of words. We left that study session wondering if we were even in the right ballpark, since our opinions had swayed so far over the course of the 4 hours.

The class today finally caught up to what we studied during the break, and to my surprise, most of the conclusions that we’d arrived at through independent reading were pretty close to what the teacher was saying. It’s not a big victory, and certainly not one that counts for marks– but it is something that gives me a great deal of encouragement that I’m not a total bonehead. Especially when you’ve been reading the same paragraph for the fifth time and you have no clue WTF they’re talking about, it’s nice to hear in the teacher’s words what you ultimately figured out.

Affirmation

We handed in a midsemester Public Law paper today, and right after having handed it in, the prof went over the strategies that we should have used on them. This paper isn’t for grades, it’s a 0% practice exam. But regardless, it felt pretty good that what the teacher was saying aligned more or less with what I had on my paper.

It’s true that there are a lot of talented people out there who are good at all sorts of things. I don’t think I’m one of them. Nor am I some sort of genius of hard work– I hate hard work. But I guess I know the basic formula of how effort converts to results.

I heard a couple of my classmates talking about the Foundations of Law exercise. I don’t want to be a snob, but I kinda avoided the question subtely when they were asking about what eachothers’ grades were. Apparently, they didn’t do so great– the funny thing was, they admit that they didn’t try to hard, yet they were kinda disappointed they didn’t do better. Is that the formula? Wishing for the results?

I went to kickboxing after school today and I partnered up with one of the beginners. I think I felt that maybe I could have some positive influence on him or something, but all in all, it was mostly a waste of my time– not only wasn’t he putting much energy into his work, but when he was holding the pads for me, I had to hold back because he wasn’t good at it. I think I’m pretty good, actually, at doing some basic fight instruction, so I don’t think it’s me– I just thought he had a really dismissive attitude of any useful criticism I gave that could make the practice session more fruitful for both of us. At some point, he told me that “wow, your kicks are really heavy! I wish I was as strong as you.”

And that’s probably what pisses me off the most about the day… this whole business of wishing.

Some people just wait for stars to fall out of the sky. That’s the problem. I don’t kick particularly hard compared the the rest of the seniors in the club– in fact, of the more experienced bunch, like [Regan] and [Shinji], I think I’m outclassed in terms of raw DPS. Of course, compared to a beginner, it’ll seem like I kick hard.

But that’s not the point. What separates a beginner from a fighter is the acceptance of responsibility. Fighters don’t wish for results. They train for them. They have a slice of humble pie when they get beaten down, and they eat it all up, every last crumb, and they use it as fuel for the next time. Then maybe next time they’ll serve.

Being in law school has taught me a lot about group work in particular. During my undergrad, I was too caught up in being annoyed with the whole process– now I’m learning to just manage the situations. If people aren’t willing to take responsibility, I won’t leave my mark in their hands– at the very least, I will take responsibility for the mark I receive, even if it means whipping the whole group into shape. It’s a skill I’m gradually developing I think… it’s not babying them. But it’s using people as tools until people step up and act like something bigger than pawns.

I think a lot of life is like that– you fall behind if you don’t step up. You’ll always be someone’s patsy, someone’s gopher, someone’s punching bag, until through some assertion of your willpower, through some assumption of responsibility for your own fate comes through.

Recursive

I’m currently slaving away, writing a research paper… about research strategies.

Kill. Me.

Fight for the Future

It’s Friday at this point. This is my second week off of school due to the midsemester break, and I haven’t had much of a vacation when you really think about it. It’s been a lot of work, and not all that much play.

On the plus side, I got through the tournament match and did pretty well, considering my own expectations. It’s the first time I do a round of full contact kickboxing in a competitive situation in several years, so I was glad that I got in what I did. The setup was 3 rounds of 3 minutes each, no knees or elbows. Round 1 was scored as a tie (10-10 by the judges). I got my opponent with an axe kick about halfway through and that made his nose start to bleed a fair amount. I stuck to my game plan in that one and managed to outmaneuver him, playing hit and run. It seemed to me also that his cardio wasn’t as good as mine, so even if I just kept it even early on, it’d be okay because I would be able to wear him down.

Round two was scored 10-9 in favour of my opponent. It was clear to me that my opponent was a tank– with all the armour that we were wearing, my roundhouses didn’t have enough stopping power. Also, because of the weight difference I think, my side kicks weren’t going as deep as I wanted. I started taking more risks to score bigger with boxing, and that was my mistake– I got greedy, and suffered for it, because my opponent was more than willing to exchange at hooking range. In fact, he easily ate my punches, and served it back to me with such force that I was often forced out of bounds. In the skirmish, he managed to hit me a solid in the face which started my nose bleeding. On account of not being able to breathe properly, my cardio started falling apart and I wasn’t able to maintain my distance from him anymore.

Round three I started putting more energy back into the kicking, and i think that the damage was trading well– I was doing a fair number on his legs. However, with one of his charges, he managed to nail me straight on a couple of times in the face through my guard. I wasn’t hurt, in large part because of the headgear and gloves, however I was bleeding enough that I couldn’t breathe through my nose anymore and my mouthguard was starting to get caked up. I figured I was happy with what I had done, so I forfeit rather than toughing out the last minute or so remaining. The third round was scored 10-8 on account of technical knockout.

All in all though, it was a great fight that’s done a lot to boost my confidence about life in general. I’m not sure how many of you people look back on your youths and find that you were once so adventurous and brave– I look back on my youth and find that, despite the stupidity of it, yeah, there was the adventure of it all, wasn’t there? At the time, the inability to forsee consequences was what fueled our passions with that extra hi-octane stuff. It made the days endless, the nights unlimited.

I’m not one who will age well. I’m certain of it. I have too much that I want to accomplish. It isn’t that I want to hold on to my youth in some physical sense– but rather, I guess I have a great deal of difficulty accepting that time will eventually catch up to me, and I’ll lose all the sensations of expereince. And if not for our drives, then what’s the point of life?

The thing is, I’ve never been one to really be content with the standard plan. I’m not conservative. I’ve always been one to find something I want to obsess about, and push in that direction. It’s not enough for me to do it by the textbook.

When will it ever be enough?

I’ve noticed one big difference between being young and being my current age though, and it has a lot to do with [CM]. If I was younger– I wouldn’t have forfeited in the third round. You can be damn well sure that, if I was going to lose, a [Jinryu] ten years ago was going to make sure that I took some of your teeth with me. Despite taking massive damage in tournaments, including bleeding noses, an injured eye, dislocated fingers, and fractured bones– I have never not completed a round, and when the gong sounded, I was always still moving.

So what’s different this time around?

My opponent the other day was about 20 kilos heavier than me, and at least 6 years younger than me. I tied him in the first round, I wasn’t too far behind in the second. I’d like to think that if it wasn’t an interclub tournament, that I could catch him with high roundhouses to the head and that it would have gone through his headgear and guard pretty easily. I’m not looking down on him, just because I chose not to use those kinds of techniques– but what I am saying is that I chose the terms on which I would fight, and within them, I did good. I only started doing kickboxing about a month ago, after a break from heavy martial arts of several years. In one month, I’ve turned my entire physique around. Compared to who I was when I left Canada, I’ve shed almost all of my fat, I’ve regained a lot of cardio, and I’ve put some life back in my legs and arms. I’ve also reawakend the fight computer that’s always been catching dust in the back of my head.

I think I stopped myself in that third round because instinctively, I felt that I was satisfied.

A younger me would have critisized me for giving up– he would have told me that I was a coward for not going until the very end. That without risking everything, I had nothing. Sure, I could have gotten hurt– but on the other hand, I had the chance for a glorious comeback, right?

But I have a greater understanding of my place in the world now. I’m not just a passionate fighter, although being one, I’ve realized, gives me the backbone to do everything else in my life better. I am defined by other things as well. Being a good fighter, I’ve learned, has a lot to do with chosing your fights. Sometimes, being able to protect those who you care about means not fighting at all– and indeed, sometimes the opponent more relevant than the opponent before you is your own pride.

I know my limits, I know what I want. And part of that means a future. And I know I’ve got a lot more time on this planet to become who I ought to be. This game is on my terms– and so, as long as I’m happy with myself, I can stand just fine.

Fight for the Future

It’s Friday at this point. This is my second week off of school due to the midsemester break, and I haven’t had much of a vacation when you really think about it. It’s been a lot of work, and not all that much play.

On the plus side, I got through the tournament match and did pretty well, considering my own expectations. It’s the first time I do a round of full contact kickboxing in a competitive situation in several years, so I was glad that I got in what I did. The setup was 3 rounds of 3 minutes each, no knees or elbows. Round 1 was scored as a tie (10-10 by the judges). I got my opponent with an axe kick about halfway through and that made his nose start to bleed a fair amount. I stuck to my game plan in that one and managed to outmaneuver him, playing hit and run. It seemed to me also that his cardio wasn’t as good as mine, so even if I just kept it even early on, it’d be okay because I would be able to wear him down.

Round two was scored 10-9 in favour of my opponent. It was clear to me that my opponent was a tank– with all the armour that we were wearing, my roundhouses didn’t have enough stopping power. Also, because of the weight difference I think, my side kicks weren’t going as deep as I wanted. I started taking more risks to score bigger with boxing, and that was my mistake– I got greedy, and suffered for it, because my opponent was more than willing to exchange at hooking range. In fact, he easily ate my punches, and served it back to me with such force that I was often forced out of bounds. In the skirmish, he managed to hit me a solid in the face which started my nose bleeding. On account of not being able to breathe properly, my cardio started falling apart and I wasn’t able to maintain my distance from him anymore.

Round three I started putting more energy back into the kicking, and i think that the damage was trading well– I was doing a fair number on his legs. However, with one of his charges, he managed to nail me straight on a couple of times in the face through my guard. I wasn’t hurt, in large part because of the headgear and gloves, however I was bleeding enough that I couldn’t breathe through my nose anymore and my mouthguard was starting to get caked up. I figured I was happy with what I had done, so I forfeit rather than toughing out the last minute or so remaining. The third round was scored 10-8 on account of technical knockout.

All in all though, it was a great fight that’s done a lot to boost my confidence about life in general. I’m not sure how many of you people look back on your youths and find that you were once so adventurous and brave– I look back on my youth and find that, despite the stupidity of it, yeah, there was the adventure of it all, wasn’t there? At the time, the inability to forsee consequences was what fueled our passions with that extra hi-octane stuff. It made the days endless, the nights unlimited.

I’m not one who will age well. I’m certain of it. I have too much that I want to accomplish. It isn’t that I want to hold on to my youth in some physical sense– but rather, I guess I have a great deal of difficulty accepting that time will eventually catch up to me, and I’ll lose all the sensations of expereince. And if not for our drives, then what’s the point of life?

The thing is, I’ve never been one to really be content with the standard plan. I’m not conservative. I’ve always been one to find something I want to obsess about, and push in that direction. It’s not enough for me to do it by the textbook.

When will it ever be enough?

I’ve noticed one big difference between being young and being my current age though, and it has a lot to do with [CM]. If I was younger– I wouldn’t have forfeited in the third round. You can be damn well sure that, if I was going to lose, a [Jinryu] ten years ago was going to make sure that I took some of your teeth with me. Despite taking massive damage in tournaments, including bleeding noses, an injured eye, dislocated fingers, and fractured bones– I have never not completed a round, and when the gong sounded, I was always still moving.

So what’s different this time around?

My opponent the other day was about 20 kilos heavier than me, and at least 6 years younger than me. I tied him in the first round, I wasn’t too far behind in the second. I’d like to think that if it wasn’t an interclub tournament, that I could catch him with high roundhouses to the head and that it would have gone through his headgear and guard pretty easily. I’m not looking down on him, just because I chose not to use those kinds of techniques– but what I am saying is that I chose the terms on which I would fight, and within them, I did good. I only started doing kickboxing about a month ago, after a break from heavy martial arts of several years. In one month, I’ve turned my entire physique around. Compared to who I was when I left Canada, I’ve shed almost all of my fat, I’ve regained a lot of cardio, and I’ve put some life back in my legs and arms. I’ve also reawakend the fight computer that’s always been catching dust in the back of my head.

I think I stopped myself in that third round because instinctively, I felt that I was satisfied.

A younger me would have critisized me for giving up– he would have told me that I was a coward for not going until the very end. That without risking everything, I had nothing. Sure, I could have gotten hurt– but on the other hand, I had the chance for a glorious comeback, right?

But I have a greater understanding of my place in the world now. I’m not just a passionate fighter, although being one, I’ve realized, gives me the backbone to do everything else in my life better. I am defined by other things as well. Being a good fighter, I’ve learned, has a lot to do with chosing your fights. Sometimes, being able to protect those who you care about means not fighting at all– and indeed, sometimes the opponent more relevant than the opponent before you is your own pride.

I know my limits, I know what I want. And part of that means a future. And I know I’ve got a lot more time on this planet to become who I ought to be. This game is on my terms– and so, as long as I’m happy with myself, I can stand just fine.

Black and Blue

I remember that at the very first open, “any style” kickboxing tournament that I entered. It was years ago– maybe back in 2003 or something like that. I remember feeling sick in my stomach. That was college life– it was the secret life away from my parents and my family, that happened between and after classes.

I remember the drama– in one of the early matches, I was going against [JCVD]. He and I had been training partners both on the gym and in the ring for several years, until [Bunny] and I broke up because she’d been cheating with him. In that fight, I beat [JCVD] down pretty good– and after that, it was once again possible to be friends. I’ve heard that called the language of “Stronglish”– a discussion without words, through actions of strength, that no amount of parley could ever resolve.

I remember [Vittek], my cousin, still fresh from Jeet Kune Do, as one of the judges, telling me to calm down when I got the semi-finals. I also remember barely being able to breathe in the bathroom, being topless, my whole body hot but coated with cold sweat. The sink was on full blast with cold water, but it might as well have been off– I didn’t notice the water running through my fingers. I was beside myself. My ears were ringing with my own pulse, and, though I could see myself in the mirror, I felt disconnected. It wasn’t that I had lost that was on my mind– I don’t know what it was exactly.

The best way I could describe it is that it was the first time that I’d clashed with someone who really, really wanted to hurt me.

Getting bullied when I was younger was something different. They don’t really mean to hurt me– they just wanted to terrorize or belittle me.

But to spar with someone in a tournament? I’m not talking about one-hit point fighting. Nor am I talking about a wrestling tournament won by positions or submissions. I’m talking about high impact, points for KO kickboxing. That’s different– there, before you, is someone who isn’t trying to scare you, or trick you out– their primary focus is to beat the hell out of you. Those fingers no longer write essays or draw paintings or whatever– in the ring, they clench with timed precission to form a fist, and smash against your flesh and bone. If something breaks, all the better.

And it would be a different time, if I was younger, and I just went down, then they’d laugh and leave me alone. This time around, I wasn’t going down easily– and so, they’d keep on hitting me. I’d have to keep swinging even as one of my eyes would see a glove coming at me a fraction of a second before breaking out in stars. But I’d keep swinging.

I think that the perspective that learning to fight gives one on life is that it lets you see something dark about the human soul. It’s one thing to see prejudice and violence– it’s another thing to see someone train themselves, body and mind, into being a machination that ties that into the technique of dismantling a human, fueled by willpower. What I’m sayign is, there are bullies out there– and then there are fighters, fighters who are strong. The difference is that one of them has their soul giving substance to their actions, at once fueling and manipulating their rage towards you. To this day, there is no greater fear that I have than for someone who I’m fighting with, who, really wants to win.

From the outside, it looks like nothing– even if it’s the most boring fight ever on tape. But on the inside, it is an absolute fear. Prior to a match I’m a pack of nerves. And afterwards? I feel like I’ve renewed a lease on life.

That’s what it was. In that bathroom. Though I’d spend the next few hours in an emergency room to have my eye checked out, somehow, it stuck in my memory as something that was all worth it. And I remember Vittek telling me: “You did real good. I kept wondering why you didn’t go down, he was hitting you so much. But you did real good.”

Nobody’s actually here to tell me that now. But, win or lose, I’ll tell myself when it’s all over.

Wish me luck!

cent 10 pour 100

I got back the first paper I wrote a while back– was pretty pleased with the results. It was a mark of “HD”– high distinction– and apparently I was one out of three people who got that grade, out of 50 or so people writing papers. It’s a pretty good feeling, to be honest.

In general, I’m in a pretty good mood nowadays. [CM] is done with Med Review, and she’s also done with her exam, so things are at a bit more normal of a pace right now. I’m using the extra time to just fine tune myself– working on the papers due in a week (more already?) and getting into better shape at the UNSW Kicboxing Club. Actually, from now on, I’ll just call it Kicksoc (Kickboxing Society) since it’s an easier name.

-=-=-=-

I’ve been attending Kicksoc at least twice a week lately. Last monday, I got to engage in my first sparring match in years, with one of the most experienced members– [Regan]. Regan has a background in karate, kickboxing and muay thai. As far as standup fighting goes, ours is an incredibly fun match because we’re almost opposite sides of the spectrum. I stand about 5’7″, he’s about 5′– but he outweighs me, I think, by a good 30 pounds, so he’s built quite solid. He’s an infighter, while I’m an outfighter. It’s an interesting matchup indeed, because we are both eachother’s technical and physical opposites.

Oh, and I signed up for the Kicksoc tournamnet, which is an ongoing, week by week thing. Basically, matches happen about once per week or so, and then at the end of the semester, depending on your win ratio, a winner is determined. It’s an interesting idea, especially since the isn’t a matchup calendar– you have to challenge your opponent. The only thing that the tournament itself does is recognize the wins/losses, referree the matches, and adjust the points based on the weight class difference. I don’t know anyone there really well, so who would I challenge?

But I guess I spoke too soon– soon after I joined the tournament, Regan challenged me to my first tournament match.

It’s got me pretty pumped up to be honest– and a bit scared. We’ll be going 3 rounds of 3 minutes each, which 1 minute breaks in between rounds. Our match will be this coming wednesday, so there’s not much I can do in terms of boosting my fitness in time– and with the weight of my assignments, I won’t be able to get much drilling in. But I’ll do what I can to come up with a tactical analysis and drill myself in countermeasures over the next few days. I can also do something about my courage, maybe– which I feel has dulled over the years since I was in Numac.

It feels good to be scared again. I don’t just mean being scared in some nervous, immaterial way– there’s nothing quite like the fear that, one wrong move, and you’ll be on the ground choking through your mouthguard.

28 years of life, and that much I know for certain.