I started going to the dojo when I was in sixth grade. It was a very masculine environment; there weren’t a lot of other girls there but the male senseis who ran the place were great guys and they genuinely loved having female students because we were such a rarity.
Now back in sixth grade I was tinier even than what I am now, and now I’m only 5’2. Then I was probably even under 5’0. I mean I was a squirt of a kid. But I loved to fight; I loved to be in the ring, I loved the adrenaline rush and I loved having punches hurled at me. It was fun for me. Our dojo did full-contact sparring, which was pretty brutal. These were the only rules:
- you must wear a mouth guard and gloves
- no hits below the belt
That’s pretty much it.
Anyway every Thursday was Fight Night, where all we did was spar each other. And on my First Night Sensei Diven—who has since passed, bless his soul—paired me up with this really cocky and assholish brown belt to show me the ropes a little. This brown belt kid was bigger than me by a lot; he must have been at least six feet and twice my weight. But man was I excited to get into the ring! I had a fight boiling in my blood.
Now, Sensei Diven was not a stupid man and he hated high-ranking kids that showed a bad attitude. This kid had a bad attitude. So he must have seen the evil gleam in my eye from a mile away and decided it was time for a little improvisation.
Anyway, Sensei yelled, “Start!” and I leapt into fight stance and the other kid didn’t even put his hands up. He was laughing at me, sneering, the whole nine yards. “I’ll give you a free one.” he joked, and he slapped his side. “You barely weigh 100 pounds and you’re a girl. So go ahead, little girl. Hit me.”
And I hit him. I cocked my leg up as high as it would go and roundhouse kicked him right in the ribs with all of my might and all of the contempt I felt for his stupid cocky face which was covered in ugly-ass freckles and his nasty-ass braces. And I heard a crack. Like a real snap! sound. And the kid has a look of surprise on his face like it was nobody’s business, and then he goes right to the floor like a sack of potatoes.
Now, Sensei Diven leisurely strolls over from the group of black belts who are laughing their asses off at me, the tiny little white belt, sending my Goliath to the floor. I mean they’re laughing so hard they look like they’re about to pee themselves. They think it’s a game. And in his great booming voice he hollers:
“Brown Belt! Why are you on the floor? Do you not see this white belt has been assigned to fight you?”
And meanwhile he is just crying. I broke one of his ribs.
And Sensei Diven just squats down next to this poor kid and whispers, “Don’t you know that women are made of pain?”
Literally my favorite karate story ever.
“Don’t you know that women are made of pain?”