Article: 261418 of talk.bizarre From: email@example.com (Jonathan Byrd) Newsgroups: talk.bizarre Subject: Three Point Match Date: 01 Dec 1995 20:59:09 GMT Organization: Idaho State University Lines: 52 Message-ID: <NEWS.95Dec1135909@isu7h4.isu.edu> Summary: Trying not to suck Status: O X-Status: As they called my division, and forty brown belts lined up around the ring, I was well aware that it was probably my last chance to win a sanbon shiai (three point match) tournament. I was eligible to test for black belt, and I would probably get it. Then, I would be cannon fodder for the real Karate men. They called the names, and one by one, we confirmed our presence. I sized up the field. Half of them I knew from my years in the dojo, and half I had never seen before. Of those unfamiliar faces, it was hard not to notice an intense-looking young man with shaven head, whose karate-gi showed the wear and sweat stains of many years of hard training. I hoped I wouldn't have to face him, at least not until I had warmed up on a lesser opponent. They always called the names right from the elimination brackets, and I knew I was in trouble when his name was called right after mine. There were three matches before ours, and the butterflies in my stomach slowly turned into bats. They called us into the ring, and we bowed to each other. The referee yelled "hajime!" (begin!), and before the word was completely out of his mouth, the bullet-headed young man charged at me like a lion from a cage. I backpedalled as fast as I could, and escaped the ring just before he could catch me. The referee called us back to the center, and gave me a warning for going outside the ring boundary. I tried to avoid my opponent's eyes, but I could feel them burning into me with fierce contempt. Nobody respects a chickenshit. The referee called "hajime!" again, and he stepped forward into his fighting stance, and I stepped backward into mine. He inched forward, and I inched back. He then strode confidently forward with a long-distance footwork, clearly expecting me to bolt, and I buried my right foot in his belly. The look of surprise on his face, as his butt bounced off the hardwood floor, was priceless. As intense as my mental focus was, I couldn't help but hear the hoots and yells from the crowd. Even the referee was grinning as he called us back to the center, and awarded me a point. I wasn't grinning, though. I had suckered him good, and everybody knew it. The question burned in my mind: Had I broken his spirit, or merely pissed him off? My answer came when the referee called "hajime!" again, and I stepped forward into my fighting stance, and he stepped backward into his. I don't remember how the rest of the match went, only that I defeated him, and two others afterward. Then I faced a tall blond-headed kid who had looked pretty good against his previous opponents. I had him 2 to 0 when he low-blocked against my high kick. My big toe went into his eye socket, and I was disqualified for drawing blood. The kid was tough, though, and came back to win the division. Two months later, I got my black belt. I never did win a Karate tournament.