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My Best Fight
My Best Fight -- by Brian Howell St. Louis High School gymnasium, Kaimuki, Honolulu, Hawaii - 1982 7th Annual Mas Oyama All Hawaii Kyokushin Karate Tournament Black / Brown Belt Kumite 146-155 lbs. Kyokushin karate matches are bare fist limited full contact. No pads. Punches to the head are not allowed, but knees and kicks to the leg, body, and head are legal techniques. The only way to score a full point is to knock your opponent down. Half points are awarded for staggering your opponent. A knockdown or full point total wins the match. I am alone. No sensei, no coach or teammate, not even a buddy with a water bottle. A masterless samurai, ronin, a lone wolf cloaked in a black and white gi. Once inside the arena, I do what I often do upon entering a tournament. I look around for who I might have to fight. I spot him right away, across the court, banging away with hard punches and kicks as his partner braces the hefty Thai pad. Hard style. He's definitely from Oyama's dojo in Japan. He wears an all white gi with the dark blue kyokushin chest logo -- his black belt embroidered with gold kanji. He stands a couple of inches shorter than me, but has a stockier build. As time draws near to calling my weight division, I do what I always do before my event. I go outside to get ready. Making sure that no one can see, I stretch and then practice my kicks -- front, side, roundhouse, spinning back... and my favorite turning hook kick. With a bead of sweat on my brow, I head to the battlefield. Sure enough as luck would have it, I'm paired up against the guy that I figured I'd fight. Hajime ! I begin the match with an offensive barrage of body shots -- lots of side and roundhouse kicks, right crosses and left hand uppercuts interspersed within a shotokan rush. I hit him in the head with a front leg roundhouse kick, but not solid. I'm dominating the fight, yet mid way through the round he dives forward at me and does a somersault. I freeze in response and his heel grazes my forehead. Although it's without consequence, the rollover kick draws a gasp from the crowd. I allow him to roundhouse kick my thigh a couple of times during the round, yet as time runs out I feel I should win a lopsided victory. The judges make their decision and I am surprised. I shouldn't be. After all, his ryu is hosting the tournament and he's one of their chosen sons. All four corner judges and the head referee are unanimous. Draw. We'll go again after a minute rest... Hajime ! Round 2 begins much like Round 1 as I take it to him with another aggressive onslaught. For the first half of the round I get the better of the exchanges. Past the midway point we square off, both of us in typical left foot forward fighting stances. He then attacks my front left thigh with a rear leg roundhouse kick. I don't flinch as I absorb the hard kick. (note -- At this time I perceive leg kicks as no big deal and would allow my opponent free will to kick my leg, although I've since learned otherwise.) After kicking my leg my opponent goes right back into his long power stance. I remain motionless. He pauses briefly and then comes at me again with the same roundhouse kick to my leg. As he moves forward I notice that he is dropping his right hand and that his head is wide open. I deduce that if he kicks again - just when he hits my leg - he's susceptible for a spinning wheel kick to the head. After the second kick my opponent again steps back into his fighting stance. Again I remain motionless. An audible murmur sweeps through the crowd in attendance. It's as if the table has suddenly turned and now I am merely a lame duck in the crosshairs. From the ancient teachings of Sun Tzu ~ Art of War we learn that -- All warfare is based on deception. If you are far from an enemy, make him believe you are near. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective. Like a chess master sacrificing pawns to set up the queen, once again, I offer my leg as bait... The primal groan emanating from the audience builds with intensity as he comes forward, on cue, with another kick to my thigh. I wait for the impact to bring him within range and then spin in a pirouette. My right heel lands square on the side of his head and knocks him off his feet. The entire arena erupts with a sudden Raaah!!! Shock filled fans are seemingly aghast as their beloved karateka sprawls on the hardwood floor. To my amazement the officials make no ruling of the knockdown. Rather, they halfway help him up and allow time to collect himself. No matter, now he's a sitting duck. Behind our lines again... Hajime ! I saunter straight in as my opponent covers up. I dip forward dropping my front shoulder to waist level. Driving power from my hips, I thrust up with a vicious left hand uppercut deep into his gut -- clearly my best punch of the fight. I follow the uppercut with a back leg roundhouse kick which clips his head asThe Bee House
When Evan was 1, I was walking down the alley behind this house and I stopped to talk to an elderly woman- the owner of this house. She spoke with an accent and she was so lovely. While we were talking, a bee flew up Evan's shorts and stung him. I remember that day. This house came on the market on the first Friday of Aug and we (along with 3 other bidders) put in offers the next day. The agent came back saying there were 2 matching offers and and we were to place our best offer. That day Evan got stung by a bee twice! The superstitious me said to Stephen we are going to get this house! He rolled his eyes at me. BUT WE GOT IT.... let the flipping beginning. Hopefully, it will be all honey from here on.
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