Today I had a chat with one of my friends, who kept telling me the story of how he played table tennis with his left hand and ended up getting the lowest mark because no one would play with him. It reminds me of how I also suffered from my Taekwondo class then. I can forget anything but not that class.
The class started at 7am, period. Our teacher would never allow anybody to come in late, even for half a minute. If you come later than that, just turn around and go back home, no excuse, no apology. Until the end of the semester, he counted how many times that you were absent from the class. If you exceeded the quota, you know that you failed. The thing is, our teacher wasn’t born to be late, even just for a day. The class starts at 7am and at 6:40 he is already there, every single day. No way to cheat. So I had to go to bed very early the night before the class in order to be able to wake up on time, as well as to get ready. Because that class was never easy.
I never expected myself learning the martial art, as I was quite skinny, weak and lazy. It was just an accident. That semester, we had three options for our physical training: martial art, ping pong, and volleyball, which we had to self-select. We needed to be fast, otherwise, we would have to pick from the leftover, register for the one that nobody wanted, and martial art was that one. I was super fast to get one slot for volleyball as I knew that it’s pretty easy. You don’t need to take the final test, or even better, you don’t need to join the class. If you do come to the class, just pick a random ball, play with it for awhile, then put it back. No one tracks you, no one cares. At the end of the semester, you will get good marks, for nothing.
The thing was set, I thought. It’s gonna be easy like that. However, there was one group of unlucky-clumsy girls that weren’t fast enough to get in the volleyball or ping pong classes as they are fully registered, and for them, martial art is too much. The only way out for them is to get someone agree to do the exchange. Now we need the men here.
No one volunteered.
Not my business though. There will be someone who volunteers, I’m happy with my volleyball class.
Still, no one volunteered.
Shit, I probably need to do this. It’s not really a big deal, tbh.
And I went up to give up my volleyball slot and registered for martial art.
And just a couple days later I realized how wrong I was.
The first day, I came to the class on time and I was a bit excited. We were in a small training field, where all other professional athletes are training, just how cool it sounds. The first day was mainly for getting to know each other, and my first impression of our teacher was, damn, he is so big. I need to avoid doing a mock match with him at all cost, otherwise, just one hit and I’ll be dead.
The second day, I came at 7, bravo. This day we were into real training, and I was naive enough to keep my stomach empty. After the first half of the class, I was totally exhausted, then I tried really hard to continue until the class finished. Almost passed out.
The third day, I woke up very early and managed to show up at 6:20. I went around to find something to eat, to too full, but enough to get me through the training. There was a plenty of choices but I only ate sticky rice because it was the only thing I can eat for breakfast that doesn’t make me feel vomit while training.
Not hungry anymore, but we couldn’t deny the fact that every day was just tired as hell. Normally, a volleyball class lasts for only one or two hours and our class started at 7, trained hard until 11, and I’m not sure if we had any breaks. If we actually did, I’m sure it was super short, because I can only remember being deadly tired.
Even more, we weren’t being trained inside the room or any place that has a roof. We took it outside. That was a hell out of the sunshine. But you can not complain, or least, while our teacher was being there. Otherwise, just go home and prepare for another class next semester. There was not a single day I went to the class without feeling stupid for giving up my volleyball class. The whole class looked like a bunch of monkeys showing the grumpy faces bearing with the heat. So, if there was a guess coming in, we felt so happy because it was the only time that the class was stopped to make way to cars to come in, and we escaped for a moment.
Eventually, it came to the final exam, and of course, I did not have a clue of what I was doing.
There were 4 parts of the test in total and we had to pass all 4. The first 2 parts were pretty easy as they combine some basic moves but the 2 later parts were at an advanced level. I had mastered the first part, somewhat remembered the second part, that’s all. Most of us stopped at the 3rd part. There was hardly anyone who can remember which move to perform in the last part. But I was lucky, thanks to my parents that on the name list alphabetically, my name appeared to be near the bottom, so I was also among the last ones to take the test. It bought me some time to observe and come up with a tactic which later became our killer point.
We took the test as a group of 10, and everyone needed to perform a full set of 4 parts, no more, no less. The surprising thing was when our group finished the first two parts, our teacher told us to stop. He turned to the entire class:
Look, this is the true martial arts’ spirit.
Then he turned to us:
That’s enough, you can go back to your seats.
That was a mark of 10, the highest mark.
Actually, that was something we expected, and we prepared for that. During the semester, we all got to know him and his taste, just be loud. And after observing the previous group taking the test, I sensed a little disappointment on his face as no group could be to yell as loud as he expected. In case you don’t know, in martial arts, we need to yell as we perform each move. So right before taking the test, I told everyone in our group, no matter what you can perform, no matter how you move, the only thing we needed to care was to yell as loud as we could. So we did it, we yell so loud that the other professional athletes had to come check us out. That’s exactly what he had been waited for, and we nailed it.
Our class called us the smart asses, but who cares?