imageMy body is screaming at me, with a voice louder than it can contain. My ribs are collapsing, not letting me breathe. My heart is beating so fast, that it hurts. Two streams of tears run out of the corners of my eyes, mixed with sweat. I glance down at my hands, they are red with exertion. Perfect nail marks are left in a little row on my palms, where I dug into my skin when it hurt a little too much. I bite into my mouth guard and taste blood. It’s metallic tinge flavors my mood as I slowly accept defeat. My neck gives way, my head greeting the mat with a welcome thud.

I long to curl up right there, and sleep away this pain. Sleep away the  crying of every muscle in my body. Sleep away the heat that rushes up to my head every time I take a blow. Sleep away the training, the intensity of exertion and denial. Sleep away and give in to my self. I close my eyes, preparing to do just that.

There I am, laying on the mat, helpless, with my opponent mounted on top of me. Her heavy hands pin down my shoulders, the weight of the rest of her alone, suffices for me not being able to move. My lips began to move to let her know that she had won, and I wasn’t going to attempt to get out, when I heard a voice.

A quiet voice whispered something in my ear. It was commanding and its sound shivered and reverberated through every part of my weak body. “Get up.” I wondered who was saying it. “Get up, now!” Slowly, I opened my eyes to look into the eyes of my enemy. The the face I saw before me, oppressing me, was my own.  Her lips moved again, and I heard her say, “Get up, right now.”

Determined to take revenge over myself, for commanding me at my hour of weakness, I summoned all the dregs of life, strength and perseverance left in my body.

Slowly, I wrap my right hand around the left wrist that pins me down. Twisting it backwards, I feel the chanels of strength being severed. Then I lock my ankles behind hers, allowing me complete leverage of her legs. I use my left hand to bring her face, my face close. I whisper while pulling her in, “You’re dead.” Incapacitating her torso, I use the moment to raise my hips, unbalancing her, and with the advantage of her locked legs I push with everything left in me, throwing her off . I successfully mount her.

Fazed and bewildered, I look down at my opponent and see the smiling face of my classmate.

” That was a good one.

” I practice martial arts not to win over other people but to win over my own heart.” ~ Tony Jaa

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