Here is my account of my last week of formal training before my second belt test. From my last post, readers will know I had a rough encounter with one of the Equa Do instructors. The aftermath was so severe, that by the time I had gotten home from training that night, I was refusing to return to the school. Part of my anxiety disorder is characterized by the fact that I have places and people that my brain considers "safe" so to speak. A safe person, such as Sensei, Chad, or Erin is someone that knows about my disorder and can effectively help me during a panic attack or flashback episode.A safe place is probably best described as a place where I feel at relatively low risk to experience panic attacks or flashbacks. The reason, then, that I was unwilling to return, is because for me Equa Do was a safe place up until Miss Linda's simulated "attack".
With much cajoling Sensei convinced me to return, promising to stay nearby the entire night so that a similar training exercise could not occur without his knowledge, and he could call a halt if necessary should one occur. Before I had class again, he also discussed with Miss Linda the effects of what she had done, and elicited an apology.
I returned to Equa Do willingly, but still had not had the best day ahead of that. First, the stress of finals had gotten to me, and secondly Chad was extremely ill and we were unsure as to the cause. Just before leaving school, he let me know his neurologist had advised him to go to the ER and then I had not heard anything between that time and the time I needed to turn my phone off, having arrived at Equa Do. Sensei already knew what was going on, as I had called him from school, and he and Erin arrived shortly after I did. Master Markus was the first one I told about Chad's condition when I was there, but with Sensei and Erin's support I managed to fill everyone in and stay fairly composed. A trip to the Italian restaurant next door to the dojang didn't hurt either.
Class was started with an abbreviated warm up and then strike reps, before Sensei and I resumed working on knife technique. He taught me an additional grip (dagger style) good for stabbing and ripping. Then we continued working on sparring and real time combat with the knife. As we were working, I suddenly heard a soft footstep behind me.
Linda had snuck up on me, and was grappling me again. I immediately responded, wrenching her arms away from my neck, and striking out with the training knife that was in my hand. She noticed the weapon and continued trying to disarm me, but I kept hanging onto it. The distraction of trying to control my knife and get it away from me meant Miss Linda was gripping only weakly with her other hand, and I threw that one off, going for her toes using my momentum to steer my chair. Those two distractions allowed me to work my hand free of her wrist lock and stab her, over my own head. Remarkably, I was able to tag her directly over the sternum, forcing her to concede the fight as in real life she would have been rather injured.
Following that we were once again short on time, but Sensei asked what I wanted to work on, since he knew I had been having a rough day. I said I wasn't sure, and he went in the back to the room where our supplies are kept and grabbed the last board we had. He told me to go ahead and break it, any way I wanted. It was a board with a knot in it, which are typically much more difficult to break because the grain in the wood is not smooth. Master Eric was not sure if I would be able to break the board, but I was determined to try. I asked Sensei to hold it for me and managed to break it in one strike, with a knife hand. Everyone signed it, and it now sits in my bedroom as yet another trophy. I left feeling very ready to test.