I wen’t to Taekwon-Do last night. Just like I do every Monday and Thursday night.
And just before I tell you this main story about what happened last night, I need to preface with a few facts:
- I don’t like blood.
- I don’t like the thought of blood, even.
- Once when I was in primary school the local youth gang representative stapled himself in the finger while he was threatening the teacher with the stapler. I went white, the world got all underexposed and hazy, I threw up all over the place, and got to go home with Mum.
So last night at Taekwon-Do We split into two teams for team sparring.
One team picks a person for the ring, an the other counters. We were down to the second to last pair, the black belts, and they went pretty hard out on each other. 10 seconds before time was up one took an unexpected hard hit to the face.
He dropped to the ground, and was clearly in a lot of pain. I felt all the blood rush from my face. He hyperventilated, and a thin line of cold sweat appeared on my hairline. The black belts helped him off the mat and into recovery position at the side of the room.
The instructor came back to the mats and called for everyone to gather round. He explained that while accidents do happen safety is of the up-most importance to everyone in the dojang. He told us how most of the black belts had first aid certificates.
Everything looked a bit underexposed and hazy.
The instructor reiterated that that sort of thing was highly unlikely to ever happen to us, at our levels, because they simply wouldn’t allow it. The instructor asked if anyone had any issues with what they had seen. When he was sure everyone was ok, the class move on to learning sparring combos.
I excused myself to go to the bathroom.
I leaned over the sink with my wrists under the cold water and hung my head down to get some blood back into it. Then I went out and plonked myself down against a wall and drank some water. It only took a few minutes for me to come right, so I joined back into the sparring.
At the end of class the instructor came up and said that he was sorry I missed my go in the ring after the accident. I mentioned that I was weird about blood and stuff – even though there was no blood. I couldn’t explain my reaction to my satisfaction. I think he may have misunderstood me because he said that this sort of thing just plain old wouldn’t be allowed to happen at my level.
I was curious as to exactly what had set me off. And exactly why, So I gave my imaginary therapist a call (I have her on speed dial.)
So, someone got hurt sparring today?
Yeah. He was ok later on. I think, it was just a hell of a shock to the system and he needed a bit of help. Someone mentioned something about possible concussion.
I understand you didn’t do so well with watching that?
No I needed to sit down, and cool off. It happens a lot when I cut myself, or when other people get hurt. I’m really bad in the kitchen with knives and cutting myself because I just can’t deal with blood.
So it’s blood that sets you off?
But there was no blood.
Maybe it was the suggestion of blood.
The suggestion of blood was enough to set you off?
There might have been blood. He could have broken his nose… At any moment blood could have started pouring out.
Or maybe it’s just the fact that I don’t like the idea of someone being hurt. All I know is I see a person in extreme unexpected pain and it’s scary, and I need to sit down so I don’t fall down. Or throw up.
Is it because You’re worried about it happening to you?
So not at all?
Maybe a tiny bit. But that’s not the bit that makes me all light headed and fainty. I don’t like watching people get hurt.
So why are you doing a Martial Art then if you don’t like watching people get hurt? You know there’s always the chance that something will go wrong – there’s even the chance that you’re going to hurt someone.
I know that they take a lot of precautions in the dojang, and at the end of the day, it is a physical sport and accidents happen. And yeah I’m really worried I’m going to hurt someone one day. But at this stage mostly what I’m doing is so ineffective that it’s more likely I’ll hurt myself.
Or accidentally kick someon in the balls because I don’t lift high enough in some kicks. I’m very paranoid about that. Once my brother chased me through the house with a knife because I kicked him in the balls.
It was so effective at stopping him from being a little shit, that I’ve been scared to do it again until I really need to.
Seriously you kicked him in the balls? And your parents didn’t ground you for life?
Yeah I had anger issues back then. That’s not the point of this phone call though. We were talking about how I understand that accidents can and will happen.
Right, of course.
So you understand that something could go wrong, and yet when it happens you still get fainty and need to sit down? I’m not sure I understand your logic.
I know. It’s freaking weird, and I’m not sure there’s actually all that much logic involved. Here I’ll simplify it:
Taekwon-Do is physical, there is always the small chance that someone could be hurt, it’s a fact of life. I’m cool with it.
When people get hurt they make scary sounds, and there may be blood. I’m not cool with that. In fact a lot of the time I’m so not cool with it that I have to sit down and visualise my happy place with a cold bottle of water on the back of my neck.
It matters very little to me how the blood got there, the fact that there is blood is enough to make me want to throw up.
Right, blood… But you’re a woman… What happens when…
It’s unpleasant, but it’s fine. It kind of has to be fine otherwise I’d be fucking screwed right?
Right. Sorry I know it’s not a professional question to ask, you know me being your therapist and all…
I know… it’s just the first question that pops into everyone’s head when they find out how weird I get over cuts and stuff.