You stand there, watching your opponent. He knows just as well as you do that it only takes one shot to end this match. And so you do everything you can to force him to leave himself open, to give you the split second that you need to fell him where he stands. But for every trick you pull, he pulls one in return. Every strike is matched, every lunge deflected. It's like fighting a reflection...
And so you realize that you have to fool the reflection. Give it nothing to be a reflection of, thus eradicating the substance that which comprises the shadow. Empty the mind and lose yourself. Do that, and you lose your opponent. At that moment, you've almost won. Only one more thing to do. You strike. The snap of the bamboo reverberates through your arms and down into your body, chilling your spine as it goes. He falls. You breathe a sigh of relief. It's all over now.
I have a habit of taking my dad's clothes for one reason or another. I definitely have his raincoat, a vest, a watch, and some other little things. But the thing that I treasure above all else that I've nabbed from my dad is his pair of cap toe dress shoes. They're a beautiful pair of Bally lace-ups that exude high quality and clean lines, but that's not the reason why I'm so attached to them. You see, because of the Korean war, my family doesn't really have any heirlooms. The farthest back that any of my possessions go is my grandfather's, and those are few and far between. So anything that is to be passed down starts with my dad, and whatever he gives to me. These shoes, if taken care of, will outlast my dad as well as myself. And it's through something as seemingly random as a pair of shoes that will give me a connection to him when I am old and grey, and he has already passed on.
It's ridiculous how badly I want to step back into a dojo, put on my equipment, and just fight. I can hear the yells and cracking of bamboo on bamboo in my head, but it isn't enough. I want to feel it all. To experience it again in more than just shadows and memories. Just a little over a month until I can get back to training.