Hashi and I

I tapped quickly. Toida-san’s submissions came fast, hard, and merciless. The bell timer rang. Damn, and I’d hoped to get away with less than 5 submissions this time.
The heavy double metal doors of the underground Keishukai Headquarters slammed I heard “Osu!” Rubbing my neck, I squinted at who came in. It was Hashi. I squinted at the clock. Maybe it was about 9:30 PM. Sucks her work ends late sometimes, I thought.

I went another round and by then she came over and slapped my hand to spar. I felt her strength wash over me as I was muscled backwards and into a bad position. I struggled to regain guard and defend the submission. We went back and forth for a bit before she got me. I tapped. I hate losing to another female. My neck tensed up. That’ll hurt for a week, I thought. One minute left. I got top position for a bit before she swept me, and I was back to being on the defensive. I felt the ligament in my shoulder straining. The bell-timer rang. She went off to spar someone else.

I hate being bested by another female fighter. I wondered what would happen if we’d both been fresh. I’d done the technique class since 7:30, and left around 10:15. I have no idea when she eventually left. As I called out “Otsukaresama” (goodbye) she was hitting mitts held by her main trainer Koizumi.

I came out of the dressing room and bounced over to Moriyama-san, our teacher, who was sitting on the floor shuffling papers.
“Good evening, Moriyama-san! Are you genki?” I said with a big wide grin.
“Oh, Roxanne! Of course I am!” His kind eyes twinkled. “You?”
“I’m great! I wanna fight soon! I just can’t seem to get an offer.” I paused, strapping on my knee pads. “What’cha got there? Is that a contract?”
“Yep,” he answered.
“What for?”
“Oh really! Wow! Who’s is it?” I exclaimed.
She jabbed. I stepped into it and connected.
“Hmm my reach is longer,” I thought.
“Don’t just block, counter! Counter!” Koizumi screamed at Hashi.
She countered. It hit me square in….I have no idea where, because my vision exploded into bright twinkly lights. I fell down, got back up, staggered, got back up. I’d never been hit that hard before. Ever.

We had MMA gloves and shin guards and took over the far corner of the room at Keishukai Honbu (HQ). The tired gym members sitting against the wall all watched us female fighters sparring all-out.
We exchanged more strikes and she clinched. What a powerful clinch! I couldn’t break it. Koizumi screamed coaching advice again and again. That’s nice she has somebody, I thought idly, circling. The sparring progressed and we ended up on the ground. I got on top and grounded and pounded. She just covered. Another fighter shouted some advice to her.

Nobody shouted advice to me.

I wonder how it would be if we really fought for real? I want to fight her in a real MMA fight.
“Hey, let’s go out for dinner sometime!” I said.
“Sure,” Hashi replied. “Sounds great!”
“I’m inviting Mizuho. I was thinking Oden. Do you have a preference?”
“I love oden,” she replied, with a smile.

Uno, Hashi, Kadowaki and myself were all invited to the Koga Matsuri together with Moriyama-san, and although he passed away in an accident, we went to honor his memory. 2007