I stared at the candle in frustration. I punched, and it flickered, but it wouldn’t go out. This was the last step of my black belt test. I had shown crackling good forms, deadly accurate form applications, and my freestyle had been rugged, down and dirty, and prevailed.
But the candle…oh…f***!
My instructor asked me if I had had any trouble putting out candles before.
“No,” I answered, staring at the lighted beast. “I can put it out ten out of ten, but now…” I shrugged, and suddenly I looked at him.
He was staring at me, and I suddenly knew that he was looking right through me, seeing every work out I had ever done, every aspiration I had ever had. He was studying, under my skin and bone, the real me.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said, and made a notation on the testing form.
A half hour I found out that my scores were high, and that the candle didn’t matter.
More than that, he had looked into me, and I had not been found wanting.
And, near 40 years later, I can put out a candle from over a foot away. It’s on youtube under aganzul.
Oddly, I seem to be unique.
How weird. I’m not unique. I just got pissed off by failure and spent a few decades making up for my lack.
I think my instructor knew what my failure to put out a candle was going to do to me, and I think he knew that someday I would create Monster Martial Arts. Maybe he knew that, and knew that my dedication to the martial arts went far beyond a Black Belt Test.