After school, Sasha faced her opponent.
She’d been informed of his lazy history, having attended the dojo since before she was in kindergarten, and barely made black-belt. Three ranks below her. That was someone not really committed to the art but maybe just enjoys it once in a while.
“I don’t want to hurt him, can I face someone else?” Sasha asked and glanced at the second highest ranking sensei there. Someone with skill.
“No,” the instructor said. “Are you ready?” He asked the lazy black-belt.
“Are you ready?” The instructor asked Sasha.
Sasha took up a stance. “Have it your way.”
Sasha told the instructor she could defeat anyone. Despite that, he still tried to match her with someone her own size. She refused to fight a young boy. Parents didn't take it kindly when their kids left the Dojo beaten and bruised.
Instead, the instructor pitched Sasha against this lazy black-belt.
I should be fighting the instructor himself.
“Neither of you hold back. Do your best.”
Oh, now I can have fun. "No hard feelings okay?" said Sasha, cracking a smile as the instructor looked between them one last time.
"FIGHT!" The instructor chopped the air in front of them and pulled back.
Sasha immediately dashed forward, dodged the rookie's only punch and grabbed his arm with both hands bending his elbow back until a beautiful pop echoed throughout the dojo.
A cold rush caused Sasha to tremble with pleasure. Pleasure she craved more than anything. But it didn’t last long enough.
Her wide eyed, shocked opponent finally screamed. Everyone else gaped in disbelief until the instructor stepped forward.
"Someone get him to a hospital."
"I'm on it!" One of the students aided his comrade.
"You two help him," the instructor pointed at two others who immediately nodded and helped. "The rest of you do warm ups. Start stretching..."
Everyone moved into their spots with haste. The remaining black belts took position in the front, and the rest made a four by eight person rectangle with enough room to move around. Lowest ranked students stood at the back.
Sasha pinpointed a spot for herself, an empty space waiting for her, but a rough hand was placed on her shoulder before she moved.
"Careful old man, those fingers look fragile," Sasha warned the instructor.
"Come, we will go into the next room," he lifted his hand from her shoulder and led the way.
Like the other room, there were mirrors alongside one wall and old tournament banners plastered on the other, but much smaller.
"I haven't fought for fifteen years, so I won't fight you,” he said. “What I can do is teach you what I know, and in turn, you teach my students what you know."
"You aren’t going to punish me? And what makes you think I’m capable of teaching these kids anything?" Sasha scowled, glaring at him.
"I can’t punish someone for following my orders,” he rubbed his bald head. “A mistake on my part… you surprised me.” He paused, then looked at her more seriously. “I want you teaching my students because you’re skillful, confident and have determination. A fire like that is inspiring. Unforgettable.”
“Psh, whatever old man.”
“You can start by leading warm-ups, move on from there. Whip them into shape, then maybe teach them how to defend themselves. I think you will bring a lot of excitement to my Dojo."
It didn't sound that bad. She occasionally had to lead warm ups and teach others how to do things; Sometimes it was mandatory, but she’d never been asked to make a class more exciting.
She held out her hand. “Okay fine, I’ll train here.”
A heartwarming smile spread across the old man's face as he took her hand in his. "I am looking forward to working with you. Take a week or two, learn everyone's names, there’s no hurry."
They shook hands.