Red’s ability to fight wasn’t instinct alone; it was something he’d learned over many years studying under Master Woo. Red began teaching and now Dash wanted to be his number one disciple.
Dash asked me to come and watch as he tested for his yellow belt. I sat with the rest of the families, along the wall on the far side of the Dojo. On either side of me were suburban wives and the little brothers and sisters of other students who were testing that day. Dash had to do what essentially is a dance routine. He seemed like he did it right and gave me a thumbs up before sitting, legs crossed on the floor next to a line of students. We all sat quietly watching until the main event.
A black man testing for a second-degree black belt, out-sized Red, standing at 6’2”. It wasn’t his fault that he’d been born tall, but Red wasn’t swayed. The man should have acted small or bent his knees; the bigger the man, the more determined Red was to knock him into the dirt. After breaking boards, Red had a small cut on his heel. It wasn’t going to be easy for the tall black man, especially since Red became agitated when he got cut.
The test started and the two men circled, spun around each other and snapped out kicks and punches. Wherever Red struck his opponent, there was a small triangle imprint left from his bleeding heel. Red was taking it easy on the fellow at first, yet it was obvious he held control. His aggression increased and each strike was such a fast flash, it was hard to spot. Only the small red triangle remained as a confirmation. Then Red was struck across the face with a punch. His eyes erupted with anger. He lost control and jumped with a roundhouse that landed on the back of the man’s head. Red dropped to the floor and kicked the man’s legs out.
-from Rich Boy Cries for Mama by Ethan H. Minsker