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Wednesday, December 1, 2010


When our son Sam was the main instructor at the TCB Martial Arts school in Hollister, Missouri, having participated and judged at many tournaments and given countless demonstrations at special events, there was a kick-boxing fight in Springfield, and Sam, after several exhibition fights, was to compete in the main event. It was a professional fight, in an actual ring, in the large back room of the Rincon Latino Dance Club, in a sleazy area of the city. Micki and Julia and Disa and I went to (very nervously) watch, while Andy and friend Erick went to assist Sam during the time-outs. Admission was $10 each for adults.

Sam had a cold, and I asked him on the way up if it would get him down. He didn't answer. He was so confident that he fell asleep in the van. When we got to the club, and saw Sam's opponent--Mike Huddard, a Budo-Kai kick-boxer--I was shook. Mike was inches taller than Sam, had a shaved head, and looked very imposing. He was also jogging in place and getting psyched up to fight. I mentioned to Sam that Huddard was big, and Sam said, "Size doesn't matter." While Sam and Andy and Erick prepared, Micki and the girls and I went back to watch the first exhibition fight. The kick-boxers--one white, one Oriental--wore gloves, head-gear, foot padding, and mouth-guards. But the white guy pounded the Oriental guy's face bloody, yet the Oriental guy knocked the white guy out and won.
This was truly professional fights. Two sexy girls from Hooters went into the ring during time-outs holding up big signs to announce which round was to begin. (These fights consisted of only three rounds of two minutes each.)

Then came Sam and Mike. Both remained barefoot, and neither had head-gear! They had only thin boxing gloves, and mouth-guards. I was worried sick after the bloody exhibition fight. The bell rang. With the first hit, Sam knocked Mike almost unconscious and against the ropes. The referee called for a pause to determine whether it was a technical knockout or if Mike could continue. Mike soon came around and nodded his head, but it was obvious that he was shook and leery of Sam's punches after that. But in round two, Sam was obviously being bothered by something, and Micki and I were worried sick that he had been injured. Several times Sam let his guard down and Mike battered him in the face. Now and then Mike would kick him, but it didn't seem to bother Sam. But something was bothering him. Round two did not go well, although Sam was leading in points. During time out, Sam was talking with the referee. Meanwhile Sam, while sitting, had to whop Erick with a back-hand to get his attention. While Sam was dying for water, Erick was holding the ropes up for the Hooters girls to come into the ring.

Round three was bizarre. Sam appeared tired, but I knew he couldn't be. He finally let his guard down altogether, and let Mike pound him on the face, etc., without even fighting back. Several times I muttered "son of a bitch" to myself. Finally the referee paused the fight and talked with Sam. And Sam finally shook his head, and the fight was over. The opponents shook hands, the referee raised Mike's arm--the winner. And we were confused and worried.

It turns out that Sam couldn't breathe! He was upset that he had to wear a mouth-guard in the first place; and because of his cold, his nose was stuffed up. If he did wear a mouth-guard at the school, he wore only a half-guard. But this was a full one, and it kept him from breathing through his mouth. Sam was suffocating up there! During the fight, he had begged the referee to let him take the mouth-guard out, but it wasn't allowed. At one point, during time-out, he asked the referee for a knife. The referee, shocked, asked, "Why?" But Sam wanted a knife to cut holes and slits in the mouth-guard to breathe through. If he could have breathed, he would have won the fight easily. Mike's hits and kicks didn't phase him. There wasn't a mark on him. Sam is well-conditioned and has an incredibly high pain tolerance...but he couldn't get air.

Afterwards it was interesting to overhear Sam and Mike talking. Mike said that when he was knocked senseless in the first round, he realized that this guy had power, and he was shook. Then when he kicked Sam, it was apparent to him (Mike) that his kicks had no effect. And when Sam dropped his guard and just stood there while Mike pounded on him, Mike realized that Sam could take whatever he dished out. I heard Mike telling him that he was really worried when, "I realized I didn't have any defenses."

Poor Sam. He took it very well, knowing that losing wasn't his fault. But the first thing he said to me was, "It just goes to show you that I can't do everything." Well, Sam will do it again, and next time we'll make sure he can breathe. And our worries then will be for the safety of his opponent.

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  1. Great story, and congratulations to Sam on his accomplishments in martial arts!

  2. HEY!!!!!!!!!! This is a KOOOOL story, and congrats to Sam. Tough little bugger ain't he. LOL

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