Day 146 of 365 (Year Three)
Today started off as a pretty normal day. I took Savanah to school and then picked her up. We did homework and then got ready for Karate. We learned a new move and worked on the moves we've already learned. On the way home we had to stop for gas and then we hit the grocery store to pick up something for dinner. Like I said, a pretty normal day.
As we were checking out, however, I had a rather interesting experience. I was still in my Ghi having just come from class. The bag boy, a kid who couldn't have been older than 16 and was, more than likely, probably a bit younger stepped in front of me so he could read my shirt. Once he saw it was a Karate shirt, he says to me, "I could take you."
What? Where the hell did that come from? I responded with a quizzical look and he looks me up and down and again he says, "I could take you." This child is a foot and a half shorter than I am and probably weighs half what I do and he looks scrawny. Now, having been taking Kenpo classes for about six months I know that size doesn't really matter that much when it comes to these moves. There are kids in the junior program who I'm sure could put me down. This kid didn't strike me as one of those types of kids.
I look at him funny and respond with, "Is that so?"
"Yeah. I'm a 37th level Black Belt."
OK, now I may not be the world's most knowledgeable person when it comes to all the different forms of Karate, but I have done a little research and I don't believe there is such a thing as a 37th level Black Belt. In Kenpo being a 10th level Black Belt makes you a Senior Master of the Art. It takes years to accomplish this. I also just looked up Taekwondo and I found it rather interesting to read that "No living person reaches beyond 9th degree. The 10th degree is a posthumous award."
"Right," I responded. "What art did you study?"
"I don't know."
WHAT? You studied an art for enough years to be a 37th level Black Belt and you don't even know what it is you studied? I of course gave him my you-are-full-of-shit look.
Seeing that look he responded with, "Ummm....... Ummmmm........ Ummmmm............... Taekwondo! Why? What do you take?"
"Is that better?"
"It is . . different."
"Yeah, I can take you. You're just a what? Yellow Belt?"
DUH, that is why I am wearing a yellow belt
"Tell you what," I say to him, "Show up at my studio on Thursday for sparring class and we'll see."
At this point I really thought he was going to soil himself. I think he was thinking that because he was working that I wouldn't say anything and I'd just walk away.
"GULP! Ummm, ma-ma-ma-ma-maybe."
He'll have to check with his mommy to see if he can get a ride, I guess
"Yeah, that's what I thought." And then I left.
Next time I'm at that grocery store I'm going to check to see if he is working and give him a card that will get him two free weeks of class. The only problem with this is that I don't think he'll qualify for the adult classes and they won't let me spar with a kid in the junior classes.
Now I've worn my Ghi, or my Ghi with the studio's t-shirt (which is a lot more comfy during class) many times out and about. It is quite often that I need to run an errand after class. Most times I either get quizzical looks or questions. Where do you take classes? Would you recommend them? Do they have classes for kids? What is the difference between Kenpo and other disciplines? It is always friendly and I've enjoyed those conversations. This is the first time anyone has thought to make a challenge, let alone one that is so full of crap as to be laughable.
Had this kid been a black belt he would have never acted in this manner. A true master of the art doesn't behave in this manner. This kid, for whatever reason, just felt like being an ass. I guess it made him feel like a big man to talk smack.
Personally, I have issues with kids who show a complete and total lack of respect for others. The fact that he was working and talking to a customer like this makes it that much worse. You don't say stuff like that to a customer. A part of me really does wish that it was legal to "school" this kid. It isn't so instead I just laughed and left. I guess if I really wanted to make and issue out of it I could have gone and spoken to the manager of the store and lodged a complaint. He just wasn't worth the effort, but I do hope he shows up for a Thursday class. Earning a 37th level Black Belt on the Playstation 3 or X-Box doesn't really translate to the real world.