I pulled myself from my reverie in time to hit my brakes and swerve into my dojo's parking lot, barely avoiding oncoming traffic. Screeching brakes sounded, and honking horns followed me as I parked behind the building. I freed myself from the car and opened the door on the back of the building, flipped on the lights, and went into my office. After checking my messages and email, the bell above the door jingled, signaling that my first student of the day had arrived. I sighed and rose to my feet, poking my head out of the office.
"Katrina!" I called. She turned to see me, and a smile broke out onto her face. Katrina had been a student of mine for two years, after her scumbag boyfriend had been sent to jail. He had beaten her while they dated, a period of just over two years. Finally she had had enough and broke up with him, after he beat her within an inch of her life. After the trial, he was sentenced to five years in prison for attempted murder, and she was fearful of the day he would be released. She walked into my dojo one day, with a black eye and still healing broken collarbone. No money, no job, I took pity on her, and promised to train her for free, until she was able to start paying for the classes. Two years later she had a good job in IT, and was paying me regularly. Not to mention she was my most advanced students.
"Sensei," she said, placing her palms beneath her chin and bowing. I bowed back, and told her to get comfortable. I walked into my personal bathroom, while she walked to the communal one. We both changed, me into a tight fitting shirt and sweats. She reappeared when I did, clad in a sports bra and track pants. Even though I was married, and had no eyes for anyone but my wife, even I had to admit she was beautiful. Twenty three years old, slim athletic body, short red hair, and light green eyes, many of my male students had spent more time staring at her than paying attention to me, which is why we trained in private.
We sat cross legged together on the training mat, facing toward one another. "What have we been working on for the last few weeks?"
"Judo," was her reply, and I nodded. "Well," I said, "you've come to the point that I have nothing more to teach you in hand to hand. We are going to start working with weapons."
She nodded with a smile, and I continued. "Okay, I am gonna give you a choice I was never given." A raised eyebrow was her response. "The first weapon I was trained in was a Katana, but you have your choice of weaponry."
Her eyes brightened. "I have seen you use a Bo Staff Sensei, and I want to learn that first."
I chuckled. "By all means then, grab two for us from the wall."
Katrina rose and went to the western wall of the dojo, the one that was decorated with all manner of weaponry. From Katana's to Sai, Chinese Claws to Tsurugi. She removed two Bo Staff's and came back to me, holding one of the six foot poles out to me. I took it from her hand, spun it into my preferred position and dropped back a few steps. She cocked her head to the side in confusion, and I laughed.
"The Bo has many different starting positions Katrina. The one you see here is one I developed myself." She moved to adopt the same stance and I admonished her against it, saying, "I wouldn't do that if I were you. I practiced for years before I was good enough to pull this one off. What we are going to do today, is find out which position out of the eight standard is best for you. Whichever feels most comfortable."
I guided her through the eight different positions, finally settling on position three, in which the Bo is placed along on the right shoulder with the arm extended, tip of the Bo in the right hand. Running across the back of the neck and onto the other shoulder, it is a perfect position for powerful, long range attacks. For two hours we practiced, me guiding her through the basic movements for that position. Finally, lunch time came, signaling the end of her day's lesson.
We took a moment to rest, then she began walking toward the showers, but stopped at the door. Turning to me, her cheeks still flushed from the exertion, she asked, "What are you doing for lunch?"
I jerked my head toward the office. "Melissa made me a full spread. Sandwich, potato chips, the whole shebang."
She laughed. "Let's have lunch. My treat?"
I smirked. "And leave my wives plentiful offerings? How dare you suggest such a travesty?"
"Nothing fancy of course. I know a great little place down the street that has a pretty good Alexandros steak."
My mouth watered, and I though of the last time I'd had one of those. A thick piece of flank steak seared in a tangy wine broth, with streak fries swimming in the same. I puckered my lips and swallowed, eliciting a giggle from Katrina. "I think I might just take you up on that."
"Great!" she beamed, then disappeared through the door. I heard the shower turn on a moment later, and went to mine, showered, and changed back into my street clothes. Dark blue jeans, black tee shirt, and my ever present combat boots. I dried my hair a bit more, then slipped my knife into my pocket. Pulling the towel from around my neck, I stepped back into the training area to find Katrina waiting, and she bowed once more, and I offered my arm.
Adopting a horrible british accent, she said, "Why thank you good sir," and slipped her arm through mine. We walked into the street laughing, arm in arm.