Today was the test for the squad leader selection. I knew I ruled in terms of athletics and mental ability. I even scored 9/10 in shooting which was the highest but fighting ability was something in which I was doubtful! I could do defense because that’s what I have been doing from years but offensive moves in hand combats didn’t make me any confident! I was still learning it. I needed practice and training for that! To help me out, even Aacharya ji started taking Biswas sir’s class to teach me! That way at least I was learning moves and tactics faster but still I was underconfident! There were only few audience but they were cheering really loud! And today, I was to fight against Tanuj. Whoever’s back touched the ground three times first loses. The guy is highly jealous of me for some unknown reasons that I don’t care about! But I have been to his fighting sessions twice! Not purposely but I had to talk to Purohit sir. Tanuj was Purohit sir’s trainee and he fought really well! His punches and locks were powerful! I was nervous. Aacharya ji stood beside me.
“I have a reason!”
“You are doing it again! It’s not just nervousness, you are panicking!”
I look at him and he lifts my hands and turns them. I see the red crescent marks on my palms. He was right!
“Shri! I have confidence over you. Atleast have confidence over my confidence! You remember everything I taught you right? (I nodded) then just apply it!”
I nod. Biswas sir joins us.
“All the best Shri. Remember the field lessons and then no one can beat you!”
I nod again. I touch both their feet and move to the ring. I wore the helmet. Tanuj also comes and smirks. That smirk somehow hurt my ego! It was unusually irritating! I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.
Biswas sir was attacking my weak points! I was getting irritated and doing mistakes out of impulsiveness and he would hold me throw me on my back on the ground!
“You lost again! Shri! Okay fine. Learn it this way. You believe in mythologies and have read them right? (I nod) do you know how did Pandava’s elder brother got his name? (I look at him) it’s because he had this specialty to remain calm even during the direst of wars! Because a calm mind helps you think straight! Anger and impulsiveness makes you commit mistake! Be your own version of Yuddhishthira!”
I open my eyes. Calm like Yuddhishthira! I looked into Tanuj’s eyes. Like I have known his fighting skills, he must have known mine so he is playing a psychological game! Huh! No one can beat me in mind games. I made a straight face at his smirk and looked expressionlessly right into his eyes. He was expecting a reaction right? I won’t give him any! It worked! His irritating smirk wiped off slowly!
The ref blew the whistle and we came face to face and bow down to each other. Another whistle and we took our stance and then we heard the ringing of the gong! The match started. We were looking at each other intensely! The lessons were in flashing in my mind!
Biswas sir was instructing me and showing me how to do it!
“You have a principle right? Never attack first and never forgive your provoker? (I nod) apply that on the field as well! Fight isn’t just physical ability and strength. It’s a combination! Mind and body at work together! In a combat, observe your opponent closely and be ready for defense anytime! One hand in accordance with their hands and one in accordance with their legs to stop the surprise attack! And your legs and feet stress free to move around freely! Let’s try it now!”
I did the same and my peripheral vision was on his limbs! He raised his arms but at the same time moved back his left leg! He was about to kick me using punch as a distraction or maybe backup! The moment his kick came! I blocked his arm and leg with my arm and leg at the same time and punched his stomach with my other hand! That was surprise for him and he moves two three steps back! That was a good start! I was happy when Tanuj suddenly leaps and punches me on my shoulder!
It pained! I was about to fall down but I didn’t! And he moved forward and kept on attacking me! He wasn’t giving me chance to retaliate!
“Shri! The lessons!”
I heard Biswas Sir’s voice!
“You know your strength is your defense! It comes naturally from you! That’s why you learnt defensive moves so soon! When in a combat, if you don’t get the chance to attack, use all your defenses to observe your opponent properly. Who knows, maybe you get a spot to attack! Grab that opportunity before your opponent realizes your intentions! ”
I activated my defenses to the fullest and observed Tanuj. He was really close to me as he delivered the punches but he kept his lower body away! Okay! So he wanted to protect his waist area! Understandable!
My arms were paining defending his constant punches! I bent down and moved to the side! And then I immediately got up and kicked his back! He fell on his knees! Without wasting another second, I held his neck in my harms and bent him back making him touch the ground! I heard the gong! I got the first point!The crowd cheered!
I left him and got up! Tanuj looked displeased! I looked at my teachers! Aacharya ji was sitting calmly. Biswas sir gave me a thumbs up!
This time Tanuj just suddenly came, punched me on the head, held my shoulders to lock my arms and threw me on the ground and the gong rang! The cheering suddenly stopped and then another second grew even louder!
What just happened!? I guess it didn’t even take 30 seconds for this round!
He came towards me and I was panicked! But no! Yuddhishthira! I had to be calm! Activate my defenses! I saw the position of his hands! He was angry because of the first round and wanted to defeat me in a swift! And he did a mistake! His hands were again in a position to lock! But the raise depicted waist lock! Good! He held one of my arm but even I was ready! I immediately used my alternate hand and leg at the same time to punch and kick him! It took him by surprise! I turned around to throw a back kick but he dodged it. I did it again but he held me by my neck in arm and was trying to bend me down! No no no! Not again this time! I wont bend! But the grip on my neck is too tight! I could see Aacharya ji. He signed number 2 and 3 with his finger.
Aacharya ji had taken over Biswas sir finally to teach me offensive moves!
“Lesson number 2! Sometimes, give to your opponent a taste of little win! First to make his confidence into over confidence which is ultimate downfall and second use the opportunity to spot the weakness! Turning weakness into strength is cliche but some romantic notion fighters do it! But their natural reflex wouldn’t allow them to completely do that! You have to notice that weakness and attack it!”
“Yes Aacharya ji! ”
“Lesson number 3. There is no such thing as a righteous war or fighting fair and square! You cannot win battles without little deceits and even Lord Krishna approves of the method! The end result is what everyone would look at! Therefore, never leave a chance for little deceits as you never know what can contribute in your failure or success!”
Tanuj was trying his best to bend me down on my back but I was prolonging it but it was making me breathless! I tried to recall his moves! And the it struck me! His lower body! He was continuously trying to attack me with his legs but I successfully failed his attempts! Two days ago, during the athletic test, he sprained his ankle during the race but said he was okay! And then during long jump, I think he made it a little severe! But didn’t complain as then he would have to withdraw! The warrior mentality! His legs are his current weakness!
I left the struggle and he won another point! Gong rang. He was being cheered!
We got up and faced each other again. He was leading and won two quick rounds. He was overflowing with confidence! That was good! Another gong.
This time I went to him for attack! It took him by surprise and he made his legs free to move! I gestured with my hand and he raised his arms to use it as defense! But hit with my leg on his leg and made him trip! He stumbled and fell straight on his back! The gong rang! This time,half the crowed booed me and half cheered for me! I didn’t care about the booing! I got the point! Tanuj got up and screamed!
“She cheated! This isn’t fair!”
“There’s nothing like playing fair and square! The end result matters and the end result is I got the point!”
The whistle blew and we returned to our corners! This was the final round. Whoever gets the point wins! I looked at Aacharya ji. He just blinked slowly looking at me.
I was to have my tests from the next day. Aacharya ji was giving me final instructions.
“Don’t focus on the weakness you have but on strengths you carry. Focus enhances things and we should enhance strengths, not weaknesses. You may not be able to throw a powerful punch right now but you can lift heavy weights! You can use your mind and limbs together! And you have a surprise element within you! Think the wonders it can do when all your abilities are put to work together!”
I looked at Tanuj! The tripping trick confirmed which leg was injured because when I hit him, he didn’t scream! He just fell! And he still didn’t know that I caught up on his weakness! We heard the whistle and came in middle. The gong rang! Tanuj again used his punch but I had other plans! I bent down and held his uninjured leg! The injured leg wouldn’t hurt me so it could be kept free! He was so surprise that he lost his balance and got the chance to carry on the washerman stroke and within seconds, I threw him on the ground on his back! He was taken aback! The whistle and the gong was heard together! I did it! I won! The cheering and clapping was enthusiastic. The ref raised my hand and then I got down the ring! I was one of the squad leader and that was final. Now I just had to choose my pack!
We were practicing in the court when we heard cheering from the boxing centre. One of the teammates commented.
“The Interfaculty tournaments are going to start. They must be having the intra practice match!”
I nodded and looked at Abhi! We knew what was happening there. We so badly wanted to see it! But we even had to practice for the tournament! The secret training and classes and the regular classes left us with little time to practice. I can at least catch a glance of our technical senior’s fight!
“Break guys! We will continue after 10 minutes!”
All agreed. I signed Abhi and we went towards the boxing centre! As we neared it, we heard some booing along with the cheering. Abhi stated.
“Seems like someone is getting their reputation on stake!”
“Let’s see what’s happening!”
He nodded and we went inside and the moment we stepped in, we saw a girl in the ring performing the washerman stroke and throwing the guy on the floor. The whistle and gong indicated her win! The ref raised her hand and then she got off the ring and went to coach Bhargav! The helmet made it difficult to see her face! I was awestruck! Abhi stated in amazement!
“Imagine her strengths bro! She looks fragile but she legit lifted that well built guy and threw him like nothing on the floor!”
“I know! This is the place where we cannot underestimate anybody!”
“True that! I hope we meet our technical seniors soon! Don’t know what surprise they have that we don’t even know their identities!”
We were told that we aren’t the early recruited candidates but there were some who were training here from before and technically they are our seniors. Their identities are being kept secret for a while and will be revealed at the right time! Don’t even know what that means! I hope someday I can have a faceoff with the washerman stroke specialist!
To be continued