#78 🧨 The spectacle of the FIGHT, the subtly of the quiet campaign 🥷

In brief 🩲

  • Journal: Pissant affairs you hope no one notices
  • Practical: Teaching kids life lessons via R-rated martial arts movies
  • Read: A quiet and simple campaign of manipulation

From the journal 📖

Keeping up appearances

It’s not uncommon around these parts for people to remark “I was pissing myself” in the face of a daunting or threatening event.

It’s usually a figurative expression.

At my first taekwondo tournament, late 2022 in Porirua, I had to negotiate the true inconvenience of the groin guard for the first time. At the club we just wear the guard over the top of our pants for convenience; but here at the tournament in my full dobok, I had to put the guard under my clothes for the first time. Officials would asked fighters to knock the guard with their knuckles, to confirm its attendance.

The trick was not to put the guard on too early. I didn’t want to have to take it off to go to the bathroom. I calculated that an hour before the fight would be about right.

I was wrong. My body, perhaps in an attempt to sabotage me into missing my fight and evading all risk, required that 15 minutes before I was called into battle, I needed the bathroom again.

I felt rushed, and getting out of the dobok was a rigmarole. First I had to take off my red belt and hang it up. The top half of my dobok hung down past my waist, so I had to hitch that up and hold it in place. When I got to the groin guard I had a thought: rather than taking it entirely off over each leg, I could just... tilt it forward, in place.

Holding the elasticated guard at tension with one hand, and the top half of my dobok with the other hand, I peed through the free space over the top of my guard.

About halfway through, my hand holding the guard back slipped. The guard snapped back into place like a trap, spraying piss all over my pants as it cut through the stream.

But I couldn’t stop.

Piss began to pool in the guard and leak down the inside of my leg, and when I snatched to pull back the guard again, my other hand let go of the top of my dobok, which dropped down over everything, like a curtain on a scene gone terribly wrong.

Red in the face and sweating with panic, acutely aware that I was about to walk out under lights to a stadium of spectators, I dabbed at the remaining pool inside the guard with some toilet paper, then my pants, and then my top.

Outside of the cubicle, I looked in the mirror and wondered how much the folds of this shimmery, nylon fabric would betray the moisture, how much of this massacre might be covered by the chest guard, whether anyone would assume it was anything other than sweat.

And so it was, cold and wet, I had to face my first opponent, in front of the cheers and shouts of the Porirua crowd.

I didn’t piss myself with fear that day. I just plain pissed myself.