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Part of what I do with my spare time involves getting beaten up.  I have enjoyed doing it for the last five-and-a-half years, in spite and because of the regular bruising, spraining, and bleeding that goes along with that.  Kickboxing and MMA have kept me more or less in shape, developed my self-confidence, and left me a better man than I was when I started.

But I have opted to take a break from all of it for a little while.  My body is feeling broken down, I have loads more work and a busier schedule at my new job, and my little girl is getting to be enough of a handful that I feel bad taking several nights a week to go out and leave her home with Erin.

Before I left Chon-Ji, however, I needed to finish something.  I received my first black belt over two years ago and I was due to test for my second degree about the time that I was getting ready to take a break.  My sensei insisted that I finish up after my test, so I geared up for one last day of getting beaten up and breaking things.

The test went reasonably well (and was documented by the Hamilton Spectator), but I failed to break a number of wooden boards, and my belt was withheld until I could to do it.  I would have gone back the next day except that my failed attempts to break things left my hand looking like this:

The layout of the bruising and torn flesh indicates that I did not hit the boards correctly. Only my first two knuckles should be damaged.

I gave myself time to heal up, went back in, and finally broke enough pieces of wood to warrant moving up to second dan.  And since I needed a picture of my new belt to post to prove that I had in fact succeeded, I did what any good martial artist would do:

I put it on my baby.

There are probably rules against this sort of thing, but Abby just looks so darn cute I couldn't help myself.

Cheers, and have a great weekend.