As we're the same grade and the same height we often get partnered for sparring and exercises, and I dread it.
Karate is all about control - as Sensei likes to inform me while throwing vicious strikes that stop a millimetre from my person. It's not about using another human being as your punchbag.
Now, accidents happen while you're sparring. Sometimes things get heated, and sometimes you just accidentally walk into your opponent's fist. But last night we were simply doing partner work: one partner punches, belt height, then the other partner punches. It was an exercise in...control.
At a moment when she shouldn't have been anywhere near me, let alone swinging her fists around, this person somehow managed to punch me on the nose, knock my glasses off and make me cry.
I dropped to my knees looking suitably wounded and my chum Tammy asked in a loud, shocked voice if I was all right - hoping she would get the hint. I received a quick apology and "I'll stay away from your glasses next time, ha ha" (which, incidentally, translates as "I will spend the rest of the evening punching you in the boobs").
I can't stand this. I've tried making jokes about how hard she hits and I've tried telling her that actually that hurt. I've tried backing off and saying firmly "You've got to stop hitting so hard". I've even tried 'accidentally' hitting her hard and then apologising profusely, to demonstrate how civilised people behave. All the instructors are aware of the problem and have tried to talk to her about it, but it's water off a duck's back. The only avenue left is for me to refuse to partner her, but I'm too cowardly to do something that would very probably hurt her feelings (and, more importantly, make her hate me).
One of these nights she's really going to damage someone - and it looks like it's going to be me.