Owing to the fact that I love the martial arts again, however, I'm a bit too tired to explain why at much length. I feel a bit as if I've been run over by an M1A1 Abrams battle tank with a 120mm M256 smoothbore coaxially-mounted gun shooting M829 APFSDS-T rounds with depleted uranium penetrators.
Basically, Gokhan taught me a lot of new things, which I always enjoy.
He knocked the stuffing out of me when we were practicing knee kicks. I wasn't really prepared for the full force of the first kick, and I ended up flying into a wall. To "get the wind knocked out of you" isn't just a figure of speech. If you get an enthusiastic knee to the abdomen it really feels like that. For a moment you can't quite breath, and it's not entirely clear whether you're going to barf. It's not painful, exactly, but it's certainly not a sensation you'd want to be coming to terms with, emotionally, if there's another blow coming.
After that, since I was expecting him to kick me that hard, I braced better, and all was well. But I like it that he takes me seriously enough to really mess me up a bit. There's a lot to be said for that, pedagogically: It teaches you something you need to know, to wit, that that's something you really don't want to have happen to you if you're not kitted up with padding. If it felt like that through the pads, you have to imagine that if you weren't wearing them, it would be all over right then and there.
Gokhan seems to be genuinely, joyfully, in love with Muay Thai. That's what's been missing lately, I suppose; that joy in it, which is contagious, just as its absence is contagious.
He's really young -- I'm not sure how young -- and positively bursting with puppyish adolescent energy. It's just a delight to play with someone who still thinks, with no hint of cynicism, that nothing could be more fun than spending your evening kicking and punching people.
His English isn't good, and my Turkish isn't great, but it doesn't seem to be a problem. "Söyle -- ZONK! Işte bu! ZONK! Daha kuvettli! ZONK-A-ZONK-A-ZONK!, Evet, bu gibi!" -- that works just fine.
And he doesn't take himself too seriously, which I really appreciate.
Thanks, Gokhan, for restoring my faith!