There is one student who is hyper-shy or whatever the technical description is. We’ve NEVER made eye contact, and he always wear dark glasses. He learns well enough that I assume he can see. I was showing how to do low altitude tai chi bang exercises (a bang is a like a rolling pin) – in this case being twisted below the knees. Bent at the waist is
an awkward position, especially while trying to talk. Plus I was hot from being under the lights. My throat was dry, so I coughed, and was obviously struggling to speak.
Being bent over limits what one can see, but I could glimpse some shoes approaching.
There’s a handkerchief waving at the edge of my vision. I am later told the student has his eyes covered with one hand. It feels like the whole class is all staring.
There’s a commandment in chess and fencing – when you have the advantage DO NOT stop the attack. So I close my eyes and slowly straighten up. Eyes still closed, I point to my face and say, “hot”. That’s something we teach the students to say if they want a cool wrap and a drink because they are overheating. There’s a very delicate brush of the handkerchief on my brow and I can hear the footsteps retreat. Progress. What we call a
micro-victory in the business. I signal for a sip of water all around – on the house.