I think I have a fractured nose. This is so exciting.

I felt it when it happened: In sparring, we were instructed to go for uppercuts to the chin. Mike is so much taller than I am, his uppercut starts at right about my snoot level.

I felt one uppercut graze my headgear right under my right eye socket. I pulled back, came back in and tried to throw a hook to the body. It wasn't that strategic, but at some point over the past few months I realized that if I stay low with Mike, my punches are more likely to connect. Going for any punch to Mike's head is risky; my glove most often ends up swooshing through the air, and then for a second I'm left open.

I felt another uppercut graze under my left eye socket. And then, blam! One up and pushed my nose back. It was a quick squnch, no more painful than a slap, but unsettling.

This was the beginning of the end of the sparring session for me. I had come out strong earlier in the class, with some good defensive slips and counterpunches. But I was getting tired. And I had yet to face Kora.

Kora is the uppercut-to-the-chin queen. I found that out for the first time last week. It came out of nowhere: An eye-goggling uppercut followed by a quick hook, and suddenly I'm dumb and wandering. My instinctive comeback is not to retaliate with the punches we are supposed to do (i.e. strategic counterpunch, uppercut her in turn), but instead to throw the fastest, hardest hook combinations I can muster and effectively push her across the open space and up against the (imaginary) ropes. And then we step back and reset.

I was distracted and unstrategic and Kora kept getting my chin as if there were a bull's-eye painted on it. Why am I not getting what to do back? We will work on this question next week.

In the meantime, my nose is slightly swollen with a faint tinge of blue on the side. It feels fine. No blood or anything. Tomorrow I'll see if it blossoms into a full-fledged bruise.

Next week I'll have to do better, or else face a similar outcome.

It's all so wrong -- and yet so right.


In Case You Thought I Was Kidding

. . . when I describe the antics of a certain animal:

DISCLAIMER: Strictly for cat-loving people. All others will feel bored and superior.