This photo was taken Wednesday after an exceptionally grueling class of more than an hour of non-stop kata (forms), sparring and ground-fighting.
Two fellow brown belts are in the process of testing for shodan, or first-degree black belt. This six-week process is also tough on we students who aren't testing, because we help put the examinees through their paces.
The sparring is much heavier and more intense and near-full contact frequently is made to the body.
The groundfighting tends to have an element of desperation thrown in.
More than ever, we're expected to do our best, for our fighting spirit will help our seniors rise to the challenge.
After this class, during which I almost took a roundhouse kick to the head, I was too dog-tired to smile and too dog-tired to care.
I'm just thankful that, on the cusp of my 44th birthday, I'm able to participate.