Butch heard a sound behind him, and turned to see Double-J walking away from Coach Dan, the young man’s arms raised above his head, hung low and jerking quickly side to side as if he was trying to dismiss an unpleasant odor.
A moment later Coach Dan walked towards the team, his gaze fixed as firmly towards them as it was firmly fixed away from Double-J. “Annie, get the team lined up,” he said. “Let’s start with some footwork.”
Annie motioned for Butch and Kassandra to stand next to each other, a few feet apart, at the end of one of the white rectangles. Bernie stood on the next rectangle, and calling to Butch “like this” put his right foot forward, bent his knees, and extended his right arm forward, his left pointing straight back, and eager smile on his face.
“Annie, please tell me what Bernie’s doing wrong,” said Coach Dan. Bernie’s smiled evaporated.
Annie coughed. “Well . . . his front elbow’s too far away from his body, and he’s leaning forward too much.”
“It’s all the back arm,” said Coach Dan, walking over to Bernie. Grabbing the boy’s back arm, Coach Dan brought it down until it was parallel to the floor, bent the elbow, pointed the forearm up, then forced the wrist to bend down, limp. “The back arm is all about balance, son. You don’t use it to threaten your opponent, you use it to keep your body in balance.”
“Annie, please demonstrate.”