I should emphasize that he didn’t wait for me to feed anything. He just started closing, and I was immediately on the defensive.
In spite of a lingering feeling of doubt, I responded with a fast, direct thrust to his center, which he neither parried nor angled away from, but somehow “slipped” past. Then true to his word, he unleashed two lightning slashes and a finishing upward thrust that ended with the tip of the blade perpendicular under my chin.
It was so fast that I hadn’t even had time to withdraw my failed thrust, let alone answer his combination. He stepped back. “That’s what we used to call ‘Tres Cantos’.
With my arm still outstretched, I opened my hand and allowed the wooden knife to drop straight to the floor. I’ll never forget that moment. I wasn’t being dramatic. I was making the point to him and to myself that I had just been ‘owned’ – as they say. He seemed to receive the gesture. When I reached down to pick up the knife at my feet I observed a small circle of blood droplets on the floor. The inside of my arm was bleeding from a cut. There was also a spot of blood on Tito’s knife.
Very few people would understand how I reacted at that point.
To be continued...