A little background may help my story. I joined a karate school when I was 14, and over the ensuing 6 or 7 years it became the one place that I felt strong, capable, and important. At the same time, we (all of us students) were being groomed (in all the negative ways)to be obedient to our teacher… doing what we were instructed without question, enduring discomfort and pain, an eagerness to please. The better we “performed”, the more attention our teacher would give us. He was a father, teacher, coach, leader, priest… he was whatever we needed the most at that time in our lives. He knew this, and deliberately cultivated that relationship with each of us. Like a thief in the night he would poke and prod at our spirits and bodies, looking for a way in. He didn’t waste much time once he found it.

I was nearing my 21st birthday when it began. I later learned that my teacher adjusted his target age over time due to previous under-age abuses that threatened to be revealed. I was training for my black belt, which was more important to me at that time than even the degree at University I was working for.

I was practicing in the school late… there was a black-belt class that ran until 10:00 or so and I wanted both to watch them work, and try to emulate some of their style. I continued to train after they changed and left… my teacher didn’t seem too bothered by my late night, so I took that as permission to continue.

After locking the doors and turning off many of the lights, he asked me if I wanted to excel like many of the black-belt students I emulated. Of course I told him that I did. He told me that he wanted to show me a special stretching technique that helped almost all of the senior students become such successful competitors and martial artists. Eager to improve and please, I agreed.

He continued dimming lights, until only dim light shone in an internal lounge within the school. I thought nothing of this. He vaguely explained that he was going to manipulate the tendons on the inside of my legs, and that this would allow me to go into the full splits with one or two sessions. I didn’t believe him, but trust takes us far. He told me to take off my jeans and go down as far into the splits as I could, to demonstrate how well it worked.

I took of my pants and stretched. I had boxer-briefs on and a long t-shirt, so I wasn’t too uncomfortable doing this in front of him. At my limit, I was 1 ½ feet from the floor. He then sat in a chair and told me to stand in front of him. I did, standing under the lone pot-light that shone in the room, and he started to roughly knead my inner legs just above the knee. He asked if I was ok with it, and I agreed… I felt a little uncomfortable, but didn’t think that it was justified. He told me to pull up the legs of my underwear, and continued to work on the inner muscle of my legs.