Chapter 19: Without Hesitation

on July 1, 2011 in Volume 2: Sophomore Effort

In Which Coach Callahan States A Tautology That Is True

Coach Callahan hadn’t said how long she’d need to get the room ready so I hung out into the hall until a few minutes before class, after some of my classmates showed up and entered the classroom without incident.

Whatever set-up she had done didn’t seem to involve anything physical, as the center of the room was as empty as it always was, nothing on the floor but the safety mats. I assumed she’d been tinkering with the settings on the red mockbox that we were supposed to use for the class. She was leaning against the wall next to it, providing a visual reminder of which box we were supposed to be using… and a verbal one to people who didn’t pick up on the clue and headed for another box. She had one eye on approaching students and one on the old-fashioned paper scroll timepiece over the door that was slowly rolling on towards the appointed hour.

She was making a point to steer people towards the right box, but she was ignoring the students who were standing around chatting or hanging out, their weapons unmocked. She’d told us to have our weapons copied in that box before class begins to avoid lines, but apparently not everyone had listened a cared. I felt a twinge of annoyance at the idea of being required to be in a classroom and doing class-related things before the actually starts, but I swallowed that, deciding that rationally any class would require me to do things outside of class time… in this case, my homework was due a few minutes before and involved the class room and facilities.

I did wonder why she couldn’t set more than one mockbox up with the required settings… though if she were planning on tinkering with them from time to time, having a single dedicated one for the class probably kept things simple.

Although I didn’t have anything like a class roll to compare the crowd to… and wouldn’t have been able to match names and faces if I did… it looked like Coach Callahan had been spot-on with her prediction that a good number of the class would skip the second day. I didn’t expect the whole class to show up as early as I did… some would probably ignore or forget her instructions and show up on time, but even as the last minutes slipped away the room still felt emptier. It wasn’t that most of the class was gone, or even half… but enough to be noticeable.

When the timepiece slipped around and the bell rang, a bunch of students suddenly decided to head for the mockbox. Coach Callahan stepped forward and slipped in front of it.

“You should already have mocked your weapons,” she announced. “If you are holding a live weapon, put it down because we do not use live weapons in this class.”

The errant students looked at her or each other in confusion. Even though I wasn’t part of the group being chided, I felt a slight heat rising in my cheeks and an urge to drop my gaze… embarrassment empathy, I suppose. I don’t know if they felt embarrassed, but I would have felt embarrassed in the same situation, and so I felt embarrassed for them.

“If you are holding a proper mock weapon from the red box, choose a target who hasn’t,” Coach Callahan said. “And then… without hesitating or apologizing, strike them down. You should be able to manage it in one hit, but definitely do it in as few strikes as possible. Messing around or toying with them counts as hesitating.”

So this was what she meant by there being a refresher, I thought. The hard lesson we’d learned the day before of hitting someone in the head who wasn’t fighting back became even harder when the target wasn’t even armed. There was fear and panic in the faces of the tardy targets. I shut it out, and tried not even to think too much about the person I chose, a kind of stocky-looking guy wearing a sleeveless shirt and with a greatsword at his feet. Looking back, I might have picked him if I’d thought about who looked the least vulnerable or who looked the most like the kind of person I thought of as a warrior jock… but in all honesty, I was only heading for him because he was the closest person to me.

I wasn’t the only one close to him, though, and someone else hit him with a sword strike right as I got up close. I caught a glimpse of a great big gash across his chest and abdomen, but it disappeared as he glowed red. With as little thought as possible, I just turned in the spot and lashed out with my staff at the next nearest person, a brown-haired girl who had her hands up and was backing away from a kid with a mace, and incidentally backing towards me.

I swung with enough speed that my staff seemed to go right through her skull, but mercifully all I saw in terms of effects was the red glow.

So far, there was no obvious difference in how the mockbox was set up: maximum realism of wounds, but everything being canceled out as soon as the target was incapable of fighting back. The red glow lasted for fifteen seconds, during which further hits were impossible. There were more students holding mocked weapons than there were valid targets, so some people got hit a second time as they came out of the red period.

Coach Callahan was watching with interest. I had a feeling she was keeping track of who had scored a “kill” on the first go-round and who’d been left waiting for someone to refresh. I wondered if the people in the second group were ahead in her estimation compared to the people who hadn’t mocked their weapons in time. I wasn’t sure about that at all… Callahan demanded a kind of respect from her students, but she really didn’t seem to prize the following instructions as a virtue in itself.

Readiness was more of a virtue than obedience… those of us who’d had our mocked weapons in hand at the start of class had taken a step towards being ready, but if one of us turned around and demonstrated that we weren’t, the fact that we’d followed an instruction probably didn’t count for much.

“Good,” she said when everybody with a weapon had taken their shot. “We will almost always be starting class with an exercise in ruthlessness, so make sure you have your weapon ready when class begins. If you did not get to take part in the exercise, consider this a warning… not your only warning. This warning will be repeated as often as necessary. Now, if you haven’t mocked your weapon already… get to it.”

She stepped aside and let the rest of the students make their copies. Some of them looked sheepish, and more than a few of them… mostly the bigger guys… looked pissed at having been made an example of. I made a note that if I got any choice about who I was fighting against today, I’d try to avoid them.

“So that this is not a complete waste of time,” Coach Callahan said as they lined up to use the cabinet, “I’ll take this opportunity to respond to a couple of questions I got from some students after yesterday’s class. It seems like some people weren’t happy with the idea of a class focused entirely on violent resolutions to fights. It seems that some of you got the impression that the point of this class is to learn how to kill.

“Let me put it to you simply: this is an entry-level class. Making a person dead as quickly and effectively as possible would be at least a two hundred level class, if I was allowed to teach you that. What I teach you in this class is to hit people like you don’t care whether they live or die, and the simplest and easiest way to do that is to not care whether they live or die.

“Some of you might ask why I’m not teaching non-violent takedowns. I repeat: this is an entry-level class. Making sure you win a fight without killing an opponent who is trying to kill you isn’t one hundred level stuff. It’s not two hundred level stuff. It can be done, but it’s expert stuff. There’s a reason they call those people who can knock people out with a touch ‘grandmasters’ and things like that. There’s a reason that more prisoners have traditionally been taken at the point of a sword than via a club to the head. When you enter into a fight and you want to keep your opponent alive more than they want to kill you, you are fighting at a disadvantage. I’m not wasting any time in this class teaching you how to deal with that disadvantage except by the obvious way of not fighting with it.

“All of which flows nicely into our topic today: hesitation. They say that he who hesitates is lost. This is usually true. Why? Because he who hesitates hesitates. He who makes a habit of it grows hesitant.

“You can find a lot of military and combat philosophers who will tell you that it’s all about picking your moment, recognizing the right moment… but again, this is an entry-level class. What good is it to recognize something if you don’t know what to do with it when you find it? Our lesson is: seize the moment. Act in the moment. Live in the moment. You want some fucking philosophy? Be the moment. That’s pretty philosophical, right? Everybody form a circle.”

We circled up, and just as she had in the previous class, she pointed to two random students on opposite ends of the class to start today’s demonstration, a girl with a mace and a guy with an axe.

“You and you,” she said. “You’re the first dummies for today’s exercise. I’ve made a little modification to our red box. Here’s how it works: when you hit someone with your mocked weapon, their weapon will diminish in strength. What does this mean? Being the first one to hit counts for a lot. I’m normally not one for this kind of gimmickry, because A, that’s not how it works in real life, and B, figuring out how to make the first hit count for a lot anyway is pretty much the point of this class and any system which gives you points or some reward for just making the hit is counterproductive there. But we’re continuing the lesson from yesterday, of breaking down the barriers that keep you from acting.”

Unlike yesterday, the two people she selected did not delay in coming forward. She gestured for them to keep coming until the three of them… her and them… were standing in a loose triangle in the center of the group.

“Now, I’m going to do something else I usually hate,” Coach Callahan said. “I’m going to have you two demonstrate something in slow-motion instead of actually fighting. I want everybody present to understand exactly how this works, because we’re going to be fighting using these settings for the next two or three days. This demonstration will not be repeated, and we’ll be jumping right into things tomorrow.”

I understood that this was to some extent Coach Callahan’s continued punishment for those who skipped today… I say “to some extent” because I couldn’t believe she’d throw away two days of her curriculum for spite’s sake when she believed that the early days of the class were the most important ones. Those of us who’d showed up got a demonstration beforehand, those who skipped would have to hit the ground running.

Once I thought about it, I was almost sure that the students who skipped would be disproportionately represented among those who didn’t think to mock their weapons before class tomorrow… so they’d get hit twice with the stick of Show Up Everyday Or Who Knows What You’ll Miss.

“Okay, so you with the mace,” Callahan said to the girl she’d pointed to. “You come forward and tap him on the shoulder a bunch of times… just tap. No free shots in my class unless they’re deserved, or everyone’s getting them.”

The girl stepped forward, raised her weapon, and somewhat hesitantly reached out and touched her opponent on the upper arm. His axe flashed. She did it again a few more times and it flashed a few more times, becoming markedly less substantial-looking by the last one.

“The difference from one hit is subtle from a distance, but pretty obvious when it’s right in front of your face,” Callahan announced. “Hence the demonstration… I want you all to know what to expect, so you don’t get too distracted when it happens… you will get distracted, though. You can’t not be distracted when your weapon suddenly flashes and turns all ghost-like in your hand. But that’s just part of your incentive to be the first one to hit. When you’re disabled, your weapon and your opponent’s weapon will both return to normal.” She turned to the girl. “Pop him about three more times.”

The girl with the mace did so, and by that point the axe was practically invisible.

“Now lower your weapon,” Coach Callahan said to the girl. She turned to the guy. “Swing at her neck.”

The guy looked at the girl kind of apologetically, but he hefted the axe… it seemed to have the same weight to it… and swung it at her neck. She flinched a little as it approached, and the impact kind of knocked her sideways a bit, but she kept her feet and the axe seemed to deflect off her neck… not like it hit a solid wall or it was repelled or anything, but like a fairly light and blunt edge had hit something too tough for it to harm.

Her mace did flash, registering the hit.

“See?” Coach Callahan said. “That’s what happens. That’s your extra incentive to not hold back. Now, I can cancel it any time.” She pointed a finger at the axe-wielder and his weapon popped back into full apparent corporeality. She repeated it with the mace-wielder. “And I will, if I see any of you playing around with it… if you’re flailing around, trying to weaken your opponent’s weapon with little hits so you can safely land a big one, I will restore their weapon and they will kick your ass and then we will have words. Going for glancing hits to wear your opponent down is a valid strategy in actual combat, but it doesn’t work like this does. Don’t think of the weakening as a bonus you get for striking first. Think of it as a penalty you’ll take for striking last. Anybody not clear on the difference?”

I was pretty sure I had it. We were supposed to be trying to win the fight by disabling an opponent with realistic damage inflicted by a realistic weapon. This extra element was supposed to encourage us to go for broke, not set up victory with a bunch of glancing blows that would do nothing in real life.

“Okay,” she said. “When I say ‘go’, everybody grab a partner. When one of you has reddened the other, both of you look for a different partner. Don’t declare someone your partner unilaterally, but switch with the bare minimum of thought and consultation. Again, hesitation is the enemy we’re fighting today. Okay, break up the circle and go, people.”

She clapped her hands together a few times for emphasis as almost everyone in the class started turning around looking for their first partner. Some people were slower on the uptake than others and some people were already standing among friends and able to just move away a little and then get right to business. I wasn’t in the latter category and didn’t want to end up in the former category by default, so I just turned to the person nearest to me.

“You wanna…?” I said, as I took in who I was actually talking to. A girl with dark tan skin and a pair of those little things that might be axes or scythes.

“Sure, why not?” she said. I had a huge advantage in reach with my staff, but I figured that the sort of person who carried two weapons like that was probably pretty good with them.

We stepped off to the side a bit and back from each other a little. She seemed to settle into a fighting stance, and then immediately darted forwards. I got my staff up and around and batted at her from the side. With my strength behind it, it was a good hit that might have knocked her over if it had connected solidly, but she did this kind of running duck-to-the-side thing so it just kind of clipped her shoulder. Her thingies flashed red and she slashed at my leg twice, making my staff also flash twice.

I brought it down and just clubbed on her a bunch of times as hard as I could, taking a few more cuts from her in the process. I felt my legs going out from under me at about the same time I heard a messy-sounding crack and she went red.

I backed off.

“Good comeback,” she said, getting to her feet.

“Nice… dodgy thing,” I said, wanting to return the compliment. Mindful of my need to impress Coach Callahan with my seriousness, I then turned to find my next opponent.

She’d said the day before that we were going to be focused more on the act of attacking than the technique in the beginning of the class, and this was apparent in most of the match-ups of the day. The incentive to move meant that everything was a little more clumsy than it might have been, a little more awkward… and it also meant that the awkwardness didn’t stop or slow the fights. There were a couple of bouts I was in that devolved into two people swinging away with drastically weakened weapons, but the vast majority of them were over very quickly.

Coach Callahan made her way around the room as we fought, not giving pointers so much as yelling at slackers and intervening when she felt someone was missing the point of the exercise. When nothing in particular had her attention, she addressed the class as a whole, her voice easily carrying above the sounds of assorted frays.

“Most of the times when you’re really able to pick your moment in a life-or-death fight are times where you’re already way ahead, strategically. Assuming you’re fighting defensively… and I’m supposed to be teaching this class with the assumption that you are fighting in defense of yourself and not attacking people for the hell of it… then the right moment to strike usually occurs between the time that you identify someone as a threat and the time that they perforate or remove something that you’re likely to miss in the long-term.

“Yes, okay, there are some matters relating to timing. You want to strike at a time when your opponent is within range, at a time when you’re likely to hit and do some kind of damage while not exposing yourself to any in return. But those kinds of evaluations have to be made in the blink of the eye. They’re more in the realm of internalized technique than reasoned calculation. If you go into a fight thinking that you will wait until you see the right moment and in that moment you will act, you will spend the right moment looking to see if it’s the right moment. If you go in thinking that you will act as soon as you have a chance, that you will take the shots as the chances come up… well, there’s a better chance you’ll end up acting.”

The more she talked about moments, the more our earlier talk popped into her head, where she’d lectured me on the importance of momentum. As much as she’d sneered at warrior-philosophers earlier in the session and as much as I was loathe to admit that her lessons might apply to day-to-day life in a way that went beyond knowing what to do with myself in an unavoidable fight, I found the whole thing resonating with me in an unexpected way.

I’d gone through periods of my life where I’d just sort of drifted from one crisis to another, and the thing about drifting is that it implies maybe more movement than it should… without a strong impetus, something that’s adrift might not be moving at all on a meaningful scale. I’d picked up some direction, but it was so easy to fall back into that kind of listless, aimless existence.

Hesitation is the enemy we’re fighting today, Callahan had said. It was very like her to personify something that must be overcome as an enemy to be fought. I couldn’t wrap my mind around that viewpoint… I had my own approach to problem-solving that suited me a lot better. But my more reflective and analytical view had its own problems, and leading to inaction was one of them.

On the other hand, I’d managed to get myself into trouble through acting without thinking before… clearly there were times for reflection and times for action. I wasn’t about to embrace a life of mindless reaction, but I felt Coach Callahan had hit on a truth: hesitation creeps in naturally when you’re not working to overcome it.

Hesitation is the enemy wasn’t something I could get behind completely, but become the moment? If that wasn’t exactly my speed, it was a speed I could admire.


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40 Responses to “Chapter 19: Without Hesitation”

  1. Pope Lizbet says:

    Typos: “listened a cared” – should be “or”; “before the actually starts” – “before the class actually started”?

    Great chapter. I wish this class existed irl.

    Current score: 0
    • Dr. Tarr says:

      Check out a Krav Maga class, a lot of what Coach Callahan says could have (or frequently has) been said by my Instructor. I’m a G4, roughly a brown belt, and the philosophy of make the other guy stop being a threat is core to the instruction. It’s similar to what a Gunny taught me in a practical pistol course a very long time ago.

      “The goal is not to kill the other guy, it’s to make him stop. The best way to stop is to hit is to aim for the center of mass. You just have to accept that its not your fault God put so much important shit in the center of your opponents mass.”

      Current score: 1
  2. ShinZed says:

    Wow, Mack is (hopefully) finally taking her first level in Badass after all this time! If she can deal with mazes full of crazy trolls etc as default I have high hopes for the future. Fight on, Mack.

    Current score: 0
  3. MacGuyver says:

    Possible typo:
    “The more she talked about moments, the more our earlier talk popped into her head”
    Shouldn’t that be “*my* head”? How would Mack know exactly what’s going through Callahan’s mind at that moment?

    Current score: 0
  4. vvwolfe says:

    so awesome 🙂 I love your writing

    Current score: 0
  5. Rio Iriri says:

    “he’d told us to have our weapons copied in that box before class begins to avoid lines, but apparently not everyone had listened a cared.”

    Should be listened or cared

    Current score: 0
  6. Brenda says:

    That was very interesting! I like that Mack really is committed to taking this class seriously, even if she does have to keep reminding herself of the fact.

    Current score: 0
  7. Brenda says:

    Typo report:

    “She’d told us to have our weapons copied in that box before class begins to avoid lines, but apparently not everyone had listened a cared.” (began, or)

    “doing class-related things before the actually starts” (There is a word missing in here, probably “class” after “the”…)

    “she really didn’t seem to prize the following instructions as a virtue in itself.” (either “following” or “the following of” instructions.)

    Current score: 0
  8. Zathras IX says:

    When fantasies have
    Maximum realism
    The mockbox machts nichts

    Current score: 0
    • Kevin Brown says:

      I dunno about switching languages in order to make a haiku work, but it is clever.

      Current score: 0
    • Nighteyes says:

      Sorry to correct you, but “machts nichts” don’t work in german.
      It is “macht nichts” or “macht’s nicht”(short for “macht es nicht”).
      both would make sense in the whole sentence, but I think you would prefer the first.

      Current score: 0
      • Oitur says:

        It comes from “Es macht mir nichts,” or “Macht’s (mir) nichts.” Literally “It makes to-me nothing.” (But since the English part of the sentence contains the subject, you may have a point.)

        “Mox nix” in a pinch.

        AE, thanks for the mention of the “old-fashioned paper scroll timepiece”–I love examples of MUniverse technology.

        Current score: 0
        • Nighteyes says:

          now that makes sense^^ stupid me, the whole time i thought ‘why is it a good one?’ cause it just sounds strange when spoken out loud in the nativ tongue. but spoken like an english word (what i should have done right away) it realy is.
          Thanks for enlighten me, woudn’t call me a grandmaster in german language but i’m often a bit … fixed on detail.

          Current score: 0
  9. Jane says:

    Another great chapter – but quite apart from the main thread, it’s the little things that get me. “the old-fashioned paper scroll timepiece over the door that was slowly rolling on towards the appointed hour” – yes! Everything’s that little bit different in MU-land.

    Current score: 0
  10. Janus says:

    “Coach Callahan hadn’t said how long she’d need to get the room ready so I hung out into the hall until a few minutes before class,”
    hung out IN the hall?

    Current score: 0
    • Elisa says:

      Nono it’s Mackenzie after all…that clearly means she’s standing in the doorway letting her tits hang out into the hallway.

      Current score: 0
      • Oitur says:

        I pictured her hanging onto the doorframe and dangling horizontally in response to crazy gravity…but yours is more straightforward.

        Current score: 0
      • Helen Rees says:

        You’re thinking of Amaranth, there – for serious hangage, it would need to be Mack’s butt.

        Current score: 0
      • Zukira Phaera says:

        Takes some doing for Mack’s boobs to hang in a hall, she is part of the ‘itty bitty titty but baby got back’ club after all.

        Current score: 0
  11. Dave says:

    Has Mackenzie just made a new friend?

    While I appreciated the reflections at the end – I too sometimes drift rather than decide and act – I hope she was doing that AFTER the fighting not during it! Otherwise she’s going to have her thoughts violently interrupted.

    Current score: 0
    • bramble says:

      Not sure about a new friend, but she did just interact with another person in a socially acceptable way and it didn’t turn out with (a) the other person hating her and/or (b) Mack being totally in love with the other person, which is kind of a big deal when we’re talking about Mack.

      Current score: 0
  12. Sapphite says:

    Yes, excellent chapter. I also liked the scrollpiece, and the straightforward fight scene. Great haiku Zathras!

    Current score: 0
  13. Frelance says:

    “The more she talked about moments, the more our earlier talk popped into her head, where she’d lectured me on the importance of momentum.”

    I have the feeling a wrong pronoun is employed at least once here

    Current score: 0
  14. Trystia Farrower says:

    I must say that, while I’ve liked Callahan for a long time (though I prefer Embries), these last few chapters featuring her since the new book, including last class, have been superb, and even better than in the previous book. I’m not certain if it’s that your writing has improved, or if Callahan is just now getting enough screen time to become an even more well-rounded character, but at this rate, I may have to nominate her for Best Supporting Actress.

    Current score: 0
  15. Bob says:

    I always looked forward to Coach Callahan’s classes. This one promises to be even better.

    Been trying to figure out what “those little things that might be axes or scythes” are…kamas maybe?

    Current score: 0
  16. readaholic says:

    Excellent. Like others who have posted, I enjoy both the small MU technology reference and Callahan’s fighting class in general.

    Current score: 0
  17. Ripster says:

    Again with the awesome AE. I really enjoyed reading this installment and appreciate your hard work. Good job!

    Current score: 0
  18. ylistra says:

    I’m supposed to be teaching this class with the assumption that you are fighting in defense of yourself and not attacking people for the hell of it…

    ^^ What class number is that? 😀

    Current score: 0
    • Argyle says:

      Combat 213 “Might makes Right” Seminar

      Course Description: In this class you will learn how to make the world a better place by beating the living crap out of wimps that deserve it.

      Topics will include:
      Identifying worthless woosies
      Suppressing empathy
      Politicians
      Maximizing Pain

      Current score: 0
      • Zukira Phaera says:

        Combat 213 is a prerequisite course for the following classes which have never been mentioned but are fun to speculate about and are in no way cannon.

        Deicide 101 “Nuff said”
        Class description: In this class you will learn to be so bad-ass that you can take on a god.
        Topics include:

        How to tell if you’re actually facing a deity
        How to kiss your ass goodbye
        Failure is not an option
        Coping with success

        and

        Alternative Theology 218: From Seeker to Priest(ess) of Pain.

        Class description: Pain and all its pleasures are explored and bestowed.

        Topics include:
        Incapacitation and humiliation.
        Incapacitation and dismemberment
        Incapacitation with minimal effort (refresher)
        Incapacitation with maximum pain infliction.
        Toying with an opponent who doesn’t have a chance
        Torture

        (and now to take it one step much too far)
        Special guest speakers/demonstrators Amy and Mack speaking on the pleasures of pain (with demonstration)

        Current score: 0
    • OhPun says:

      Combat for Delvers

      Learn to immediately and effectively attack anything not in your party.

      Current score: 0
  19. Don says:

    My grod but I love Callahan. She’s not someone I’d like as a person but she’s my dream professor – motivated, passionate, fa- okay, not fair, but CONSISTENT. Mac could do way worse than to have her providing some guidance.

    Current score: 0
  20. Loves me some Callahan!

    Current score: 0
  21. Mikromancer says:

    just found a nice picture of what looks like the eyeless fish beast 😛

    http://mezamero.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d3n318l

    Current score: 0
  22. Anders Celsius says:

    “The more she talked about moments, the more our earlier talk popped into /her/ head, where she’d lectured me on the importance of momentum.”

    Wouldn’t it be “into my head”?

    Current score: 0
  23. pedestrian says:

    A.E., i adore your writing style. your descriptive language makes visualizing the story a rich spectrum of imagery.

    you have achieved a higher standard in sexual literature. With adult themes and believable characters.

    frankly, after my wife’s passing i found sex boring and almost all pornography tedious exercises in narcissist infantilism. Your work is therapeutic.

    Current score: 0
  24. pedestrian says:

    before i forget, i thought Nae was in this combat class. i hope she doesn’t go unmentioned. it would be interesting to read about her possible combat styles amidst a rampaging herd of testosterone and adrenalin mainlining oafs.

    i envision a cross between a hornet and a scorpion. with a lethally venomous stinger. The mocked venom could cause convulsions or temporary paralysis. Or, hell this would appeal to Callahan’s wicked humor, the mock venom could cause hiccups or flatulence.

    In a group melee, visualize Nae flashing through the struggling mob, Lightly slashing everybody with her mock venom.

    Last man standing! Nae on a pile of writhing giant bodies, waving her stinger triumphantly. Callahan fall down laughing. Vene Victrix! change Nae’s name to Nike.

    Current score: 0
  25. Khazidhea says:

    “but apparently not everyone had listened a cared.”
    and/or instead of ‘a’
    “doing class-related things before the actually starts”
    missing a word, probably class between the and actually

    Current score: 0
  26. Anthony says:

    Typo report: “I was loathe to admit…”

    “Loathe” is a verb meaning detestation. The word we want here, meaning “strongly reluctant,” is “loath,” no E.

    Current score: 0