Back in the day, I was an avid kickboxer. I know, this is surprising for someone who sits on her ass as much as I do, watching TV, but it started out as a way to vent my lack of creative expression.
There was a dojo (that's what martial arts schools are called, not sure why but it sounds cool) just down the street from where I used to live. I passed by it on numerous occasions and for the longest time didn't think twice about actually going in. I didn't "do" martial arts.
Until one day, the frustrated artist in me needed to punch something. So I walked in, and signed up for kickboxing, having absolutely no prior martial arts experience. Before I could join a group class, I had to take two private lessons to learn the moves and the lingo to avoid that "deer in the headlights" look in a group class.
During my second private lesson, as I recall it, I had a brush with death. I couldn't breathe, and I was certain I was going to toss my cookies right then and there. The instructor was very patient and told me to sit for a few moments to catch my breath. I also didn't like that my extremities "jiggled" when punching or kicking. What WAS that? Jello? Was there Jello IN my body?
After my first group class, I could barely get up the stairs to my apartment. I was convinced my legs had turned to stone, or was it two pillars of salt as I looked back on my former slovenly lifestyle? Anyway...
I fell in love with kickboxing, especially since it felt perfectly tailored to someone with a triple "A" personality like mine. There were tests, higher and higher levels to attain and medals, MEDALS, Olympic style, and dammit, I was going to get all of them.
After about four years of dedicated practice, I was one of a small handful of students to graduate from the advanced kickboxing program. I was now in the "elite" group. Then, I guess life happened, I moved to another neighbourhood, and didn't step foot in a dojo for about three years.
Recently, I decided to dust off my kickboxing gear, and get back in the game. I found a dojo in my new 'hood and signed up as a member.
While commuting to work, listening to my iPod, I had visions of me, bleeding nose, bruised body, with one arm up, traipsing around the ring, à la Rocky Balboa, victorious in my first competitive match. Oh yes, I would attain my former dojo glory, and much, much more.
It's funny how reality can creep in and bitch slap you. On paper, I'm one of the most advanced students, even at the new dojo. On the mat, however, it's another story, one of a truly humbling nature. I had to start out in the beginner classes, to get my cardio fitness level back to where it used to be. My body remembered the techniques but was in no mood to get that heart pumpin'.
Within the first 30 seconds of that first class, after a three year hiatus, I thought I was going to die, again. Chest heaving, dizzy, and discombobulated, I wondered how I had let it come to this. Then, I pulled up my britches (metaphorically speaking) and vowed that I would work my way back to my former "elite" status.
The irony is that this time around, there are no tests, since I passed them all. The only real examiner of my progress is me. Three years ago, when I graduated, this distressed me. I liked having the structure of goals, but now I'm savoring the fluidity of no particular goal in sight, except maybe to one day step into the ring... and survive.
Yeah.... that's right..... you..... heard me........
when I..... catch..... my breath........ you're.......
going down..... bitch.