Maja used to do martial arts as a child and teen. I used to be so jealous of her fitness level and strength. I remember her showing off one day at school – she climbed atop the tables in the hall doing push ups on her fists… the catch being that she was going them over the gap between the tables. One fist and foot on one table, the other fist and foot on the other.
I knew even if I could do a few real push ups (Hey it had been known to happen… I once in a while seemed to have random bursts of strength and could do several in gym… then other times I could barely do two lol), I was such a klutz I would have fallen anyway in such a scenario.
I was a bit jealous, but it wasn’t enough for me to, you know, actually take up a martial art. I was never very sporty. I had my moments, but not enough so to commit fully to any given sport.
Though, come to think of it, if I had followed Maja to Tae Kwon Do I might have actually beat Anneke when we sparred occasionally…. Anneke did rugby and had a brute strength advantage over me. I mean, I held my own against her… but she always won in the end.
Anyway, the other night Maja said she loved seeing me in my gi when I post pictures on facebook. While I’m doing Jiu Jitsu and not Tae Kwon Do, it makes her proud to see me taking on a martial art. It’s probably impressive enough that I am doing a sport longer term at all, honestly.
I told her that on one hand I wished I had started much earlier, but on the other hand I know myself. If I had started in High School or in my 20s, I would likely have given up when it got too hard or tiring. My motivation would have been lacking. I wouldn’t have been in the right headspace to commit.
“Right,” she said. “You definitely need to have the right frame of mind to do martial arts. You have to have real determination.”
It helps to have the knowledge that you’re gonna get your ass beat all the time, eventually the beatings will lessen as you get better… but they’ll still be there occasionally. It helps to have this knowledge and to either not care, or thrive on that adrenaline.
Well, now I’ve found the motivation and the determination. I’ve framed my mind the way it needs to be. A lot has changed since I was younger in that regard. I’ve also found a good gym and a great coach. I’ve found a group of people that, though they have no issue beating me up obviously, are good training partners. People that want each other to succeed.
Thank goodness. If I had started at a gym where the people weren’t helpful or nice I probably wouldn’t have continued.
I’m still in the getting-my-ass-beat-all-the-time stage, obviously. But it’s slowly getting better. We have a competition coming up in a few weeks, and while I do not expect to win anything at all, I have no excuse not to sign up.
Last time there was a local comp, I had literally gone to only two classes. I came to watch in street clothes as coach had encouraged me to come watch so I could see how these things work.
I got there and he told me to put on my gi.
“I didn’t bring it…. You said just to come watch.”
“Then put on my gi,” he said as he went to the closet to grab one of his spares. It’s lucky? that he and I wear the same size.
So I jumped in and got served a healthy dose of whoop-ass. It helped that I had no expectation to win, though I did at least try. It apparently helped to prove I might actually have some proverbial balls (or “testicular fortitude” as one of the guys might say, haha.)
This week, we had another new girl start. Coach was trying to get her to sign up for the comp in a couple of weeks. She was politely declining, but he still has some time to convince her – so we’ll see.
Coach told her how he did the above to me – how he made me compete after just two classes, and how now I know it could never be worse than that day – at least now I’m slowly gaining more skills.
She’s also a good match for me so he wants to see us compete against each other. When sparring with the girls they are all usually “smaller than [me], been training longer, or Liz.” Haha …Liz being a blue belt that is the same size/weight category as me… but very skilled. She’s a force to be reckoned with.
Last night he put the new girl and me together to roll. She wasn’t sure what to do and was nervous about other people watching – though she has picked up quite a bit of basics already – so I asked her if she just wanted to practice a few moves or if she wanted me to fight back. We decided I’d give some force to the scenario and I gave her a piece of advice that’s been working for me: don’t worry about people watching. They don’t expect you to be skilled yet…. and just fight back. Don’t think about it too hard. Use skills you know already if you can, but otherwise just do whatever you can to get on top. Eventually, you start learning what works and what doesn’t. (And, hey, if you try to do something that’s not allowed or could injure you, coach will tell you not to do it… so still learning opportunities to be had 🙂 )
She put up a good fight, I tell you what. It took her a moment, but she really got into it. A couple of the boys that were on the sidelines lifting weights, set their stuff down and starting yelling out instructions and encouragements… Haha, they started calling out instructions to me first and she looked up and asked if it was for her or me… When they started adding my name, she said “Why are you telling her what to do??”
Really, it was because I was the one on bottom at that point I think, not special favours necessarily. I think they told her some things to at some point anyway – it’s kind of a blur LOL… Either way, afterwards she said it helped motivate her with others cheering etc and made her not feel so awkward about everyone watching.
Anyway, ultimately I submitted her (yaay!)
But I told her she did really well. People were impressed. Coach was impressed, and excited at the prospect of having us grapple at the comps. By then she’ll have a few more weeks’ training… and she could very well submit me. Wouldn’t that be a boost in confidence? 😉
Here’s hoping she signs up… and shows off her own “testicular fortitude.”