|This is how I feel today!|
Welcome, dear readers.
Today is a great day! I’m still riding a wave of euphoria…I did a double class last night, including the dreaded Level 2, and…I survived!
I not only survived; I had a fantastic time. I’m not saying the class was easy, because it wasn’t–far from it. But going through a tough experience like that with a small group really bonds people. The support and camaraderie in that team is incredible.
Everyone was so welcoming and encouraging, including Joscelyn, the instructor. I was lucky from the start, because I got paired with a fantastic partner. Vanessa was super sweet and complimentary, and she managed to push me to do my best without ever being condescending or making me feel like a loser. (Sometimes a person demanding that you “give them some power” just isn’t what you want to hear, especially when your muscles are exhausted and you already feel like you’re giving it your all. Well, she never said that.)
We started with some intense skipping drills (Joscelyn took my puny rope away and gave me one considerably heavier) and some footwork exercises, and then moved on to two-minute drills. Your partner stands at one end of the gym, holding thai pads, while you stay on the other end with your gloves on. When the bell rings, you sprint to your partner, throw a jab and cross, followed by a roundhouse kick, and then run backwards across the gym, where you do five push-ups. Then you repeat the process, as many times as you can in those two minutes, as fast as you can. You do not jog. And if you’re cheating on the push-ups, Joscelyn will notice and call you on it. We each did five rounds of these two minute drills, and Vanessa went first, which gave me time to catch my breath from the Level 1 class I’d just taken. (Told you she is a sweetie!)
I immediately noticed that this class is at an entirely new level, because as much as I’ve been with some strong kickers in Level 1, Vanessa almost knocked me over with that first combination. I was not expecting so much power, and I still have roundhouse envy. Wow. That girl could kick through a brick wall! And she never lost that power, even though those two minute drills are exhausting.
After the two minute drills, we went into super sets of: superman punches, push-kicks, roundhouses, switch kicks, and jab-cross-roundhouse combinations. I’m still learning the superman punches, which we never did at Sik Tai, and Vanessa was very gracious and patient with me.
I’m noticing how much of a difference other people’s energy makes to my performance in a class. During the Level 1 class yesterday, I was lackluster and low-energy. I felt like I had nothing left to give, so I was really nervous about getting through Level 2. But as Level 2 went on, I kept feeling better and better. I think I kicked harder than I ever have in my life! There’s something about being part of a group of people who are doing their best and really pushing themselves that makes you automatically rise to that level. If this is Level 2, I’ll definitely be back.
One more thing that is astounding me–sometimes I’m a little stiff or a bit tired, but overall, I feel fantastic! I usually get chronic headaches/migraines, where I’ll have one every day for a week or more, but I haven’t had a single bad headache since I started training for the red armband. I’ve been pushing myself to the limit at every class, but I’m not that sore, and if anything, I actually have more energy. This is not what I expected at all.
I’d like to thank a few special people from KWest who have really helped and encouraged me on this path: first of all, to Wayne, who has been such a good friend and incredibly supportive. He’s shown me that my fears and doubts are needless, while still acknowledging the way I feel and pushing me to get past it. He’s a great fighter, but also the kindest person you could ever hope to meet. To Vanessa, who’s a fan of this blog and who was such an awesome, welcoming partner yesterday. To Joscelyn, who kicked our butts but actually did the entire class himself as well (he has my undying respect for that). At the end of class, he told me that “anyone who pushes themselves like that is always welcome”–I was flying! To Kathy, who wasn’t there last night, but who has also been super encouraging and welcoming. To Derrick and Joe, who helped me not take it all so seriously, and to my Level 1 training buddy Nicole, who probably thinks I’m insane for training so hard, but has never said so. And most of all, thank you to Kelly, who made all of this possible for me in the first place.
Most people don’t consider kickboxing a team sport, but they’d be wrong. Behind every great fighter is a group of people who have sweat, cried, and laughed with her. You’re only as good as your training partners. I seriously believe that.
I’ll end this post with something Vanessa told me whenever the class got really tough. “Every one makes you stronger.” So true.
Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with laughter and love. Thanks for being here.