Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


Use the Force

Would you mess with this guy? I’m guessing not.

Hello Dear Readers,

Sorry my blog presence has been so haphazard recently. I’ve just been so busy! Between freelance work and work-work, there hasn’t been a lot of free time.

My training for the green prajioud started today. I received my training schedule from my kru Kelly Westerlund on the weekend, and for the next ten weeks, I’ll be spending at least five days (and sometimes six) at the dojo. At least two of those days are double classes. I’m also keeping track of what I eat and drink, and at the end of March, that information will be sent to a nutritionist. (Who hopefully won’t keel over in horror.)

I came to a very important conclusion halfway through today’s Level 2 class. Fear has ruled me for way too long. I was terrified about being able to pass the running portion of the red prajioud test. I was scared to take the test. I’ve been nervous before every Level 2 class I’ve ever shown up for, and after one of the instructors mocked me, I stopped going to his classes. I’ve been scared to spar, scared to hit a colleague too hard, and scared the cardio will kill me.

One of KWest Kickboxing’s instructors ribbed me about taking it easy on my partner Vanessa during a leg-check drill. He thought my crappy shinpads were the reason I wasn’t kicking her harder, but it was actually because I didn’t want to kick her hard. I like Vanessa. She’s a nice person. She doesn’t make me to want to beat the crap out of her. But, from Vanessa’s perspective, I know that she doesn’t learn much if I take it easy on her. The whole point of Level 2 is to train as fighters, and that means taking a good hit sometimes. (If you take a good hit, you’re much more apt to be conscientious about protecting yourself the next time.) So the instructor took over for me, and proceeded to kick the hell out of my partner, just to demonstrate how it was done. And he really enjoyed it–you could tell.

We moved on to another drill, this time a super cool way to block a hook-style punch. My block wasn’t working the way it should, because to do it right, you have to use quite a bit of force, and once again, I was being wimpy. But Vanessa is super smart, so she told me to pretend I was Grant (the instructor who whaled on her). So I did. And you know what? It worked!

I suppose channeling Grant is just a variation of “fake it ’til you make it”, but I’ve never been able to fake confidence. When I pretended to be Grant, I actually did feel more confident. My blocks got stronger. I suddenly had no problem hitting Vanessa, and she didn’t mind. She hit me right back, just like a good partner should.

I really think Vanessa was on to something here. It may sound silly, but the next time I’m giving in to that wimpy, cringing fear, I’m going to ask myself WWGD. (What Would Grant Do?)

And the answer is easy, of course. Grant would kick your ass.

* Photo courtesy of Jordan Jenkinson.

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  1. shahin

    This is amazing!!! Keep up the good work and Don’t ever let fear hold you back

  2. Story Teller

    Thanks, Shahin! You’re pretty amazing yourself.

    Grant would say: “Fear? What’s fear?”

    I think Grant is my own version of Chuck Norris.

  3. Ashleigh

    I might have to channel this “Grant” character at my thesis defense….

  4. Vanessa

    Holli I too have had fears and anxiety about doing well succeeding. I think it takes a bit to realize that that the pressure is coming from ourselves. I remember my L2 test, I was almost sick to my stomach and Kelly came over to me asked me how I was doing. I said “REALLY nervous” he then replied, remember all that pressure is coming from you, not me.

    Accomplishing my L2 test was such a wonderful experience that I am extremely proud of. I had to train to do my run b/c like you I am not a fan of running. Then it was on to level 2 classes, which I was so scared of b/c of the conditioning and my lack of knowledge.

    I wasn’t sure about the sparring either but it was Grant who said that it would probably take at least 6 months to feel “comfortable” with it. Low and behold, 6 months on the dot, I said to myself, hey sparring and class isn’t so bad. I actually like it now.

    I also reailized that our challenges make us stronger mentally. I’ve never considered my self to be metally tough especially when it comes to cardio. I still have a long way to go in this area but I know that you won’t improve unless you do it. L2 classmates and instructors all help me through this either from example or actually working right along side me pushing me.

    Everyone has strengths, I look at you and admire the fact that you constantly set goals and work towards them. Also the fact that you’ve been through very strict/traditional clubs that hit you with sticks and cleanliness was a forgein word is amazing. Your ability to overcome adversity in your personal life is also inspiring. I mean come on…getting out of an abusive relationship and recovering from a broken back is amazing. Now look at you. You have a wonderful boyfriend, you’re following your dream to become a published novelist, and challenging yourself physically/mentally in k/b (when your original prognosis was that you would not be able to walk).

    Girl, give yourself some credit where credit it due. If I told you about a girl I knew who did the same as you, I’m sure you would think that she was exceptional!

    Guess what, I bet there are some people who use YOU as their source of confidence.

  5. Laura Best

    Understanding what holds us back is a very big step. Fear is a real biggie. We even make excuses to try to justify things and sometimes even believe lame excuses.

    Sounds as though this will work wonders for you. A good post to remind other not to give into fear.

  6. Story Teller

    @ Ashleigh – by all means, do it! I’m fairly sure Grant’s power knows no bounds.

    @ Vanessa – wow, what can I say? What a wonderful comment. If I’m too hard on myself, I think it comes from knowing the level I used to be at in this sport/art. It’s depressing sometimes to think how far I have to go just to get back to where I used to be, if that makes sense.

    If I can inspire people, that’s fantastic, but I’ve never had that kind of over-the-top, if-people-don’t-like-it-they-can-kiss-my-butt kind of confidence. I admire it. I may not ever have it myself, but you’ve taught me that I can emulate it.

    Since I’ve joined Level 2, you have been the most gracious and patient about sharing your knowledge and skills. If you feel others helped you when you started, just know that you’ve given back tenfold!

    @ Laura – thanks for your kind comments. I’ve had enough of fear. It’s time to channel Grant and kick its butt!


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