We’ve said before that the purpose of this blog was to find new directions for our lives, to try new things, and welcome new hobbies (not that we would ask too much out of an internet forum). I am a firm believer that you can always learn new things about yourself if you give yourself the chance to look. For example, I have been kickboxing for a few months now (our first experience was detailed in a different post), and even though I knew before that I was a competitive person, there was no way for me to know how competitive I really am until I signed up for those kickboxing classes. Here’s the story:
I was standing at my usual bag wrapping my hands before class (that’s right, gloves and wrap; my life is pretty hardcore), getting my head in the zone. The usual 7:00 pm class people were there, chatting, stretching, and doing the same mental preparation. That’s when a new girl walked into class and took up camp at the bag right in front of me.
I have to step away from the story to detail a few things. The gym is set up with rows of bags in front of each other. The two rows are connected to the same framework. Therefore, the boxers face each other when working out at the bag. So even though we don’t have any actual contact with the person in front of us, it gives the illusion that we are punching the same bag. Also, to fully appreciate the story and my attitude about the situation, I’ll have to describe myself for you all. I stand about 5’7”, about 120 pounds. Basically, I’m tallish and lanky, and not surprisingly, pretty clumsy as a result. By appearances I don’t look super athletic. Like maybe I could pass for a (slow) runner, but I’m certainly not going to be bench pressing any impressive amount of weight. And while I’m proud to say I can make it through most of the class before feeling like falling on the floor and giving up on everything, I still get that feeling of falling on the floor and giving up on everything.
Now back to the girl. This girl was about 5’9” or 5’10”. I couldn’t guess her weight, but her abs looked like they were trying to jump out of her tank top. Her hair was in a perfect ponytail. Basically, she was kickboxing Barbie. She walked straight up to the bag in front of me and got out her gear (This is an important note: She was new, but had her gear readily available). She had this bored expression on her face and wasn’t particularly interested in any of the chatting going on around her. Then, while we are all lounging around and stretching, she just starts doing pushups. For fun. That’s when people started taking note of her presence, and she was aware of it. She got up from her pre-warm up-warm up and looked straight at me. I even think she did one of those menacing I’m-going-to-destroy-everyone half-smiles. And we both knew. Today was a battle, and only one of us could walk away victorious.
Then class started. As it turned out, we were pretty evenly matched. We were punching at about the same speed, kicking at about the same height. She was killing me in pushups, but I definitely had her beat in squats. All was going well, until there were only about 15 minutes left in class. Both of us were pretty worn out. We expended all the energy we could up to that point. We were punching and kicking so hard the bags threatened to fly right off the hooks. We recognized the fatigue in each other and were starting to call a truce. But then, the instructor called for an attack round (a round where you do anything you want, any kicks, any punches, whatever you can throw in the time allowed) and neither one of us wanted to be one to back down. We stepped up to our respective bags and the fight began anew. She came out of the box much stronger than I did. There was a wave of fury beaming out of her face. She was in this to win. And right when I thought she had, her legs betrayed her and she started feeling weak. In the last 10 seconds of the attack round she slowed down to break and I knew that was my moment. I gave everything I had left knowing it was only 10 more seconds to victory. I punched harder than I had ever punched, kicked higher than I have ever kicked. And when she paused and stepped away from the bag, I knew than I had won. And with that victory I threw one last glorious punch… missed the bag and uppercut myself right in the face. I guess you could say we both won that one.
So now I know, I will literally punch myself in the face before stepping away from a battle. It seems pretty ridiculous (and embarrassing), but it did help me realize that I can push past limits that I thought existed. So many of the things we tell ourselves to keep from failing are completely made up in our heads. Sometimes we just need a punch in the face to get some peace of mind. Lesson learned. And of course, I encourage all of you to go out there and challenge yourself. Push past your limits and learn something new. It’s totally worth it, I promise.
Also, try kickboxing. It makes you seem so badass.