…or fighting two 6’3″ guys at once…or coaching a tired, frustrated second grader…or cramming five forms into ten minutes.
Last week I didn’t go to taekwondo class at all. There was a major upheaval in my life that I saw coming, but the aftershocks are still rumbling through my quiet home and uneasy heart. All the meditation and law-of-attraction reading and mental pep talks helped, but they didn’t stop me from sinking into a micro-depression and spening most of the weekend curled up on the couch watching Netflix. I know it’s leading to something good for everyone, but the cards haven’t been fully played yet. Who knew the best remedy would be a good healthy distraction?
I was a little worried about going back to class on Monday, or as we call it, “cardio night.” Could my weakened body handle it? I haven’t exercised much lately nor have I eaten much, so I’m whittling down to the haggard weight I was when I started taekwondo as a very troubled soul with a drinking problem and a rattled sense of self. But…I’m slowly getting my groove back. Saturday I went to an invigorating yoga class with my favorite teacher. Sunday I swam laps and my muscles sang with joy. I haven’t cried in three days, which is a welcome change. My mind wants to shut down and hide, but my body knows it’s time to get back in the game.
Monday was great! We had a large class, which meant lots of fast-paced drills and WAY too many giggles for a martial arts class. I needed those laughs though. I was asked to lead the warmups, and at first I hesitated since my mind and heart were still twisting and turning around recent events, but it helped me refocus. My specialty is yoga and Pilates, so I took the opportunity to take my victims–I mean, my students!–through some of my favorite poses and exercises. I came back for a double tonight–sparring and advanced red and black belt class. Surprisingly my lungs, heart, and legs (although still sore from Monday’s duck walks) kept up. I felt relaxed and at ease for the first time in a few weeks.
The dojang is the only place where I am truly and utterly present. It is such a perfect yoking of mind and body that it rivals yoga. “It’s moving meditation,” I said to my classmates in a singsongy voice when the instructor asked if we wanted to run through a few forms and they groaned in response. And it is. I didn’t realize how much I need taekwondo or my classmates and instructors until tonight.
Grandmaster cornered me before class and encouraged me not to give up. He must have noticed my absence over the past month or two, but I haven’t told him why. He noted that many people quit around red belt since they don’t see rapid progress. “Be patient,” he said, “It’s not like this,” shooting his arm straight up into the air. “It’s more like this.” He wiggled his hand to indicate tiny stair steps. One step at a time, one day at a time, one class at a time it will all work out.
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