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Although my dojang has officially opened, they’re still offering thirty minute virtual classes throughout the week. Saturday morning I did a virtual black belt class in my home. After some warm-ups and a few forms (although I had much less space, Keumgang felt better in bare feet than in those damn taekwondo shoes), my instructor said we were going to work on kicking. Okay cool.

Jump kicks.

Great, fine, I like jump kicks. I’ve done plenty of them.

Our first round of kicks was a version of jump snap kick where you lift your front knee up to get leverage and then kick with your back leg. It’s like the very end part of a flying kick and something my school teaches to lower level students before they do jump kicks with both legs.

I like jump snap kick. While it’s not the most practical kick in taekwondo, it’s fun to do for a good leg workout or for breaking, and I happen to be good at it. There are two jump snap kicks in Taeguk Pal Jang, which is my favorite of the Taeguk forms (if I must deign to do Taeguk at all, ha ha) and one in “Koryo One,” which is an old-school form rarely taught these days but one I still practice and one my master and I have shared with students at my new school.

So we did twenty knee-up jump snap kicks, alternating legs each time and keeping one leg hiked up in the air.
Fine. I’ve been working out for the last two months in quarantine. I can do this.

Then we did it for roundhouse kick, and I knew what was coming next: regular jump snap kicks and roundhouse kicks with two legs springing up, twenty for each, equally forty kicks on top of the forty we’d already done.

I glanced at the clock in my library, where I was working out. We only had a few minutes left. Maybe we’d do a nice cool down after this. My heart was pounding pretty hard, and I had to take some long, deep breaths to slow it down.

Nope. There was more. We finished with jump side kicks, using the back leg, as if you were springing up to do a flying side kick. Twenty kicks, alternating left and right.

Holy hell was I tired after that. I did an audible gasp and trotted little circles around my room while I sucked in air to once again slow my heart rate down.

After we cooled down and I logged off, I lay on the floor resting for a moment and stretching before I went on with my day. I thought about the workout I just did and counted the kicks in my head.

One hundred kicks. We did one hundred jump kicks in under ten minutes.

I am forty years old and work at a desk most of the week, and I can do one hundred jump kicks in less than ten minutes after doing abbreviated workouts for the last two months. Not bad.

Time can fly, and time can drag, and time can be well spent or wasted. I don’t think we need to fill every moment with “doing” something (sometimes just “being” is exactly what we need), so I’m not going to dictate how other people spend their time.

I’m just presenting an opportunity:

If I could do one hundred jump kicks in less than ten minutes, what else is possible? What can you do in ten minutes? Or, what can you stop doing for ten minutes to give yourself a much-needed respite?

You have time.

Stay tuned for my upcoming book – “Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts” published by She Writes Press. Coming to a bookseller near you April 20, 2021!

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