Well it’s been a couple of days, and let me tell you they were HELL.  Work has been perfectly awful, but worse than that was my class Tuesday night. 

It was a terrible day at work, and I had actually been thinking about skipping class that night.  My head wasn’t in it, I hadn’t really eaten anything, so I know my energy was low, and I felt awful.  But I went, and got there in time for the 6:15 class, which meant I would be with new people and a different instructor.

The instructor’s name is Eddie.  He’s a little guy, maybe an inch taller than me, and probably in his late 40’s, if not slightly older.  From what I could see, he must have been doing this his whole life.  He seems like a very nice guy, but instead of calling the class to attention, he just jumped right into FIGHT STANCE.  Everybody jumped into fight stance, but I just jumped.  And I can’t even begin to describe the position I ended up in, except to say that if you’ve ever seen a Jerry Lewis movie where he dances, that pretty much was me.

Eddie then proceeded to use me as the EXAMPLE OF WHAT NOT TO EVER DO.  The whole class pretty much consisted of me screwing up and Eddie calling attention to it so everybody else would know what not to do, ever.  I tried to not let it bug me, but maybe it was just a bad day, because it bugged me.  A lot.

Eddie then proceeded to make everyone run.  And in case I haven’t made this clear before, I DESPISE RUNNING.  But it wasn’t just running that Eddie made us do.  No, not by a long shot.  No, Eddie then proceeded to make us turn in 360 degree circles as we were running.  And then he made us run SIDEWAYS.  And flail our arms as we did so.  Suffice to say that I prayed for sweet, merciful death.  Being the slowpoke that I am, I had to move to the center so people didn’t run my slow ass over. 

Eddie then proceeded to make us learn side kicks.  Now, I had just learned snap kicks, and I was pretty good at them.  With snap kicks, you point your toes and essentially kick your assailant in the nuts with the top of your foot.  This is something I happen to enjoy doing, and I am quite proficient at it.

Side kicks, on the other hand, are something that the human body was never, ever meant to do.  Eddie calls CHAMBER UP, so you lift your leg, but then you have to kick out sideways, toes out (instead of pointed) and lock your knee so that your leg forms a stright line and your heel or the blade of your foot makes contact with your presumed assailant.  The first time I did it, I thought I dislocated my thigh bone right out of its socket.  But I kept at it.  I couldn’t get my leg high enough, but I kept trying.  At the end of the night, my legs were like jelly.  I could barely make it down the stairs to the locker room, and I felt utterly defeated and humilated.  Much like Rocky, the first time he tried to make it up those steps.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue with MMA training after class ended.  I questioned my decision, argued with myself over and over– I am 40, after all, and except for my last two years in high school, I have never been the athletic type.  Maybe I am not cut out for this sort of thing.

But then I thought about it.  It was only one night.  Yes, it was a bad night, but it was only one night.  And I’d made a promise to myself that I was going to earn that blackbelt, come hell or high water.  Hell and high water are pretty much what I’ve been getting, but I knew I had to continue.  And after talking to my friend Scott– who had competed in MMA for 7 years– I decided I couldn’t just give up because of one bad night.  This is my self respect we’re talking about.  Quitters never win, and winners never quit.  And Scott gave me my new motto to live by: PAIN IS NOTHING MORE THAN WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY.  I loved it.

So I had Wednesday night off, but today, Thursday, I was back to dreading the class tonight.  I had a stomach ache.  My legs still hurt.  But I went ahead, showed up for class, and dreaded the running.  Surprisingly, I did better tonight than I did Tuesday night.  I still got tired.  I still lost it with the 360 turns and the sideways running and I was still the slowest one in the class.  But I survived it.

Then Eddie threw in push ups.  Damn.  But not normal push ups.  No, these were squat push ups, with a six count.  I think he might have felt sorry for me– my ankles are shot, so I just couldn’t do the push ups– so he told us that if you couldn’t do all the motions, just count along with the class and do what you can do, that way you’re still participating and still putting some effort into it.  So I felt a little better.  Then it was time for the stretches.  I am actually pretty good at stretching, but my ankles were on fire.  I did what I could, and surprisingly, what I could do, I did pretty well.

And then the real fun began.  Tonight we were learning to counter punches.  So we partnered up and luckily I was partnered up with a very nice girl who is a yellow belt and is very good at everything we’ve had to do so far.  So we had to jab at each other, counter the other’s punches, and eventually even FLIP the other person to the floor!  Punching is my thing– I love it more than life itself, and so far it’s really what I do best, so I was in my glories.  The flipping part was just the icing on the cake, if you ask me.  I landed on my ass a bunch of times, but I knocked her on her ass, too.  And I was told that I pack quite the wallop, which was an awesome thing to hear.

When class was over, Eddie took me aside, and told me that I did a great job tonight.  He advised me to keep working on getting into shape, but if there are things that I just can’t do, I should just not do them until I am able to– he did not want me to hurt myself.  And I really appreciated it. 

So I don’t believe Eddie is the Antichrist anymore.  He’s a good guy, and a tough teacher, which is what I need.

So I am home now, and I moved my elliptical trainer into the spare bedroom so I can work on it and build up my stamina, and hopefully my ankles.  Once more, I am looking forward to the next class!

Another thing I learned is that it is important to take in more calories on days when I have class.  I feel like I ate a little too much, but I had the energy I needed to get through the class.  I also took some Ibuprofen before class to minimize the pain as much as possible.  For me, I think those two things may be an important key.  On days when I do not have class, I will take in less calories.

So, all is well in DeMarcoland.  I will find ways to add to the workout, get in better shape, and really try to improve.

Ciao for now!

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