Thanks for coming back this week to hear the rest of my not-so-legendary kung fu tale. Without further ado, please enjoy this exclusive peek into the training journal of a real-life suburban warrior.
Aug. 2, 2014: Dear Kung Fu diary, I can’t believe I’m actually considering this. I’m going to break my neck. Or worse, end up in an embarrassing viral YouTube video.
I’m told kung fu is appropriate for a wide variety of fitness levels. I wonder if they mean, like, “Hey, it’s totally fine that you can only run a couple miles” or if they mean, like, “Hey, it’s totally fine if the best part of your day was the pizza and beer you had for lunch and you felt out of breath just walking in from the parking lot.”
Hubby seems pretty enthusiastic about the self-defense aspects, especially since I have repeatedly refused to carry a firearm. I’d rather outsmart a potential attacker, or disable him by kicking his weapon out of his hand, breaking his arm and crushing his windpipe. Scott says I’ve watched way too many action movies, and he seems quite a bit more amused than I’d like.
I mean, how many local hooligans are going to expect some random Tillman’s Corner mom to ninja roll into the room and come at them with a full-scale kung fu assault? Just imagine the bewildered look on their faces when I pull out my sword and start assailing them with Cantonese profanities.
Aug. 15: Holy crap, I start tomorrow! Can’t believe I’m really doing this. I’m absolutely TERRIFIED!!!
Aug. 16: Is it bad that I literally struggled not to vomit during the five-minute warm-up? Otherwise, it was pretty awesome! I was so nervous before class and I almost chickened out when I saw several classmates doing hand-springs across the room, but I felt much better when they assured me they don’t expect me to do anything I don’t feel comfortable with. I’m pathetically out of shape, but the instructors and other guys in my class were incredibly sweet and encouraging, and they actually made me feel a little silly for being so apprehensive. I got this!
Aug. 19: These people are evil and sadistic and it’s obvious they hate me. Do you have any idea how many push-ups I did today? Neither do I. I’m pretty sure I lost consciousness halfway through tonight’s workout.
Aug. 21: Everything hurts. Every. Single. Thing. Why are these monsters trying to destroy me?
Sept. 3: I can no longer walk. I now navigate my home and place of business by crawling.
Sept. 9: I was a little sad to catch myself dreading tonight’s class. It’s not that I want to quit — I refuse — but right now it’s so mentally and physically challenging. It feels like dragging myself through a door each day where I already know I’ll get the ever-loving sh*t beat out of me, but I keep coming back. I know if I just hang in there, the payoff will come.
Oh god, it’s already time to go again! Noooooooo!!!!
Sept. 10: Eh, it’s cool. I was awarded my first sash at the end of class last night! I am awesome. Kung fu is awesome. I am a beast.
Oct. 9: Tonight I was encouraged to attempt to (1) cross from one side of the training floor to the other in a rapid series of dive rolls, (2) cross from one side of the training floor to the other in a rapid series of cartwheels and (3) fling my substantial mass down into a handstand and cross from one side of the training floor to the other walking on my hands. Ummm … nope, nope and nope. LOL.
Dear god, please tell me no one was filming that belly flop!
Nov. 4: I actually had a blast tonight. Aside from the pain, which has become more tolerable, I love this journey! I already feel so strong and flexible and more in tune with my body. I’ve even learned numerous ways to evade an attacker and three different ways to break someone’s arm. I tried one of my moves on Scott, intending to simply demonstrate the mechanics of the technique without applying much force, and he howled in pain and snatched his arm away. Oops. Pretty sure he’s scared of me now.
Despite my enormous self-doubt, my instructors tell me I’m doing great every day, and my classmates are so supportive and cool. I love the camaraderie and feeling of acceptance. We’re all there for the same basic reasons, and nobody cares about your gender, the color of your skin, or even if you completely suck at everything. All that matters is that you show up and do your best.
Nov. 23: What the hell just happened? It still doesn’t make sense to me, but it seems I just performed in a public kung fu demonstration. Like, on a stage, in front of a crowd. This still seems so surreal. WHO AM I?
Sept. 26, 2015: Where has the time gone? Ben and I have both put in over a year of hard work now. He’s had a challenging journey of his own, but we’re both so much better off because of it, and I’ve never seen him more confident and focused.
I’m still chubby, but less every day, and I can’t believe all the things my body can actually do. I still suck at cartwheels, but these days dive-rolling across the room is my idea of a good time!
Everyone has been so amazing, and I’ve met incredible people I hope I’ll know for the rest of my life. My instructors, in particular, will never know how much their unfailing support and encouragement have really meant to me, and how much they have taught me: above all, that I am stronger and braver than I ever knew, and capable of so much more than I ever thought possible.
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