Monday, November 17, 2014

Learning More....

I begin reading blogs about fighting, boxing, muay thai.... especially those written in a woman's voice.  I want to know how they got started, what they think, how they are doing with it all.  They must have had similar experiences in relation to being female in a men's club.  I'm reading The Glowing Edge and 8 Limbs Us mostly.  I am watching some highlight videos recommended to me from Coach J -  Conor McGregor and JoJo Calderwood.  Sometimes watching the youtube videos freaks me out.  I'm not sure why.  Just that I am such a beginner and those people are SO GOOD and have made it their job/life.  And that isn't really my goal... to make this my job or life.  So I get intimidated or overwhelmed or ...?  I don't know.  Something.

And then I give myself a talk - remind myself why I'm doing this.  This is for the art of mastering my movement and becoming handy in using myself and handling myself. 

A guy at work asks why I do this and why don't I just get a gun or pepper spray.  Completely dismissing the effort to learn this.  And to me that is such a misunderstanding.  I want to rely on MYSELF and know that I am strong and know how to use myself to my advantage vs. relying on something else like a gun or mace.  I don't know if that makes sense.  And at the same time I don't think my learning this sport is a fail safe.  I don't think because I will learn to strike and kick that I am invincible or that I can't be hurt or attacked. 

However, it gives me a chance.  A chance I didn't have before to suprise someone wanting to do me harm and get the hell out.  It's a knowledge my muscles carry and my brain conveys adn that I carry with me always.  I don't have to check my purse or my belt or my pocket to see if it's there, to see if the safety is off... it's a reliance on myself if you will.  And I'm not condeming people that carry guns or pepper spray at all... to each their own.  It's just that to me, it's important that I know what I am capable of and to use my own self - my own body to do it. 

In the reading I've been doing, a lot comes down to sparring.  To get better, you need to find sparring partners.  I'm not a green shirt so I can't come to sparring class... and I started calling the gym and making noise... will there be other classes offered other than the 2x a week?  Is there any other way to spar?  If I asked other beginners to get together is that against gym rules?  Would the gym have problems with that if some people got together to skill practice?

I become a complete pain in the ass.

Monday, November 10, 2014

More Muay Thai...and being a girl

I go to my muay thai classes religiously.  You can't expect to get better at anything if you are sporadic or only do it when you "feel" like it.  I LOVE my boxing nights.  Hitting the pads is technical, thoughtful, and empowering.  Even though I know I am no good (how can ANYONE be good at anything they just start unless they have been bitten by a radioactive spider?) I feel powerful in my boxing classes hitting pads and learning about punches.

I could listen to the coaches talk about how to throw a punch over and over because every time they explain it to new people that come, I hear some other small nuance that I missed the other times I heard it explained.

Being a girl in muay thai is interesting.  And frustrating.  The fact that I'm THERE... I'm out of my comfort zone, I'm in a room of men, often the only woman... and I'm so much older than anyone there... should let people know I'm there and I'm serious and I really want to learn this.  However, society frowns on men hitting women and for good reason.

I get it.  I was around domestic violence growing up.  It's horrible and freaking scary and should never be condoned.  Men don't hit women. 

Unless... they are in boxing class.  So it's a weird thing.  And I'm so happy when one of the men there brings it and doesn't "seem" to pull punches into the pads I hold for them... and at the end of class when we grapple, I am so glad when a guy really tries vs. just going limp or soft and letting me easily best them because I'm a girl.

And I struggle with this and I admit I have a chip on my shoulder about it.  And I admit things can be 2 sided.  Guy holds a door open for you and he's a gentleman but then you want him to punch you in the face in boxing class.  Doesn't compute and mixed messages galore.  And what guy wants to be the one who punches the girl and she freaks out?  What if she wasn't expecting it or had a different idea of what boxing would be?  I don't know all the reasons they won't hit back or hit hard, I'm not a guy.  I can only imagine.

Some nights I come home elated... buzzing and vibrating full of energy and excitement because I felt like I was paired with guys that didn't pander to my being a girl.  Other nights I come home so incredibly frustrated and mad because I was paired with guys that caved and wouldn't fight and were like wet dishrags because I'm a girl...

And especially if I'm taking this course to learn how to be strong should someone ever attack me.  Those guys are not helping me.  I'm not learning.  No attacker is going to play "nice" because I'm a girl.  That is a perceived weakness that they will try to exploit. 

There are way more classes I come home excited than mad however and I am loving the feeling of power and figuring out how to use my body technically to be stronger, more balanced, faster.  It's really amazing. 

I'm a white shirt - baby beginner.  Once you have 40 classes you obtain green shirt status - still a beginner - but a beginner that knows at least a little of what is going on.  When you obtain your green shirt, you are allowed to come to the MMA sparring class held Thursday night.

We get a chance to spar a tiny bit with Coach G and Coach J on Wednesday nights.  A quick 2-3 minute round.  I love my sparring time because it is so dynamic.  I can shadow box and punch a bag all day long but nothing else is coming at me.. I don't have to worry about keeping my guard up (which I should always do but when no one is hitting you, it's easy to forget or to not notice)

I can.  not.  wait.  until I'm a green shirt. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

UFC Reality Show

There is a show on tv now about women strawweight (115lbs) fighters.  They are the best of the best... some were picked due to their fight records, the others had to go to "tryouts" and were picked based on the skills displayed there.

The fighters are put onto two teams, each coached by different men and they all live in this house... it reminds me of an MTV reality show... ugly.  They train and they will fight each other until there is one ultimate winner - the UFC Strawweight Champion. 

We DVR'd it... I watched 2 episodes and decided to delete, delete, delete. 

I get it's supposed to be entertainment... but good grief.  Are we at the point where all the crap...the drama, trash talk, anger, crying, negativity, hate is so freaking entertaining?  I really hate reality tv like this.

I liked watching the training - I liked hearing the women's back's not something a ton of women are flocking to and I want to hear how they got involved, why they stayed with it, what they get out of it, what challenges they face.  And I liked watching the fights - I want to see how they defend, how they go offensively, how things are scored... the ebb and flow of a real sporting event.

I enjoy seeing muscular women because you just don't see them every day and while I don't get that much shit about it any more... I got SO. MUCH. SHIT. from co-workers mostly when I started getting muscles.  So I watch and I like seeing other women who train and have muscles.

After watching the 2nd show I found myself having that black cloud of negativity and wondering if I should be doing this and if I was cut out for going to a muay thai class....

Decided YES.  I AM.  I am having fun, I am fit, I am strong and will get more fit and more strong where I need it if I am lacking for this new endeavor.  I don't think you have to hate your opponent... it's no different than a soccer game or basketball game... you go up against an opponent, there is a winner and a loser, you shake hands and it's nothing personal.  You go back home and figure out what you need to work on if you lost and you work on it... like ANY OTHER SPORT.

So yeah --- delete.  Don't need the drama, the negativity, the hate.  There is enough of that in the world.  I can learn how to fight and remain cheerful and have fun doing it.  I'm not freaking Rhonda Rousey and I have no aspirations to be. 

I liked a post by Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu who is training and fighting muay thai in Thailand.  She was speaking to how the children begin fighting young and it's a way of life for them and it's why the Thai are such great fighters.  She talked about a girl she works with (I think she is 12?) who is very serious but lights up and laughs a lot when fighting because she loves it so much and it brings her joy.  And she talked about a boy (younger - maybe 8?) who, even when faced with someone much larger or skilled than he is, goes at it 100% and throws himself in. 

She ended her post saying to be more like them... and THAT is what motivates me.  Not the "entertainment" of tv producers driving hate, the tearing down of others, the anger...

It's the the SKILL and the JOY that comes from moving well, getting stronger, learning skills, knowing a sport and figuring out how to be better.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Muay Thai

Muay Thai is Thailand's combat sport using striking and clinching - also known as the art of 8 limbs because both fists, elbows, shins and knees are used.  8 points of strikes....

I go to the Muay Thai class on Monday and Wednesday nights.  I have often been the only woman in the class and my stomach is in knots when I go.  I am nervous and it is outside my comfort zone and I am not at all relaxed.  It's all full of guys and they look so serious.  I am the oldest person there.  The coaches are in their 30's... the guys in the class are anywhere from 15 - 30s.

I am 43 and a woman.

Dave came with me for the first class... we got there early and the two coaches... Coach G and Coach J showed us how to wrap our hands and gave us a pair of boxing gloves from the gym to use.  We were shown 4 punches...

#1 being the jab - which is your off hand.  I am right handed so my jab comes from my left hand and goes sorta straight out in front.  I was told it's sort of a distance measuring hit... because then when you punch with...

#2 - which is your cross - and that comes from your dominant hand, my right,  there is more reach and A LOT more power...your cross is your wheel house... your strength... and your *don't F*#^ with me* hand.

Next is #3, your hook.  That one I struggle with.  It comes from your off hand - my left -  and is more sideways across your body than straight out.  This one is slow and awkward for me and I know I'm not making contact correctly or with much power.

And then comes the #4 which is your cross again using your dominant hand - my right.  

1, 2, 3, 4.... and we practiced those punches over and over.  One person held pads and the other punched into them.  Then we switched. 

Dave decided Muay Thai was not his thing and that is a-ok with me.  I'm so incredibly thankful he came with me to the first class for support and to try it out.  He is so wonderful that way in his support for me. 

I found it really cool to hit pads.  It felt really good to HIT something!  I'd never hit anything before.  It felt powerful.  Even though I knew I was a beginner and sucked (because we ALL suck at new things) and I knew my punches were prolly as weak as a baby duck.

I knew I wanted to learn more, I really liked Coach J as he seemed super supportive and I liked the pace/structure of the class.  I had/have the added motivation of wanting to know how to handle myself or have an idea of what to do if I should ever be attacked. 

I signed the gym's contract that night. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

message from the universe

kay.  Anyone that has read this blog will know at 40, I somehow got BIG TIME into fitness.  Sort of all consuming in that I read about it all.  the.  time.

I started a Facebook page for the sole purpose of following fitness articles, motivational memes, pictures etc.  It's my little place to get my geek on and I try to tone it down sometimes by sprinkling in some cat vids or heart-warming dog pix or cool horse things once and a's really just my fix for all things fitness.

And this is not unusual for me as I tend to be a JUMP IN WITH BOTH FEET WHILE SCREAMING YAHOOOO sort of person when something really excites or fascinates me.  This has bitten me in the ass more than once.  However, it can also work in my favor sometimes too.  I never know which will happen.  Falling on my ass or having fun.

I started taking a Muay Thai boxing class in June or July this year due to a strange culmination of events that was years in the making and it sorta floored me how crazy the universe's message to me hit loud and clear.

When I first began to get into shape, I somehow found this guy on the interwebz by the name of Dave Hedges.  He is a strength coach in Ireland who works with kettlebells .... And martial arts fighters.  I wrote to him, he was kind enough to send some encouragement which fed my fire to learn more.  He is straight forward and makes a shit ton of sense.  I asked him questions, he would respond.  My questions were about general fitness and I didn't pay that much attention to the fighters he talked about because it seemed WAY out of my reality.  Like way, way out of my reality .... ever. 

So a couple years go by and I begin to work with this really great woman I met on the interwebz, Cori Lefkowith.  I was working on my own at the time, having just left crossfit and I was trying to fit all. The. Things.  Into my training.  She not unkindly told me to stop it.  Focus.  She wrote me some programs based on my goals at the time.

She simplified things.  She helped talk me off the ledge of going a ga-zillion miles an hour in every work out and trying to do it all....she explained several times why I did not need to pummel myself into utter exhaustion with each work I was hurting myself more than helping myself....she helped me see the value in slower paced work, along with faster/harder work... the ebb and flow.

I rehabbed an elbow injury that I earned from overuse and not properly prepping my joints/tendons/muscles for the work I asked my body to do.  I did a lot of stretching, rollering, moving in all movement planes.  She explained why that was important....she helped me not be such a freak over getting a workout in.  She gave me her time and was not judgmental.

And she was currently working on boxing for her goals.

Again...I thought....damn, tough woman and immediately dismissed anything like that would EVER hold any interest in my life.  It never occurred to me that I could do it or would be tough enough to want to do it.
More time passes. 

About a month before an upcoming business trip, Dave hedges shared a blog post from a woman that hit me in a hugely powerful and profound way. I Punch First.

I started thinking about taking some sort of self defense.  I didn't thing about boxing really... I wasn't sure what exactly I wanted to do about it and it sat on the back burner. 

While on my business trip to Atlanta.  I found myself walking back to the hotel on my the street lights....tons of underbrush and greenery for someone to hide in on both sides of the road immediately next to the sidewalk/ moon.....and I thought holy shit.  If someone would
come at me.....I would have NO idea what to do.

Yes, I have a decent confidence, yes, I carry myself well, yes, I have relative strength/coordination..... I would still have no idea what to do to defend myself.

I really hated that feeling.  Really, really hated it.  Vulnerable.  Helpless.  Weak.  Afraid.

My business trip was over and I'm on the plane ride home....I'm sitting next to this very well dressed man reading a sailing magazine.  "No way is he from CO" I think.  And I don't know why but I ask anyway...." from CO?"

He is from my home town in CO which is incredibly odd.  I've never sat next to anyone from my home town in all my flights and trips for my job or for vacation.  He has we are talking dogs, really hitting it off, which in of itself is also weird....mostly it's polite chit chat and you go back to reading your book.  Turns out he is good friends with one of our veterinarians, Dr. turns to fitness, and he goes to a gym in Ft. Collins that runs Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu.

He says I have GOT to come to his gym.

And I do.

And somehow I am in a Muay Thai boxing class.  And it is REALLY. FREAKING. COOL.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Speck update

Well - I don't know if it's luck or if I've really actually made progress. 

I stopped using the clicker because Dave won't use a clicker and I'm going out of town for 2 weeks in June.  He'll be the goat milker and I need her going into the milk room without the clicker. 

I let her out and if she comes to me she no longer gets her saltine cracker.  I've upped the requirement to get a treat.

She has to go IN the milk room and up on the stanchion to get her saltine. 

There have been a couple times she has decided not to go in the milk room. 

I don't want to re-enforce the running away.  I want her coming to ME vs. me going to HER.  Which means I have to have patience.  I  sit and wait her out.  If I don't have time to do this, I take her collar as she comes out the gate to make sure she won't run and play keep-away.  Consistency.

First time she ran off and I sat to wait her out it took roughly 30 min... with me cussing under my breath because it's super aggravating.  It's like watching her flip you off and you can't do anything about it. 

Dave walked by a couple times in the midst of doing some yard stuff and was like "wow - I wouldn't be able to wait like that..."  Yeah.  It wasn't easy.  I was mad but couldn't act or be mad cuz it would just drive her off even body language would be "mad" and NO ONE...human or animal wants to approach anyone who is mad at them. 

Second time it happened was like 15 min... and now it's just a few minutes at most before she goes in the milk room on her own and up on the stanchion... so if I wait, act like I don't care and I have the saltines ready for immediate reward....

Well, from her perspective, she is outside the goat pen and isn't able to eat the hay I just brought in when all the other goats are chowing down...

She isn't getting grain since she isn't in the milk room on the stanchion...

She isn't getting saltines since she isn't in the milk room on the stanchion...

Her udder is full...

The human isn't chasing so it's not a "game"... 

I guess she figures the shennanigans of running all about playing keep away aren't worth it.  There is no pay off.

shrug.  Not sure what she'll do with Dave when I am gone.  I'll make sure to tell him he may want to take her by the collar on the way out of the gate since I know he won't have the patience to wait on her and I hope what I've done with her won't be undone....

However, she is milked 2x a day so whatever is undone can be redone when I get home!  I get the opportunity to "train" her twice a day.

I've also been thinking about the differences in how Speck was raised vs. Daisy...

Why does Daisy so readily go into the milk room when she is out and wandering around and when she sees I am ready to milk, she happily trots in and jumps up?  I never have to chase her.  I call her and she comes, ready for milking. 

It could be a personality difference... I don't know.

I really don't remember specifics in baby goat raising as we do everything pretty much the same.  I can't help but wonder if we let Daisy out and about more vs. keeping her in the pen?  Baby goats are so curious and when loose, they really just follow you all around.  Sort of like you are the "mama" goat out foraging and if you were wandering to new pastures or whatever... they keep you in sight... they will run off and play if you are stuck in one spot (me pulling weeds vs. a goat that would be browsing on food) and they always come back to check in.  If you begin to walk away, they come running and stick with you until you are in the next stationary spot.  Much like I imagine it would be in the "wild".

If they wander some place and they can't see you, they begin to call in a "panicky" tone and if you  talk to them and make noise they come ZOOMING in like "oh!  thank-goodness....THERE you are"

Yeah, yeah - I'm anthropomorphising all over myself but shrug.  I'm not a researcher and I DO think animals think and feel... not like we do ... and tho they certainly communicate with each other and they find ways to convey things to us hoo-mans. 

Anyway, we've been letting the two doe kids out and about with us more when we are in the yard for any length of time weeding/mowing etc.  I wonder if it will shape them to come to us more readily when they are milkers... it's my very non-formal experiment.  Besides, it's fun having a couple baby goats following you around and zooming around, kicking up their heels, bouncing and springing like little "Tiggers" all over the place....

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It was a bust!

I sold five 3oz lotions in four hours.  Whomp whaaaa....  

And man I was so "up" and stressed out Thursday and Friday leading up to the market.  Everything came together rather quickly for me to even be in the market and I sort of hate that because you just know when you are crunched for time, things are bound to go wrong. 

We made lotion Thursday night... the batch didn't turn out quite right and I didn't know what happened... if I made a measuring error or what... it was late, we were tired... I didn't have enough supplies to make more.  I Googled to see if there were any soap/lotion supply places in Denver... surely Denver is big enough to have someone..right?

Turns out I did find a place - Mile Hi Soap.  You could place an order and pick it up the next day - so I placed an order for more supplies with the intention of picking it up Friday.  Friday rolls around and I get a call from Mile Hi Soap that they are out of stearic acid... which is needed for lotion.  It gives lotion it's "fluff" vs. being flat like water or oil. 

I called around to Vitamin Cottage, Whole Foods... nope.  No stearic acid.  I call Mile Hi Soap and tell them my fortune would have it, another soap/lotion maker was in the store and said she would sell me 2lbs of her supply. 

I headed to Denver. 

PARKING LOT.  I-25 was a complete parking lot.  What should have taken me 2.5 hrs round trip took 5 hours... I was near tears with frustration on my way home as I didn't get back until after 7pm... I hadn't eaten... was starving... had to pee like a race-horse and we still had so much lotion to make for the market the very next day....

We were up until midnight... back up at 5AM.... set up and ready to go in the market by 7:45AM....

And I sold 5 small bottles. 

Oh.  *head hangs in disappointment* 

Silver lining is that I have enough lotion to last the rest of the year!  No more late nights, I won't need to re-order supplies for a LONG time... I need more bottles but there is no rush for I'm good to go.

And when I picked up my things at Mile Hi, I talked to the owner and chatted him up about natural preservatives.  Going all natural would decrease my shelf life lotions would grow mold 6-8 mos. in.  No bueno my friends, no bueno.  As it is, my lotions last for up to 3 years...not that one should keep lotion around that long...but I have peace of mind knowing if it sits on a shelf, it's not going to grow any nasties and cause people odd problems... 

Once again I wonder what the "market" is for my lotion.  People like it a ton...but I just can't quite seem to find it's niche.  And like I've said before, we have day jobs so I'm not completely invested in putting a huge chunk of time finding that niche.  I try something.. sit back and evaluate... and part of me thinks - just give it up... make it for yourself and your friends and just be done with it.  I have so many other things going on with my job, horses, dogs, goats and family. 

I'm signed up for once a month through October... so maybe things will pick up but I don't see things picking up so much I'd sell out... in the meantime, it's fun people watching and chatting and working on my "sales pitch".  grin.