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.