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.