Monday, August 01, 2011
Dance music is pounding, I'm drenched in sweat, my arms and legs are shaking. "Five more seconds." I'm holding a side plank and those last five seconds feel like ten minutes. It takes every ounce of my concentration and will to stay up. "On your backs for leg raises! Right away! Go!" I flip over and focus on my breathing as I watch my legs move up and down to the beat.
Then we're back up for more kicking and punching. Side kicks. First speed, then power. More speed, then power. Switch. I hold the bag for my partner, who's driving through me, but I can't let myself be knocked backward - I need to be a strong target for her. I let out my air with each strike and lean into it. My turn again, and I try to hit harder this time. She's solid, strong. I can go as hard as I want. I think through the bag and try to push her back with each kick.
Punches. Speed, then power. My knuckles are starting to feel raw, even with the gloves, so I mix it up. Jab cross. Jab jab cross. Hook uppercut. Knife hand ridge hand. Ridge hand knife hand. Palm strike palm strike. Switch. She's pummeling me but I stand strong and lean into the strikes.
Back on the floor for crunches and leg raises. Planks. More crunches.
Jumping front kicks, jumping roundhouse kicks. I hurl myself through the air, hitting the bag with everything I've got. I dig in while my partner does the same.
Finally, after an hour of this, we stretch. We're dripping wet, relieved it's over, happy, dancing, guzzling water and Gatorade, high-fiving each other, then dashing into the changing room to get into our gis for class.
I'm in the second row, right behind the red and black belts. Class isn't much easier. The Sabumnim didn't take kickboxing tonight so she's not thinking about what we've just been through with the Master. She puts us through more of the same. Pushups, crunches. Do a form. Do a form with a pushup between each move. Tap drills. Run through all 20 fighting techniques including trips and falls. Run through all 20 fighting techniques from the opposite stance. My partner is 19 and he's amazing. One of my favorite people to work with. We show each other no mercy. Seven lap sprints. Crescent jumping inside crescent kicks from both stances. All 36 Tae Kwon Do actions. Jab cross hook uppercut roundhouse low high back leg. Back to forms. I haven't done this form in weeks - I struggle to remember the complicated string of moves. My mind races to keep up while my body is on autopilot. More pushups. Crunches. Pushups. Crunches. The hour's up.
And now I'm home. The cat is purring on my lap, I'm enjoying a Belgian white beer, getting ready to put in the laundry, take a shower and put the kids to bed and feeling...
Strong, healthy, calm, relaxed, centered.
I wish it didn't take 2+ hours of torture to get to this, but if it does, I'll gladly take it. Any day. Every day.
Posted by Kath at 11:04 PM