Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pre-Thanksgiving Torture

Kickboxing was insane tonight. Because the dojo is going to be closed until Monday for the Thanksgiving holiday, Sensei Brandon decided that he needed to squeeze a week's worth of workout into one class. It was torturous. I'm not the gushing sweaty type, but I came out of the class as drenched as if I had just stepped out of the shower.

At one point Brandon had us doing these choreographed kickboxing maneuvers, and it was utterly embarrassing for me because I am so uncoordinated and I couldn't get them down. I was stumbling really bad and pretty much just wanted to quit. The situation worsened when my lack of motivation caught Brandon's attention, and he came over to walk me through the steps in front of the whole class. He pointed out that I was trying to watch the other students too much, and I needed to relax and just do it, without worrying about whether I did it perfectly or not. After a few more failures, he made me do the moves with my eyes closed, because again, I was trying to watch the other members of the class perform the maneuvers instead of just relaxing and doing them. After a while, I finally was able to do the moves (more or less), and the whole class erupted into applause. At that point I felt like that one commercial, "Want to get away?" I could just feel myself mentally sinking into embarrassment.

Later in the class, we had to pair up with a partner to practice jabs, hooks, push kicks, and round kicks. Today's class had 19 students, so inevitably someone was going to wind up without a partner, in which case that person is paired up with Brandon. I am never paired off with Brandon. It's usually an experienced male with a more advanced belt that is willing to pair up with the sensei. I began by pairing off with Sarah, and after some shuffling around, she and I got separated and I was standing across from another regular in the class...I can't recall his name. We were getting ready to begin when Sensei Brandon pulled me away from my partner and had me pair up with him. Petrifying. I had to go eight rounds of punching and kicking with a fourth degree black belt--an absolute master of his trade. How the hell did that happen? And all the other students in the class got to switch off with their partners, meaning that for the first three minutes one would punch or kick while the other held the pad, and then they would switch off. But I was required to be the aggressor for every single round with Brandon. Because of the fact that we were so unequally yoked, obviously there was no way he could punch or kick me--I'd be thrown across the room. So there was no stopping, no rest periods, just go go go.

After getting such one-on-one instruction from Brandon, I feel a combination of invigoration and guilt. Invigoration because Brandon really pumped me up and I could feel my punches and kicks (especially the kicks) improving. But guilt because he just wasted all this time on an uncoordinated, hopeless white belt. He was so patient and motivational, and he really should reserve that energy for someone who stands a chance of gaining something from it. I'm a lost cause.