Saturday, February 26, 2005

No longer new

"Most people quit martial arts after getting their yellow belt," Mr. Houtz told us the other day.

I can see it. There's something exciting about just beginning an activity, going from not knowing a THING about martial arts to knowing how to do some simple moves, memorizing a form, breaking a board. In fact the theme of this blog has been what it's like to be NEW at something.
I can see how it might be tempting to quit because you feel like you've done enough after you've passed that hurdle. It's tempting for me to quit . . . except I like writing about this too much!

I have to admit, though, now that I'm a yellow belt, the newness of learning a martial art has worn off a bit. There's a bit of a plateau in terms of how much I'm learning. The story isn't so dramatic. The challenges are more subtle now, like learning how to make my moves "snap," and keeping all the forms straight in my mind.

Somehow, I've got to figure out a way to write about my experiences and keep the drama, keep a focus, make it exciting--or at least interesting--to myself and to you, my readers.

That's the challenge I have ahead of me. It seems that along with narratives of my experiences in classes, I might follow more of those tangents about fitness, being 40-something, being a mom, being a writer. Maybe I'll write more about ballet. We'll see. It will be a good challenge for me.

And of coure, I do have a really NEW challenge ahead of me in class: learning to freespar. That means fighting against my classmates while wearing padded gloves and leg padding. Without running away (my initial instinct in these situations). Yikes. Well, if that isn't laden with rich, dramatic ambivalence, I don't know what is!

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