Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Should I stay or should I go . . . .

Can't decide whether to attend all-belts class tonight.

On the one hand, maybe I need a big break from TKD to get my focus back. Maybe I need NOT to spar for a while.

On the other hand, I feel in need of some exercise after my relatively sedentary day at the college. And I do want to work on my form. And plus, it's just nice to be there with everyone.

"Are you going tonight?" asks Bruce.

I finally decide. "Yeah. But if they spar, I think I'll just slip out."

At the dojang, I decide to work on focus. That will be my project for the evening. I start with something I always used to do: Sun Salutation, a set of yoga moves. I do it right in the middle of everything, and manage to keep my concentration. I am breathing. (You have to with Sun Salutation!)

One advantage of having people from my school read this blog is that they know what's going on. I think they're looking out for me.

"Doin' OK?" asks Brian. "Yeah." I say. "I need to stop thinking and just do this stuff."

"If you're feeling scared, you just need to do those moves even stronger," he says. "Just do the moves."

"Yeah," I say. He's right. As usual.

Aimee, Brian, and I do our forms (no pauses; I'm focused) and then Brian and I practice our 3-step sparring.

"I'm going to punch straight at you," warns Brian. "OK. I'm ready," I say. I appreciate the warning. I let the movements fill my mind; I perform them strongly; the fear doesn't surface.

The class is a good workout. Master Hughes is back, and he leads us in basic movements, using the Korean terms. It's a mental and physical workout. It's easy for me to focus here: I watch the back of the person in front of me, spotting as I turn, kick, punch, block. No distractions, not even Master Hughes wandering by fazes me.

After we do our forms, we line up for combination kicking. Kind of practice sparring.

Here's my chance. I can split now.

I decide to stay.

Brian A. is my partner. He's been reading this blog so maybe he's watching out for me, too. At any rate, he is precise and controlled in his kicks, so they don't make me flinch. (Later I wonder if I've been sparring with strong, tall, yet uncontrolled teenage boys too much. I've gotten hit by at least one . . . )

"Get your sparring gear on." Another chance to run. I stand in place while the others dash off around me. I breathe. I get my gear.

While I put it on, I sit by Stacy, a black belt who's also small-boned, though taller than I am. "I'm having some fear of sparring these days," I admit to hear as we put on our gear. "Oh, I've never liked sparring," says Stacy. It's nice to have someone who understands!

But it's not too bad. I spar with a teenaged girl (Brittany--she's shy and overweight, but sweet) and a boy, Curt's son. I also spar with Curt, who's helped me before. He's slow and not flexible, but knows his kicks and has good ideas for me. "Use that double roundhouse," he reminds me. Oh yeah!

I survive it all. Was my focus better? I think so. Am I over the fear? I think it will be a constant challenge for me to keep my focus and not think too much.

No comments: