Monday, January 21, 2008

My Off-Hours

Our Kenpo school is trying hard at the moment to come up with ways to up attendence in Leadership Club, to which Hubby and I both belong. We go once a week, when we have babysitting for the later class.

When we started, Leadership was whispered of in the back room. Those who belonged went off to this extra class after the regular session, and we didn't know what went on up there. Once you reach yellow belt (normally within three months, if you attend regularly) you are eligible to apply to be part of the club, but no one had told us what to expect, and it was extra time and more money...Hubby wants to be an instructor helper in the kids' classes and Mr. Pollara wooed me with weapons...

Not only do you get a discount on all special classes and equipment--including new belts when earned--ya get to beat the snot out of each other, in more imaginative ways. Mr. Pollara teaches it and it's lots of fun.

That said, my favorite part of Leadership is the weapons. Not so much the sparring, since I'm the only woman who shows up and I'm the smallest person there.

Monday night, we had sparring. My ears are still ringing. Yes, we wear protective gear, but instructions to limit our hits to "50% speed and 10% penetration" do little in those who don't know their own strength. It's like jumping into the ring with a bear, a kangaroo, a chimp, and a silverback gorilla. Tag. Boof. Pow. See Kelly stumble a tad.

You remember the old gag where the older brother, he of longer arm than you, would hold his palm on your forehead and no matter how hard you swung, your arms could not connect with his ribs? That was me. Against four men. With no glasses on, cause that would be stupid. Four fuzzy men. "Get in there! Get a hit on the ribs, make em stand still!" (the rule was if you got hit, as an attacker, you had to stop for the count of two). Dude! I couldn't reach their ribs before their fists hit the side of my head.

One of the four--the bear--wears these nasty shinguards. Hubby's shin is swollen and black and blue this week and last from meeting those shinguards in combat. The bear scares everyone--we have instructors who go out of their way to avoid sparring with this dude. "Go, Kelly--you're in the middle." Whee. Big ole' bear paw to the side of my head. OW.

Why do you do that? you ask. To learn. To feel. To know how a punch to the face, to the stomach, to the leg feels, how much I can take and still swing, to memorize the adrenaline of evading three much larger attackers at once. To learn strategy. To get the attitude of a fighter, so I can imbue my writing with all of this. Battle scenes lack a bit when you have no battle experience. Prior to Kenpo, I had neither thrown nor taken a punch other than wrestling with my brother as kids. My writing is already better for it, and same for my reading and editing, for picturing action scenes.

And slimmer thighs are a bonus :-)