Yesterday was my first time back inside a Taekwondo school in six years. I had not realized how much I missed it. It was amazing! I spent my entire high school career out of organized sports and instead at martial arts tournaments. I competed in fighting, forms, weapons kata (sai), and breaking. Through college I dabbled a little in some other fighting styles and then when I moved to Tennessee I took it up as an adult. But when farming came into my life, along with a full-time off-farm job it was impossible to find the time to be a corporate designer, farmer, and martial artist. I paid for it, losing muscle and flexibility and gaining weight. I love the farm, I loved my old job, but I do not love how I let myself fall out of shape. Mark my words, I am getting it back.
Yesterday I spent two hours working out and being evaluated as a new student at a dojang in Glens Falls. It was harder than I remember, but still etched in my body and mind. I can not tell you how wonderful it felt to be back on the mat. This is my kind sport, what makes sense to me. I am useless and bored on a softball or soccer field. I have no interest in running around a track in circles. Gyms feel like hamster wheels and work out videos grow repetitive. And folks, not even the kilts could make me join a field hockey team... But being a fighter, hot damn if I don't adore it. Archery, martial arts, riding a horse, these are what I consider my athletic skill set. I admit its a little old fashioned and perhaps not the usual for my gender, but what can you do? We can help what we like, we can't help what we love.
So I love martial arts but it has been a long time since I was back in a martial artist's body. I miss it, feeling thin and confident. My resolution for this year is to get back to my old fighting weight. And you know what? The only way to get there is to fight for it, literally. So several times a week I'll be with the rest of the adult students stretching, kicking, and punching my way home to it. Fitness isn't my only goal though folks, I am going for my black belt. To me a black belt is meaningless if you aren't pushing yourself to the point of breaking, shedding pounds and tears, and coming out the other side looking (as well as acting) like a role model to the younger students. Right now I am not even feeling like a role model to myself, and the dojang and the path back to expert will lead me back home to it.
It's also about keeping my promises. I promised myself I would attain black belt in this short life. I was very, very close at my first school but got involved with a guy and romance trumped tournaments and ranking. Before you knew it I was off to college and and then working in an office five days a week and fell out of practice. I missed it so much I joined a school in Knoxville, but moved to Idaho and did not get to advance to black belt there either. I don't regret the choice to fall out of practice, be it for men or moves, but it's time to get back to my goal.