…What’s The Problem

Last night I dragged myself to the dojang.

I wanted to be there, I wanted to go, but at the same time my bed was tempting me. Wouldn’t it be fun, after working from home all day, to just put on my PJ’s, climb into bed, snuggle with my comforter and binge watch something on Netflix?

My brain was feeling numb and I almost gave in.

I did everything possible to make myself late for my class. I cooked a batch of pancakes, I took my time gearing up, I did some dusting, I read some articles online, I may have even hung off the side of my bed – upside down…and the list goes on….

I figured if I was late leaving my place and it took too long to pass Yonge street, I’d just turn around come home and go with Plan B – Pj’s+Bed+Netflix.

Surprisingly, traffic was a dream and I arrived at the dojang a good 30 minutes before class start time.

Wow.

I walked into the ladies change room. There were a few kids getting ready to leave the dojang after their class and sitting in the middle of the floor was a little boy about 4 years old. He face earnest while he struggled putting on his socks.

I couldn’t help myself and observed outloud, “There is a boy in the ladies change room!”

He looked up, looked me in the eyes and deadpaned, “And what’s the problem?” and turned his attention back to putting on his socks.

Moving The Gold

It’s been 11 months since I joined the dojang.

We pick places that smell and we keep going to them because we like the people, the people like us, there is an accountability and we encourage each other to do better. There has been progress, I no longer trip, as frequently, over my two feet; I can punch something in front of me and I can stand my ground without flying through the 2nd story window (that right there is accomplishment!).

Three weekends ago – it’s been that long – by Sunday afternoon my body was screaming at me and I was wiping sweat from my brow. The sweat was the physical indicator that I’d been pushing myself out of my comfort zone. The screaming was my brain telling me I was done absorbing new information. What I could not have predicted is this particularly physically and mentally draining weekend would help me through the next three weeks.

Serious.

“When I punch towards your face and you parry without moving your head, what happens?” Master Ramirez questioned us. I sat there on on my knees, surrounded by my classmates, speechless – did he just ask us to solve an algebraic problem ? It felt like it.

“I’ll steal The GOLD,” he exclaimed, where the gold was a reference to our heads.

I snickered to myself, since when does “The Mummy” and Kru Muay Thai ever intersect? Here on the dojang mat, apparently!

Master Ramirez continued, “When your opponent strikes, your parry is a distraction and you move The GOLD while they are distracted.”

He stopped, he turned to face us, “Is this only true in Kru Muay Thai, in the ring?”

“No sir,” we state loudly and in unison.

“Everyday someone is trying to steal The GOLD. Work, for example, there is always someone competing with us, trying to outperform, beat us in ‘the ring’ and what do we have to do? Move the goods, move what ever it is they are after, that thing we are defending. Move The GOLD!”

And as my reward for snickering silently in my head at this solid life-advice, I’ve been busy “Moving My GOLD” for three weeks solid.

If I thought I was exhausted three Sunday’s ago, I am officially all tapped out!

Can I simply leave The GOLD in one spot for one full week? Please?

“There is power in knowing that our moments can, and will, inevitably shift. Knowing the good won’t last forever gives us permission to embrace the moment fully without clinging or depending on it. Acknowledging the bad won’t last forever gives us strength to move forward instead of being caught up in helplessness, and insight to make shifts and changes if need be. Impermanence is a blessing in disguise. And non-attachment is the only way to truly forgive and love another person.” ~M. J. Ross

The pre-Grade Quandary

Tonight is the night.

It is Grading Night.

It’s not a surprise.

We’ve known about the date for weeks. In fact we’ve known this was “likely” happening months in advance.  Heck, we signed up for this “punishment” so what did we expect.

Not all Muay Thai programs grade their students. Then again not all Muay Thai dojang’s focus on technique which is what I particularily love about being a student at T.H.A. Martial Arts Toronto.

That doesn’t mean to say I enjoy grading!

I’ve gone from White to Yellow and tonight is my grading for Orange.

I’ve been to classes, I’ve practised on the mat, I’ve practised in my head on the way to work, on my way home from work, while eating dinner, in my sleep. I’ve been mentally living my moves for weeks….mostly in my head.

All day, while working, I’ve been pushing the thoughts of grading out of my head. I pace my condo, strum my ukulele, roll my hand wraps.  And yet here I am 3 hours before I must present myself at the dojang and the idea of this grading feel like punishment to my brain and later, to my body!  I am contemplating, why oh why I ever thought Muay Thai was a good idea!

I am imagining a very exhausted, tired Donnafay.  Picking myself up from the mat. Wishing I had better conditioning, better footwork, more focused punches, killer kicks.

But I have committed myself.

I pull myself back to the moment of now.

Take a deap breath.

Gear up.

As prepared as I’ll ever be for what awaits….

Bring it.