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.


“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 Cheese and My Foot

imageIt was a late class. The dojang smelled of teenage sweat. Teenage sweat smells different from any other kind of sweat. And in a dojang with the windows closed, it felt like we were pushing our faces through invisible bricks of the most revolting curing cheese.

Sitting on the sidelines waiting for our time on the mat, a classmate leaned in to where I was sitting and with her Triny accent (which secretly sounds German), quietly whispered, “Someone should really open a window, don’t you think?”

I was thinking the same but the idea of crossing the mat and parting through the teenagers still working on their drills, felt like a physical hazard waiting to happen. Safer to stay seated and let myself become the cheese. Known fact, in order to overcome, just become! No?

Our turn on the mat. Someone managed to open a window. Fresh air. It was going to be a great night training. My regular partner was in class. We may not be the most aggressive when training together, but we have an understanding and we diligently train our muscles to react to the offensive strikes.

Warm-up begins. Hips. Ankles. Legs. Feet. We are going to be practising kicks, my favourite. And then we pair up with a warm-up partner.

Before I can turn to “my” partner, one of the Teen’s who has joined our adult class, grins and loudly says “Miss Donnafay?!”

I look in his direction. He is eager. He really wants to practise together. It is possible that over the last 9 months that the idea a girl is somehow an inferior training partner has dissipated. I didn’t want to let down his excitement and the obvious challenge he was wanting tonight and I said, “Sure”.

We were now a team and the next 5 minutes is a race against all the other teams and he wanted to win. I did too and we were going to try.

His turn first, high knees up to my hands. He was going as fast as possible. He was going to win this round. He finishes his exercise, pumped, he’s done first!

He turns to do his sprint and his right foot comes slamming down into my left foot.

I involuntarily swear the loudest swear in my swearing vocabulary and I fall to the ground. He stops, turns around shocked, “Miss Donnafay are you ok?” and I shoo him off to do his sprint.

My foot is no longer pale, it is colourless, it is WHITE!

I can’t feel anything but a ringing in my ears! It’s uncomfortable.

My poor foot, no match for a good stomp. Broken? Maybe. Fractured? Likely. 5 Days Later, Black and Blue? Most definitely!

The cheese doesn’t seem like a bad state to be in after all!


Ninja Training


[dil-i-juh nt]

1.constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything.

2. done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking.

Three weeks into my ninja training with my hand wraps and boxing gloves, I-am-a-machine! 

Ninja training? Boxing gloves?  Fist wraps?

It doesn’t match up.

Don’t ninja’s wear skin-tight black tights with Nunchaku’s for weapons?

Perhaps but for me, my Muay Thai class doubles as ninja training.  My yoga pants substitute for ninja tights and my fists are my defense!

The last few classes the focus has been on kicks.  I might not be so coordinated with my foot work and hands but by golly you don’t want to be at the receiving end of my kicks.

Tonight while working on jabs and kick combo’s, coach interrupted my sparring partner and I.

“DF,  you are being really diligent about keeping your gloves up to protect your face, but how about you drop them slightly,” and demonstrating, “like this.”

I do my best to mimic.

“Not quite like that, turn them slightly.”

I try to mimic again and from the look on his face, still not quite right.  At this point he left me with this new stance to work diligently at perfecting.