Tuesday, March 15, 2011

First Rule of Fight Club

I'm struggling to write. Physically, I mean. My arms are all jelly-like and my fingers are shaking from being clenched for a couple hours straight. Them's the brakes of a being professional fighter, I guess. Tonight, Sanna and I went to our very first kickboxing class. We. Were. Terrified. We spent a good hour freaking out about what it would be like, if we'd be able to do it, what the other people in the class would be like, if there were going to be boys in the class, what to wear...all that stuff.

Being anxious, we arrived at the class a good half hour early. We sat in the car, nervously checking our phones and trying to research some reviews on the gym we were going to (an ACTUAL BOXING GYM). Finally we pysched ourselves up and walked in to the gym. First thing we see: two other girls, grasping the very same Groupon we were holding. They were like golden tickets, and we all had 'em. It was also a sign that they, like us, were n00bs. Yes! So a total of 5 chicks sat around waiting for God-knows-who to come in and whip our saggy scrawny butts into shape. While we waited, we sat watching some dude who may as well have been Rocky Balboa, punching the crap out of the bags. He bopped around, listening to his iPod. He looked positively focused and determined. I knew my inspiration.

Then he walked in. Russian Tony. He was late, and he breezed in the gym in a suit, and said "One minute, ladiezz, I've got to go change eento somesing a little more appropriate for bohxing." Twenty seconds later, Tony reappeared. "Let's get to wohk ladies, come out here. No shoes. I once [something non-understandable because of his accent] and my ankle just POP! Anyway, line up." We all uncomfortably lined up, facing a mirror. I immediately regretted my clothing decision which consisted solely of clothes that accentuated anything that bounced - purposely or not. Gross, I thought. I shifted uncomfortably as Tony stared at me and said "First eez the jab. Watch my stance." Turns out, I caught on. He pointed at me and said "Yes! Yes. Good!" I beamed, unfortunate clothes be damned! Five seconds in and my Xbox Kinect Dance Central skills are already paying off. Score! And only once did I make an uncomfortable joke (Tony: "Clench your feests like zees, and punch like zhat." Me: "What about this? What's this called" - I start playfully girl-slapping the air in front of me. Tony was not amused. "Zhat's nothing".)

I was like a troll in that class, though. I was roughly 3 feet shorter than everyone else, and I am, uh, sturdy. But I will tell you one thing: I can punch and kick with the best of them. And thanks to my extensive (read: 2 years) training in cheerleading in high school, I can kick and balance and control my bod. So, yeah. I stopped dissecting myself in the mirror and started punching right at my own reflection and exhaling a little "Oosh! Oosh!" with each jab and cross, just like Russian Tony did. It felt great.

Then came the best part. The GLOVES. While I was utterly gnarled out at the sweaty, grainy insides of the gloves, Tony insisted, "Yes, theeeze gloves are sweaty, but they are a DIFFERENT kind of sweaty! Eeet's a GOOD sweaty!" So I sucked it up and clenched a loose fist inside the glove. First, we had to pair up and one person punched/kicked, and the other blocked. It was not ideal, as my partner (NOT Sanna) was def not as coordinated as me and kept getting too close to me. Space, woman! Don't make me TKO you! (I don't know what TKO means, btw.) But OMG, you guys. The punching bags! Punching a giant bag with giant, padded gloves on is positively empowering. I felt stronger than ever. Plus, Tony kept saying "Excellent!" to me, so I'm pretty sure he's going to recruit me for a women's boxing team. Coooool!

So we punched bags and kicked bags and I wiped my sweaty brow with the back of my gloves. I felt like a pro. Tony strolled around, fixing our techniques, and then declared "Eet's too quiet in here! Let's leesten to some music!" And cranked up something pounding and loud. "Eef you don't like techno, get out now! Hahahahahahaha!" Did I mention I love Tony? 'Cause I do. My hips, shoulders, calves, and big toes were aching. An hour after we started, we were already finishing up. I was beat, but I was so into it that I wanted to keep punching and kicking and checking out my "mean face" in the mirror. Tony ran through some totally awesome things we'd learn "in the next couple classes". Little things like, oh, ROUNDHOUSE KICKS and some move that allegedly could break someone's back. Yes, yes, yes! When is the next class!?

Luckily, Sanna and I have agreed to go every week for the next ten weeks (NOTE: Sanna is NOT as beat as I am. She is in markedly better shape than me). By the end I will probably be the best boxer ever. That is, if my legs ever stop shaking and my hips ever stop aching. I have sore muscles that I didn't even know I had, and they are clearly muscles I haven't worked in, oh, the past decade. But I'm hungry for more already. I don't know if it's the aggression I worked out, or the bod I worked out, but whatever it is, I feel good.

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