This week I earned my Orange belt at Pride Mixed Martial Arts. I signed Bonham up for karate never knowing what an impact it would have on us overall. I wrote about Pride and Bonham’s experience there last month. I love that we have made such good friends there. That we are part of their family of families. Bonham started in late August 2011, but I didn’t start right away. After a few months I started the TRX classes, but that was it. Then I decided to try the MMA classes. I do the morning classes, so I do one day of Kickboxing and one of Self Defense. I was so scared to start them. I am not a confrontational person. I am not a person who likes to try new things. I am not particularly athletic. But I tried anyway. I assumed I would hate it – but I didn’t. It was almost like a switch flipped inside me and I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to be outside my comfort zone. I wanted to learn something new.
I am slow at learning the footwork, but they tell me everyone is. I have to think before I start a combo, my mind doesn’t just go into auto mode. It is not natural for me. It is that fact that keeps me going back. The fact that I am doing something that is hard. The fact that I am having to struggle. Being in the classes has also been a great mother/son thing. We do not take classes together, but I can sympathize with his struggles (it is hard to remember to keep your hand up!) and I can review combos with him and encourage him…and he knows that I am not just saying the words and giving sideline commentary. He knows that I am struggling with the same issues, that I am working just as hard. I like that he is watching me do this.
Kickboxing is hard for me because of the footwork. Oh, and the sparring. I have only done that once. Next time I plan to hit and not just be hit. Yes, I said next time. That’s the thing, I dreaded doing it but now I have a need to get back in there. To try again. To try harder. To do better. I don’t ever aspire to compete, but I want to improve my skill set. I want to personally get better.
The Self Defense class is hard for me in a different way. I am not a physically combative person. The idea of having to defend myself or my family scares me….but learning how seems logical. Just knowing how to move and what I can or could do, it’s just prudent. As I talked about with Bonham’s class in my other post, we are taught to take a hit. If I am ever in a situation where someone strikes me, it will not shut me down. It will not be the first hit I have felt. It will instead set me into motion and allow me to fight back.
The fitness classes have changed some since I started at Pride. I now do a bootcamp 2 days a week which is TRX as well as general strength training. The other 2 days I do a KO bag class…basically cardio kickboxing but more bad ass. This isn’t the kick in the air type class that some are, this is on a hanging bag and using the footwork and combos we learn in the Kickboxing class. So yea, I am there 4 days a week. Fitness 4 days, with an added MMA class 2 of the days. And you know what? I miss it on the weekends.
What I love most about all of this is the feeling of strength. Want to run Warrior Dash? Sure…I can, I did, and I will again. That isn’t something I would have done years ago. Instanity? Did it this summer, and just started again this week. Why? Why not. Challenge is good. I may not ever be as skinny as I want. And I may always struggle with running (I want to love it, I want to do more…but I always end up hating it) – but one thing I can be, that am, that I am working on…is STRONG. Pride has helped me be stronger both mentally and physically by challenging me and my limits.
That picture at the top is in honor of Oakes. He was mighty. He and his family inspire me to BE MIGHTY. And so I wore that temp tattoo this week when I was presented with my belt. And I will wear it in Feb when I climb to the top of the Chase Building (let me know if you want to join the OKC team!) And I will wear it anytime I need to be reminded to be strong. To be mighty.
Pride is compensating me a bit for these posts, however all opinions are my own. I have loved being part of the Pride community for over a year now and will continue long after this post series is complete.