Friday, January 3, 2014

kata





sitting in starbucks parking lot on my day off, pairing my whole wheat pb&j w/a tall nonfat, no-whip mocha.  pitiful.  even on my day off, i can’t stay away from this place. ugh. hopelessly addicted to the allure of the green mermaid.  she summons me with her powers.  so i sit here in my sound bubble, watching the noon traffic buzz by, drawing looks of curiosity from customers as they leave their cars, come back, latte in hand, and i’m still sitting here, the bass throbbing through the windows, my fingers feverishly letting loose on the keys.  an occasional off-key karaoke session when a favorite song comes on.  i am so weird.


notes from class.  body combat, of course, then body flow.  all body, and lots of soul.  that’s the thing of it, it’s more than just physical for me, this movement thing.  it’s spiritual.  more on that later.


first time back to class in a few weeks.  feeling shy and self-conscious (what’s new).. especially since i’m wearing these new black work-out gloves that i got as a present to myself.  Not fighter gloves or anything, just half-finger gloves for lifting or whatever.  They just feel good, keep me from slipping on my sweaty palms during the push-ups, give me extra resistance for punching, and did i say they feel good?   so i purposely chicken-scratch my spot much further back from the front of the room than usual,   keeping my eyes low, ignoring the buddy-buddy chit-chat of the chicks around me.  nobody sees me and that’s alright.  i like it that way.  Robb comes in, i try to disappear even more.  I can’t stand people who have an 8th sense of who the introverts are in a room and will purposely go out of their way to address them.  i’m busily pretending to be re-tying my shoes or something dumb, and he’s making comments to some people in particular, and to everyone in general as he’s strapping on his own gloves and fixing the music, “who stuck their old gum on this thing, that’s disgusting…”  then he throws this out, “so I was at your store this morning, asked for my regular, 2 venti blondes, and they said they didn’t have any brewed at the moment…” Shocked, i glance his way, and yes, it's me he's looking at. I smile sweetly but say nothing, can't think of anything clever and everyone would hear me. jerk.  how dare he.  i just hate hate hate when someone channels my introverted inner-ear and gets my attention when i’m trying so hard to avoid them.  just makes me wanna back-hand them one in the mouth.  THWACK!!!








better save the thwacking for these body combat tracks.  he warns us there’s going to be lots of capoeira today, meaning lots of eskivas, lunges, pain to the thighs and gluteys.  he was right. i’m feeling the souveniers already. he warns us in the capoeira jenga moves, to never cross your feet, just step back, forward and side.. when I think about it, it makes sense. if you cross your feet, you just made yourself a perfect target for your opponent to knock you down and beat you up.... ok ,so  throw in some muay thai.  one of my favorite moves, the leg block.



 something i’m really learning to appreciate about this whole fighting thing… honestly i really resisted the idea of fighting at first, just thought of bloody faces and teeth flying everywhere.  not my idea of good clean sportsmanship, turning someones’ face into pizza with the cheese ripped off.  what fascinates me now, after learning more about this over this past year, is the use of pure physical movement, not just the bloody explosive blows of boxing, but to employ the wonders of physics and strategical manuevers to defeat the opponent. takes wits, timing, and a keen sense of animal attack mode. 


Muay Thai Techniques

 How.ev.er….. there comes a time, there is a season...for everything under the sun...and there is a time when having the boxing skills to smash someone’s face in…on just the right occasion...just might be perfectly acceptable.  just sayin. (sorrynotsorry)  what i need now is an equal opponent to test my beginner skills.   Given my handicap of middle-age feebleness, it’d have to be someone in a lighter weight class, better to be slammed down by an 11-year old kid than the likes of ronda rousey!  takes me back to my childhood, or teenage years, when my sister and i would battle it out on our living room rug.  great friday night entertainment...she would play the dual role of both the announcer and the champion fighter...and she would gleefully bellow out at the end of our match, as I was sucking up the green shag carpeting in my face, “...AND….once again,...it’s Wiry Wilma defeating Blubbery Bertha!!!!!”  yes, that was me, blubbery bertha, or so said my big mean sis.  She had the advantage of being older and more years of competitive gymnastics under her skinny belt, so I was always the one being flipped onto the scratchy rug and not being able to get up until I acknowledged my defeat.  all in fun, of course, i think…


anyhow..don’t know why i had to go down that rabbit trail...back to body combat.  

he's put together a nice mix of review tracks, threw in lots of our faves. some straight boxing, a killer capoeira with lunges and slow kicks, the ol' favorite karate track to Pink's "hand" song, stuff like that. then he's giving us advice for the upcoming muay thai elbow strikes, "make an "X" across your opponent's face with your elbows..." and as he cues up the music he reminds us to send him our requests. "I remember being a group fitness participant, before becoming an instructor, and I'd hate it when I'd request songs but they'd never play them...well, that doesn't happen here. Friend me on facebook, I'm "pumpdiva", and send me those requests..."

So I'm thinking 2 things here..first of all, how lovely that he remembered my one-time request of "Speed" for this next track, this brutal muay thai number i so love.... and secondly, a little voice inside is asking me, when am "I" going to come out of the crowd of group fitness participants and become an instructor...one day...????" Not anytime soon, of course. Quite frankly I'm quite comfortable where I am, thank you very much, no need to try anything scary like being a teacher right now. The role of teacher is such an intimidating one. I mean, sure, I've been a teacher of kids for years, in elementary schools, high school, dance studios, and instructed adults in dance, as well....long ago. The scary thing about teaching is, you are held accountable to your position and the knowledge you proclaim. Like it says in James 3:1,


Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

There is a time for that, and I know that the Lord has blessed me with the ability to organize information and teach it creatively, at least with kids, and I love to encourage people, i have such a heart for that... but I'm in a different season right now.   I'm the baby bird being fed the worm by others, not ready to leave my spiritual/emotional nest right now and hunt down my own nightcrawlers.  (ew) But one day...yes one day I want to be in that place of sharing my passion for movement, dance, exercise, the love of art in its many forms, using art, writing, dance, music, in worship, i don't know, something i can't yet put my finger on but hope to be passionately involved with...but just not now. 

"Your opponent is on the ground.." Robb is saying, his usual pre-muay thai punch monologue... "...you grab his hair and turn up his face toward you...you gaze into his eyes...and Let Him Have It!!!!!!"  as the song "Speed" begins to thrash over the speakers... "This person must've done something very bad to desserve this.....don't you ever touch my sister!....NO ONE EVER TOUCHES MY SISTER!!!!"  he roars as we're letting into our imaginary opponents...brawler punches, kicks, and elbow strikes, then jumping/flying elbow strikes as we hurl our inner madness into the air... ahhh, i love thursdays.

Finally at the end of class, after our mat time of alligator push-ups and crunches, we stand and do a slow stretching version of "kata" movements. He explains that the Japanese word "kata" means the pattern or form of movement, and that it also means "morality". interesting. i just love movement. it speaks so much. dancers spend their lives trying to communicate deep thoughts through this medium, using their bodies as instruments. Someone once said,  
"Dance is the only art of which we ourselves are the stuff of which it is made." - Ted Shawn quotes from BrainyQuote.com.  (thanks, Google)

So true.  My life...expressed in movement.  perfect.

ok, i know i should end on that note, but something hilarious in body flow class...we're doing our yoga stretches, and i guess i'm not quite into the "zone" mentally, because we're doing this stretch called 'threading the needle" that looks kind of like this, only without the surfboards (oh how i wish we were on surfboards in our swim suits on the ocean doing this...!!!) ... and suddenly i make the mistake of craning my about-to-pop-the-head-off neck and look up and around the room...and all i see are these butts in the air as we're all twisted up in this ridiculous pretzel pose...and i just lose it. lose my balance, plop down like a sack of potatoes, lose my composure, crack up and start snorting like a pig. ahh, the zen of the moment..


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