this week’s adventures of the Littlest White Belt

I tried kicking in sparring today. Nobody’s really taught me how to kick yet; I just monkey-see-monkey-do my way through it in movement exercises, based on a small amount of education in front and side kicks when I was twelve, and constant reminders to myself not to turn out and/or point my toes.

I am learning to kiai. But I’m still getting chastised for not kiai-ing sometimes, and I’m not sure how to explain those are the times when the rapid-fire neurons in my brain have already figured out I’m not going to connect. (Which is not a reason to swallow it, I suppose. But try telling that to my brain, which so far has only internalized “the punch doesn’t count if you don’t yell while it lands.”)

Not so good: I think I am too dependent on the mirrors. When we do movement exercises, we advance across the floor toward the mirrored wall, but then we turn around and go the other way and unlike every dance studio I’ve been in, there are no mirrors back there. (Though there is a barre. Which convinces me there should be mirrors, dammit.) Anyway, I’m pretty sure my form is better going forward than back, and I don’t think it’s a side issue, since half the things we do alternate sides naturally to begin with. So: dear body, please pay attention to yourself, and don’t depend on the eyeballs to do it for you.

My hip joints hate me. I’m thinking Thanksgiving break will be a good thing: a whole eleven days between rounds of dislocating my legs out of my pelvis. Maybe that will be long enough to get them to stop creaking like this.


0 Responses to “this week’s adventures of the Littlest White Belt”

  1. neutronjockey

    I spent some 19 years and a few months in odd change being very active in martial arts. I can do a lot of the low impact stuff — but really, anything risks putting my lower back out for days.

    I remember the joy and frustration of being a new student…it was like discovering your right side of your body and your limbs and how it all worked for the first time all over again. You’ll eventually notice a difference in how your body works: more coordinated, more efficient … you’ll even catch your muscle memory engaging in common, everyday activities.

    I miss it. I really do.

    • Marie Brennan

      My problem is that the wrong muscle memory wants to kick in: thirteen years of ballet. I don’t remember the discovery process you describe, since I have a crap memory of the time before I was nine or so, but I know what you mean about the rest of it.

  2. hand2hand

    you don’t know me from adam’s housecat, but i started studying a martial art at the age of 45 and so I am CLAPPING FOR YOU YAY.

    hang in there.

    • Marie Brennan

      If I started that late, the stretching anecdotes I’ve been sharing would be, um, not so much. But it’s only been ten years since I quit ballet, and when I say “my flexibility has gone to pot” I mean “I’m no longer capable of inhuman bendiness, but still beat out your average Jane.”

      But when you’re used to the former, the latter is frustrating. 🙂

      What art do you study?

      • hand2hand

        tae kwon do. my husband and i got into it with our kids and i started two years ago.

        in college in the 80s, i fenced, and so i really “got” what you were saying about the rewiring. very little of that discipline is useful to the new one and there was a lot of rewiring going on. *brain explosion*

        and yay for ballet. i quit at age ten and am so sorry my mom gave in to my whining! hee.

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