Thursday, May 26, 2011

How's Kung Fu Going?

How can I explain what's been happening ever since I told you last January that I had been invited to black sash training?

I know, I'll compare it to training for a marathon.

Did you ever have one of those times when you signed up for a marathon and planned to train, but then things did not proceed as smoothly as you had wished, and you found yourself lagging in your training as the marathon approached?

That's kind of how the black sash training is going.

Last fall, I joined a second choir and was all into my barefoot running and blogging about it.  Due to the difficulty of juggling these new time commitments, I had kind of lapsed in my kung fu training during November and December and became de-conditioned for that.

I really did not expect to be asked into black sash training and when I was I knew that it was going to be hard coming off of two months neglect of my kung fu.

It was true that the first class was brutal, but I expected that if I kept up my running, and did not miss any of the regular kung fu classes during the week I would be fine.

The first few weeks went pretty well.  Each Saturday morning we would wake bright and early and head over to the kung fu school to start by 7:45 and each Saturday morning -- actually the stomach ache would start Friday night -- I had a huge stomach ache on the way over thinking of how intense the class was.

You all know that I don't like working at high intensity levels.  You've followed along at my slow pace ever since I started this blog.  "Slow and steady wins the race" is definitely my philosophy and I also believe that you can coax yourself into fitness just as well as drive yourself into it.

So, to be in this almost military-style, boot-camp-type training was a pretty drastic change for me. I'm still not completely convinced this is the way it absolutely has to be done.  It still believe there is a kinder, gentler way to fitness goals -- (as a matter of fact, check out this little article by two-time Hawaiin Ironman World Champ Chris McCormack which seems to support that idea a little bit) -- but I'm going with it because it's my school and my classmates and we're all in it together and this is the way it's done at the school.

Although the first few weeks went well and I was progressing and it was feeling a little less painful (sort of), I ran into some snags.  All of a sudden there were multiple events at the school to go to on kung fu class night and other reasons why I could not make it to class.

Well, that's okay, I'll just work out on my own.

But it was much harder to force myself through the workouts by myself, without the group.  It is much easier for me to pick up and go for a run than to put myself through that circuit training of multiple non-stop sets of jumping jacks, pushups and crunches.

During one of the last black sash class while I was sparring one of  kids gasped, "Mrs. Barefoot Fresca, your lips are purple!"  What?!? Uhh... [panicked] Is that bad?

"It means you don't have any oxygen!"

After that class I knew I had to get serious.  It wasn't too late yet.  Six weeks left to the black sash test.  If I got myself on a committed and consistent little program I could still do it.

But ...

Two weeks passed and I still hadn't started on my serious committed program.


It has come to the final hour.  Do you or do you not really want to do this, Barefoot Fresca?  (Think that you didn't train the way you had planned for the marathon and you've got a month left and you've got to decide whether to pull out of the race or just go ahead and do it.)

I decided that I will get serious and I will do it.

I made a four-week plan that I believe if I stick to it will accomplish the goal.  I won't come in first place, or make any kind of impressive showing, but I will at least be able to pass.  It's not too late.

Week one is going very well.  Just making the decision to go ahead and do it seemed to make it easier and me stronger somehow.  (I wonder if I had been about to follow  the road of self-sabotage I mentioned I am prone to follow at times?)

It gets way too warm in the house -- and still way to early to put A/C on -- so I went outside in the yard to work out.

Oh, no, there were little neighbor boys playing in the yard behind us!

Well, the thought of doing it inside was too stifling, so I'll just go ahead with it.

I managed to do my conditioning exercises behind the table with the umbrella and they didn't seem to notice.  Even though I probably didn't need it, I rolled my purple yoga mat out so when I dropped down for pushups I would be kneeling on something soft.

But when it was time to practice forms, there was no place to hide.  In order to have the space I would need, I would have to go out there in full view of the boys.

As I began Long Fist I, I heard the voices.

"What's she doing?"

"She looks like a Ninja!"

"That's not karate"

"Hey, guys, she's doing Kung Fu!"

At a certain point, I couldn't pretend not to hear the voices any more.

I stopped and looked over and saw four boys hanging over the back fence watching me.  "What are you doing?" they asked.  I told them I was practicing for a test in Kung Fu.

This is funny, right?  This barefoot mom practicing Kung Fu in her backyard with four little boys hanging over the back fence watching her?

To end, I'll have you enjoy with me the view of "my tree" that was so soothing as I lay on my back having finished the third round of crunches (which happen to be the dreaded bicycle crunches)


Claire said...

I can do anything you set your mind to...I really really believe that. Good luck to you!

BarefootJosh said...

Those kids probably think you're the awesomest lady in town.

Anonymous said...

You can totally do it!! YOu are BAREFOOT FRESCA!!!!! Wooohoooo!!! (mamarunsbarefoot)