The dojo where our kids practise offers mixed classes every day of the week, so one day you might be the highest belt in the class and the next you will be the lowest rank. In each class, the lower belts are encouraged to keep up with the highest belt level in that particular class. Now that they have reached blue belt, Milo and Willa will always be the lower ranked students and, therefore, will need to keep up with the junior black belts. They’re not expected to perform at that level, certainly, but the core drills are tougher and this is done deliberately, to gradually prepare the lower belts for the endurance training required for black belt. And this is where Willa’s anxiety ratchets up: she feels intimidated by the power and keen focus demonstrated by these older kids. And this, unfortunately, is where I get dragged in.
I have become more and more sedentary in my lifestyle over the last year or two and have the waistline to prove it. Not to mention the fact that I can’t seem to make it up to the office in the loft without become breathless. (That last flight of stairs is mercilessly/unnaturally/heartlessly steep!) I have been making honest but feeble efforts to be more healthy. But I am not a “go to the gym” person and have learned that I need to go with a friend if I’m going to get anything out a fitness class. I discovered this after I took a 10 week boot camp with a few friends and had a blast, but barely enjoyed my trial month in kick boxing class at the dojo. Oh, did I mention the dojo also offers kick boxing classes? Yes, not only does it offer kick boxing classes, but I sit listening to them while I wait for my kids in their karate classes. And, yes, I have been doing this for about three years. I have also known for half that time that parents of karate students can join kick boxing classes for half price.
Now, before you start filling my inbox with “what the heck have you been waiting for?!” emails, let it be known that last night I signed up for kick boxing – a six month commitment even! And I did it, in part, for Willa. When she was expressing her anxiety about her new classes being “too hard”, I asked if it would help if I were to do kick boxing while she was doing karate. That way we could face the challenge together. When her face lit up I knew I was sunk – I mean, sold. I was sold! Because we do things for our kids, that somehow end up being equally as beneficial for ourselves.
So yesterday as I was anxiously getting my gear together I told the kids they needed to bring something to keep them occupied for the half hour while they waited for my class to end. Milo grabbed his iPod and Willa told me, “Oh, I have something to keep me amused. I’m gonna watch you!”
As I sit here, neck muscles tight as a rod, abs whining and quads screaming, I think I may have gotten the fuzzy end of the lollipop on this deal.