My First Kickboxing Class
I will do almost anything…but I won’t do that.
I enjoy MANY forms of work outs: boot camps, indoor/outdoor, HIIT, CrossFit, Pilates, Yoga and yes…even running on occasion (when I’m being chased – by zombies… in my mind…). I have to continuously swap things out and try different things in order not to get bored and eventually scrap the whole fitness thing because it’s no longer fun. Blame it on the Gemini in me… I just have to have variety. Regardless, I just don’t generally – willingly or otherwise – attend group exercise classes. Like ever.
Let me explain.
I don’t typically like to attend group exercise classes where there is a lot of choreography and hand-eye coordination required. You know, Left, 2, 3, 4 – Kick, rock, bend and step Right, 2, 3, 4... Classes where I’m EXPECTED to pay attention and listen to the (mostly) inaudible cues of the instructor over the boom of the loudest music legally allowed in a space the length of a small storage pod. Where exercise transitions are more fluid movement and dance than anything I’m used to, moving as quickly as a hot knife through a butter. I’ve tried them. They don’t agree with me. Somehow it’s not in my DNA to “fare well” in these particular instances. How is this possible? I’m Black. We’re SUPPOSED to rock at this. At least that’s what I hear. But I’d been invited a few times by my long-time friend, Cyd, to attend a kickboxing class at her gym and deep down, I really wanted to try it out. Secretly, I hoped things would be different this go ’round.
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
I watched in
confusion bewilderment as the instructor and her faithful minions (i.e., everyone in the class EXCEPT me) joyfully and eagerly took turn after flawless turn, in sync and on beat. Hair whipping. Sweat pouring. Smiles beaming. Let’s just say…that wasn’t me. Let’s go even FURTHER and say…my first foray into kickboxing wasn’t very pretty. My only solace is there is no video evidence of this massacre of an attempt on my part. At least not to my knowledge.
My worst fear was looking like a complete idiot. CHECK – I pretty much rocked that.
My second fear was tripping into someone else. Well, OF COURSE THAT had to happen. We avoided it being too bad and she quickly laughed it off. My “I’m sorry” tumbled from my lips and was quickly evaporated into the beats of the current track before anyone else could hear it. I wanted to die of embarrassment but I couldn’t. I had more missteps to make before the next water break.
Oh, did I mention I almost kicked the girl behind me soon after that? I wish I was making this up.
How has it only been 20 minutes?
HOW is time not going quicker, I literally thought to myself about 4 times in the first half of the class. Not that it was terribly exhausting or hard on my body. It wasn’t that. It was just terribly exhausting and hard on my pride. How do I not have more rhythm? I glanced over at the elder white woman directly in the row in front of me punching and kicking like her life depended on it. I silently named her Edith (yes, I have side conversations with myself when I’m working out sometimes. It’s my thing. Don’t judge). She was beaming, glowing actually, and totally nailing this whole kickboxing thing. Edith had bested me. What the what…?! Someone…please come take my Black Card. Please.
I could see the instructor through the mirror occasionally peaking over at me as she called out the next exercise into her Janet Jacket “Control” headset. I think I even saw a flash of horror at one point. Yes, make no mistake, it was definitely horror. She moved around a couple of times to be closer to my space. I know this was for my benefit. As much as it was appreciated, you can’t help clumsy in the middle of a clumsy typhoon and I was already FULL BLOWN typhoon’ing. At least that’s what it felt like in my head. I literally considered leaving at one point. It was seriously just that uncomfortable.
Rounding the corner
At about the 30 minute mark, she announced we were going to go into what was considered the “Turbo” portion of the class. When I heard this, I nearly panicked. I couldn’t handle maneuvering around the “standard kickboxing” without almost taking out two of her people how was I going to be expected to kick it into Turbo gear?! But I was in the thick of it and had no choice but to see it through. Thankfully, these moves incorporated more of the moves I was familiar with – jumps and lunges in addition to the jabs and forward/backward kicks. I continued to stumble, but at least this time through, I was a little more in sync…that or the moves just got a little less complicated. Either way, suddenly I felt like I was finally getting the hang of it. I felt like the outsider brought into the fold. I heard far more of her cues than I had in the first half of the class and I was turning with the rest of the group, punching when I was supposed to punch and going left when I was supposed to go left. I even managed to not invade anyone else’s space. It a good feeling. Suddenly I felt redeemed.
Take that, Edith!
Kickboxing- 1. Rania-0.
So by the end of the class I’d burned about 500 calories, had a good sweat going, had no further casualties to claim and was able to hold my head up higher than I had just 30 min prior. Just by a little. My poor friend. I hope I didn’t embarrass her too much.
Will I do it again? Probably once more. I think next time I will know more of the moves and be able to have less collateral damage. Maybe this time I will even enjoy it more. Will it go into the constant rotation? Probably not. As much fun as it was to see my friend again, I may have to chalk this up to “Kickboxing just is not that into me”.
After the class, I talked Cyd into doing some ab exercises with me. We even struck up a conversation with another member and did a few pull ups with him in between chatting. Finally I was back in my space! Something I could do, was confident in doing. I could breathe and I could smile again. Like a BOSS.
Take THAT, Kickboxing!