Looks like I will be a red belt in taekwondo a while longer. I wasn’t able to break a board with a push front kick (a teep in muay thai.). I nearly broke it, but not quite.
I really need to get serious with strength training for my legs. I’ve never been even slightly fond of it, but to get to black belt, and for my own fitness in general, I need to do it. My leg muscles got very weak a couple years ago from spending half the day sitting between day job and trying to get our side hustle launched, and although I’m no longer having trouble ascending a flight of stairs (although 7 flights can wear me out) I still can’t get back up from a lunge without pressing off with a hand or two.
Squats, deadlifts, lunges, leg presses, here I come. For reals this time.
Tonight at Taekwondo, after several solid rounds of sparring and while practicing my form, I caught a glimpse of my face in the wall mirror.
And it struck me for the first time ever – with my hair wet with sweat and dark and long and my eyes intense and my cheekbones and everything – that I could see my Cherokee heritage in my face.
And it felt proud and strong and good.
“If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.” – Coco Chanel
Pam: (looking at an old ROTC picture of me in the hallway) “You look so young and baby-faced. You are not smiling at all — makes you look evil.”
It was my immediate, honest, heartfelt response. And I think it is because at first apprehension, “good” feels incredibly weak, but “evil” doesn’t. Because no one messes with the “bad-ass” walking down the street with their “bitch face” on. :)
A recent viral quiz scored people on how good or evil they were. Ten questions as usual. The questions, almost universally, came down to whether you valued the needs, feelings or property of others. Would you take candy from a baby? One point for evil. Accidentally steal a trinket but not make it right? Another point for evil. Park in a handicapped spot? You get the idea.
Other than token actions (like not buying products from an exploitative manufacturer), there really weren’t any strong examples of doing meaningful things to make the world a better place or to confront evil head-on. The “good” this quiz valued was largely a good of thinking of others and following the rules. Not a good based on using one’s abilities to right (or prevent or confront) wrongs. Thinking of others and following the rules are good things, but the real world demands more than that for evil to be contained, repelled and overcome.
The real world needs more than a powerless good. The real world needs everyday bravery and acts of courage from ordinary men and women. The real world needs more powerful examples of “bad-ass” + good.
MissPhy6 and I went for a hike to Cherry Creek Falls today. It is a fairly easy, five mile roundtrip hike through the woods East of Duvall, culminating in a little waterfall and swimming hole.
We had to cross a bunch dry (and a couple wet) creek beds – which meant a sometimes slippery jog down one side and back up another. We started calling them “Panda Traps” but they were good for challenging the legs, so that’s that.
There were a lot of people on the trail today, and a ton of kids and their moms were already enjoying the cool water by time we got to the waterfall.
Just as we were about to go, a couple of dirt bikers showed up and wanted to know where we all came from, and although nothing bad happened, it sorta set my spider (panda?) senses tingling. I suppose they were just being friendly, but something inside my head just kept saying “threat” and to be ready to engage. Huh.
But, setting that aside, I was grateful for the chance to spend time with MissPhy6, stretch the legs, evade the “Panda Traps,” work up a little sweat, and wade in the cool, cool water.
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu
I got my red belt in TKD last week after three months of effort and no broken toes. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it – I was, for a while, hung up on the round kick – I was held back by fear of breaking a toe again – but with practice and more practice while slowly increasing power and lining things up I was able to do it.
My black belt draws nearer and my emphasis this cycle (high red) and next (black) will be on increasing my leg strength and hip flexibility and also on engaging (not freezing) in confrontations.
“Engage, Maverick, Engage” – not just pretty words