I Didn’t Cry

A run down of my second MMA class via Facebook status updates:

mma fb posts

mma army crawl fb post mma didn't cryThe key is-I didn’t cry. I wanted to, but I stopped myself. This actually came in handy the other night when I started my first Computer Science class. Not sure what it is about me and trying all the things that intimidate me and make me want to cry, but I seem to be on a kick of doing ALL THE HARD THINGS.

 

Shit’s About to Get Real

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Yesterday I went to pick up a few things for my MMA class. After hitting the boxing bag 400 times the other night I decided I needed my own hand wraps. You know shit’s about to get real when I start buying equipment.

Make no mistake, I’m in the beginning stages of training and my ultimate goal right now is to get in shape. If I ever compete, it will be for fun and it won’t be until at least a year from now. Brazilian jiu-jitsu and boxing are technical combat sports and require a lot of practice. Anyone would be naive to think you could pick up any of this within a few weeks.

But all that being said, when I step into the gym, the best part is when we fight each other. I never, ever thought I would say this but I love fighting. I got hit in the face the other day and didn’t even care. I laughed it off and kept going at the guy. (Yes, the guy.) Class is really fun–even if it’s like being in the military during boot camp–and I’m so glad I found this sport.

Still in Training

I’ve been training with the MMA crew just four times but my body is already stronger. This is the middle of my first full week of training. I didn’t make it through the first two weeks. I had to pace myself. But now, my progress is starting to show. My biceps are forming again and my quads are getting stronger. Each night after class I come home and can barely move. I can barely type right now. This is literally the Official Couch to MMA Training Program that I just trademarked right now.

The Day I Wanted To Fight

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A few weeks ago, I started researching female boxers. I’d been a fan of the sport since I was a kid, thanks to my dad, but I didn’t know anything about the female athletes. Were there such a thing? What were their stories? Why did they decide to fight? I had this unexplained urge to know more.

I didn’t want to admit it to anyone, but I wanted to fight. It’d been a few years coming–this idea that I could get in the ring, even just for fun–but I dismissed it as instantly as it came up. I didn’t want anyone to know the real reason I wanted to be able to take someone down or the reasons I felt unsafe. Some things are better left unsaid, even for the exhibitionist writer that I am. Feeling as paranoid and anxious as I felt, I wasn’t able to talk about it. I felt like people wouldn’t take me seriously or they would dismiss it. Then there was the shame that went along with the amount of fear I felt, compounding things even further.

But beyond that, people who fight are angry, right? So what if I was angry. I’d been angry for years and accomplished a lot of badass fucking shit. I joked a lot about needing a punching bag. Fuck anyone who thought anger wasn’t the impetus for changing the world, because I’ve changed my world as a result from getting angry at the cult I was in. Even my therapist said I should get angry more often. I had a tendency to internalize my anger and wound up crying instead of speaking my mind and I was creeping back into that quickly. When people attacked me online and offline, I shrunk back into my turtle shell and hid.

And let’s not forget the fact that my depression and anxiety had gotten so bad I had isolated myself completely from friends and family. I was filled with fear when I so much as walked outside. I trusted nobody. I was paranoid. And you know the saying, “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not after you”? It fit. There were documented situations where people were after me–and kept coming after me. Over the course of the few years I was struggling with this even more, I’d gained so much weight (more than I wanted to admit) and for a period of time I let that stop my social life entirely.

The fear that ruled my life prevented me from even imagining myself attending a boxing class, let alone actually hitting someone in a competition. There was no way I would be able to actually compete, with the way I felt, and I didn’t even think I would be brave enough to take a class.

And maybe I never will compete, but I started with a single class.  I found a local MMA/kickboxing class and signed up. It wasn’t strictly boxing like I imagined when I started dreaming this up, but MMA fighters learn and use a mixture of techniques from boxing, kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu (which is a martial art and combat sport focused on grappling (a term for fighting on the ground)). The sport is far more complex than I ever thought and it promotes the idea that a smaller, weaker person can actually defend herself against a bigger, stronger assailant with the right techniques. It actually fit my needs perfectly. I wanted to be able to defend myself if anyone bigger or stronger came after me.

My instructor had the look of a UFC fighter. He had tattoos, a shaved head, and the body of someone who trains for a living. I knew his class was going to be a good fit for me. It was his class or the class on the good side of town whose website’s video showed preppy cheerleader types kickboxing so they could look good in a two-piece this summer. Fuck that. To be a fighter, I had to train with a fighter.

After my first class, I couldn’t walk for two days. My lower back had me couch-ridden so badly that I was rotating ice and heat every twenty minutes and still couldn’t walk. I didn’t feel defeated, though. The endorphin high I had from my ability to push through a single class kept me happy for a few days. When I could finally get out of bed, I stretched for twenty minute intervals and went walking just enough to loosen up my muscles.

I was determined to go back for another ass kicking.

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I’ll be posting about my training in the upcoming weeks, so check back for more updates. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter

Since posting on Facebook about my MMA classes, a lot of people have become interested in the sport and want to know if it’s something they could do. My hope is you’ll try it. It’s a lot of fun. There are a variety of martial arts classes available in almost every city. The closest you will get to what I’m currently doing is mixed martial arts (MMA), kickboxing, or Brazilian jiu-jitsu. You could also check out judo or wrestling. If you try it out, let me know by using the hashtags #GetMMAStrong and #FightYourFear.

The Beginning of an Obsession With MMA

A few weeks ago I was on a boxing kick. I’m sure many of you noticed. I’d been wanting to try out a sport I could actually enjoy doing, and one that would make me feel stronger. I found a local kickboxing class (there weren’t any women’s boxing classes in my area) that also teaches MMA. I’m new to martial arts and fighting, so I didn’t really know the difference. I knew nothing about MMA and I’d never watched a UFC fight all the way through. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, to say the least.

Because I’m going to be blogging about it a lot, I’m going to give you all the run down. We can learn together.

First, here’s a look at my gym. The cool part? There are no treadmills or douche bags. The only bags around are punching bags, which this little kid is punching the shit out of. There’s also a martial arts class going on in the back of the gym. It’s in the seedy part of town, but it gives the whole experience a bit more character if you ask me.

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What’s our class like? We spend 90 minutes running, doing push-ups, army crawls, squats, and essentially we’re dripping with sweat about 15 minutes in. About 30 minutes into class, I feel like I just showered. In my own sweat. To say the class is hard is an understatement. I’ve been easing into it–going once a week and letting my body recover for at least two days afterward. Stretching and walking or running when you’re not in class is essential. Otherwise, you can’t walk. Literally.

This week is the first week I’m trying to go the full four days. To be able to do this, that means I run on the weekends and sometimes in the morning. I stretch a lot, I eat a lot of protein, I take hot baths in Epsom salt, and I wear compression sleeves on my legs when I go to bed.

And I’ve only just begun.

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I won’t be doing Fitspiration on this blog, nor will I turn into one of “those people”; however, when I get into something, I’m all in. I’m sharing my training here because a few months ago I didn’t think I could even start jogging because I was at my largest weight and I want to track my progress here–mental and physical. I also know I’m not the only person in the world who has gotten out of shape and is intimidated to jump back into working out. If you want more #KickAsspiration, follow my Kickboxing/MMA Training board on Pinterest.