How I Didn’t Let a 220lb Man Kick My Ass….Much.

Posted at Apr 14, 2016 2:01 am

I like to kickbox. I used to do it when I was younger, before kids. And I missed it when I left. I couldn’t seem to make it to the gym with any regularity. I hated being the out-of-shape, exhausted, shirt-inside-out mom that couldn’t be counted on to make it to the gym. So I gave it up.

For years.

Then last spring I finally decided to join a martial arts gym in my area. I called first to ask about trying it out. It had been more than 10 years. Was I fooling myself? The head instructor politely informed me that he had other middle-aged women working out there and I could too.

Middle aged?! WTF?! I’m not middle– oh wait. Sigh. I might be. I am 44 years old.

But still! Middle-aged sounds like you’re now mediocre, mundane, and one step away from picking out your cemetery plot. I got fired up. The instructor had told me that women would be better off learning jujitsu for self-defense, and while that is very true, I didn’t want self-defense, I wanted to beat the shit out of something, to relieve stress, build muscles and act a little cray cray. I wanted to kickbox.

So I started going last spring. I can’t make it more than twice a week and sometimes not even that much, but I’m still going. And today we sparred. Like really sparred. Gloves, shin guards, mouth guards, the whole shebang. Of course today there were only two guys there and me. They both outweighed me by 50 to 75 pounds. But no worries, we were just sparring. Light taps instead of true hits. Sparring is amazing exercise, and you don’t get hurt. Because you’re not supposed to hit hard.

Until you hit hard.

The young guy (probably half my age) liked to throw a jab, cross, roundhouse combo. After one combo I threw a cross and he hadn’t covered his face, so I hit his nose. And then… it was on. He hit harder. Then I hit harder. And we both hit harder still.

And you know what?

It was exhilarating! This young guy no longer saw me as someone to just throw light punches with until he could spar with the men. We went at it. Yes, he was stronger and my one leg is definitely going to have some bruises, and yes, if he’d landed a good punch I would have been down for the count. But I still got some hits in too. (I landed them mostly on his face.) But the best thing of all? How¬†amazing it felt to truly be considered an equal. We ended the round smiling.

Let’s hear it for middle-aged women! Take that, sucker!

Have you ever done a martial art? Or have you ever had an experience where you finally felt like you’d earned your place? I’d love to hear about it!

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