Friday, May 25, 2012

Like Mike

“Without discipline, no matter how good you are, you are nothing! One day, and I might not be around; you’re going to meet a tough guy who takes your best shot. He’ll keep coming because he’s tough. Don’t get discouraged. That’s when the discipline comes in.”

I fail at blogging my martial arts journey. To be fair there has been an abundance of wonderful crazy shit happening in my life these past few months but still... NO EXCUSES. So where to even begin?

Simply put, my training has evolved so much within the past year and it's been an awesome ride. I've been continuing my training with Grand Master Eric and occasionally my female Cro-Cop training partner at his shop (t-shirt warehouse) in Kalihi. I decided to take up Kempo Jutsu-Kai. That's right. Mutha effin' Karate.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I head down to Pearl City for some good ol' fashioned martial arts training. I'll have to admit that in the beginning I had some reserves about joining. I did Karate once awhile ago and hated it. I think I might've just had a bad first time experience but it lasted only a month before I called it quits. And ever since then I never really held an interest in my own culture's martial art.

Whatever I was feeling at the time, I was sure of one thing: that martial arts is something that I truly love. And there was an abundance of knowledge sitting right there in front of me. It'd be foolish not to take advantage of it. So I set aside my past differences with Karate and headed west.

The Kempo classes take place on the second floor of a rec' center and is run by Eric and Glenn. No 'Cobra Kai Dojo' in sight. It's about as legit as you can get. Hard tile floors and four walls. That's about it. That's all you really need. The class has a great mixture of adults, children, and belt colors. I won't go too into detail with what we do, as it changes up every single time, but it's old school to a tee. Going to these classes has slowly molded me into something that I didn't even knew I had in me. It's here where I pushed it to my limits, and when I reached that point, I pushed a little harder. There's no sympathy. Just hard work. Honestly, I only ever felt that way once when I was sparring with my training partner and she kicked me in my solar plexus and I crumbled to tears haha. But here I feel that every Tuesday and Thursday. Shit is real. And I love it.

Lately I've been sparring with a bunch of guys because for now I'm the only adult woman in the Kempo class. Guys, girls, it doesn't matter to me as it really helps sparring each time with people who think and react differently. BUT... I hate to say it, and perhaps I may get shit for this, but there is a downside to sparring with SOME guys and that is ego. I don't know what it is about certain men and ego. I can't express how much I can't stand it when a guy gets cocky with his training and train like they don't give a shit when they get to me. I take mine seriously. So look me in the eye. Make your move. This isn't Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em. Brains over brawn. This is a game of wits. This is a chess match. This is war. And I'm here to conquer. Yeah you might be able to win this battle by simply over-powering me with no real technique this time (which is nothing to be proud about), but I'm going to show up more than you, come earlier than you, work harder than you, and learn more than you to win the war. My eye begins to twitch when a guy proclaims, "Oh man I don't wanna lose to a girl." I don't know. I find it demeaning. Like when someone proposed that women should wear skirts while boxing at the 2012 London Olympics. Perhaps I'm getting all over-emotional about it but I wish those guys would just look at me as their training partner. Not just a 'girl.'

None the less, sparring with the guys can prove to be fun and frustrating all at once. The frustrating: Sometimes the reach advantage they have is mutha effin' ridiculous (like Spud Webb vs Stefan Struve ridiculous. Well at least in my mind it's like that). No matter how much I feel I'm stepping in to close the distance I'm still swinging at air. Sometimes I really feel like I'm extending my punch to it's fullest extent AND still, nothing but air. I've replayed this scenario over and over in my mind and the only solution that seems plausible to me is to slowly work my way in via the infamous peek-a-boo style and start wailing. Or maybe the ol' stick and move. Damn it I don't know. But it's starting to piss me off and I can't stop thinking about it. I'll figure something out. I also have an issue with attacking the body. I just don't. I've somehow managed to shove it into the 'uncomfortable' category. Not sure what it is but I know it's something I really want to work on and conquer more than anything else. I constantly dream of the days where I can throw body shots like my all time favorite boxers, Cotto and Frazier. I'm going to study their tapes. I downloaded Mike Tyson's whole fight career for the sole reason that I'm so pissed about this issue of mine. One day I'll throw one with confidence. Like I mean it.

The fun: Man I love sparring. I love starting out with my footwork to get a feel of my opponent. I love attempting to control everything physically (breathing, exertion of energy, etc) mentally. I love when I set up my punches just right. I love when I fake a jab to the head then land a cross to the body. I love it when my partner sends me back to earth with a resounding punch right to my eye. I love trying to control all the wide array of emotions that are rushing through my body all at once. It's an experience every single time.

Each week I find myself growing, changing, evolving. Each week my spirit is tested. Each week fear stares me in the face and asks, "What are you gonna do about it?" And each week I test myself to stare right back and with double middle fingers. I have Kempo, Grandmaster Eric, and female Cro-Cop to thank for that.

Every day I find myself getting a little rougher around the edges too. Perhaps I've been hanging around too many guys lately haha. Might be getting to my head. But my mentality for training has changed tremendously. Hell even my pre-workout music has become more beastly. DMX (Insert dog growl here), 2Pac, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Eric B. and Rakim, Big Daddy Kane. The all-time greats. I find myself reacting to punches differently for better or worse. Before when I got punched it was like, "Ow. Let's run and not feel that again." Now it's like, "OH you punched ME?! (Insert Tyson-kill-stare here)" No longer am I that shy, weak girl who was filled with so much fear and doubt and gave up the very moment things got hard. Those days are long gone.

I hope the next time I post here I'll be sharing tales of bitten-off-ears and growls. Epic body shots that caused my opponent to crumble to tears like I just stole his/her very soul. Just kidding. Or not.

I think it's time to unleash my inner DMX. My inner Tyson. Get at me dog.