I’m forty-seven years old. Three years and nine months ago I walked into Tim Barchard’s Professional Martial Arts Academy in Derry, NH for my first Muay Thai Kickboxing class. I was still a newlywed and new to the stepmom game. I thought martial arts would be something Richard, Junior and I could do together. The boys opted for Karate while I opted for something that involved a lot of kicking and punching. Martial Arts turned out to be more my thing than my husband’s. He opted to cheer me on from the sidelines and support my quest for black belt bliss.
My friends and family wondered why I felt compelled to add martial arts to the list of things I do. They know I teach yoga and thought it a bit strange to go from “Ohm” to “Hi-Ya!” The two disciplines of yoga and Muay Thai Kickboxing bring my inner sacred warrior goddess peace, calm, and balance.
On October 30, 2010 I tested for my first degree black belt. It was the most physically demanding challenge I’ve been through since I gave birth to my children in 1984 and 1987 respectively. It was tougher than I remember Air Force Basic Training!
Black belt testing started with a three mile run in a near freezing temperature. Those of us testing had 33 minutes to complete three miles. I finished in thirty minutes – a personal best time for me. I thought the run was going to be the hardest part of the test.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The rest of the test went something like this: more pushups than I could count, sit-ups, down-ups, leg raises, more push-ups, basic combinations, squats, more push-ups, lunges, more sit-ups, are you tired yet? After our “wake-up” call, the karate testers went one way and the kickboxers went another way.
Punch, kick, sprawl, hold a push-up position, shoulder taps, get-ups, more push-ups, burpees, rapid fire punching (until I thought my shoulders would fall off). We practiced our pride form as a team for the graduation ceremony, as well as kickboxing basic moves and pad work.
My knees hurt. My shoulders hurt. Walking up and down stairs cause my calf and quad muscles to complain. I’m tired. But every drop of sweat, every ache, every sore muscle is worth this.
• I am a breast cancer survivor
• I am a wife, a mom, a stepmom, and a grandma
• I am a yoga teacher
• I am forty-seven years old and I can run a faster mile than I could when I was twenty-four.
• I’m stronger and healthier than the day before I was diagnosed with breast cancer
• I reversed bone loss from chemotherapy and I have the blood pressure of an active, healthy teenager
• I AM A FIRST DEGREE BLACK BELT IN MUAY THAI KICKBOXING
What are you putting off to become a better you?