Thursday Cooper came home from training with Jerome. They have been kickboxing together almost three years now, Cooper is good, really good.
"Mom! Jerome said he is gonna teach you to kick on Saturday." "Cooper," I said, "How can he teach me to kick when I don't even know how to punch yet?!"
"You do- he said you were really good, he said you are a natural athlete and caught on fast. You just need to loosen up, it's not precise like weight lifting, it's more like a dance."
I smiled, I have always considered myself an athlete, and outside of my competitions where they refer to all of us as "athletes", no one has ever called me that. I felt good, accomplished.
He then told me Jerome asked him to come to Friday's "Fighter's Nights", a coaches invite only of full contact boxing and kickboxing for aspiring fighters, Cooper is to start training on a more serious level.
My heart skips a beat, but I am the one who pushed him into this, so I cannot stop him now. Thank goodness he is into kickboxing and not boxing. Not as dangerous.
Saturday I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and got to the gym at 6:00 for legs. I felt good, strong and excited. There would be no need for cardio since I was taking Jerome's class at 10:00.
I trained hams and quads. I did kneeling leg curl, RDL's, squats (100), split squats and GHR. I was there 2 hours, longer than I had planned, but I did sit around quite a bit waiting for the GHR, seemed everyone wanted to use it today, although not one person used it right. One women even came up to me and said "I am so glad I saw you doing this, I have never known how to use it properly!" She asked me how to adjust it, I asked her height and then adjusted it and showed her what to do. I then sat and waited while she readjusted it and used it completely wrong, doing sit ups like most people do on the darn thing!
I got home and ate, 1 cup egg whites, 1 whole egg, 1 slice of my favorite spelt and rye bread from Acme, with peanut butter and jelly. Coffee, but not too much as I remember last week having to pee the whole time during kickboxing, not fun.
9:50 I arrive and take off my shoes, pad across the mat and say hi to Jerome. There are only about 6 guys there and then he tells us to "run!" so we start. Now I learn not to arrive early.
The class started with me and 10 guys (no Cheddar) and then a few more guys and one wicked looking gal joined in later.
We go through a half hour of conditioning, it's not the same as last week although very similar. We do the same routine of running around the facility with four stops to perform an exercise, starting with one push up, run, one high knee jump, run, one jump sprawl, run, one squat. We do 2 of each, then 3, then 4, and on and on till we have done 10 of each.
It was much easier this week. Then jumping jacks, jumping jacks with one kick, with two kicks, mountain climbers in between, jogging in place and jabbing, jogging and cross, jogging and jab cross, jogging and drop sprawl, jogging and block kick, down on the ground and crunches, side crunches, frog crunches.
30 minutes later done! I survived.
Jerome shouted to everyone to get a partner and he gave instructions, I didn't understand what it was. He grabbed a guy by the name of Jay and told him that he would be working with me on kicks.
Last week I was in front of a mirror practicing punches, this week I guess I am one of the guys. But I didn't have my gear, only my gloves, I wasn't expecting this. No wraps, no shin guards, no mouthpiece, no headgear.
This too I shall survive.
Jerome told us what kicks to practice, demonstrated with Jay and then left us. Jay kicked me and I kicked him. I could tell immediately that I would have a very bruised left shin the next day.
Jerome would come watch and critique, then show us combos. Jab, cross, midkick, jab, block. High kick, cross, hook, low kick, block.
On and on for a half hour, Jay was good, he really helped me improve my hook.
11:00 and the class was done, I was dripping in sweat, my hair was plastered to my head and face, sweat everywhere, I felt high. Everyone shook Jerome's hand or got a slap on the back. I talked with a few of the guys, they are all very friendly.
I left walking out in only my tank top, shorts and flip flops although it was probably 40 degrees out at most. With the top down and Citizen Cope blasting on the stereo, I drove home. My hands were shaking, my wrists hurt, my left shin was throbbing and I started crying. I wasn't crying from pain or sadness, it was just a wave of emotion that overcame me.
I have been wanting to do this for years, and last week I finally started, but last week was easy; it was play. This week was hard, I was the attacker, I was attacked. I learned to kick with all my body force, it was hard to do at first, I was afraid of hurting him. I learned my leg can kick up to someones chest, soon up to their head. I learned to block with my legs (my poor, poor unprotected legs), with my forearms.
If I was ever to be attacked, lord have mercy on the poor slob who makes that mistake.
Home, all I want is a long hot shower and a big glass of ice water. I take off my shirt, it was soaked, here it is.
I told Cooper about it, about my surprise at the difference between last week and this week. "Why are you surprised mom? You assimilated fast, just like I thought you would."