Monday, September 8, 2008

Karate Class

I am having a lot of fun in my new karate class, but there are some real challenges involved.

I walk almost every day but that didn't do much to prepare me for the condensed bursts of aerobic exercise I'm dealing with in the class.

Punching and kicking are not in my usual bag of tricks in a day. In fact, I think I may have been taught explicitly to not punch and kick. Punching and kicking feels like breaking the rules. I'm using muscles that I have (perhaps) never used before. There's some soreness involved. And just for the record, it feels very counterintuitive to hit anything with your elbow!

The hardest part, by far, is feeling like a klutz. I used to be pretty light on my feet. I started college as a Theater major and following choreography was second nature. I was never a "dancer" but I could hoof along whenever it was required. Needless to say, it has been a long time since I have been asked to carefully coordinate the movement of my feet and hands, my arms and legs, left and right and I am as rusty as hell.

At times, in class, I feel very clumsy and uncoordinated. I let out little yips of distress when I find myself on the wrong foot or thrusting the wrong arm forward.

A few years ago I would have found this awkward, self-consciousness unbearable. I used to have a very low tolerance for feeling foolish.

At forty six, however, feeling a little clumsy doesn't matter enough to stop me from trying something new. There is something utterly liberating about being a beginner, being bad at something and to keep showing up anyway. I think this is one of the gifts of middle age.


  1. Hey Theater Major -- I bet if you watched "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" before the next class, you could really get in character and impress the Dojo dudes. :)

  2. After a few months of karate, an elbow/forearm strike could become a favorite. Good luck with your karate journey!