sometimes life kicks you in the face

Our annual big AAU Taekwondo championship is coming up in slightly less than a month. Many of our black belts are competing this year for one reason or another (including my husband and son), but I am determined to compete. When I expressed concern to our instructor about how I am the least valid competitor out of my family, he said to me that the most valid competitor is the one who competes.

So yeah, I am definitely competing.

That means I’m working hard at my training, trying to make sure I’m somewhere near ready for this tournament. I’m almost fifty years old. I’m short, I’m overweight. I’ve been doing weights for ten months, and while I’ve gained strength, I haven’t really lost pounds.

When we train, it’s a mix of adults and teenagers, so the youngest in our class is almost thirteen, and the oldest is a little older than me. I work with teenagers all the time, doing drills with them, trying to keep up with them, and sparring with them. It’s good training, because I’m not afraid of young competitors. Sure, they can kick my ass–they’re faster, younger, more fit. But I’m not scared of them.

Last night I was partnered up with one of the teens who’s my son’s age. R’s good and he’s fast. There was a moment where we were standing in closed stance, and I saw him move his left leg. From the movement, it looked like he was going to do a skip kick, strike me with his left (lead) leg. So I reacted quickly, got my right arm down to blog that kick I saw coming.

Except that wasn’t the kick. He wasn’t striking with that leg, he was using it to drive himself into a jump kick, which strikes with the opposite leg. swinging high. He meant to hit over my other shoulder, coming up to strike my left ear. Except when I blocked with my right, I turned slightly to the left, and I took that kick (swift, hard) right across the nose.

First thing I checked to make sure my nose was where I left it (it was). Then I told him good kick because it was! It was a fantastic kick. And we kept fighting until time was called.

So, synopsis: I was kicked in the face, and I kept going. When my partner was worried that he hurt me, I congratulated him on executing a fantastic technique.

It’s like life. We all do things. Sometimes we’re working on the same things that others are, and sometimes they do it better. Which is awesome. I am so proud of R because that was a brilliant fake and a brilliant strike. I didn’t block; I deserved to get hit. But here’s the thing: it hurt, and I didn’t cry, and I didn’t get angry at R. I kept going. I kept trying. I kept fighting.

I’ve said to a friend you get used to getting kicked in the face and she was surprised, not thinking that’s something that a person could get used to. But after five and a half years, I’m used to it. I don’t like getting kicked in the face; no one does. But I’ve learned to take it and move on.

Someday, maybe, I’ll learn to take the hits life throws and keep moving as well. Because life kicks you in the face, and it happens. It just happens. And we keep going.

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About D. E. Atwood

When D.E. Atwood was in second grade, she finally grew tall enough to see the shelf above the mysteries in the bookmobile. She discovered a rich landscape of alternate worlds, magic, and space and has never looked back from the genres of fantasy and science fiction. When she was twelve, she declared that she was going to be a writer, and share the stories that she saw happening all around her. She wanted to create characters that others would care about, and that would touch their lives, like the books that she read had touched her own life. Today she has combined her interests, creating genre stories about the people who live next door, bringing magic into the world around us. When not writing, D.E. Atwood is a mother (to two children and a cat), a wife, a reader, a knitter, a systems administrator, a roleplayer, and a music aficionado. Sleep, she claims, is optional.
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