One of the things I realized a few minutes into my 3rd lesson was that there is a lot to remember at once when it comes to kickboxing.
It was stressed early on in class to always block our face but keep our elbows low enough to block our chest as well. This at first seemed awkward but after a few minutes I got the hang of it. The instructor also told us to be light on our feet – which my partner said I was doing already and hearing that put a smile on my face. When you’re doing something for the first time, it is an amazing confidence builder to hear that you’re naturally doing something right.
After we practiced all of those techniques individually, we then practiced them together by skipping sideways in a circle around the room as the instructor tried to throw punches at us. I found this drill to be fun but a few minutes into the drill my heart was beating fast and I was tired. I was sure I must’ve looked ridiculous so I was slightly embarrassed but laughing regardless. When I took a moment to realize everyone was doing the same thing I was able to loosen up and be less self-conscious.
It has also been stressed in several classes to strike in different areas of the body, such as the liver, to inflict pain on your opponent. To be sure I understood where specifically the instructor meant to punch, I looked online and learned that the liver is located on the right side of the body around the ninth and tenth (floating) ribs. I was interested as to why the instructor kept pointing out the liver as a very effective spot if you want to hurt someone. I looked around a bit and found receiving a liver shot makes you unable to breathe and even if you feel like you can mentally fight your body feels as though it wants to quit.
Aside from practicing the techniques mentioned above, we also spent time stretching. This was the first time we did any sort of stretching in class. Honestly, I have rarely ever stretched before a workout because I either felt silly doing so because I didn’t know if I was doing it right or I simply forgot to. It has been said that stretching can improve flexibility and consequently, range of motion in your joints. If I was to have to compare my flexibility to something it would probably be a broom.
The first stretch began by spreading your legs apart (like you are about to do the splits). However, you are supposed to keep your arms out to touch the floor. Once you are in this stance, you are supposed to do a push-up. The instructor was able to touch his nose to the floor and encouraged us to do so; unfortunately the only thing that I was able to get to touch the floor was my hair. Luckily, another staff member could not get his nose to touch the mat either and even announced it during class so I felt satisfied with my semi-ability to do the stretch. Another stretch we did involved sitting on the floor and straightening one leg and placing one hand on each side of the leg while crouched on the other leg.
I realized during this time that stretching is important because in a fight you will be kicking as well as punching. A lot of the time when the instructor demonstrated moves he was flexible enough to get his leg to reach his partner’s face. However, when I would try to kick my partner, the highest I could get my leg to reach was by her knee. One stretch that we did to work on being able to lift our legs was to put our hands on our partner’s shoulders while keeping our elbows bent. We were then instructed to alternate knees and bring them up to the elbow on the corresponding side as close as possible.
Between the coach explaining to me why it was important to do certain things and my partner reminding me of what I forgot to do, I was honestly overwhelmed and a bit frustrated with myself by the end of class. My partner would often remind me to remain in my fighting stance but almost immediately after she said it I stepped out of my fighting stance. I know I am learning something new, but when I mess up and no one else seems to be struggling I find it somewhat challenging in the moment to understand my inability to do the move right. But I simply try and regroup as fast as possible and try again. One thing that I remind myself in a situation like this is that if I actually get into a physical fight one day, no one is going to wait for me to regroup before punching me again. I am hoping with more practice I will be able to remember more of the steps out of habit. Also, aside from learning the moves I hope to learn to be as patient with myself as everyone in the lesson has been with me when I do not get the moves right, even after numerous attempts.
Although I get frustrated the encouragement of everyone in class I have worked with makes the time enjoyable. The best thing about this lesson was that afterward I got a t-shirt and my own boxing gloves (so I did not have to continue to use old ones from class which left my hands smelling disgusting for hours). Having my own boxing gloves makes me than excited to go back to my next lesson and try them out!