At every class, one of the more awkward things is choosing a partner. Or in my case, waiting for someone to offer to be my partner. I don’t know anyone in class very well but I usually am good at remembering who usually partners up with each other. Usually one of the other girls offers to be my partner or if there is an odd number of people in class most times I am partnered up with the instructor.
I realized quickly that all of the girls who usually offer to be my partner weren’t at this particular lesson. I quickly scanned the room to see who I would potentially be partnered up with. I began counting and realized that there was an even number so I wouldn’t be paired up with the instructor this time. However, noticing this made me even more anxious wondering who the instructor would pair me up with. I looked to my left, and saw a boy who looked to be possibly in his early teens and was already taller than me. Before I had time to even contemplate much about how awkward I felt that he was taller, my instructor said that I would be working with the boy.
I honestly wasn’t surprise that I was partnered with him, because before the instructor paired us together I thought of two reasons immediately why it might be awkward to be partners. My first thought was I still get easily confused in class and I really didn’t want to confuse him. I knew that there was much more of a likelihood of me confusing him because he hasn’t been practicing kickboxing for as long as everybody else in class. My second thought was that because he hasn’t been practicing kickboxing for as long as everybody else he would probably not be able to offer as much guidance as my other partners have at past lessons. However, if he did have advice to give me, I honestly didn’t think it would make things much better because I would feel weird since he is younger. Therefore, I knew that I would have to step up this lesson by paying even more attention than I usually do in order to not confuse my partner and that I would have to possibly be more of a guide and source of encouragement to him if needed.
The first thing that we did in class was practice the duck and weave technique with our partners. One thing that was different about how we practiced this technique this time was one partner would swipe their hand over their partner’s head while their partner would practice ducking and weaving. I found this practicing this technique much more challenging because of the changes that were added to make the move more complex. First of all, the partner practicing ducking and weaving had to start on the opposite side of their partner’s hand. This confused me at times and I had to stop to think about if I was doing the drill right at times. My confusion only worsened when our instructor told our partner’s to speed up how fast they swiped their hand over our head for the drill when I was not able to duck and weave as fast as my partner was moving his hand.
One of the drills that we practiced with our partners included punching each side of the punching cushion they were holding and then using a front thrust kick to move them forward repetitively until we reached the wall on the opposite side of the room.
To do a front thrust kick you begin by standing in your fighting stance. You then bring your front leg in a bent position up to your waist. You then fully extend your leg to hit your opponent in their stomach. It really does not matter which leg you use to complete the move, so I recommend that you focus practicing with both in order to feel confident and well-prepared if you need to ever use this move to protect yourself.
I tried to encourage my partner as much as I could when I saw him putting more effort into his kicks or saw him improve, thinking that it would motivate him to do better as much as it motivated me when my partners encouraged me. I would also occasionally make jokes and he would laugh so I would like to think that I had a positive effect on his experience in class. I hope that through continuing lessons I will not just improve my skills but that I will also improve in being able to encourage others to try harder in mastering their skills and guide them if necessary.