Boot Camp, Round Two
I hit the gym four times during Round Two of my self-imposed boot camp, working the Wavemaster and heavy bag each time, along with kata training using the mirrors for precision and cario training for intervals and a few sets of weights here and there. It’s quite a time commitment and occasionally I’ll glimpse and impossibly athletic female body and fret—I have so far to go—but then I remember I’m not in it for the looks, I’m in it for what this training enables me to do. If I get toned doing it, so be it.
What does martial arts training enable me to do? Aside from improving my overall flexibility, cardiovascular and muscular endurance, self-defense skills, and ability to focus, martial arts training forces me to put something else first. By and large, I wake up each day and I am my own boss. Even right now, as a faculty member at Interlochen Center for the Arts—a position I willfully chose and accepted to supplement my life as a usually self-employed writer—I still get to wake up each day and, for the most part, do things that I want to be doing as a means to an end toward my goals as a writer.
But when I’m training in martial arts, if I wake up and don’t feel like working out: too bad. If I’m tired because I didn’t go to bed early enough the night before: too bad, still gotta head to the gym. If I want a beer at 5pm but it’s a gym day: too bad, gotta wait. In short, martial arts training gives me discipline, and there’s nothing like discipline to make one humbled, and there’s nothing like being humbled to make one appreciate life that much more.
Of course, when I trained at the dojo—before I hit the road for two years and had to leave my teacher and my school—as soon as I walked into the door of the training hall and bowed to my teacher, I was under his realm. I did what I was told when I was told to do it. I did things I didn’t want to do but that made me stronger, both mentally and physically. I trained when I didn’t want to train, I trained extra when my teacher needed help, and I trained harder when my duty called for it. It was a relief, in a way, to let someone else be the boss after being my own boss every minute of every day as a writer. And within that sense of submission a sense of freedom—freedom to let something bigger than my own agenda take over—was gained.
I’d like to think that for each week of “boot camp” I can touch base on the basics of each belt rank I’ve achieved—white last week, blue next week (which was also yellow, for me), then green, followed by the 3 levels of brown. That should get me through the summer, though I can tell by my technique that I still have quite far to go ven after reviewing the basic rank requirements for each belt. For now, here’s a link to my first ever martial arts test. Onward, into Round Three!