health, identity

the heart is hard to translate

I went back for my second Krav Maga class last night. Really, it’s quite a workout: I was sweating and breathing heavily after just a few minutes of warm up exercises, which is not generally something that happens in kickboxing.

We covered a number of drills last night, all of which were excellent and invigorating. I really feel like I know how to use my body in new ways now. The first drill focused on the hammerfist and required the padholders to hold the pads out horizontally in front of the chest (as if carrying a tray) for an overhead strike, or vertically against the body for a side strike. I was partnered with two people: B, a woman I know fairly well from kickboxing, and M, a man I have only said hello to a few times (but I like his energy). I was nervous about working across gender lines in the class, but M seemed like a good candidate for the first experience – he is considerably taller than me, and is a stocky dude, but his demeanor is friendly and relaxed, and I have seen him be positive and encouraging. I am happy to say M is as I hoped he would be, friendly and encouraging and definitely a good partner. However, there is something hugely intimidating about letting a man just wail on your midsection while you stand there, trying to absorb the blows.

This drill was immediately followed by one in which classmates tapped me on the back, at which point I was expected to turn and strike the pads using the hammerfist techniques. This was psychologically exhausting in a different way: even expecting the physical contact, it was still uncomfortable. And it wasn’t just me – I noticed a few people who don’t like the idea of someone creeping up behind them.

The hammerfist drills were followed by some truly brutal elbow techniques (my personal favorite so far) and then a new version of the pluck that I learned a few weeks ago. After that I slipped out to join the kickboxing class.

I still don’t know what to make of the Krav Maga class. It’s definitely a great workout, and I like that aspect of it. I also appreciate that the method of teaching the skills and techniques is to mimic real-life situations (hence the standing with your back to the room). But there are definitely things that are forcing me to challenge my level of comfort. Last night there were two guys in class who were pretty aggressive; I didn’t have to partner with them, though I was certainly close enough to see their techniques and feel their energy. It scattered me a little.

Definitely need to do some more thinking.

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