“Exercise is like an addiction. Once you’re in it, you feel like your body needs it.” – Elsan Pataky
GETTING WARMED UP
What do you know about kickboxing? Before I got started I didn’t know that much about this martial art. I have been connected to this sport now since 2014. When I tell people about my exercise routine they are surprised to hear I am training in kickboxing. How I got started is a common question. After three years my interest has expanded in this addictive sport. If you’re not familiar with this martial art, kickboxing is a combination of punching and kicks.
Getting started was easy. It followed a conversation I had with school friends I met at a reunion. We expressed an eagerness to keep in contact. We were all looking for something that didn’t involve eating or drinking alcohol. We discussed a few ideas, then kickboxing was mentioned.
“ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE. KNOW THAT IT IS YOU WHO WILL GET YOU WHERE YOU WANT TO GO, NO ONE ELSE”. – LES BROWN
Kickboxing sounded challenging but I was open to the idea. I had attended some classes in my mid-twenties. However, due to limited childcare in the evenings it wasn’t easy for me to become a consistent student. I also recalled how I had found my early lessons very challenging. I was physical fit in my twenties, but I felt out of my depth. I was an impatient young mother. I didn’t realise my ability would have improved over time.
Anyway, sixteen years later I was back in Nottingham and looking for activities to reconnect with old friends. I also wanted opportunities to meet new people. At the reunion we laughed at the thought of it us all punching and throwing kicks! After talking through the health benefits we decided getting started would be a laugh. One of my friends told us about a local Kickboxing Club her daughters attended. So we arranged to meet the following week.
Making positive changes in your life takes time. Everyone has to start somewhere. I will never forget my first day arriving at the Kickboxing club. Walking up the stairs I noticed the medals and other items of recognition. Before I entered the gym I asked myself “What I am doing here?”
I nervously walked into the busy waiting area. There was lots of people and conversation. Sports bags were being opened to enable various elements of uniforms, belts and kickboxing kit to be worn. I had arrived in an old t shirt and leggings. I didn’t know what to expect. Looking around the room I felt reassured to see there was a mix of students in terms of age and gender.
Then I heard a female voice say ,“Hello my name is Nicole. I am the Chief Instructor. Is this your first time here?” I tried to hide my surprise to see a female instructor. It didn’t matter at all, but I just assumed the club would be ran by a man. I explained that I was waiting for my friends to arrive. The class was getting ready to start. I kept looking out for familiar faces, but my friends never turned up. To be fair, a few weeks later I did train with lady who suggested the idea. Sadly, after a few months of us starting a new sport. My old school friend moved out of Nottingham. So I was definitely on my own!
My first lesson was fast paced. The warm up involved doing exercises such as burpees which I was very unfamiliar with. I was very unfit and still carrying a lot of weight. When the lesson finished I felt a sense of achievement. I was one of the slowest people in the class. To some extent this is still true however, martial arts has taught me so much. Yesterday I ran a competition on my Facebook page asking fans to guess how many burpees I have done this week. Four years ago doing one burpee took me out of my comfort zone. This week I have done two hundred and sixty one burpees, plus hundreds of punches and quite a lot of kicks!
The picture above was taken exactly one year after I started my kickboxing training. Gaining my green belt was a great achievement. This is the fourth belt in the grading structure. It represents a student’s commitment in terms of training hours and technical progress.
Last year I took eight months off my kickboxing training. At the time it felt like the right decision, as I needed to focus on other aspects of my life. In hindsight taking such a long break didn’t really do me any favours. Getting the courage to return was one of the hardest challenges I faced at the end of 2016. However, after thinking about the health benefits of training I found the courage and went back to my original class.
“OUR GREATEST WEAKNESS LIES IN GIVING UP. THE MOST CERTAIN WAY TO SUCCEED IS ALWAYS TO TRY JUST ONE MORE TIME.” – THOMAS EDISON
Eight months later I have trained consistently. This hasn’t been easy as my confidence was really low at the start of 2017. I am still on my weight loss journey and felt that I had let myself down. I also had to work through the pain I feel in my knees (due to muscle deterioration). Plus I experience limited flexibility in my hips, so some of the advanced kicks can be quite painful.
Nevertheless, my Instructor Nicole, continues to encourage me. She also helps me to believe in myself and in my abilities.
Starting again was tough. I am pleased to share I’ve achieved a personal goal I set at the start of 2017. At the end of July I was invited to grade for another coloured belt. Thankfully, all of my hard work, discipline, self-belief and commitment had paid off. Two weeks ago I was awarded with my blue belt! I am now feeling determined to reach new heights in my physical training programme. The next belt I am aiming for is purple! One of my favourite colours! Enjoying a healthy active lifestyle is a continuous experience. Giving up is no longer an option!
I am working on improving my daily disciplines every day. In doing so, I aim to help other women increase their energy and confidence in nutrition and exercise. I hope this blog has inspired you to continue training in a sport you love or try something new. If you have found value from reading my experience please like and share this post and leave a comment below.