I wrote and rewrote this post in my head about 5 times, and I’ve realized that if I include everything that was awesome, this post will be 9 pages long and all of you will skip to the end. So, I’ll endeavor to hit the highlights. I beg forgiveness from Jenn Sansom and other martial arts enthusiasts, for my butchering of names and general laziness at remembering Japanese.
Tonight, I went to jujitsu with Jenn Sansom. She took me to the kids class, since the adults class on Tuesday is taught by the head honcho of this discipline, and she, quote, “didn’t want [me] to have to worry about falling” unquote. I asked if it was going to be me and a bunch of 12 year olds. “Oh no,” she says. “They’re like, 8.” Awesome.
Her dojo is in her instructors basement. There’s a rack for shoes, a chair rail about shoulder high (which two people should not use to stretch at the same time, for it bends precariously away from the wall), foam mats on the floor, and a rack for the weapons. And a very old IBM.
As I walked in a black belt (I could tell, ya know, cuz his belt was black) was practicing with some big wooden stick. Students filtered in, and ended up being three 8 year oldish boys, John, the instructors son, Jenn and I. We went through some basic kata (think like, simple dance routines) and some escapes wherein Jenn Sansom tried to choke me and I tried to shove her. It was a lot like the annual shoe sale at Nordstroms.
We kicked, we blocked, we sat and watched the instructor shove his son around (demonstrating some technique) and the kid next to me had hands so fast I’m not totally sure he moved at all.
The instructor Mr. Boydston was very encouraging, and very nice, and didn’t yell at me even once! I kind of expected viciousness, probably because most of my martial arts experience is through the movie Kill Bill and that one where they put the collar on Jet Li. He also liked my tattoo, which he noticed while correcting my funny thumb tucked in stabbing motion hand move. Which, for the record, I was awesome at.
Jenn and I paired up for some kicking and escape stuff, and I was so torn between wanting to tell her to not pull her kicks and punches, just to see if I could take it. Cooler heads prevailed (hers, because I think she could damage me if she tried) and she pulled her kicks and punches just in time to hit me, so it was like she nudged me with her foot a bunch of times, and mostly tickled me by punching not too hard. I’m very ticklish. Giggling whilst drilling is going to be an issue.
I also clocked her really good in the …er…girl groin area (or slightly above) and her only response was to say reassuringly “you’re just learning to aim.” Erg, sorry Jenn’s uterus.
I thought it would be a tad odd to be an adult girl in a class with 8 year old boys, but they were very friendly and full of puppy energy. Two were the basic starting belt level, white, and one was a brown belt, which I believe is one belt step above Jenn. Each belt has three degrees, and I didn’t pay much attention to that because I couldn’t without first studying the chart on the wall…
There was much debate amongst the boys on how to “tell” us two Jennifers apart, and they ran through many suggestions like Jenn #1 and Jenn #2, but rejected them for being too lengthy. One boy finally leaned conspiratorially over to me and stage whispered “What’s your last name?!” I responded, “James!” He then thought for a millisecond and told me that I was hereafter dubbed “JJ”. So great, I totally have a ninja nickname.
One of the highlights was definitely watching Jenn do kata (I think that’s what it’s called). She was all this power packed into this person, and the sound her gi (the outfit they wear) makes as she punched and twirled was so cool, like swishing a sharp knife through the air rapidly. She’s now, of course, my hero. She also told me I didn’t suck, and was very encouraging, and we all know how I like the positive affirmation. 🙂 She is awesome.
One way or another, I’m totally hooked. Call me a glutton for punishment, call me an easy sell (8 year old boys are marvelously encouraging) or call me a sucker for a clearly defined system of achievement (so unlike my other job , where I’m constantly guessing if I’m doing anything right), but one way or another I’m hooked.
Plus I can, if I want, do 12 classes a month (3 classes a week) for 25 bucks! That’s a steal! Aaron’s agreed to handle the bed time routine for Caden so I can go Tues/Thurs, and I’ll go Saturday mornings when he isn’t working.
I loved it. I honestly loved it. It’s hard work, but I am so looking forward to it. A big thanks to Jenn for taking me along!
(If you want to come some time, you totally should.)