Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Body Beat Me

For the first time in my life, I left a judo practice before the end, and not because of an injury.

In fact, I can remember only one other time in my whole life that I willingly backed down from a physical challenge. I had signed up for a ballet class at the McGill Gym, which was advertised as "all levels, beginners welcome" and which insisted that "even if you the last time you danced was back when you were five years old, you'll be fine" (those were the teacher's exact words). But it was lying! I went to the first class, full of girls and guys in tights and proper shoes who had obviously been dancing their entire lives. The six of us in a class of 40 who clearly were not in that category all grouped together at the same barre in the back, all crowded together and trembling, while all the experienced dancers grouped four to a barre and followed the teachers commands (that did not include explanations) without batting an eye. We six in the back were simply lucky to be able to figure out what she was doing before she changed commands, never mind having a prayer of keeping up.

The kicker, though, was when she had us all head down to one end of the studio, and proceeded to call out while demonstrating once through an eighty-count choreography across the floor, to be performed in groups of 3 and 4 in front of everyone else so she could see where we were at in our dancing skills.

I watched the first group, one of the Front Barre dancers and including a dude wearing black tights who stood over 6 feet tall and weighed probably 135 pounds, as they sailed effortlessly across the floor, not missing a move. I promptly sat down, removed my Irish dancing shoes, and went downstairs to unregister.

Guuuh. Dancing is something I enjoy, but not something I'm naturally good at. Except maybe salsa and waltzing, but only when I have a good lead. I busted my ass in show choir to make it to front and center, and it took me four years to do so. My partner was a freshman. Guuuuhhh.

So today I showed up early to practice, but I guess my kata partner forgot that I was going to be back this week, because she wasn't there. Hopefully she remembers to show up tomorrow. But it was a good thing anyway, because there was some sort of training camp going on and there would have been no space for us to practice.

Good grief, I so miss going to training camps. There's no way I'd be able to keep up with it now, though. I have to be realistic about how hard I push myself.

So I stretched a bit and watched, and a few rounds into matwork Sensei asked me if I wanted to work out with some of the girls. Now, I just got back from a vacation during which I hardly slept, I ate a bunch of crap, I didn't work out, and I drove everywhere. But I was feeling pretty energized, so I said sure. I went two four-minute rounds in a row with two brown belts, one of whom was about the size of the girl I fought at the last competition. And I did really well, which was both surprising and relieving. When I was younger, I was excellent at matwork. I dominated. But since I've been back this year, I just haven't gotten my groove back. My brain hasn't gotten back into the game. But this morning, I was spot on and dominating both rounds. Then I took a round off, and finished with a boy from my little brother's club in PEI. He's a wrestler and a lot stronger, never mind that guys fight differently from girls, and I was pooped at that point anyway. He dominated.

Then the 11am class started, which is what I had come for in the first place. I tried the warmups, and had to keep dropping out because I was so tired and getting dizzy. It was pretty embarrassing, actually. Then I paired up with my buddy Michel for uchikomi (fit-ins for throws), and again, I kept having to stop because I was getting dizzy. But I've gotten dizzy before, no problem, just keep going until it goes away. But it was getting worse, not better. Even Sensei asked if I was alright, since, as he said, "You're all white like a ghost!" Considering the vicious shade of red my face always turns when I'm undertaking any sort of physical exertion, that made me a little nervous. After a few more rounds of uchikomis, thirty-five minutes into the class, I told Michel I needed to go home. If I can only get through three or four fit ins and throws before having to stop, I should probably get off the mat before I get hurt or hurt someone else.

I was embarrassed. I downed a nice cold gatorade on the way home and felt a lot better by the time I had gotten through the shower and cooled down a bit.

I hate not being able to make my body do what I want it to do, and it's been happening more and more lately, in seemingly little and insignificant ways. More on that in a later post. Tomorrow, I have a double-header practice in the evening. I'm going to load up on gatorade beforehand, and conquer. I gotta get my dignity back, yo!

I gotta beat this body back into submission.

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