martial arts and the thirty-something sedentary woman

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Summer of last year I took on one of the most humongous challenges imaginable for my highly coordination-and-balance-impaired physique: JUDO.

Prior to this I was a so-called “judo widow” — waiting at home till the husband arrived from training, unable to relate to stories of the mat. I had a desire to be in on the action but felt it virtually impossible given how I was…well, if you knew me, you would know πŸ˜›

I did, eventually, decide just to give it a go. I also prayed that disaster wouldn’t strike. The decision entailed going to a kids class (with a few “grownups” who were also looking to get their bodies moving) where my husband was my sensei, so I had it easy, relatively.

Still it was painful: not so much at the start, but a day later, and another day later, when I felt like I got literally rammed by a truck.

And it was difficult! Try rolling forward, rolling backward, falling forward, falling on your back and falling on your side dozens of times, for two hours, when the most rigorous training you’d ever had was an hour of self-paced jogging/brisk walking (side by side with a friend, while chatting). Boy, was it cruel, cruel work.

It was also, almost shockingly, the most fun I’d had in ages. It was exhilarating. To feel my bones and muscles hard at work; to break into a hard-earned sweat; to be in the company of energetic, fearless kids; to be able to do (or at least attempt to do) physical tasks that I never even dreamed to try out of sheer intimidation; to feel that I actually had some “fight” in me (haha!) — it was a different kind of high.

Since then I kept going back for more, even if not as regularly as a serious martial arts student should. I didn’t entertain illusions of developing tournament-level skills even though my ever-encouraging husband told me itΒ  wasn’t an impossibility. I saw children–my classmates–getting better and eventually undergoing exams for colored belts; I remained a (super) beginner, content in just learning techniques here and there and getting the workout that I needed. As I got to spend time with sensei hubby, I also got to understand and support more, and love for myself, this sport that he loves and breathes. And as time passed I came to appreciate the principles and the discipline espoused in Judo, “The Gentle Way.”

When it started competing with other priorities I virtually had to stop Judo training altogether. Fortunately after a bit of prodding, I got to discover for myself one of Judo’s siblings, Aikido (think Steven Segal)! Translated in English as “The Way of Harmony of the Spirit,” let’s just say–in my non-athlete, non-technical possibly totally erroneous interpretation–it’s a lower-impact version of Judo. So far I’ve been to two Thursday night classes, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely, never mind that I was stuffing my face with ibuprofen up to two days after the first session.

Depending on my schedule the next few months (I have some kind of academic ordeal/nightmare that I need to survive), I’ll either continue my Thursday night Aikido classes or resume attending the Saturday kids Judo class. As I told the hubby, I will need to keep at either, for my own sanity and health — not to mention what a big help martial arts can really be for holdup-prone me (now you’ll have to talk to me directly for the gory details of that last bit).


Care to join me in either of these classes?

You and your kids may also come and observe first πŸ™‚

Here’s the year-round schedule:

  • UP Power Kidz – Judo Class every Saturday, 9 am to 12 noon
  • Aikido Class – every Thursday, 7 to 9 pm

Both are held at the Dojo of the UP Diliman Gym, College of Human Kinetics. Contact me for more information πŸ™‚

Now if you’re not from around here I still challenge you, especially if you also fit the thirty-something-and-sedentary demographic, to go out there and just try something — martial arts, ballet, whatever. Let’s just start moving our heavy behinds, yeah? πŸ˜‰

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