Monday, July 14, 2008

Martial (Escape) Artist...

Did you ever have one of those days in which just the thought of physical activity makes you want to cry?

What about a day where if you have to call one more company to complain, straighten something out, make an appointment, or even just ask a simple question, you feel like you'll lose your mind?

Have you ever had an emotionally draining day? Week? Month? Lifetime?

In other words, have you ever had one of those days when you were just EXHAUSTED - physically, mentally, or emotionally? Boy, I have.

Do those kinds of days ever have you thinking maybe you'll "play hookey" from karate class that night? Boy, I have…on more than one occasion, too. (Thinking it, that is. I rarely opt out from class because no matter which of the above exhaustion flavors I'm experiencing that particular day, I feel better during and usually after class.)

Just Thursday, I was having a bad day…mostly of the emotional/mental variety. Bad day is a major understatement. Everyone wanted something from me. Nobody had anything to give me. I was spent. Depressed. Sad. Tired. Depleted. Well, you get the point.

I have been going straight from work to karate class on Tuesday and Thursday nights now to save a little on gas money. I was on my way there - about 12 miles or so from the dojo when I had one of those emotionally draining phone conversations. Without going into details, I had had a disagreement with someone on the phone, who shall remain nameless except to say that we share a last name. (Okay that narrows it down to three!) Anyway, this was one of those calls where the other person says it is not a good time to talk and the two of you can talk later. I hate that. It's like going to the doctor and having to wait over a weekend for test or lab results. You'd rather just get everything out on the table and resolve things and then sigh a big old sigh of relief that things are going to be okay. So, we hang up.

I'm now stuck with that nagging feeling of waiting for those lab results to come back. My stomach felt "icky" and I had a headache and tightness in my chest. I immediately think to myself that I'm not going to go to karate tonight. How can I go and concentrate on karate when I'm feeling this discombobulated?

I tell myself that my hubby is going to play softball - why shouldn't I have my "me time" too? (Oops…so much for remaining nameless!) And I decide to go ahead and go to karate class. I figure maybe there will be quite a few adults gone on vacation and I might be allowed to help with the kids' class. Almost as soon as I'd made the decision to suck it up and go, I felt a smile sneaking up on me. And I knew it was the right decision - discombobulated or not.

I got to class and almost immediately the side effects of my troubles started to evaporate. I knew they'd resurface at 9:00 pm when class was over, but this was my escape time now. The next 2-1/2 hrs was "Me Time". Even in helping others, this is "Me Time".

I have always been the worrywart. I have never been the type to be able to "forget my troubles" or just smile through it all. As a rule, I usually get all mired up in my emotions and the physical side effects of my nervousness. But since starting karate, I have changed two-fold in this respect. First, I have learned some deep breathing and relaxation techniques that really seem to help me physically. And second of all, I have found such enjoyment in my classes, even the difficult parts…ESPECIALLY the difficult parts, that it proves to me that I am a capable person who is able to overcome obstacles - both physical and mental / emotional.

True to myself to a fault, I was emotionally a bit down on my way home after class. But it did amaze me that I had just been "in the moment" in class. I had not thought of anything except what I was working on right at that moment in time.

This is a really big hurdle I have overcome here. Being able to NOT get all bogged down with the things not going great in my life - finances, disagreements, career disappointments, gas prices (seriously!) and being able to enjoy martial arts to the extent that everything else falls away for a little while.

I guess that makes me a Martial (Escape) Artist!

18 comments:

Steve said...

This isn't uncommon. When I'm feeling like playing hookey I try to remember that I've regretted not going to class before, but I've never regretted going.

Michele said...

Good for you! When I walk through the dojo door, all the events and concerns of the day are left behind me. My focus is all about the training and the task at hand. When I have a really bad day, I pack my karate bag and head to the Honbu. I feel better instantly.

Martial Arts Mom said...

Hey, Steve, it's uncommon for me! LOL In the past, when I felt all "yucky" or tired, I'd just give in to it and mope around the house, be a couch potato, etc. That is one of the things martial arts has done to make me a better me. Do you get the hint by my posts that it still surprises me sometimes how much I WANT to do physical activities? LOL And Michele, I'm going to show my ignorance, but hey, questions are the way you learn new things - here goes - Is "Honbu" another name for dojo? I have not heard that term before.

Michele said...

We use the term Honbu to refer to the Federation headquarters. The Honbu dojo is the main dojo of the chief instructor. I am involved with two dojo, the dojo where my instructor is and the dojo where I teach.

Martial Arts Mom said...

Thanks for clarifying, Michele!

Alicia said...

I really admire this dedication. I am playing hookey from class right now, since I had a terrible day and am currently not on the best of terms with the Tuesday instructor. I justified it by saying that I would go in tomorrow instead; Wednesday is usually my night off during the week, so technically I am just switching up my schedule. But I feel like you were posting just for me today ... I vow to be better about this in the future.

Martial Arts Mom said...

Alicia-I know exactly where you are. And I've been there sooo many times. Almost didn't go tonight but am so glad I did. Tues. nights are our jujitsu - pressure points and joint locks class and tonight we learned choke holds and strangleholds (Yay Ted Nugent! LOL) Anyway, very interesting and very useful class. It is very satisfying to know that a 5'4" woman could make a 300 lb man pass out if it's done correctly. Not saying I'm capable of that - but then again, not saying I'm not either. Whatever the case - I do have the knowledge...Thanks Alicia for commenting - hope you come back and visit often. I try to update at least once every 2-3 days.

Blackbeltmama said...

It was always my escape too. Without going, I have a wealth of built up blech to get out. Can't wait until I can head back.

Martial Arts Mom said...

BBM, you'll be back before you know it. Just get that move completed, then you can concentrate on coming back to karate and doing it slowly and safely!

M.A.L.S. said...

I'm with you. As soon as I slip on my gi and get in the car, all my worries and concerns seem to melt away. When I'm in the dojo, I just don't have time to think about anything other than what I'm working on (not to mention it might be dangerous). I wish I had discovered this 20 years ago.

Martial Arts Mom said...

M.A.L.S.-
I have class again tomorrow and can't wait!I'm still having a bad week - not just a bad day the other day! But plugging along & trying...C'mon Thursday night!!! : )

CrimsonPhoenix said...

Nice post! I've had many a day that I just felt too tired, sick, annoyed, or just plain ____(fill in the blank). But after I go to class and get to work out, I feel so much better! For the longest time I would use excuses and not go, but now that I have, I wouldn't want to miss class for anything! This is probably the reason why I haven't missed a single class unless I have to. One time this June and the other time. . .last August! Oh, and by the way. Where did you get the yellow belt icon? I've been looking around everywhere for a blue one to put on my blog. . .

Martial Arts Mom said...

CrimsonPhoenix-
I just did a google search on "yellow belt", but be sure you remember to click on "images" in the top left corner.

Jen said...

I'm VERY new to karate (ie, a week), and I'm already getting hooked. I've always been a person who let her personal problems/issues kind of overshadow everything else--and I'd definitely wear my emotions on my sleeve. in other words, I had a hard time 'stuffing' those hard times down and going on with business as usual...I'd kind of hole up, mope around, etc. I'm excited to think that maybe karate can do for me what it did for you--be that light at the end of the tunnel, something to always look forward to (and something to make me smile, even if it IS only for an hour, 3 times a week) no matter what other crappy thing is going on in my life. Thanks for the post!

Martial Arts Mom said...

Jen-Thank YOU for the comment. I am very excited for you. A little over a year ago, I'd have been the last person in the world you thought you'd see doing martial arts, but I just enjoy it so much and it really did do just that for me...it is truly a "Great Escape" (There I go again with those corny puns!!!!)

TwentyThree said...

I have the same experience - sometimes I don't feel like going (not really sick, just tired or stressed out) but I force myself to go to class and it all melts away!

It's only been three months, but now I can't remember how I coped before I had MA as an outlet for stress!

minivanninja said...

This happens every time I consider playing hooky. There are days when I just want to get a book a blanket and a cup of tea. No matter how I feel before, I always feel great after class.

Also, I know from prior experience, that if I skip even once, it's twice as hard to go back, but if I just suck it up and go, there is no anguish whatsoever.

Martial Arts Mom said...

I have been SUPER stressed for about the past 2 weeks (maybe even longer) to the point I can feel the knots in my shoulders. I have class tonight and am so looking forward to it.