For about ninety percent of the the school year, Tuesdays and Thursdays are reserved for Taekwondo. On those nights, I avoid taking storytelling gigs, I don’t teach writing classes, I don’t do social things – I just head to class and kick. The only real exceptions are emergencies and September.
September is a tricky month for me, not only is it back-to-school for my kids but my arts organization also hosts a week-long festival. So I’ll end up going back to Taekwondo for a few classes, then having to miss a few for curriculum nights and for festival events, and then I jump back into class.
If it were up to me, I would rather just get started and then stick with the routine (I know what what my brain needs). I used to fight the jumbled nature of this month. I would tie myself in knots trying to do part of a class and still make it to the events or to school stuff. I have gotten over that. I realized that I have to accept what September is like and just roll with it. It’s a lot easier on my brain.
So, I started this month by going to a few classes, even though I knew I would then miss three or four in a row. It was fantastic, even though I forgot a few things and the workout was a challenge.
I don’t know if it’s the same for other sports but, for Taekwondo, no matter how much practice you get on your own, getting back to group work is going to be tough. Doing your patterns surrounded by your peers is a lot harder than taking things at your own pace in your living room or yard. Not only do you have to work at a different speed, you have to avoid getting distracted by the person next to you.
My brain loved it though. You know how it feels when you are struggling to remember something and it is just on the edge of your thoughts? Then you get that great feeling of satisfaction when you finally remember? That’s what it felt like to get in the lines for our patterns. It’s not that I didn’t remember the patterns when I was working on my own at home, but there was a delicious feeling of familiarity to getting back into those lines and starting to move as a group.
The same people were to my right and left, the same people were in the row ahead. I was among like-minded friends. The routine was the same, the movements were familiar, they belonged to me. It had that feeling of being the right thing to do at the right time.
One of the things I have always enjoyed about Taekwondo is that it is just complex enough that I can’t let my mind wander while I participate. I have to focus tightly or I lose track. The sense that I have to leave the outside world behind and just do the thing in front of me is a sort of relief. I can’t multitask and do well in class – it just doesn’t work. Using that type of attention again after summer break was really enjoyable and sort of relaxing.
So, yes, I’m having a slow start, but it has been a good one. I’m enjoying the benefits of the classes I can attend and letting go of any guilt about the ones I cannot. It feels great to be easing back into that specific routine, and I especially like how I am able to observe my own muscle memory serving me well. This is going to be a great year of kicking and punching.