First, just a little background on this post. I was glancing through some past posts and something struck me, something that has bothered me about this blog of mine right from the start. You see when I began this little writing venture I knew I had taken the easy way out when describing my foray into the martial arts. I just sort of glossed over it because I guess I wasn’t that comfortable with the idea of being too upfront.
So before I go onto other subjects. I’m going to fix that and come clean. Maybe this is needed to better understand why I have embraced the practice to the degree I have and maybe it is needed so I let go of some of that ego. Little bits at a time. Most of all though, I hope it helps some other women out there who feel like I did and think there is little hope or no help. I want to tell you there is nothing like helping yourself.
I had originally said I never had any real desire to take martial arts growing up. Well that is true because I had probably little or not exposure to it. Then one day I read a book that described a women doing T’ai Chi. The description of the movements were so beautiful, fluid and graceful I thought to myself “I want to learn how to do that.” Pretty dull confession so far I know. Hang in there it gets more interesting I promise.
Well I did not immediately act on it but I kept that imagery with me. Then one day when I had one too many days of not feeling well. I mean I felt like crap. I was getting these strange pains throughout my body, I felt tired and sick. I finally got diagnosed with something called fibromyalgia (I mention this strictly because some other women might relate – I do not categorize myself because of it) and when I asked what I could do to start feeling better the doctor shrugged said there wasn’t much I could do there is no “cure”. He took out his little prescription pad and offered me no solution other than to pop a pill in my mouth. For how long I wondered? Forever? Thanks doc – but no thanks. I got up and left. He looked a bit pissed. I didn’t care.
You see I was in my early thirties and at the time and the idea of popping pills for the rest of my life just didn’t do it for me. So I got in my car and thought long and hard. You see this was about the 3rd of 4th doctor and still no relief in sight. What was I going to do? One thing was clear – what I tried so far wasn’t the answer. I spoke with my sister and all I can say is thank goodness for her. She mentioned she knew someone who tried alternative medicine and it helped. Hmmm… the idea of natural remedies was definitely more appealing. I didn’t waste any time. That day I was started looking around for someone who practiced natural medicine. I ended up at a place that I quickly deemed an elaborate money making operation that preyed upon people like me. Another dead end.
So things weren’t looking so good. Then I remembered that book I read. I remembered reading T’ai Chi was supposed to good to alleviate stress and I was feeling plenty of that. Figuring I had nothing to lose I went on line and found a martial arts school that taught Tai Chi. I took my first lesson that very same day. I really enjoyed the class. After about 4 or 6 months I began taking kung fu classes at my teacher’s suggestion. He thought it would be good for me to go out there and really exert myself, let go and sweat.
Back to that first kung fu class. I have to tell you the thought of trying it made me nervous. Who wants to risk making a fool out of him or herself? But then I thought I can’t let a lack of confidence or a fear of failure stop me from something that might be really great experience. What if it turns out to be really good for me or something I really love? So I took my first class and I was hooked right from the start.
That was nearly 10 years ago now and I can’t think of too many other decisions that I made in my life that had such a positive impact on my life.
Originally published November 16, 2008