Friday, October 12, 2007


(Disclaimer - This entry is not an endorsement of kickboxing. Please consult your physician before begin this type of exercise program.)

I heard of the phrase "Stop and Smell the Roses" but I never knew it was a title of an album by Ringo Starr. The saying is a reminder that we need to slow down and enjoy life, to see the beauty of nature around us and to appreciate simple things. The late author Richard Carlson reminded us in his book, "Don't sweat the small stuff", that we must not let unimportant/minor inconvenience or temporary set backs take away the joy of living. Well, I have been sweating, not the small stuff, but when doing kick-boxing at a nearby Boxing Gym.

How and when did it happen that the little chubby me taking up kick boxing? The incident at the golf tournament (please see entry on "The Dark Ages or It's Still a Man's World" on Wednesday, August 22, 2007), then a few weeks later I had to deal with a staff person throwing tandrum about having too much work to do and the final straw that broke the camel's back was when a person from a higher position made demeaning comments towards me (the person later apologized), I decided that I deserved a day off. The next morning I stopped by the Boxing Gym out of curiosity. I stayed for the tryout, then purchased my first pair of punching gloves and signed up for membership the next day.

For almost two months, twice a week, I have been attending cardiovascular kickboxing classes. It is a workout that combines boxing and aerobics, comprised of 15 minutes warm up (jumping ropes, stretching, push-ups) then 30 minutes of punches, kicks and knee strikes. The trainers are very accommodating and the classes are not too fast or too complicated. I work at my own pace and don't try to overextending myself by kicking too high and slow down when needed.

I took me almost two weeks to deliver my punches properly, sharp delivery, snap and recover. Now I remember the basic combinations, one-two is a left jab and a straight right, one-two-three includes the left hook, a six-punch drill includes a jab, a straight right, a left hook, another right, a left and right uppercut. I also remember to keep one hand in guard position while the other executing the punches.

I still have to learn to master the footwork, moving around the bag, ducking, moving side to side, bouncing between the feet while delivering punches in combinations. My punches are getting better as I recognized the benefits of working off frustration. I really enjoyed this high impact workout. I don't suggest that kickboxing is for everyone or replacement of therapy. For me, punching and kicking the freestanding pillars serve as a form of therapeutic, reduces and relieves stress and the feelings of helplessness. Practicing kicking actually makes me feel empowered while learning simple self-defense moves.

This week I learned to do a strong front kick, but I need to work on the roundhouse kick and the side kick. I have become comfortable throwing the punches, moving around the bag and the whole hour goes by quickly. At the end of each workout, my shirt was soaking wet and I could feel my body burning calories. I still plod through life, being weighed down by stress at work and personal problems, but for that one hour, I feel alive and ready for any challenges coming my way.

I will never get into the ring to challenge Evander Hollyfield and I am not planning to involve in physical competition. I don't think I would look good with swollen bloody eyes and missing teeth. For now, I have so much fun punching away the tension built-up from suppression and stress at work, all released from each jab, hook and kick. I finally found a form of exercise that I enjoy, getting fit, being healthy, learning how to defend myself while punching/kicking away unpleasant stuff in life.

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