Kick’em When You’re Down

People often do uncharacteristic things when they are newly divorced or separated. Maybe they buy a flashy car, get drunk too often, sleep with people they don’t know, start a blog…but for me it was kick boxing. I may or may not have done some of the other things too, but I seem to have some big gaps in my memory during that time…thankfully.

Anyway, back when I was too young and married to anotha I’d always felt “looked after”. You know? Like, if a pipe or something broke in the house, there was someone there to fix it, if I couldn’t move a piece of furniture, there was someone stronger to lift it, if a bad guy broke in, I had someone big enough to hide behind, and so yes, I felt like I was “looked after”. But when I found myself on my own with a small child I suddenly felt r-e-a-l-l-y vulnerable.

The first thing I did was buy myself a small metal tool box and an electric drill. I remember feeling ridiculously giddy and really tough at the same time after I successfully installed my first curtain rod.  Look at me! I can look after myself! (Don’t judge…I was still only in my 20’s)

Anyway, kick boxing. It actually makes perfect sense when you stop and think about it. I needed to feel like I could protect myself and my young son, I needed to get stronger. Plus I was still pissed off with the whole failed marriage thing and I needed to beat on someone. Kick boxing fit the bill perfectly. After learning the basics and pummelling the heavy bag (which looked remarkably like my ex) for a few months I was finally able to get in the ring and spar with a real person. It was invigorating even when it was sometimes painful. Despite always being covered from head to foot in padding, there were some rounds that left me bruised and limping. Still, it didn’t matter, I felt strong and ready to take on the world.

The gym, or Dojo, I learned kick boxing in also trained us in Karate. I learned so much from that discipline. At one point I couldn’t afford to continue my membership so I asked if I could work it off somehow. Luckily the Dojo needed to be painted. Perfect! I spent all of my spare time there and instead of  going out and drinking and partying too much like most twenty-something singles, I trained. Meanwhile, I got into the best physical shape I’d ever been in. My confidence soared. I was not only physically stronger but without realizing it, I had become emotionally stronger too.

Kick boxing and Karate entered my life at the perfect time. I’d like to end this by saying how it’s kept me young and in shape but the truth is, after a few years I moved on and away from the sport. Part of me wishes I hadn’t – the part that wishes I could still deliver a powerful round house kick to someone’s head if I had to…but I can’t. Truth is, I just don’t feel the need to any longer. There is a bigger part of me that is grateful I don’t have to fight anyone anymore. Somewhere along the way I lost the anger and vulnerability. All these many years later my young son is now a grown man and more than capable of looking after himself. Plus, as long as I don’t have to live with him, I consider the heavy bag my ex a friend.  So it’s all good. Hiy Ya!

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Peer Pressure

peer pressureSchools Back and with that comes Peer Pressure!  When I think about the youth of the world I can’t help but think of those two words.

I was at a local track meet before summer and was inspired watching the athletes compete.  The look on their faces when they approached the finish line was what I enjoyed the most.  Such determination in each one of them.  All their hard work and discipline paid off.

During the track meet a group of 50-60 kids from the local high school walked across the field like they owned it while events were taking place. They headed for center field like it was their arena they were denied.  As they passed by all the parents, we heard them saying how excited they were to have come to watch a fight.  The mob quickly circled around a couple of guys who were about to be center stage when the principal and another teacher quickly diffused the situation.  Kudos’ to both of them for taking charge of such an enormous group of kids.  Unfortunately sometimes there is not always an adult near by to stop this kind of potential life changing mistake.  Young guys get all fired up and can’t control their hormones, they get lost in the moment, and because of peer pressure they lose complete control.

Some kids just haven’t got the confidence to make choices that will prevent the pressure from getting the better of them.  This lack of confidence can lead them into a compromising situation that they are not equipped to deal with, which could potentially change their life.

I think peer pressure is the underlying reason for most altercations between young guys or boys.  I believe fighting should be for one purpose and one purpose only, self defense.  My Dad trained for years in Kyokushin Karate (full contact karate), Scott achieved his Black belt through discipline and hard work and Bonnie and I trained in kickboxing together for several years, so I have a long history of being around controlled sparring.  Confidence is a very empowering feeling.  At some point in your life you may need to fight, it’s important to know how to protect yourself, but fighting today is not what it used to be.  The fight you participate in today may be the end of your life two weeks later because of retaliation.

Why has it become acceptable to stand by and watch?  If no one watched, the behavior would simply not happen.  My Dad gave me advice as a teen that always stayed with me, even today.  “If you are ever somewhere you don’t want to be, or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, leave!” It’s basically another way to use your voice. Walking away makes a statement too.

I think as parents we need to take some responsibility in the actions of our kids.  We need to know where are kids are and who they spend time with.  They need to know that they matter and that they can talk to us about absolutely anything.  Communication is key in keeping our kids safe and out of harms way.  Sometimes we let our kids down when they really need us.  We are there for them throughout elementary school but just drop them at the doors of high school and assume they don’t need us anymore, when in fact they need us even more.  We need to be there for our kids especially when they are trying to find their place in life.

If you would like more information on how to deal with peer pressure visit the link below.

Dealing with Peer PressureTracy

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