Capoeira Academy

Tonight was liberating, truly.

Stepping out of my comfort zone is difficult – I try to do it, but every once in a while there is something I’m almost too timid to even attempt. Tonight that “something” was kickboxing.

I’d somehow stumbled across Capoeira Academy Ladies Kickboxing during one of my marathon research days while living in Albuquerque. I’ve always been intrigued by kickboxing, but too intimidated to try. The idea of stepping into a kickboxing gym with zero experience felt unsettling. This gym sounded different. They advertised a ladies only class and mentioned that beginners were always welcome. It was advertised as being a good mix of actual kickboxing/defense and a cardio workout. It didn’t sound easy, per say…but it certainly sounded easier.

After several shoves out the door from Hoban, I showed up for my free introductory class tonight a bit nervous but excited. Sitting down with several other girls who were stretching, I introduced myself and began to chat. As it turned out, two of the girls were complete beginners like myself. The other two had been attending classes for only three weeks.

“Do you enjoy it?” I asked

“No.” Replied girl #1.

That should have been my first clue. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. 

By the end of our warm-up I was out of breath. By the end of our circuit training I was seeing stars. By the end of our roundhouse kicks I felt like I was going to hurl. Then, I did hurl. 

While emptying the contents of my stomach in the lavatory, I felt mortified. Why was nobody else having such a hard time? I could barely keep up with the exercises. I had trouble rotating my body while following through with my kicks. I was dizzy. I felt nauseated. I could not stop throwing up. 

After class, as I (very shakily) walked down the stairs and toward the parking lot a block away, I was talking with the other girls and we all agreed that we just got our butts kicked. I certainly didn’t feel as B.A. as I thought I would, and I know I didn’t look like I’d done anything other than barely survive.

“Does it get any easier?” I asked Girl #2.

She responded with a small laugh, “There’s a girl who wasn’t here tonight, but she’s been coming for a year. She said it never gets easy‘, but that each time you come it feels like you’re dying a little less.” We all laughed at that, but I loved how she put it.

I could use any number of life metaphors with this one, but what struck me most tonight while I was driving home and blasting Demi Lovato – (don’t judge) – was that what this mystery girl said applies specifically to me right now. Each time I put myself out there and try something new it gets easier. Each time I force myself to smile and talk and I lock up the almost-introvert within me, I feel less like I’m drowning. Each time I leave my comfort zone and do something new, I feel just a little bit more alive and at home.

Tonight was exhausting, painful, and slightly humiliating.

I’m going back tomorrow night.

Crazy difficult workout + no AC + Summer in Okinawa = this. ↓