Fried chicken and a good fight.

4 May

I have a confession (other than the fact I love a good greasy meal from Chicken Express now and again …) I like a good fight.

When I was a kid, I told my mom I wanted to chop my hair off and take Karate. No, I didn’t want to be a boy, I just wasn’t much of a conventional sports girl. You should have seen me try to play softball. Not that I was absolutely terrible, but … I was pretty terrible. My mom’s dad made her and her sisters take boxing lessons when they were young to learn how to defend themselves, and I had always wanted to learn how to do the same. So, much to my mom’s chagrin, I chopped off my hair and she signed her artsy, nerdy, girly-girl up for karate classes. My love for funky hairdos and high kicks was born.

Long hair is awesome, but I feel more like myself when I have a funky, short haircut. BTW, the cut that started it all led to several girls in my grade following my lead. I was quite the trendsetter!

A friend of mine signed up for classes, too, so that we could carpool and be kick-butt buddies. The instructor paired us together, but quickly realized that we didn’t actually want to spar together, because we were friends and were afraid of hurting each other. So, I started getting paired with boys, because there weren’t many girls in our class. The sparring was pretty tame for a while (I was a delicate flower, after all,) until I was paired with the kid who didn’t fight fair. This poor kid. No one liked him, because he would just kick your shins repeatedly, which, really, is not a bad idea if you’re being attacked in real life, seeing how sensitive shins are. He was also one of the smallest kids in the class, though, so I think the other guys didn’t want to hurt him by defending themselves in the way they were taught.

On the day we were paired up, I took off my precious glasses, which I had recently begun to do to keep from breaking them in case I was knocked down or something (a nerdy girl’s gotta read her novels at night when she’s supposed to be sleeping, and I’d had a few close calls.) As I suspected, the guy kicked my shins at rapid speed, and since we weren’t allowed to use our hands to strike at that point, just to block, I started frantically backing up to try to make some room to defend myself. As hard as I tried, the little guy just kept moving forward, feet flailing. Finally, I was in a corner, and, frankly, I was getting annoyed. I’m pretty sure my shins were numb at that point, so, I ducked out of the corner, and went back to the center of the room, where the shin-splitter followed. Seeing that there was finally room enough between us to fight back, I kicked … just as the kid was moving toward me again.

Did I mention he was short? Did I mention my kicks tended to be a little high? I felt the impact, my foot to his face, and we must have had the same look of shock as blood began to run out of his mouth and he began to cry. Then I cried. The instructor rushed over to make sure the boy was okay. Thank goodness, the tooth I knocked out was a baby one, and no other damage was done. I continued to cry. I kept promising I hadn’t meant to make contact, only to make him back away; I hadn’t meant to knock out his tooth; he was still bleeding; I was so sorry!

The instructor took the boy to the back room to patch him up and calm him down, then came back to talk to me. I was sure he would be disappointed, and talk to me about how I should have been more careful. He walked over, squatted down, looked me in the eye, and told me how proud he was of me for fighting back. He said that he’d been waiting for someone to stand up to that kid, because he knew it would end up being a valuable lesson for him in fighting fair. He started laughing and joking about how he had always seen me as a little wallflower, but that he realized he just hadn’t been pairing me with the right people. There was also a running joke from that point on anytime I took off my glasses before practice to watch out for your teeth. (I always joked back that it was because I couldn’t see people’s teeth without them.)

Oh, and that kid? We went to school together; he was a grade or two behind me. After the tooth incident, he followed me around like a puppy dog. That’s the first time I realized how truly strange boys could be when it comes to romance.

From then on, I was mostly paired with boys. One high school boy in particular, who was much older and taller than I was, took some convincing that I would be a fair sparring partner. Then he kicked me across the room and knocked the wind out of me. He ran over, and once I could breathe again I laughed and got up. He kept asking if I was okay to the point that I could hardly stand it anymore, so I playfully placed a high kick lightly on his chin. I was ready for the challenge, and I knew I needed to know what it felt like to recover from a hit. He didn’t need convincing after that, and we ended up enjoying all of our classes together. I especially enjoyed learning defense against someone bigger than me. My instructor insisted I be paired with boys at tournaments (and I won.) My mom had conversations with parents in the stands who couldn’t believe that I “fought like a boy.” I don’t think she could believe it, either.

I had to quit karate after I became sick and started having seizures, but I still occasionally will practice a little by myself just for fun. I’ve also had the hubs show me some military style defense moves, because, most of all, I just want to be able to defend myself if I need to, especially since I’m at a disadvantage. One of my fondest memories, oddly enough, is of him teaching me a move that involved sweeping an attacker’s leg out from under them. He did it with a little more force than he intended, and I ended up flat on my back with the wind knocked out of me. I had to laugh, because it instantly reminded me of my old sparring partner. Of course, my husband was mortified.

I feel the need to add that I don’t condone violence unless it’s in defense, or in a controlled environment where the fighting is fair. Now that MMA has become popular, I live vicariously, along with my hubby, through the fighters. When women’s mixed martial arts hit the scene, I was so happy. Gina Carano became an instant favorite, of course, and it brought back feelings of nostalgia to watch her in the ring.

Gina’s signature, powerful front kick in action.

So, tonight’s date night (in between my work and hubby’s studies) consisted of some much needed comfort food and watching “Haywire,” Gina Carano’s action star debut. I have to say, the woman has star quality. Obviously, she’s beautiful, but she’s not a bad actress, either. I was initially in it just to see her do all of her own stunts up against Hollywood “tough guys,” but I think she could make a new career as an action star. I hope so, anyway, because she definitely inspires the fighter in me.

Hey, need a tooth removed?

Gentle hugs,

Chels

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Fried chicken and a good fight.”

  1. Ginger May 4, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Lol, that little menace deserved it! Good for you, and I say this because you didn’t really want to hurt him, but you sure did put him in his place 🙂

    • Chelsea May 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

      And he loved me for it. 🙂 I learned that day that I really can be physically strong, and that, in itself, is really empowering. My husband has even asked me for help coming up with defensive maneuvers if he can’t figure them out on his own, and that makes me feel awesome!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: