Finding a work-out that suits you is quite difficult I find. I have a number of friends who love running or spending pro-longed time at the gym either working with weights, doing classes or trying to kill themselves doing spinning (as you might guess I have never tried spinning… the sheer look of pure pain on the faces of people doing spinning kind off puts me off a bit…).
I do enjoy a good work-out at the gym as well. Preferably a mix of cross-trainer, weights and toss in a session on a rowing machine as well. However my issue has always been for me to actually go to the gym… once I am there I am fine. So needless to say I have not always been a very regular attendee at any gym. As for the moment I do not even have a gym membership. Running… nah never been anything I enjoyed.
So what do I do… well three years ago I joined a martial arts club. Out of the blue. I had never tried anything similar before, always been curious but I never felt that any particular type of martial art appealed to me. I got this flyer through the door and it was for a beginners class for Bujinkan Budo Taijitsu - a japanese martial arts. Off I went to have a look and I’ve never looked back.
Ehh no… I do not look like that…
To describe what exactly it is that we do and the different schools within Bujinkan would take a very long time and I am not exactly a subject matter expert so I leave that to the ones that are much better versed at that. One interesting article can be found here:
For me we kind of do everything… different throws, kicks, punches, ground fighting, using different kinds of weapons and everything else in-between. Each year there is a different theme (as you can see in the wiki link).
I love it! I am currently (once again) the only girl in the club. Training with only lads is actually kind off fun. They do not hold back just because I am a girl, which I think is great. Or as one told me.. “if you cannot defend yourself in a somewhat controlled environment, how will you ever be able to do so on the street if someone would try to jump you?”
Yes, being the only girl can be interesting. I have to try to look for ways to do the techniques without relying too much on strength, cos lets face it… most guys are stronger than me. That is good though. I will really never be able to power myself through every step which really also is not the point of the art.
I do get bruised… a lot. I always seem to have blue bruises on my arms, hands and elsewhere. I always have to point out to people I meet for the first time that “no, I am not a victim of domestic abuse”. I give as good as I get. The sparring is always interesting with full head-gear and gloves. I’m telling you, getting punched for the first time was a bit freaky. But… at the same time it was really good because I know now what it does to me. I would be less likely to freeze IF it would happen in reality. It also teaches you how quickly you tire after getting all that adrenaline rushing through your system and how to continue even when you are absolutely spent. The ground fighting can be really draining… a 1 minute fight feels like an eternity.
At the moment my favorite part are the weapons, especially using a Bo - which is a 6 foot wooden staff. Don’t ask me why, but I totally get a kick out of training with the Bo. It is a lot of fun. You learn about distance, timing, speed, intention, defence and aggression etc… all at the same time and this is naturally equally applicable when training without any weapons.
You might ask if people get hurt a lot… well, we do ensure that we do not go full-out. In the end of the day you are responsible for the safety of your training partner. Yes, it can be full on – as it has to be, how else will you learn without a taste of reality. However we also take care of each other. Yes, accidents can happen as in any type of martial arts or sport. I have been lucky and have not had anything happen for three years… apart from one Saturday not long ago when I bent my thumb nail back, connected my nose with another person’s knee and got my eye poked…all in one session. It was not my best day. But then all was fine in the end.
I have missed a bit of training in the last few months, mainly due to work commitments but I am hoping to get in a session twice a week going forward. After every training I am normally totally soaked through, every part of my body aches and I have a big smile on my face. That feeling of being totally happy, training with a great bunch of people – that is what makes me go back.That is why I am so glad I took that first step towards that beginners class three years ago. That is why I will stay.