I have always been an active person. I tried many different sports throughout the years, my favorites were both softball and dance. I danced from the time I was in 2nd grade, until 9th or 10th grade, when I hurt my knee at a competition. I had to take a year off of dance to heal my body. After that much time off, it was nearly impossible for me to get back at the competitive level, so I just quit dancing. Instead, I joined kung fu.
Kung Fu was an interesting experience for me. My boyfriend attended House of the Dragon, which is how I found out about it. In many ways, doing martial arts forms (or katas) is like doing a dance – very personal. It connects your whole mind, body and spirit into one fluid entity. When I competed in Form, I did relatively well. I loved it! It made me feel strong and powerful! (Even though in all reality, I really was a wimp)! Our Shihan was very sexist, and wouldn’t let me learn to break boards or do certain other things they were doing. While I may not have been the most dedicated, his views drove me to do better when I was there. I wanted to prove him wrong!
The friendships I made in kung fu were almost as awesome as doing the martial arts! It was almost all guys in the classes. They became important people in my life. They made me feel like I deserved better than how life treated me. They took care of me. I felt like I was in class with a bunch of big brothers. As I got out of high school, I continued to go to kung fu classes occasionally. I spent a lot of time with the kung fu guys going out to Clubs, hanging out at Perkins all hours of the night… Years later, I reconnected with a few of them through Facebook, and I feel like no time has passed with some of them. Except, it has…
Back to Life
From the time I was 18 until about 20 years old, I went to dance clubs – A LOT! I met my now Ex-husband at a dance club. Coincidentally, that’s also where I met the man who is now my boyfriend… There was a whole group of us that would go several nights a week to Waterworks, Tropix, TNT, and occasionally, other clubs as well. The two Jason’s (my ex and my boyfriend now), and Mike (my son’s Godfather) were part of that group… Several groups of my friends came too, but it changed depending on the night, which club we were at, etc. Liz, Holly, Jessi, Jeff, and Adam were probably the ones I went out with the most. Anyway…
As I mentioned earlier, dancing was one of my favorite things to do, and still is. Going to a Club was an experience hard to describe to people who didn’t go… For me, it wasn’t about drinking and picking people up. (OK, my friend Liz might tell you differently, but that was a VERY small part of it for me). Music to me.. it speaks to me.. it makes me want to move… it’s a way to release all the stresses of life, it’s a way to express myself… I could dance however I wanted to, wherever the music took me. I could watch other people dance and learn so much about them… the guys on the speakers with glowsticks, they awed me! They seemed to be able to feel the music like I could, and express it in their own way…
After I got married, going out dancing became less and less an activity I was part of. My friend Holly and I would go out once every couple months, because we both loved to dance. My husband no longer wanted to go out. As Holly and I got busy with married life, college, kids, etc. we went out less often too… I was starting to feel restless… I had to move somehow!
Near our house, a brand new LifeTime Fitness opened up. Shortly thereafter, I got a PT job in the Child Care to pay for my membership. I worked out a few times a week, usually by myself. Eventually, I started taking some of the aerobics classes. After having Grace, I started doing yoga.. I was amazed at how GREAT I felt afterwards. Again, I felt that mind-body connection that dance and kung fu brought me. It also seemed to bring a spiritual connection into the picture that made it almost addicting. I lost a ton of weight, I felt good about myself, and again, I felt strong!
Over the years, I have gone on different tracks of exercise… For the past several years, I have been in an adult hip hop dance class. I try to go out dancing with friends every once in a while, as it still has the same appeal to me as it did when I was 18. It feels great to go on family walks with my kids and walk my dog at the Park. I have also recently re-taken up yoga…
One thing has been very clear to me. When my body is working better, my mind seems clearer. When my mind is clearer, my Spirit is calmer. I need movement and exercise to keep these connections in balance.