The Hard Makes it Great
When I started kick boxing, I knew I loved it immediately. Wearing boxing gloves and doing a series of maneuvers with that one hundred pound bag made me feel like a professional boxer…well, almost. My endorphins would kick in, and nothing else mattered at that moment. Just me and the bag. I’d leave the studio soaking wet with sweat, the metallic taste in my mouth, and my hands shaking. I always pushed my limits. It was hard. And to quote Tom Hanks in the movie A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”
The one thing that I didn’t know when I stepped into the studio for the first time was how to kick box. I didn’t know the lingo or the moves, much less how to do them. One-twos (jabs), body shots and hooks. Front kicks, round kicks, side kicks. The bob and weave. The ground and pound. What was a sprawl? And did I even want to know? I stuck out like a sore thumb. My instructor was a short blonde lady with a big smile, a loud voice and a fierce side kick. When she made contact with the bag, everyone in class knew it. Her kicks made a resounding “smack” as her naked foot hit the bag (our kick boxing class was taken barefoot). Her energy was amazing, especially since she had to keep her class motivated at 5:00 in the morning.
My instructor spent a lot of time with me, helping me learn the moves and showing me proper form. She showed me how to keep my knees slightly bent and “soft” and how to use my core muscles to get the most out of the punches and kicks. She wasn’t focused on speed, but on accuracy of form. If I was going to kick box, I was going to do it right. I knew I was improving by the amount of soreness I felt that night and the following day. Growing pains of sorts.
In the beginning, I compared myself to my kick boxing classmates. Many of them had been taking classes for years, so they were impressive in my eyes with their form, the high numbers of reps they did, and their endurance for the high cardio portions of the class. I realized that at some point, every person in the class started as a novice, even my instructor. No person walked into a kick boxing class for the first time knowing all the moves. It took them time and effort to get where they were, from novice to proficient. So what I saw was the result of their hard work.
And so it is with all experiences in life – whether it is starting a new profession fresh out of school, becoming a business owner, becoming a parent, taking up a new hobby or undertaking a new task – we all begin as novices. We must put in the time and effort daily to become proficient in what we are doing. It’s a daily process to keep improving and keep moving forward, even when times get tough or the task seems insurmountable. Who says adults don’t go through growing pains? If it’s worth doing, it is worth doing well.
As for me, I’m still pushing hard and moving forward in kick boxing class. I still can’t make the loud “smack” sound when I kick the bag, and that’s ok. I know how to twist and use my core to make contact. And when I run laps, I’m still one of the last people to finish, yet I finish. The class is still hard, but “the hard makes it great.”