Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

First classes

So. Very. Sore.

The people at the dojang are definitely kicking my ass. But they are kicking it into a more aesthetically pleasing shape. And, more importantly, they're going to make me a hell of a lot stronger. And able to hit things convincingly!

I didn't manage to do nearly everything I was supposed to, because I couldn't keep up. In fact, I made a complete and utter ass of myself and everyone had to wait for me to finish my combinations. I am also a total wimp who can't do decent push-ups. But I don't care that it was embarrassing. I loved it, anyway. And I will get better.

My favorite moment today came when I was learning a block-and-punch combination from two other students, one being a white belt (like me) and the other being an orange belt. After working with me for a bit and helping me improve a little, the guy with the white belt smiled, said "make her better" to the one with the orange belt, and stepped aside. And it wasn't the least bit condescending. He really wanted me to get better and thought the other guy could help me more. And he was right, which meant that I figured it out. Which was excellent.

Unfortunately, my own class wasn't quite as thrilling. Nothing in particular went wrong; it was just kinda dead a lot of the time. There were lots of Ennio Morricone moments. You know, those moments when you expect the theme from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" to cue up and a tumbleweed or two to blow through. I had them read and analyze "Little Red Riding Shorts" from Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith's Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, and I only got a few giggles here and there. Seriously! How do you not laugh at that? I think they started to loosen up a little at the end, but that was a tough crowd, I tell ya.

I'm hoping I can chalk it up to 1) first-day wariness, 2) Oh-dear-God-the-break's-over weariness, and 3) an evening class time. I may have to do more "kinetic learning" with this class than usual, and I'm thinking that the cracker-box room might not be doing us any favors. So I guess I'll be looking into changing that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, after feeling weirdly elated for most of the day, I'm starting to feel rather droopy and deflated. I'm thinking it's mostly just the result of being worn out.

One symptom of my new, more melancholic state is that I'm wondering, just a little, whether I'm insane. Because, after all, I am going to get hurt while sparring at some point. Pretty soon, I'm going to have lots of bruises. I'd say it's fairly likely I'm in for a few bloody noses down the road. And if I keep forgetting not to point my toes or if I throw a bad punch at the wrong time, stuff could even get sprained or broken, despite protective padding.

But, honestly? Part of me is looking forward to getting hit for the first time. Not because I'm masochistic: I don't really want to get hurt, and I'm going to do my best to learn how not to. But I do want to know how I'll handle it. I'm want to prove to myself that I can react with physical and moral courage when that first kick or punch gets through.

Other parts of me are thinking that showing up to teach class three hours after getting the stuffing kicked out of me at the dojang could be, well, difficult. (Also potentially disconcerting for my students, if the bruises are visible enough.)

But honestly, I don't care. I just need to know. I need to know if I can do it.

Anyway, I'm knackered. I have emails to send and blog comments to respond to and all kinds of other things I ought to do. But, with apologies to the world in general, I just have to go to bed.