Well, I did. We had an optional scrimmage match in sparring today, and the only other beginners who stayed behind were two athletic guys at least six inches taller than I am, but I sparred with both of them anyway. Both kicked my butt pretty soundly, but I also got a point in on both of them. One of them knocked me over because my balance was off, but I popped up again and went right back at it. Then he accidentally smacked me a little silly when I blocked one of his blows and it ended up hitting my faceguard, but I wouldn't let the judge stop the match.
The major criticism I got afterward was that I was being too aggressive and bomb-rushing my partners without paying enough attention to the openings they were leaving for me. So that means I've gotten over hanging back too far. Now I just need to get better at standing my ground and learning to strategize.
Tell you a secret? I like sparring, even though I am absolutely terrible at it. And I think that's a first, because one of my most ingrained personality flaws is a tendency to avoid doing anything that might make me look foolish.
But, when I'm sparring, all I'm thinking about is trying to land a kick or a punch. I am not fretting about my low bank account balance or my high credit card and student loan balances. I am not obsessing about deadlines or unfolded laundry. And I am not thinking about being a short, clumsy, pudgy braniac who has no clue what she's doing. All I'm thinking about is fighting.
And I like it.