Back in the days when we were DINKS (double income, no kids). I STRUGGLED to fit exercise into my daily routine. It was much easier to take off on a Sunday and ride into Boston to the Museum of Science (and back) on a 25 mile bike ride.
These days, I’ve still got the husband, but have added two kids and their activity schedules, and a fledgling writing career. Now? Now I REALLY don’t have time to exercise. I’ve made some attempts along the way, but have not been consistent. I don’t mind exercise and I truly do feel better when I’m exercising regularly, but it honestly has to be in my way to happen. If I have to make room for it, no way, no how it’s gonna happen. Sad, but true.
Last spring, Fish was promoted in karate, so our time at the dojo went from 45 minutes twice a week to 90 minutes, twice, sometimes three times a week. As I waited for her class to finish, I watched the BagFit class going on in the second dojo. BagFit is part cardio and part boxing, and from what I saw it also included a lot of sweat and laughs. The class was made up of women around my age, many of them karate moms. They finally razzed me enough about being a lurker that I decided to give it a try. I have zero upper body strength and am prone to tendonitis in my shoulders (I’d just come off 3 months of PT for my left shoulder when, with permission, I started BagFit). No problem. The instructor (one of the co-owners of the dojo), modified the workouts so I didn’t strain anything. After my two demo classes, I was hooked.
I tell people, I hate it when I start but by the time I’m done, I love it. I sweat like crazy, I get my heart rate up and I truly have a lot of fun. There is a lot of camaraderie in the class and we cheer each other on. I love that I can burn some calories rather than warming a seat. Like other martial arts programs, there is a belt system to keep you challenged and motivated. I started as a white belt and worked my way to a yellow belt by the end of the summer. I’m now working towards my orange belt.
My kids are into karate but with summer comes camps and vacations and other schedule busters. To keep attendance up over the summer, The dojo ran a program called MOA, Maximum Opportunity for Advancement, for all their classes. Any student that attended 18 classes June 25th and August 25th earned the opportunity to test early for their next belt promotion and they got a special t-shirt. My kids were into MOA. I was regularly quizzed about how many classes they had in the MOA count and if we missed a karate class on a given week they wanted to know when they were going to make it up.
When we were getting close to the August 25th cut off, the kids had more than enough classes, but it was unclear if I would make the 18 classes. Since, I’m a newly minted yellow belt, I wasn’t interested in testing, I just wanted the shirt! A miracle came through and I did indeed get the t-shirt. The belt tells my peers in the class I’m progressing, but the t-shirt? The t-shirt tells the world hey! I kicked some butt and took some names this summer, what did you do?