Kempo Love

Earlier this year I knew I needed to make a change.
My self-care habits were basically in the toilet... not eating well, limited physical activity, exhausted all the time, just feeling blah.

I wanted to do something different. Something that would challenge me. Something that I wasn't doing alone.

I saw an ad on the back of parish bulletin one random day in late February about a karate class (Kempo). I went to the ol' Google and checked it out. The website was full of smiley, seemingly happy people, stories of students' journeys, and an emphasis on the fact that you didn't have to have any experience, be in any shape and be any age to try it out.

My interest was piqued.

I filled out the online inquiry. Then, over the next MONTH I went back and forth with the instructors (soon, I learned they are referred to as Sensei), asking when I would like to schedule my free class. Meet with them. Etc. Etc.

Finally, I realized I was uber self-conscious. I didn't want to try something and make a FOOL of myself. Prove that I couldn't actually do it.

No. I would just do it. Come on, Jen! Try one class. Just one.

After arriving at a different dojo (gym/studio) than the one I was supposed to and feeling embarrassed about that, I made it to the right one. Sensei was very apologetic and welcoming.

We chatted... and he invited me to stay for the group class that evening.
It was tough.
But, SO FUN!

Each and every one of the other students were so incredibly welcoming. Everyone said hello. Shook my hand. Welcomed me.

And I was hooked. I signed up right then and there.
And have been committed every week (multiple times per week!) since that March evening.

Kempo is a blend of different martial arts styles. Each class we learn new drills and punches and kicks and blocks and strikes and all the things. It is mixed in with endurance/conditioning exercises to increase your heart rate and there is an all-cardio (death class, as it's affectionately called) once a week that I also attend.

It is hard. It is sweaty. It is intense. It is (sometimes) painful.

It is one of the most FUN and AMAZING things that I have done.

I was not expecting to love it as much as I have. Isn't it funny how the things we least expect can be some of the best things for us?!

Kempo has pushed me. Challenged my perfectionist tendencies. Made me stronger, both physically and mentally. The Lord has worked through Kempo and the people and the sweat to remind me that I am strong. That I am good enough. That I am awesome... just by being me.

I tested up to get my yellow belt. I will probably remember this test for the rest of my life. I didn't go into this Kempo thing to earn a black belt. I hardly even knew what that even meant before I started. But, to keeping growing and learning and challenging myself, you test up to the next belt.

I was so nervous.
But, I did it. It was intense. It was sweaty. But, it wasn't as bad as I made it seem in my head.
My dojo BFF, Claudia!!
Great metaphor for how I do life, sometimes. My own feelings and doubts get in the way of allowing myself to see what is really going on. And believing that I can do it.

Pushing through them and doing it anyway... that's what counts. That's how you grow. That's how you challenge yourself to be better.

One palm strike and front thrust punch at a time.

Beating up on Sensei!


Oh! I have never seen that ad in the bulletin again.
Good job, Holy Spirit, good job.

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1 comment :

  1. Love these photos, and to hear about your experience with Kempo! I think that it's so healthy to try something completely new, it makes the world feel like a much bigger place.
    A friend of mine has done Aikido forever and just loves it, think that it has made her a more independent woman.
    Thanks for sharing!


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