Tuesday, June 16, 2009

All I Really Needed to Know About Success I Learned In Kickboxing

While grunting with each move, I push myself to complete the rotations from my kickboxing instructor. As I finish the last one I invariably think “Wow, I can’t believe I just did that!” and she almost always yells “Again!”

For the first time in my life, I’m physically pushing myself beyond anything I have ever imagined. Muscles I didn’t even know existed all over my back, sides, shoulders, arms, and legs hurt constantly. Since I never seriously trained, and only half-heartedly exercised for most of my life, I had no idea about the pain involved with reshaping your body.

In class I have the reputation of repeating the instructions. She’ll say “jump rope – 5 minutes” and I’ll incredulously repeat “5 minutes?” Granted I can jump for 5 minutes but after 20 minutes of nonstop physical activity, I’m not happy about it. In fact, I hate working out and my body groans in agreement.

I thought people simply went through repetitious moves and their bodies looked better. Now I know why people say “No pain, No gain.” How could I have been so clueless?

Lots of people have been noticing the changes in my body. They ask questions about how I’m doing it. With my slug background, I’m asking myself the same questions and the answer is always “my trainer”. She’s a natural. Having left everything behind in Chile to move to the United States, Lyu Pollard is strong and driven, which rubs off on her students. As I’ve learned and struggled, I’ve realized her methods for improving my body apply to many situations in life.

How much better can I be doing this? My trainer’s heading to California to obtain a 5th degree black belt. All the martial arts are based on improvement. There’s always a next goal. Since she participates in our instruction, we are always training right along with her. The important lesson is thinking about a next level. Never accept the present situation. To be successful we need to constantly seek the next best thing in whatever we are doing then work toward it.

Haven’t I done enough? Since my trainer grew up with a military dad who made her wake up each morning at 5:30 AM and exercise, her demeanor resembles the sergeant’s program. We sometimes hear “Let’s go soldiers.” When we don’t want to do something or start to loose energy, we need motivation. I lack discipline, but my trainer insists on it. She’s tough and points out when we are slacking or taking the easy way out. “Not like that!” “Lift your leg higher, you’re trying to kick them in the face!” Constantly test yourself to see if you can do more and go further. You might be surprised by your own stamina and dedication.

Can’t I do this alone? My kickboxing instructor used to be a trainer in one of those fancy gyms. She knows all about the muscle sets and complete fitness. Sometimes we need specific help from knowledgeable people. If you can’t make yourself do what’s necessary to improve, then find someone who is qualified to push you in the right direction. Surround yourself with good people who know what they’re doing. This might mean joining Weight Watchers, Alcoholics Anonymous or Toastmasters. Perhaps you need a special course, a partner, or work mentor. My whole life I’ve viewed getting help as a weakness but I’ve finally learned to reach out to others. I lost 50 pounds with weekly Weight Watcher meetings because of the program and the people. Everyone in my kickboxing class is supportive. We cheer each other’s accomplishments because we are all struggling together.

After my first night of kickboxing I decided that if I could actually do her class, I would be in excellent physical shape. Underneath I didn’t think it was possible, but I keep showing up.

I’m learning more than I expected.


Kickboxing Classes are at the second floor studio at Rockville Martial Arts and Learning Center (just south of Woodmont Country Club entrance). Everyone is welcome to stop by and try a class for free, no pressure. There are monthly rates or less expensive long-term commitments. Believe it or not, I still pay by the month and could revert to being a slug at any moment!

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