September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
I am a typical female. I was taught not to use violence. If this aversion to violence is because of how I was treated while growing up through cultural and societal acceptance or was intentional doesn't matter, because I really like hitting things now.
My husband is the oldest of four boys and always says he has an Irish temper. Very rarely have I ever seen him hit something out of anger, but if I had a dollar for every time I watched Scott and at least one of his brothers wrestle on their dining room floor I could go on a pretty good vacation. (Hmm, another good reason I will keep hardwood floors in my house instead of carpet, less male wrestling and therefore less chances of adult male wrestling injuries).
The number of times I have ever been involved with personal violence is fortunately very few, and I have never been on a basketball or volleyball team. I was in track one year in high school (only coordination needed is to stay upright while moving) and softball (I think I played twice in junior varsity games, nothing to brag about there).
I enjoy physical activities like hiking. I don't even like to watch football. And watching boxing? Ugh. Disgusting. Ick. Not my thing at all.
So, when my husband, children and I started karate last fall, about the only things I had in mind were to do something with my kiddos and maybe get a little exercise.
One day a couple of weeks into it I put on a pair of gloves and took a few whacks at the punching bag. Mmm. That felt good. I punched some more. That felt really good. I'd hit a punching bag before but it had always hurt my knuckles; with gloves on I could hit until my arms ached. Which is what I did.
We started practicing with partners. Scott would hold a big pad while I hit it. Oh, this was even better. More resistance. He would purposely lip off to me and I would hit it even harder. I can swing my fists and kick until I get a good sweat going. Wow! Exercise can be fun! Who knew?
I don't really know how all of this appears to others. But I don't really care. It feels good to do it. After I get myself all worked up hitting things I actually feel more relaxed afterwards.
Now that we are green belts (you start at white, then gold, then green and eventually you work your way up through purple, blue, red, brown and black) we are starting to spar. We wear full gear: chest protector, a padded helmet, padded shin guards and foot coverings. All of this basically allows you and another person to kick the crap out of each other without actually getting hurt. I really, really like this as well.
There are times I worry about my feelings of aggression. There are days I wish I had a punching bag in my office, for example. I am not actually sure I could hurt anyone, based on my "office worker physical conditioning" and my overall nature, but boy, there are days I think about it.
I am rather proud of myself that I can do a flying front kick without falling over. I am very happy for the fact I have found a physical activity I thoroughly enjoy. I am ecstatic about the fact we have added another activity to the list of things we can do together as a family.
I really like the fact that my kids have these skills. I like their determination and I enjoy watching their speed and grace. I want to be like them when I grow up.
But for now, when anyone feels like smacking me upside the head, give me a minute. I need to go get my sparring gear and give you a set a gloves. Then, it may be best to stay out of my way; I might just hit back.
Kelli Boylen is the director of the Northeast Iowa Community Based Dairy Foundation and a former Dairy Star staff member. She lives in Northeast Iowa with her husband, Scott, and their two elementary-aged children. She can be reached at [email protected].[[In-content Ad]]
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