Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Capoeira, Make Me Strong!

Last night was my third class. It was my first “beginner” class. My first two classes were mixed with advanced student and beginning students intermingled. At my conditioning level, the beginner class was harder than the mixed class. This seems counter-intuitive but let me explain.

In the mixed class, when I feel overwhelmed, I stop and I don’t feel too bad. I think to myself, this is the hard stuff so it is ok for me to stop. This reduced mental block on stopping makes it easier for me to give up mentally, before I’m forced to give up physically.

In the beginner class, I feel much worse about stopping. I think to myself that I should be able to at least do it, even if not well. If I stop in this class, I feel I am letting myself down. This gives me the motivation to push through pain that would otherwise shut me down. Even when I do stop, I start again as soon as I feel I might be able to, sometimes only seconds after I give out.

In last night’s beginning class, my legs were totally destroyed. At least twice I collapsed on the floor because my leg gave out. Even when I collapsed, I was back up and moving, trying to keep up, in probably under 30 seconds. I pushed so hard to keep the pace. By the end, my ginga was horrible but I was determined to just keep moving. In the brief pauses, I tried to stay standing and when I stood I had to focus on keeping my lower body slightly tense to keep the blood from pooling in my legs and leaving me light headed. I swallowed bile and used mind over body when I thought I might puke. I had very little awareness of the rest of the class and my vision went partially black several times. The only exercise I was asked to do that I completely skipped was push-ups. Until I resolve my nerve issues in my left arm, push-ups are completely off limits. Sometime during class, I left a piece of myself on the floor. I ignored the pain in my feet through class and cleaning the open blister on my right foot wasn’t much fun when I got home.

Today is the eye in the storm. My muscles in my calves, front and back thighs, lower, mid and upper back, shoulders, abs and sides, and in between my ribs all feel weak and like something I can’t quite name, almost jittery or rubbery. My whole body is screaming that while I don’t hurt yet, just wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a long day but another class awaits and I won’t let my body conquer me. Capoeira will make me strong. Capoeira, make me strong!

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