Well, it’s been quite a year! I really did not think I would stick with Kempo when I started a year ago, it seemed like such a whim and not something at which I would enjoy or could sustain, but here we are, Sensei Cassie, Sempei Erica, and I celebrating a year together this past Saturday. I could barely get through an entire class a year ago, and today, not only can I survive class, I feel decent about most of them.
The first hurdle(s) was attending class. The next hurdle was the first test for yellow. Not knowing what to expect, I was extremely nervous. I was more concerned with making it through the entire test versus actually obtaining the belt. The belt was nice, but physically having the stamina to make it through the test was of upmost concern. I passed. I cried. I was relieved, happy, proud, and super excited. My ballet teacher would have been horrified, but I did it. And then I passed the test for orange a few months later.
And now purple. Again, I am worried about my stamina. It’s a longer, harder test. I hope I make it through, but Kempo has prepared me for this. While I have not lost the weight I hoped to, I am more fit, I am stronger, I have (some) muscles, and I can do this if I can put my mind over my body mattering. I have learned to fight through some pain, test my physical and mental limits, and try harder, even when I don’t feel like it. I can do it. It may not be pretty and it may not be the best moves the dojo has ever seen, but I can do it. This is the most important lesson I have learned over the past year. I can try something new, work at it, power through and do it.
. . . but Kempo has prepared me for this
This very important lesson has also helped me with life in general – to power through. It has helped become a better parent – I can survive a five-year old’s tantrums because I can, I have to, and I have learned to be more patient. I can survive the morning commute. I can survive the work day and people’s frustrations with my decisions. And I can make it through a Kempo class.
The mental benefits have been enhanced the most. Class relieves stress from life and work. I can get out some aggression in an appropriate environment. I must remember kempos, katas, etc. and concentrate, think and focus, which science tells me will stave off Alzheimer’s and memory loss.
. . . which science tells me will stave off Alzheimer’s and memory loss
While still holding on to more weight than I would like, I am not in bad shape, considering factors such as age, previous injuries, and my sedentary day at work. I hope to learn more discipline so that I can conquer my food cravings and emotional eating. I hope to continue to progress, grow, and one day, even enjoy sparring.
– Ally Anderson
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