Love thy enemy | Front Porch | Indy Week
Pin It

Love thy enemy 

A Zen-master I'm not. You'll not catch me doing yoga or tai chi any sooner than you'd see me sitting around sipping green tea and listening to Yanni. But when given the opportunity to take kickboxing lessons, I signed up without hesitation. What could possibly be more relaxing than beating hell out of a rubber man with no arms?

Located in a somewhat seedy section of downtown Durham, the cinderblock structure that would soon be my home two hours out of every week looked a bit ominous. Razor wire intermingled with Christmas lights around what I assumed to be an old batting cage out front. I immediately felt tougher (and a little frightened) just pulling into the gravel parking lot.

Once inside, I was greeted by the sour aroma of stale sweat. I quickly learned that sweat--and not just my own--was my friend. By sharing both hand wraps and gloves, I would commune with my classmates in a regular sweat-swapping ritual. On that first day, I bravely took a pair of damp wraps from the wall and began to mummify my hands.

My main objective was to blend. When Tom, the tall, lean instructor called everyone to the mats for stretches, I followed. When he told everyone to put on gloves, I did. The bulbous attachments were still so damp from leftover sweat that they made my wraps feel dry as the Sahara by comparison. But for someone who had never before put on a pair of boxing gloves, the act was transforming. It was as if I had dipped my hands into a pool of pure testosterone. After a quick tutorial on the basics of kickboxing, I was ready to kick some ass.

Bob, an armless, rubber man-on-a-stick would be my sparring mate. Although eerily lifelike, Bob was NOT some poor amputee. He was "the enemy." And when the heavy-bass thudding of techno music filled the room, I was no longer a novice kickboxer--I was a character from The Matrix.

The next 45 minutes were grueling. Tom screamed out instructions for various punches and kicks as he strolled around the class. We were given 30 second breaks in between three minute sparring sessions--sessions that felt 10 times longer.

By the time class was over, I had contributed quite generously to the puddle within my gloves. My arms felt like lead, my shins were a lovely shade of pink, and Bob, well, he was unscathed.

Latest in Front Porch

More by Ruth Gierisch

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Front Porch

  • One vote

    • Nov 12, 2014
  • Box of one

    Was I paying to be helped or to feel important, a bona fide expert on only myself?
    • Sep 24, 2014
  • The Old South (Hills)

    The Old South (Hills)

    • Sep 17, 2014
  • More »


Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

'Anna Lee' is a truly beautiful song, Ms Dossett. And I love Levon Helm's rendition. You are blessed with a …

by Byron Miller on A song for Levon (Front Porch)

Just now seeing this....Liz and I were super close friends in the early 80s. She was so special. I had …

by RoBert 1 on In memoriam: Liz Holm, 1959–2013 (Front Porch)

Nobody will be surprised to learn that Hocutt never went to Nam. He was in the Navy but washed out …

by Jefflenter on Raleigh bad boy no more (Front Porch)

I see his concern. Yes, it was a well written story and showed his caring side for sure. But not …

by Linda Bates Terrell on Motorcycle men (Front Porch)

Follow-up to my "nervous mom" comment. The last coupe of weeks we have been in many situations with individuals that …

by paulapowers on Governor's School blues (Front Porch)

Comments

'Anna Lee' is a truly beautiful song, Ms Dossett. And I love Levon Helm's rendition. You are blessed with a …

by Byron Miller on A song for Levon (Front Porch)

Just now seeing this....Liz and I were super close friends in the early 80s. She was so special. I had …

by RoBert 1 on In memoriam: Liz Holm, 1959–2013 (Front Porch)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation