Thursday, March 23, 2006

Machoism Hurts

Ok, I admit it. I have a streak of macho in me. Underneath all the compassion, the gentleness, the motivation, the passion, and the tech-geeky job, there is a little voice that sometimes surfaces, telling me, "keep on going, no matter how much it hurts." That voice is always there, daring me to run farther, to stack more weights on the bar, to keep on playing even after taking a screaming line drive to the body. That voice has been calling me again, for the last three weeks.

At least the injury wasn't something lame like getting out of my desk chair. It was at a kids' party, one I was participating in to the fullest, doing gymnastics tricks with the girls. One of my tricks is to do a cartwheel and drop into the splits. I can do this, and did it once without incident. But the second time, I landed wrong, with my front leg turned to the side a bit. I felt that sickening twang, that feeling that one gets when a muscle is stretched beyond its limits.

"That's gonna hurt tomorrow," I said to myself, then promptly went back to running, jumping, climbing the inflatable obstacle course, and playing with vigor with the other kids and adults.

Now, a normal person would take it easy when they woke up the next day and could only hobble and limp to the bathroom. A normal person would not even dream of attending karate class a few days later. But, as I've proven many times, I'm anything but normal.

That class was the first part of my Green belt promotion. Of course I didn't tell my teachers that I was injured. Did I want them thinking I was wimping out ? Hell no !

After that class, I again was relegated to the limpy gimp back to the car. And over 2 weeks later, it wasn't any better. I finally sought help, and was figuratively kicked in the arse by my physical therapist for letting it go so long. Turns out I messed up my hamstring, and good, with that one crooked drop into the splits.

For tonight's karate class, the last in the promotion process, I did inform my Sensei that I was injured. While the rest of the class did one or two kicks, I was asked to do a sequence of 5 or 6 hand techniques. We did push-ups, some on our knuckles, some on our fingertips, some only on the sides of our hands. Even so, my hamstring was complaining to me by the end.

Why do I do this to myself ? What is it that motivates me to push farther, to try harder, to continue on even after my body has started to fail me ?

Call it masochism. Call it ego. Call it insanity. Whatever it is, it keeps me going, long after some others would have quit.

As I write this, brand-new Green belt still around my waist, I am sitting on an ice pack. Strangely, it feels good. Maybe it's the soothing cold. Maybe it's the knowledge that I perservered. Maybe it's the fact that I had the courage to admit my injury, to go to class anyway, and to do every agonizing sequence over and over again until my Sensei was satisifed.

This Green belt, obtained after months of hard work, was worth it all.

Ki-ai !


Anonymous Jane said...

Congrats on your Green Belt!

March 24, 2006 at 11:23:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Senpai Pete said...

Great news! There is a bit of "machoism" in all of us. Teachers (and senior students) are merely survivors. Osu!

April 1, 2006 at 9:37:00 AM PST  

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