Friday, 8 February 2013

The Ego Reloaded

As a kid I couldn’t fight. It’s been established why if you read this.

However, now we move on to a new era and I’m doing Krav Maga.

Krav is a wonderful martial arts defence system. Invented by a badass Israeli by the name of Imi Lichtenfeld it aims primarily for the groin or the face and if done properly will put anyone not equally well trained, on their back in a few moments. My love of this sport can be found here.

I’ve been doing it for a year or so now and finally, on 7th February 2013 I solved a 39 year old issue about being punched/ punching someone else in the face.

In the Contact Combat class (later one, after the main class…you can only go if you’ve been attending for 3 months…you get hit for real…it hurts), we were practising the punches for the P2 grading (second level) and helmeted up and ready to go. I threw a defensive volley of punches on my partner’s head that sent him staggering back grunting. Fine and dandy. Then he attacked me, punching me hard in the face several times and this time, for the first time in decades, getting hit like that…didn’t bother me.

I’d like to say it was an epiphanous moment but in reality it just felt normal.

I’ve realised that a lot of my traits and characteristics are hard wired in from incidents in my youth. The fear and trepidation around violence was locked in place from a bewildered 4 year old witnessing a row between his parents.

Last Saturday I was in the boozer, steaming. There were a lot of people in the pub and I’d got to that state of drunkenness where I’d just hover over my pint at the bar and gently sip it, not seeking nor avoiding conversation. I was just floating and having a fairly good time. Two girls aged about 18 were further down the bar. Both had big tits and both were blonde. They also had little black dresses on and were very cute. It was only later on that I realised I’d spent the entire time I saw them doing this:

  • Look at them, glance away quickly, so you can’t be accused of perving if caught looking.

  • Look at them, if they look up look away. Don’t get caught looking and don’t even dream of thinking of trying to talk to either of them as they’ll think you’re a twat and laugh at you.

This rather twattish, adolescent cowardice comes from incidents at school. Thankfully I caught myself doing it but it really shouldn’t have taken until I’m 42 to come to terms with this. I don’t flatter myself they would even have wanted to talk to me, but the worst that would have happened is they ignored me. Somehow that seemed more awful than getting punched in the head and kicked in the groin at the Krav class.

The real pisser of all this, is that I wasn’t even aware of my true discomfort around violence (as, like most blokes, I thought I’d be able to at least stand up for myself if the situation demanded it…but had never been tested). I was further unaware of my rather nesh attitude to pretty women, (as I imagined I would spark up a conversation if the right girly came into view. It’s just that none had yet).

I’ve also realised that my skittering interactions with other people were due to a fear of getting attacked. At an early age I found other kids scary and untrustworthy. It was a select few that I was able to have faith in. So most of my conversations with people I’m not that chummy with have been based on casual chats or superficial bollocks unless steaming drunk. Alcohol has its uses after all.

I haven’t become a better fighter, a better chatter-upper or a more social animal. I just feel more relaxed in these situations now. Plus I no longer fear that everyone I meet is a potential threat.

It only took being thumped in the face at a Krav class and seeing two pretty girls in dresses…to realise that.

God bless the small catalysts.

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