People who’ve read this blog before may or may not have seen my post on karate, and judged me accordingly. To save you reading the post — wait, that’s really not in my interests at all.
Read the damn post.
Alright, we’ll continue.
Although scarred by my completely fruitless brush with karate, in an age before pretending to fight by dancing was cool enough for wealthy hippies to attempt while wearing ‘ironic’ combat trousers, I was resolved to give martial arts another go. An alternative explanation is that, despite my deeply ingrained aversion to martial arts, I realised I was developing an un-ignorable pot belly and wanted to retain my dignity, because being both lanky and fat causes people to stare at you like you’re some sort of bizarre optical illusion.
Probably the sort of illusion sponsored by the government at the tax payers’ expense, they would continue to themselves, adding that not many people knew this but a Polynesian mime in Hackney was receiving £500,000 a year to spit in white people’s mouths from the council on account of the political correctness. In my head, anyone who criticises me is an avid Daily Mail reader, and thus safely ignored.
So it was that with fire and cheap pasta salad in my belly I headed down to the gym recommended by my girlfriend, in an attempt to conquer my demons and finally learn something that might prove useful in the real world (no offence, all of the arts and humanities subjects). Useful for hitting people with, but useful none-the-less.
On my first visit, I managed to enter the building no fewer than four times in an attempt to join the class.
It was on my fourth attempt to awkwardly get the attention of the boxing instructor without actually drawing attention to myself that I realised I might not be cut out for boxing. I left without having boxed a single box, pretty disheartened, my aversion to martial arts cemented in my mind.
This week, though, was different.
I strode confidently in like I had every right to be there, handed the instructor the cost of the lesson, and jumped right into the first class.
That was the point at which everything started to go wrong.
You see, nobody had told me that we were supposed to bring boxer shorts. No-one had told me that heavy black jeans were not suitable for long periods of exercise and sweating.
I really wish someone had told me about all the jumping. I could’ve worn a belt, and that would’ve saved me an awful lot of time spent waddling around the room with one hand clutching my jeans and the other flailing around in a pale imitation of an actual punch.
More importantly, it would’ve stopped my trousers falling down, which in turn would have stopped people from leaving their boxing lesson with my pants indelibly imprinted upon their minds.
Further to this, nobody had told me that exercise was hard.
Sure, you might say that I should have worked this out for myself, but (a) I didn’t and (b) shut up.
I had a dim recollection of exercise from my student years, and an even dimmer, abstract sense that it might in some way involve hardship. On the other hand, I had completely forgotten what it feels like to have every muscle in your body simultaneously burning and shivering in protest, feel like you want to throw up, have a pounding headache that is probably representative of your imminent death from severe dehydration, and be incredibly, painfully aware of every single artery in your body.
That said, the entire experience was kind of, well, fun.
I learned how to take steps, how to move my arms out in front of my face, and numerous other things I should have mastered by the age of two. What more can you ask for?
I’m going back again this week.
I might bring a belt though this time, more for their sakes than my own…
The instructor kept looking over during the warm-up exercises to see if I was dying. To be fair, I think I may have been.
Everyone who listens to Five Finger Death Punch has a barbed wire tattoo. Fact.