Martial Arts

When the Army asks you to army crawl, they let you wear shoes

It’s been a while since I regaled you with tales of my flops and foibles and mess-ups in class. I’ve been in a pretty good groove for a few weeks.


Then I decided to go with another parent to Taekwondo Day Camp while our kids were there. (Are you already laughing? You should be. I didn’t even do a camp like this as a kid.) They do taekwondo but also play games that are designed to build coordination and strengthen movements while being fun. I was lured by the idea of getting multiple class credits plus maybe some new poomse moves.

Planning this, in my mind, I sort of glossed over the ‘playing games with kids and teens’ part. In retrospect, PE was never a subject I excelled at. When I was a kid I didn’t enjoy playing certain kinds of games with other (more physically talented) kids, and that sure as hell didn’t improve in the teenage years. That was when boys hit growth spurts and suddenly dodge ball was a horrific war-like game.


I forgot how agile, how sinewy, how easy and free kids can move. They’re like cats, uninhibited with the connections and tightness we get as older teens and adults. There is a reason gymnasts and other athletes retire at such young ages.


So we’re sitting in neat, orderly lines, highest belt to lowest, and I am humbled by the number of elementary students who out-belt me. Master Ninja is explaining the next game: relays. We do an “easier” one that required a bear walk (haven’t done that in a LONG time) and a crab walk (wow, this was a lot easier when I was a kid). So here I am, having gone the length of this large workout room with both a bear walk and crab walk. And up comes the next relay.


And it includes an army crawl.


I’m laughing and looking at the adult black belt who ‘leads’ this team. Yeah I don’t think I’ve ever army crawled. Anywhere. Ever. When and where would I have tried that? I was never in the military or any kind of boot camp training.


But, I’m here, and this whole experience is about testing myself and pushing boundaries, right? To truly put some skin in the game?


Well, I left that skin on the floor of the dojong.


I army crawled 75% of the way. My shoulders felt it for two days after camp. But my toes still feel it, where big patches of skin were rubbed off in said army crawl, and it’s been red and oozy since then. Even Band-Aids hurt to wear ‘cause they rub on it. Last night before class I got a compliment on my gnarly-looking toe.


And I realized, you know, even in the Army, they let you wear boots for the crawling portion.


The bonus was that I may have scored some cool points because the kids that saw the big patch of missing skin were like “ooooh, gross” but in that “okay it’s cool kind of way”.


Thank goodness it’s summer and I could wear sandals for five days straight!


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