Martial Arts

The view from the front

There are two kinds of people who look back at Mr. Ninja in class after 620 jumping jacks. Yep, that’s right, one night a lot of lower belts weren’t in class leaving me with upper belts and two black belts in class. So…yeah. 620 jumping jacks.

Mr. Ninja joked after 300 jumping jacks that we weren’t sweating. Apparently he had missed my face. Because I start sweating before 100.

We used to do jumping jacks in the 300s in class, and it’s bumped up to the 400s fairly consistently. One time we hit 500. So 620 was new and a shock to this little orange belt’s system, that’s for sure. After about 400 jumping jacks my calves start to feel it, after 450 my quads feel about as tight and cramped as my calves. After 500, I got a stitch in my side. After 550, I must have blacked out somewhat because I don’t remember anything until, for the final ten, he says “everyone!” and we all count. I don’t really know if what my arms and legs were doing at that point was recognizable as a jumping jack.

There’s me looking at back at Mr. Ninja, and then there’s the other black belt in class. It struck me as funny. After 620, when he’d said “sho” or rest and we can breathe and adjust our uniforms, and enough oxygen got into my brain that I could think again, I realized my t-shirt was untucked, my uniform was out from under my belt and the neckline was halfway down my back and to the side and my belt was coming loose. My face was red and my hair was soaked and sweat was dripping down my face and into my eyes. I could feel the heat coming out of the neckline of my t-shirt, I was that hot. My formerly white uniform is tarnishing to a dull white because I am a sweaty mess.

Then there’s the black belt on the other end of the front row. His uniform is just as white as the first day I met him (how???) and I suspect there is starch involved at some point. It crinkles in time with his movements. I don’t think his belt ever shifts or moves, and I don’t know that I’ve seen him change to anything other than his usual skin tone. No red cheeks, no drops of sweat staining his uniform, nothing. I don’t even think he breathes hard.

To his left, composed and taking 620 jumping jacks in stride. An immaculate uniform, somehow brighter white than mine (how??) and seemingly starched into shape.

To his right, disheveled, red and sweaty and trying to catch her breath.

If I can hang in there with this, anyone can.

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