Kickboxing: My Best Blog Post of 2012
It’s ironic that I blog excessively on children’s books, education and parenting; particularly the intersection of all three but my best blog post is, of all things, on kickboxing.
I like to find books for kids to mark all occasions, answer questions and just generally entertain and deeply satisfy. And I do have educational and children’s book posts that make my Top 10 for 2012 in terms of traffic. But this post, Kickboxing for a Middle Age Mom with a Gentleman Fighter, holds a special place in my heart. It also is one of my top 10 most popular posts of 2012 by page views.I’ve posted on kickboxing before. I’ve been doing it off and on for fifteen years with now 6 different instructors in 2 states. My previous instructor was a guy not unlike The Situation of Jersey Shore fame. My two girls (then 12 and 10) and I trained with him. They rolled off the bench and onto the ground in mirth when I kicked him in the groin during a sparring match. (He wasn’t wearing his cup either. Oops!) Still, this post wasn’t as popular as Kickboxing for a Middle Age Mom with a Gentleman Fighter.
Kickboxing was what I turned to five years ago when I first learned of a horrific incident a few Christmas’ ago in a town not far from me. The details aren’t important. A mom and her toddler son abducted at knifepoint. Bad things happened but ultimately they were saved. I had a toddler at the time. My son was difficult to strap into his car seat. He fought the restraints in a wiggly game that frustrated me. And now I felt unsafe in a parking lot, even in broad daylight.
My solution was to find a kickboxing instructor again to get into post-baby shape and train like my life depended on it. In case it ever was. So I found Steve Giroux of Giroux Brothers Martial Arts and we trained and sparred. He taught me unbreakable choke holds over someone’s windpipe causing them to black out. And what to do if someone grabs your wrist: the answer is a version of Boom, Boom, Pow.
The ability to last for two minutes of sustained fighting was his goal for me including taking and shaking off blows. He didn’t want me thrown by taking a punch to the head. (I wear a helmet and so many pads that I feel like a Star Wars Storm Trooper). I’d be a contender if such a kickboxing fighting category existed (mostly because I think I’d be the only one): female, over 45-years-old, under 90 pounds.
In a world that can feel uncertain and unsafe, I find comfort in learning to kickbox. In a sport that can bruise and break bones, I learned that ultimately it reveals how vulnerable we all are. Even in pads. Even with years of training.
And yet, it lets me feel in control in an out-of-control world. And my triceps have never looked better. I prefer those kind of Right to Bare Arms.
p.s. My second favorite post based purely on emotional satisfaction is Predicting 2013 Newbery and Caldecott Winners. I love the thrill of trying to guess and enjoy reading as many books on this list as I can get my hands on. We use it all year to find new reading material. My hats off to gurus 100 Scope Notes and A Fuse #8 Production, both über children’s book librarians who blog for School Library Journal where this list mostly is drawn from.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.