Friday, March 20, 2009

Tangled Up and Bruised

Just when you thought there wasn't another thing I could on my weight loss journey, I have crossed a new personal bridge.  I started taking Kung Fu instruction.  Frighteningly, I like it; more frighteningly, I think I am good at it.  That's what the Sifu tells me.  (Sifu = instructor).  The aftermath is something less than desirable.

Today, as I was doing my morning abultions, I looked down at my feet.  There was a perfect round bruise on my right foot, just below the pinkie toe.  This is a match to the spot rubbed raw on my left leg above the ankle.  And let's not discuss how much my back side hurts.  Needless to say, I am finding a lot of new parts of my anatomy in a very unpleasant way.

The point here is give mad props to two guys who took me under their collective wings.  Their names are Michael McCall and Ralph Latimer.  Ralph is the sifu and Michael serves as my supportive older brother.  My training with these two men has been a work of Providence and I am grateful to have made their acquaintance.  You'll have to poll them to see if they feel the same way.  They have been very patient with my limited abilities and they are working hard to get me to see that I have great athletic abilities.

That was a really hard sentence to write.  It's a total personality and perspective shift to add another whole aspect to your self-identity.  You would think that losing 150 lbs. would be enough to make that clear, but it's not.  It's so much more.  

Growing up fat as  I did and feeling like no one took me seriously, made me feel like the side kick in my own story.  It's like being Batman but the episode focused on Robin.  I'm supposed to be the hero but because of self - imposed limitations, I ended up being a second stringer.  When my friends and I, as children, would play at superheroes, I could never be the dashing one, the physically powerful one.  I couldn't run and climb like the other boys could.  But I wanted to be Batman.  I wanted to do all those other things, but I just gave up that I could.  Kung Fu is opening my eyes, that Batman was just biding his time.

That I am learning how to defend myself, that I am connecting to something that I thought of as only a pipe dream, that I am mastering an ancient combat art, all that is really enlightening and empowering.  Because of my two buddies, they have opened my eyes to a whole new vista of my self.  I can't thank them enough.  

But you could thank them for me.  You see these guys are training me for free (they're both Knights, don't ya know, and this falls, in their way of thinking, under supporting the clergy.  If they wouldn't throw me on the ground so often, I wouldn't need the support or the Advil.)  If you an Oklahoma City reader, look these guys up.  You can read more about the school here.

If you don't live in the Oklahoma City environs, then just pray for them.  They are two great guys - more of those brothers from other mothers I keep encountering.  This one's for you, Michael and Ralph.  I couldn't have found a better Sifu and big brother to be tangled up and bruised with.


Michael McCall said...


What can I say? Thank you for your ringing endorsement. I am sure that I speak for Sifu Latimer, when I say that it is an honor and pleasure to have you as a student in our school!

The dedication and discipline that you have demonstrated through your recent transformation is true Kung Fu.

While the words "Kung Fu" can rightly be translated as "working man", it should be understood in the sense of a craftsman or an artisan, not a mere laborer. To have "Kung Fu" means to do something in a skillful way, to be thorough and confident in the task at hand, to put your whole self into it.

Sifu Latimer and I chose the name "Phoenix Rising" for our school as a way of exemplifying the effects that a Kung Fu mindset has on one's life, it brings a rebirth of mind and body.

You, my friend, already have the mindset and have seen the power of striving to be the best you can be. Your transformation was well under way when you came to train with us. This is one reason that your Kung Fu is progressing so rapidly.

Yeah, sometimes we get banged up a little, but we have a heck of a lot of fun doing it. I know that you believe that a couple stiff muscles and a bruise here and there are such a small price to pay for the confidence, fellowship and health benefits of training in our particular martial art, and that is what makes you a warrior.

Thank you again, and I look forward to working out with you soon!

Dismas said...

Man, I wish my back could take martial arts training! Glad to have you active in the blogosphere!

Dick Richards said...

Hi Ragemonkey,

You wrote -

....but because of self - imposed limitations, I ended up being a second stringer..

I am 40kg overwieght and can identify with this. tackling and praying about our imposed limitations seems to be a key doesnt it?


Nancy Roemer said...

Catholic Ragemonkey and Kung Fu warrior? Gotta love it!

I started Karate 7 years ago so my daughter could avoid pre-karate (7 year old w/ parent vs. 8 yo w/o). I fell in love with it and am part of the largest club in the country, with service being a big part of it (every winter the club raises over $80,000 with a Kick-a-thon Kick for the Cure)in giving back to the community.

This is the first sport I've really enjoyed enough to stay with. Like you, I was never an athlete. Keep up the great work!

By the way,hearing you on the radio, I've always imagined you as a skinny dude!