The day I wrote my last post I had to immediately “put my money where my mouth is!” I pressed the send button waxing poetic about finally feeling comfortable in discomfort and was greeted by the opportunity to put that to the test at the door of the dojo!

As we lined up we had a different Sensei lead class. True fact about humans: Each person teaches a different way just as each person receives information a different way. If you’ve been around these parts you know that I’m a person of details and I like doing things right. This will forever be my albatross in karate. 

Sensei was showing us a kumite that I’ve done just a few times before but with a twist. He was giving detailed options about kick placement and my mind was swimming. I needed to know what was the “right” way. I’d like to know what I’m doing then I can add things to it. In my brain there’s the right way then nuance. I was getting all nuance and it was killing me. It wasn’t his teaching it was my learning that was tripping me. I had to ask him which way was right. Ultimately they all were. I need to learn to live with options. 

The victory here is that I asked a question.  Normally, when my head begins to swim and I feel overwhelmed I’d just shut down and never return. I wouldn’t say a word just bow out gracefully and be on my merry way. I tried to find some comfort in the discomfort of what I was learning and then asked the Sensei. I didn’t leave and I didn’t die. Victory. 

As I drove home I almost had to laugh about how quickly I was called to live out my writing. Then came beach class. 

East Coast Karate does a few beach classes a summer. This is my first summer so in my brain I thought it was our class on the beach. Seems legit. It was scheduled for last week but the thunderstorms had other plans. I was on the fence about going because I was sure it was going to feature some key things:

  • Humans
  • Lots of small children
  • Beach onlooking humans
  • Sand

I could hear the The Sound of Music song “these are a few of my favorite things!” Not really. I can appreciate them all in measured doses but not all at once spread out over one of our largest beaches. 

Then someone posted in our Facebook group about wearing a bathing suit. It was like a bomb went off in my skull.


I had to go back to my bulleted list above and add:

  • Potentially being wet in front of lots of people 

I message my friend who knows of my lunacy, my need for details, and how my mind will conjure up a million – usually completely ridiculous – scenarios and asked her what to expect. She wrote me back with details in a language that was perfect for me. Everyone teaches in their own way and everyone receives information in their own way. Lindsay is not only an epic beast at karate and a person I aspire to emulate she also spoke my language completely. Sufficiently briefed, I got dressed and headed out. I can do this. 

When I arrive at Misquamicut Beach the first wave of hysteria flows over me. I have no idea where we were supposed to meet. Where do we go in? Is there a spot? Did I miss hearing the meeting spot? 

Anxiety Level One – Achievement Unlocked

I get to the beach and there are still so many people there! It’s 6pm! Why are they still at the beach? I see a sea of East Coast Karate shirts but none on any people I recognize. I wandered like a child lost at the mall contemplating hopping back into my car and just leaving. Find the comfort, Regina! I saw some of my friends and they saw me too. My odds of safely escaping to my car went out the window at eye contact. 

Anxiety Level Two – Achievement Unlocked

More and more people arrived and there were many more familiar faces. I came to realize with a crew this large we didn’t really need a meeting space after all. I need to learn to go with it. 

As we gathered together and lined up I was amazed at how many people were there from class and how many more were just there to watch. Some were family members and others just happened to be on the beach and found a great live show. 

We started off doing warm up drills all together. I was fine doing drills. Kinda. Facing the beach made it easier since I wasn’t watching people watch us. That would’ve been much harder. When we broke into teams I was finally feeling ok. Note: Always be extra cautious when you start feeling ok as craziness seems to ensue immediately. 

Our team drills were competitive and I’m a slightly competitive person. That’s not true. I’m an insanely competitive person. So when we raced to touch the water and back my spirit of competition took over. That was fine touching water. The story changed with Army crawls, somersaults, shimmying on my back in sand, and ultimately getting drenched. I cannot accurately describe the horror that is sand in my hair. With every passing minute I’m being flung haphazardly out of my comfort zone. 

Anxiety Level Three – Achievement Unlocked

 We did take downs (this is another blog entirely), performed kata in the surf, and even push ups with our faces in the water. I was soaked from head to toe, covered in sand, and being watched by a beach full of people. It was like a personal attack of all of my issues in one place. But I did it. Miraculous. 

When all was said and done, I wasn’t exactly comfortable in the discomfort but I gave 100% and held in until the end. I walked back to my car soaking wet, covered in a delightful mix of sand and sweat but feeling really good that I did it. I battled through my fear of random humans, being wet in public, and allowed myself to enjoy the chaotic dance that is beach class. Even though I looked like this: 

Post Beach Class
Epic Karate Warrior Level One – Achievement Unlocked 


7 Responses

  1. Well I think you look damn epic, proud of you, great piece of writing.
    Keep pushing.
    Keep living.

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