September 3, 2008

San Shou (Sparring) Day 1

When I was about 18, an artist friend of mine, who also practiced the fighting arts, thought it would be very edgy to photograph me wearing a lot of his Everlast gear, looking tough and beating up his punching bag. I gave it my best effort but I just couldn't pull off a Hilary Swank. (Sorry Carl.) Fast forward 30 years to this weekend when I donned my own pair of hand wraps, a borrowed pair of gloves and took my first real steps into the world of sparring.

San shou (sparring) is a Chinese martial art involving punching and kicking. Similar to kick boxing but with different competition rules, it's a good way to burn off extra physical and mental energy.

Since I am currently the only woman in this class (the only pedicured foot practicing kicks) and I'm twice as old as some of the guys, I'm happy that we'll be punching our padded instructor and not each other -- for awhile. But age and gender aren't a reason to hang back. I know another woman who takes San shou. she has a dozen years on me and a scary-strong left punch. I want to grow up to be just like her.

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