Martial Arts….Side Kick Meditation

 I’ve finally accepted the fact…martial arts is my form of meditation. I know meditation isn’t supposed to be violent and generally that’s the whole point of Taekwondo. But when I’m working out, that’s the only time I’m not worrying about taxes, school lunches, staff meetings, annual budgets and my son’s lost Razorback hoodie.

One definition of meditation reads : “continuous and profound contemplation or musing on a subject or series of subjects of a deep or abstruse nature.”  Half way through class, I promise you, my concentration is profound and focused like a laser on my chamber and foot position.

If you read more about meditation “clearing the mind of surface thoughts” is an integral part of the process.

Well, there’s no doubt, when I’m  trying to speed up my hook kick, side kick, round kick, my mind is absolutely empty, void of any  thought ,other than, ‘when is Mr. Robinson, (my instructor) going to let me put my freaking foot down?” He’s 53 and can still keep his foot in a very high side kick position, without the rail, for at least 70 or 80 seconds. And he looks happy doing it, or maybe it just the fact he knows we are suffering that makes him smile.

When I’m sparring a leggy 17 year old teenage boy, who’s goal in life is to put his heel through three of my ribs, the only thing I’m contemplating is self protection. I’m not thinking about greasy tacos for dinner or the annual client retreat. Surface thoughts are gone so I’m meditating in an odd way.

And then, just like meditation, there’s the after class high and extreme relaxation.  When I’m sweaty, my hair is plastered to my forehead and my belt is falling off, that’s when I feel the best. Those few minutes after class are golden because I’m exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. And becasue Mr. Robinson  is still such a beast I’m generally flooded with relief because I made it through another class.

I don’t think meditation has to involve sitting Indian style with incense. Meditation is finding a place or activity that lifts you up and  clears your mind, so the world makes a little more sense.

If that’s true than after fourteen years Taekwondo is in fact my form of meditation and I’m so lucky I found it.