In January of this year, I entered a Kung Fu class for the first time. I had never practiced martial arts before and I felt really, really, uncomfortable. I needed to pull out all the stops to ignore the whining little girl inside me who wanted to run away.
The idea to sign up for Kung Fu to build some inner strength crossed my mind at the end of last year.
Why Kung Fu? No idea.
I have no friends who do Kung Fu. I have never watched a Bruce Lee or Kung Fu Panda movie. Sure, I have seen Jackie Chan’s Rush Hour, but only because I had a crush on a boy who wanted to see that movie back in the 90s.
Though despite that, I followed my intuition and decided to visit some martial arts schools. The first one I checked out almost killed my Kung Fu career before it even got started. I walked in, peeked into the class, only to see the teacher’s feet because he was sitting behind a door. I heard his voice grumbling to a student, ‘That was shit!’
Maybe I didn’t hear it correctly, but I snuck out full Bruce Lee speed.
Fortunately, I ended up finding an amazing school. I received my yellow belt and I’m now working on my blue belt. I’ve started to notice that Kung Fu makes me stronger, not only in a physical way, but also mentally. It helps me to get out of my comfort zone — to persist and be patient — when things get complicated.
And most importantly, it helps me acknowledge when my mind is making up lame excuses.
How is that, you may ask? Well, during Kung Fu class we have to learn many different techniques. I get frustrated when I don’t remember forms, or grow insecure when it takes (according to me) too much time to learn, or feel uncomfortable when people are watching me.
In situations like this, we often want to run away from the frustration and uncomfortable feeling. Our minds come up with lame excuses that seem very reasonable to explain why we can’t do something. I start to think I can’t do Kung Fu because I don’t have time to practice, my body is not flexible/strong enough, I am too tired, I am too old to learn it, and so on.
But running away from uncomfortable situations and whining don’t allow me to move in the right direction and grow — persistence and patience do. Of course I already knew this, but over the last few months I experienced it to the fullest by seeing my Kung Fu progress.
This attitude of perseverance helps me both in my daily life and my career. It provided me the courage to organize my first flash fiction exhibition with my sister: Barcelona Hofman. And believe me, there were enough moments when we wanted to give up.
Publishing stories, sharing my personal thoughts, and trying to make a living out of writing is not always easy. But quitting is not an option. I can’t give up my passion. So, I Kung Fu fight and write to realize my dream. No excuses.