I have now completed all the "easy" events in my winter allocation of sports. Everything else is going to be annoying to organise, wrestling being no exception to this. Every website I've come across for women's wrestling looks like it's actually an outlet for a particularly niche part of the sex industry, rather than a legitimate sports club. Though having said this, my flatmate, who is apparently rather more au fait with some of these more specialist websites, tells me this is just what wrestling looks like. Great.
My numbers of Olympian followers have not grown, though an American long-jumper did start following me only to promptly un-follow. Fickle. Well, who needs him when you have 6 members of Team GB? One of whom, the Twittersphere reliably informs me, was twice listed in "Hot Olympians" top 10s (possibly more than 10, I didn't spend that much time researching). I should stop before I make it too awkward to facilitate our inevitable meeting.
Also, I feel I should draw your attention to Paula, who I was introduced to by Twitter (great things happen on Twitter, like my inane and largely pointless banter - get involved you luddites: @inspireajen) this week. Paula is attempting the 17 Commonwealth sports in the run up to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014. Initially, I naturally felt threatened by her - she's very funny and her website is better than mine. But we've bonded over our sporting incompetence and I'm hoping to try a sport, common to both our challenges, with her at some point.
This week I tried out Taekwondo ,coincidentally in the week that Jade Jones (that's Team GB's Taekwondo silver medallist, not that bloke from poorly named 90s boy band, Damage) won BBC Wales' Sports Personality of the Year. I approached Bozdag Taekwondo, on Kingsland Road in my 'hood, Dalston ,and was kindly invited to join in one of the adults beginners classes by founder of the school, Seyit. Like almost all the other places where I've been trying sports (10 of 12 - and 2 I just forgot to ask, bad blogger), Seyit's school is experiencing a post-Olympic boost, which is excellent news given that it's now December. Well-deserved it is too, given how welcoming the class was despite the fact that I was interrupting their preparations for an exam at the weekend. One of the things about this project that has blown my tiny mind, is the fact that no one laughs at you when you're rubbish, they're just happy that you're trying.
Despite my initial excitement about participating in a sport that made me feel like teenage hero, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I was a little apprehensive about this one. For a start, I'm given to believe that there is a spiritual element to many martial arts, and I'm probably about as spiritual as a smack in the face. Secondly, having quickly identified the only other woman in the class thinking she'd be pleased to take me under her wing, turns out, I was wrong - she looked like she was pretty serious about Taekwondo, less so about befriending hapless bloggers. Still, let me tell you that wearing a T-Shirt emblazoned with the message "I've completed the London Marathon (in 2009) - anything is possible!", to a class of actual sporty people, is a seriously bold move. Especially if you are now, essentially, rubbish at sport.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by my experience. Perhaps I would feel differently about some of these sports if I didn't collect my thoughts whilst still high on endorphins and the gratifying feeling of basically being Sasha Fierce, but Taekwondo is AMAZING.
We started off doing the horrible bit that all classes make you do, where you run around - as previously discussed, no one likes running. Then we went on to do some particularly intense stretching, kind of like a more dynamic version of yoga. I couldn't help but wonder if Taekwondo might be something women would be more naturally inclined to be good at, given all the flexibility that is clearly needed and I felt good about participating in a sport that I could actually get to grips with. Though one of the guys, in particular, made me regret this initial assessment.
After the stretching, we got on to bidness. Starting with some punches (which were fine, because you may recall, I know how to throw a professional punch), Seyit took us through some of the basic moves. However, as I'd learnt from my boxing experiences, combining punches with moving the rest of your body is altogether trickier and there's a lot to think about in terms of the process of the movement. I found some of the kicking pretty complicated, mostly because I struggle with telling my left from right without the visual representation of an "L" that your left hand makes. I also found that Buffy the Vampire Slayer, alas I am not, though I felt that I could be in time.
I had a great pun worked out for this should it have turned out to be awful, and just so you know, I was totally ready to drop the "TaekwonDON'T" bomb, but I loved Taekwondo. A fantastic work out it was too, though tomorrow, in the almost words of the great prophet, R Kelly, my mind will be telling me yes, but my body, my body will be telling me no.Suggest a correction