Like any self-respecting angsty teenager of the 90’s I listened to Alanis Morrisette. The angry girl music scene fed my self-proclaimed, artistically deep feelings, like sweat to the bacteria in my boxing gloves. The world was “Ironic,” I am pretty sure I didn’t even know what that meant at the time, so yeah, I really didn’t know (please tell me some of you got that joke)…
The world actually did end up being ironic as the 17-year-old vampire poem writing, art major with no childcare experience ended up taking and teaching martial arts in later years as she attempts to keep her nine children alive and kicking. And guess what? I still really don’t know.
But it’s like raaaaaaaaiiiiiin on your wedding day (okay I will slow with the Jagged Little Pill references) sometimes things seem ironic, you doubt the merit of it, and then are pleasantly surprised.
The Under Rug Swept title I am only using because it mildly fits in my brain where I am going to try and go with the subject of goal setting. And by mildly fits, I mean if you have ever seen me do a jigsaw puzzle, I start the edge with maybe two pieces, get frustrated, hulk smash like a child in an attempt to work, arm sweep them all dramatically off onto the floor, falsely blame my three year old Rosie for losing pieces, and then throw the box away. So yeah, this is going to be a vague correlation at best.
I am a goal setter. I like a plan, I can roll if it doesn’t work out, but I do like to set them. I even like petty goals because someone told me I couldn’t do it (thanking my sweet mother-in-law Kim for that awesome shirt!) I thrive in the challenge of the negativity, but sometimes that is just not enough when the rug is figuratively swept out from under you.
I had big plans for this upcoming 2022 year. I was excited with where I wanted to take things personally and with Healthy Buffalo when I tripped with, “My Hand in My Pocket,” fell right in the trap of, “You Oughta Know,” and I started the year ill equipped needing to wash my “Hands Clean” of all my preconceived notions of what I thought was going to go down. (can’t help it, sorry not sorry). I was having to rewrite my song for the year (okay, yeah that one WAS cheesy)…
This brings me to how I am finally going to relate Victory MMA in Joplin, MO to my teenage wonder years of musical enlightenment. Doing High School in the predominantly Catholic city of Wichita, it seems inevitable that any teen will end up doing some form of a CYO or Catholic Youth Organization event. At the very least your friends talk you into joining a volleyball or softball team playing rival diocese. I was no different, not catholic, but hey the dances and lock-ins were fun. Not heavy on the chaperoning (truth comes out, sorry mom), however while slow dancing to “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden (this was hella romantic) you could always count on the priest with roller-skates scooting by stating, “leave some room for the Holy Spirit.” It was epic and the Victory Sports Complex drug me right back into the memories by looking just like every catholic church gym I had danced, volleyballed, or slept in.
I must admit, even as a Christian, the idea of a ministry-based MMA gym sort of had me hesitating. I wondered if punch face was going to be watered down like so many things…. My Friend LB went with me, and the skepticism was in high alert walking into a place resembling less complicated years in life.
It wasn’t. Watered down that is. Teejay “Bad Newz” Britton is a Pro MMA fighter and the Gym Director at Victory Ministry and Sports Complex. Not only did he deal with my long-winded inquiry on Facebook messenger and my six and three year old wreaking havoc by interrupting class with their own unsanctioned MMA, he is an excellent instructor with a real quality fight program going on.
I partnered up with LB while attempting to keep Henry and Rose entertained with the books we brought. This plan obviously waned quickly and Teejay, holding his own child throughout most of the class, fed them all chocolate as they ran willy nilly around the basketball court just barely avoiding the wrestlers there for another class. My fourteen year old daughter Lili attended as well, she was paired up quickly with a sweet red headed girl and over the course of the two hours, learned and was built up by both Teejay and her partner.
For the first time ever I shadowboxed and mildly enjoyed it. Teejay had us do this with a partner and facing off with someone somehow made me feel less idiotic. So from now on, wherever gym I am at, if they say shadowbox, I am grabbing the first available body and making them fake spar with me. Also my six year old videographer Henry, took some epic video footage that is completely useless….. I think I might still post it. He must have misheard and assumed I said film arms and legs only, really shaky, and blurry. He nailed it.
We ran good combos, we ran them hard, Teejay would not allow anything to slip and was constantly making the rounds on everyone correcting form in a kind but firm manner. He is not a yeller, and I was surprised at the number of women in his class. A couple of them and Teejay himself had fights coming up and the mood was calm but energetic. There was another woman, I unfortunately did not catch her name, that wandered through the drills. She was pregnant, had what seemed like a Russian accent, so that alone made me listen to her when she tweaked a few things we were working on.
The class was a good pace, and we were ran just as hard as I have been in many places. The fear of the “don’t hit people too hard because we are showing love in a fighting gym because #ministry” (yes, I know I was being judgy) was quickly replaced with seeing great leadership, realism, and a class of top shelf fighters. My ego or in this case, preconceived notions of just how badly I was going to have to watch my mouth while kicking each other’s shins, was once again checked. I loved it, sums up my world.
Towards the end of class, we did some cardio, an ab workout, and then was given a rather inspirational speech and prayer from Teejay. He spoke of the statistic that only 4% of people make and keep goals and it was a reminder I needed to get over and get on with mine for the year.
I had felt backed into a corner with my regrouping for the year. I had given myself an extra month, till March to write down my yearly goals. At first with my “Under Rug Swept,” I was thinking grand scales out of almost minor spite but knew that was no way to go. Honestly, I might do petty goals, but when done in spite they are not personal, they are projections. That’s no way to start your year when constant growth is and should be the ultimate plan. As I have stated before, around here we don’t look backward very long. I had stewed and hashed and wrote down and scribbled out. I had ran the gamut of extreme likely impossible ones for the 365 and knew I was just stubborn enough to pull them off, however was glad I gave myself the extra month because I was also able to dwell on the yes Christun, you could do that but, at what cost? To my kids? To my family?
Teejay’s statement lit the fire I had put on the back burner purposefully because I just didn’t want to deal, for the first time I didn’t even have a semblance of a plan and was out here in the world floundering. After that class, I was able to visit a few friends in other states and tussle my ideas around with them. I got to chat with my dad over a bottle of wine and listen to his advice about five- and ten-year goals. This article is probably going to drive him batty because I decided not take his advice for those plans currently, much like I did as an angsty teenager before I learned better. Just kidding, I am rolling with a hybrid and not stressing myself out this year with big goals. I am regrouping with what I have been preaching over and over and over, “how do you eat an elephant?”
Turns out 2022 is not the year for grandiose. It’s the year for small bites, small personal ones, the ease of the achievable, still upward, still challenging, but close and not a projection. A staying in my lane year of sorts. I have till March 1 to write them down fully and commit them to my “$h*t List” paper that I got for Christmas, because then that makes it contractual between myself and myself, but write them down I will. Sometimes in order to advance you have to retreat a bit.
So “slap me with a splintered ruler,” and head over for a class or two with TeeJay and his gang at Victory Sports Complex, you won’t be sorry. It’s fun, anyone can join, they will beat you up and down and then pray for you, and heaven knows I will take all the prayers. Also, I enjoyed all the little puns in here so much I think I am going to continue with the angry girl music theme… my next article will be entitled, “Angry Johnny.”
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Author- Christun Erwin
"Thank you for your words. They make an impact and its important that, human to human, woman to woman, mother to mother... you know that you make a difference, even to those you never knew your words" -Krystal