My pseudonym, my nom-de-plume, is Harlequin. I am a Witch, a mystic, a shaman, a sorcerer, a conjurer...part of each of these titles resonates with certain aspects of my Self, yet none of them is all-encompassing as a term. And do you know what? I'm okay with that. I practice the Feri Tradition of Witchcraft, which is a shamanic path of fey sorcery, with roots in various paths and religions from across the globe.
The main purpose of this blog is to discuss the intersection between my kickboxing training and my Feri theology and praxis. So, let's begin!
I had my first kickboxing class today. I had thought about starting a martial art for a few years (ever since seeing Uma Thurman in Kill Bill) and a few people recommended Thai Kickboxing as an excellent martial art for fitness, discipline and self-defence.
I arrived at the sit (the dojo or training room) quite early, so I was able to watch the more advanced class train. What struck me was that the men who were sparring looked like something from a Greek myth - they were so archetypal and had a timeless quality about them. I was in awe of their strength, their composure, their self-mastery. These are indeed qualities I wish to hone for myself.
The lesson began but it seemed quite haphazard. The Kru (the Thai word for sensei or teacher) did not seem that bothered about each individual student. When it was time to pick partners for pad work and light sparring, I found myself without a partner. This did not bother me in the slightest, which was very surprising. I asked Kru what I should do and he motioned for me to move to the punchbags to practice the different moves we had just learned (which were the basic knee, elbow, punch and kick strikes).
I went away from the class and had time to punch the bag on my own. I'd never done it before but I reveled in the sheer physicality of what I was doing. There was no thought involved, just presence. It didn't matter if I hit the bag correctly - nobody was judging me. There were a few very experienced men also training on the bags, but I didn't feel at all intimidated. Rather, they gave me something to aspire towards.
The class itself was extremely tough...I've never worked that hard physically in my life, as far as I can recall. There were a few theological issues that came up for me to ponder, and I think I'll leave them for another day.
- How does the ritual of the fight relate to the Divine Twins?
- How does learning a martial art inform my view of Feri as a martial tradition?
- Is kickboxing an effective way of achieving self-mastery with the body?
- How does kickboxing practice relate to the Four Worlds?
- What are my issues regarding surrender, power and coercion in regard to fighting?
For now, I need to go to bed having just eaten a protein-rich snack and drunk a glass of milk. I'm sure I'll be aching in the morning!