Last night I started work back at a place I left a few months ago to open up more time for me to focus on training. When I returned, another woman who’d worked there years ago had also come back and we were sitting at the bar, eating dinner, kind of getting to know one another. She was a state trooper and said she’d only boxed once, while in academy, to disasterous results. She looked at me with something short of admiration, but more sympathetic than disbelief and said, “I do not enjoy getting hit in the face.”
I smiled and said I didn’t really like getting hit or kicked either, but that I do get a certain joy out of the sparring/fighting experience. This only happens for me when I am really and truly hit – when someone much larger is not taking it easy on me and giving me the “tap-tap” treatment; girls my size hit for real. I explained to her that the great joy for me is that every time I get hit, it takes the fear away of being hit again. Every time. The experience then is one in which fear is consistently being knocked off of me, like chunks of confining clay armor cracking and dropping away. It is an experience of finding less and less fear – a taking of weakness – for which there is no equivalent in the mundane world. Everything else in my life is an adding of fear, a caking on of this heavy shield of clay. It protects, but it also immobilizes, masks and deforms the beautiful vulnerable form that reflects God’s image. I am naked in the Garden when I fight; I know exactly how naked I am, but I am never ashamed.