by Aurora Bordeaux
It’s no secret that I love going to krav maga. It’s wonderful. It gives me a great workout, makes me strong, and boosts my confidence in my raw ability to take care of myself and not be harmed by anyone bad. I look forward to going, I’m good at it, and it makes me happy. I fear injuries, which are common since we’re wacking the crap out of each other every day, but other than that, my krav days are carefree.
Krav time is me time. I get to go, hit the mats, and insulate myself from the world for an hour. If I were pregnant or had a child, a lot of that bliss would diminish. I know this because my mamma-krav friends tell me so all the time. All the other women who go to class with me are mothers. Badass, cool ones. I love them.
But when it comes to krav, the moms have an extra curve to overcome. It’s hard (and expensive) to find babysitters all the time, so most of them bring their small children and hope they play nice in the alcove outside the classroom. I love my school, but it’s not exactly clean, and as a parent I would hate my kids rolling around out there in hair, dead bugs, dried sweat, and dust knowing they wouldn’t have an immediate bath (or delousing). Some of the kids are also a little wily and rambunctious, which means the shy ones sometimes sink rather than swim as the more assertive kids take over Lord of the Flies style. As a former shy child, I empathize with the sinkers.
The kids also interrupt the moms constantly with needs for bathroom, mediation with other kids who have upset them, food or drink, attention. The moms either ignore them and feel bad about it or deal with it as quickly as they can, which never works out well because a child demanding attention wants to get mom’s attention and then keep it. The moms do their best, but it’s clearly a drag. Heart rates drop and you miss your turn.
Nevermind that pregnancy and street fighting are absolutely not compatible. Have you ever noticed that no superhero women ever get knocked up? Maybe they have super diaphragms or something, but either way—and please correct me if I left a superhero out—I don’t think superhero ladies really copulate. There’s a good reason for that. The end of the world waits for no man, and it certainly won’t wait for a woman. There’s no time to call for a last minute sitter when nuclear disaster is on the horizon.
When I took my test for entry into the next level of krav maga, I endured a five hour dogpile of full throttle mayhem. It was the most brutal, violent thing I have ever been through. I had the hell beaten out of me for hours, I beat the hell out of others for hours, and I was pushed to a physical cliff so steep that my muscles stopped working and my body literally sobbed for a whole 30 seconds (I never stopped punching once, and I was later told crying at this stage is considered normal). It was weird because I was wacking the pad and thinking, why is my face wet? Oh, I’m crying. Half the class threw up at least three times. But somehow that long, horrible, exhausting fight changed me and made me a better person. I fight harder now because I’ve been attacked for real, and no matter what comes up in life, I find myself saying, “If I can make it through to level 2, I can handle this. This is not a big deal.”
The level 2 test was a hard won treasure. But it’s a fight I would have missed out on if I were pregnant. And if I was a mom of young kids, I would have felt guilty asking the hubs to babysit for so long on the weekend. I also would have had to work that much harder to store up the energy I needed to survive it.
I was stiff and in pain for a week and covered with cuts and bruises. Every movement hurt. My voice was raspy and my throat was sore from hard choking. There were a few other moms in the class that made it through with me, and I’m just as proud of them as I am of myself. However, I can’t help but feel that my week after the fight was easier than theirs because I just had a few dogs depending on me, not small children like they do. I couldn’t even do a load of laundry for four days, much less care for a toddler or elementary school kid who needed dinner on the table at 5:00 on the dot.
I love my hobbies. They are part of who I am and a major component to living a life I love. While I respect and love the moms I go to class with because they’re just as strong and mighty, I don’t envy their extra responsibility.
PS, I passed.