During my gym class on Saturday morning the teacher shouted, “This class is all about ordinary people doing extraordinary things!”
Which, I don’t know, really? We all sort of blinked at her. It was an 11.30am class. We didn’t even have to get out of bed that early to be there. And it was a sunny day.
Although there is something a little extraordinary about this particular class because it’s all about pretending to hit invisible opponents. We do a right hook to his jaw! And an upper cut! And then a back kick! There is one move where you pretend to hold someone down with one hand and smash their face to a bloody pulp with the other. When I first started I got the giggles doing this, but now I take it completely seriously. It’s strangely satisfying.
I don’t even laugh when the teacher yells, “Now, put on your cage fighting face!” I just grit my teeth and narrow my eyes. (Although I make sure I never accidentally catch sight of myself in the mirror. I suspect my cage fighting face might not be quite as impressive as it feels.)
The teacher also likes us to make grunting sounds when we kick. Like this: HAAA! We always start off shyly: Ha! And then when she’s disappointed, we try harder: HAAAAA!
Then at the end of the class, when we’ve finished grunting and kicking and bashing, and it’s time for ‘abs’, we all line up politely to get a mat from the pile in the corner. You’d think we’d be elbowing each other out of the way, slamming fists into jaws, but no, it’s all, “You first!” and “Oh sorry, here you go!”
I do another class with weights, where you have to put a bar on the ‘meaty part of your shoulders’ (you would think there would be a more pleasant way to describe this) and then you squat up and down. My nose always starts to itch. I try to use it as a test of character. I think, ‘Your country depends on you not scratching your nose!’ And then I IMMEDIATELY drop the bar to scratch my nose. It’s disappointing. I appear to have no strength of character whatsoever. Still, I do have an excellent right hook.