On Getting Punched

10:04 AM

(Thank you to all of you lovely people who have filled out the survey thingy this week -- I very much appreciate it. You're awesome and all that, and I'll be showing you the results and my summer plans soon. If you haven't, for some reason, the survey thing is here.) 

This is, admittedly, somewhat of a cheesy post. But I do those occasionally so bear with me. 

Now, most of you don't know this, but I do karate. And when I say karate, yes, it's a school, but if karate makes you think of all that hardcore Karate Kid stuff, yes, that's exactly what it is. Our karate class is on a hardcore-training-the-unskilled-MC level. It's tough. There are lots of nights where a lot of us leave in tears. It's a fun experience, in some ways, but really rough in others. 

Sadly, we don't do a lot of head contact stuff yet. 
I love it. 
Aside from being one of the most valuable learning experiences for me, and one of the places where I feel most comfortable and safe (who doesn't feel comfortable and safe learning how to punch people?) it's also been a place for me to grow mentally, and I've learned some things there that apply to lots of things besides karate. We're blessed to have instructors who are not only pretty awesome black-belt skilled people, but who are wise and supportive and helpful in so many ways. (So this is my thank-you to them, by the way.) 


One of our recent classes involved a lot of basic sparring -- we faced off with an opponent about our size and the goal was essentially to beat the living daylights of them. In a controlled environment, of course, with some rules. Now, sparring is not my favorite thing in the whole wide world. Not at all. There are a lot of things I would much rather do than be punched/kicked/generally beat up by a teenage guy who knows a heck of a lot more than me at this stage, even if I'm fully able to kick him back. So by the time we got to the actual sparring I was so hyped-up and shaky and freaking out that when we started and he got in the first blow -- which I blocked, for the record -- I totally lost it. 

I won't say it's one of the worst panic attacks I've ever had but man, it was a bad one, and right in the middle of sparring too. I got them to stop for me, fortunately, and so there I was shaky and crying and generally freaking out. It wasn't a pretty picture, folks. But after a minute one of our senseis saw what was up and came over and talked me through it in a calm, reasonable, extremely helpful way, and he told me something that sounds kinda like it came out of one of those underdog karate movies but that is also super important. That thing is as follows: 

"It's not about not getting hit. It's about what you do after you get hit." 

I've just slammed you with some wisdom right there, haven't I? 

This helped at the moment, and it helps now. Because when you get hit in karate, there are at least two things you can do: you can freak out and back off so it doesn't happen again, or you can shake it off , readjust your stance, and go after it again so he doesn't have another chance to hit you. (Another thing he told me is that the goal is to hit them twice and twice as hard for every time they hit you, which I like too.) 

You can back off or you can shake it off and go after it again. 

You can take that agent rejection and never send in another query or you can shake it off and edit that query until it's better. 

You can throw away the novel draft or you can take a deep breath and start again. 

You can curl up in a hole and never face your problems or you can keep pushing forward. 

You get my point? Life is a lot like getting hit. Stuff happens and it knocks the wind out of you and maybe scares you half to death or sends you into freak-out mode, or just plain overwhelms you. And I think all of that is natural and okay, just like it is in an actual sparring match -- it's no good if you don't get punched sooner or later. 

So here's the thing -- when that punch comes, if you try to back off, in most cases you're going to get beat up worse, because your opponent takes that lack of confidence and rolls with it. Sometimes it takes a moment to get your feet back under you (usually metaphorically) and get a breath, but if you go right back into it and tackle it harder, you're bound to do a lot better. 

Choosing what to do after you get hit is hard. It has to be intentional and you have to throw yourself 100% into whichever option you choose. It doesn't make the fight any easier if you throw yourself back into it with full force, and it doesn't mean you won't get hit again because I've found that you definitely will, many times. But the more you keep going, the more you get up and hit them back after that hit, the more confident you get.

I've had to keep this in mind, lately, too. It's been a rough week for whatever reason. It's made me want to curl up and read from that humongous stack of books I've got from the library. (Heck, it's super tempting. A Darker Shade of Magic is among that stack and I'm dying to get my paws on it.) I've got about one more week of school left and believe me when I tell you that I would rather sleep for a thousand years than get up on Monday and work through those days. I'm going to try, though, because it's hard for me and I think sometimes we should do hard things. 

So get back up and punch life back twice as hard. 

This has been inspiring pep-talk time with Aimee.


  1. Okay, under normal circumstances I would've agreed on that somewhat-cheesy nature of this post, because I am a cynic, but first of all you did a FABULOUS job and this speaks to my heart.

    BUT MORE THAN THAT. This is like literally the entire concept of my currently-being-beta-read-by-awesome-people-including-you (whew, that was a long word) WIP. Like literally the two MCs are so similar and keep getting punched and it's about how they punch back? JUST ARGH.

    ALSO. READ ADSOM. I loved it so much, dammit.

    1. I always worry about writing posts like this because I WANT to, but I'm no good at more emotional things (hello, fellow cynic) and I have a desperate fear of things being cheesy, but oh well. I think it worked this time.

      Ahhhhh I'm so excited to get more into it! That's one of my favorite kinds of themes and asdfghjkl I love it already and ahhhh. *flails*


  2. *sigh* I feel like I needed this, though not as a writer, but just a person. The water had stopped coming into our basement, and then last night it rained incredibly hard with all the rain, and now water is coming back into the basement again. It feels like a punch to the face, because today, more than anything, I'm going to be spending time mopping up water and moving things to a storage unit when I wanted to do other things. But even though I do feel like I just got punched, and even though it's hard and boring that I have to mop up water, and sad that I have to pack up most of my belongings, I also have to keep punching the water back, and remember that I'll get through it.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Aimee. :)

    1. I'm sorry about the water in your basement because that's happened to me before and yeah, it totally does suck. :( Stuff like that is definitely a nice hard punch to the face and it's hard to get back up from those. I'm praying, and hoping that all that water clears up soon!

      You're very welcome. :)

  3. Wow..wow. I agree with Heather, I needed this for me, personally. This has honestly got to be one of the best posts by you, Aimee <3 I loved every single little word in it...kind of.

    Thank you so much.

    1. Ah, it's so good to hear that. :D I'm glad it helped, and love that it came when people needed to hear it, apparently!

  4. You do karate? Thats awesome!

    I defiantly have had life punch me a lot lately, and my response had been to curl into a ball. So this post defiantly spoke to me. Thank you ♥

    1. Awesome, and painful, yes. xD

      You're very welcome! Here's hoping life lets up for a little while soon, yeah?

  5. Ack, I needed this post because I am going for my black belt test on Tuesday, and black belt tests at my dojo are not pretty! We basically have the same beat the snot out of each other rules, but we do more head contact. We slap each other in head gear and punch each other in the face repeatedly until we learn to block, or until we get a concussion. (Once, my sensei hit me nine times in the head before I managed to block him--but it was great training. There's nothing like getting hit to teach you how to block.) And two weeks ago, a girl in her black belt test had about, three different panic attacks and cried the whole time. And I felt bad because I was supposed to fight her and try to hit her in the face. Have you ever hit a crying person in the face????? One of the biggest things I've learned is taking control of the fight--if I don't want my opponent to hit me, I do what it takes to make sure he doesn't get close enough. And if I give ground, I signal both to him and to myself that I am losing. (But I've totally been the crying person in class before, like the time my sister punched me in the jaw.) Anyway, thanks for sharing, and I love how you tied this in with writing. :)

    1. Oh, yeah, I remember you talking about that...your dojo sounds a lot like mine, and from what I've seen of the black belt tests at ours I'm a little terrified. We've just started doing more head contact stuff and that's exciting, because I do enjoy punching people in the face.
      Anyway, I've been through that kind of thing before (though not with a black belt test, of course) and yes, I know the feel. It's a lot of fun and a great way to learn, though.

  6. Oh, snap. Your karate class sounds...interesting. I did Tae Kwon Do before, and I got to the second degree black belt level before I had to quit because of cross country and school. We did sparring, but we never had to spar with the goal of beating the daylight out of each other. That sounds awful and painful.

    I think you learned a wonderful lesson from that, though. We are all going to face punches in our life and in writing, and that's inevitable and pretty uncontrollable. What isn't uncontrollable is what we do in response to those punches.

    1. Interesting is a good way to put it. On one hand I like it because everyone is supportive and it's a small class so we're all good friends and can goof off a little, but it's also painful -- I've still got bruises from that class. xD

      Yes! I was grateful for that class as rough as it was. It really taught me a lot.

  7. This- this is awesome! I think I might just write this wisdom up in my wall. I know I'm going to need it. :)

  8. Very inspiring. I've never gone anywhere near a class that physically intense. I'm quite a couch potato. But you must have a lot of guts to do it.
    I tagged you for the Creative Blogger Award here: http://writerandproud.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-creative-blogger-award.html, even though I know you were already tagged. xD

  9. THIS IS INSPIRING AND AMAZING. I have gotten punched..um, not literally, but still...a few times last week in the writing-side-of-things and it's so hard sometimes. SO YEAH. I just basically needed to read this, although you said SHAKE IT OFF and now I have the Taylor Swift going through my head. -_-

  10. Amazing post!!! I need to put that quote somewhere I can always remember it. Because seriously, this is awesome.


  11. Wow. And you say you're not good with emotional stuff. I think you pretty much aced this post. Oh, and just so you know, half the time when I get up and don't feel like I can write, I do anyway because somewhere in the back of my mind, I can see you writing even though it's just as rough if not more so for you. Keep it up! Keep going! Don't let life, karate, or writing stop you!
    Whenever you feel like stopping, just listen to what Cave Johnson has to say:
    Ok, don't really. XD

  12. This is really encouraging. ^ ^ See profound phrases don't just come from movies and books? Lol. I've gotten rejections and they've been devastating, but like you said, you have to get up and keep going no matter how much it scares you.



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