Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

I coulda been a contender

on March 30, 2011

I am not an ultimate fighter.  Not even close.  But, I could have been….maybe.

I was offered a chance to train with an ultimate fighter.  Yeah, the octagonal cage kind.  No holds barred, knock down, drag out kind.  When I look at my too-chubby thighs and lament my gut, I regret not taking him up on it.

When I was in college I took a few PE classes.  They were once or twice a week and they were fun.  I took weight lifting, tennis, aerobics and self-defense.  I always signed up for these classes with a buddy.  I didn’t initially want to take self-defense.  I thought it would be lame; a bunch of women standing in a circle shouting, “NO!” at a man covered head-to-toe in protective gear.  But I was eventually talked into it by my friend.

When we showed up on the first day, it very quickly became apparent that this wasn’t what I had been expecting.  This was hardcore.  We would be learning how to grapple, how to dislocate kneecaps, how to break ankles, how to break a chokehold and fight back if someone has a knife. I was really excited.  On top of that, we would spend part of each class doing conditioning, situps and pushups.  Our instructors would walk around the room while we were laying on our backs, feet 6 inches in the air, and they would stand on our stomachs.  See?  Hardcore.

I loved it.  I partnered with my friend, and since we were familiar with one another, we didn’t have qualms about trying the different wrestling and grappling moves on each other.  We really went for it.  One day, after class, our instructor asked us to stay back.  He said we were doing great, and did we want to do some extra training with him and his co-trainers.  By this time, I had lost about 10 pounds because of the class, I felt stronger, empowered and in control.  We said yes.

We did extra training for the rest of the semester. A few weeks after we started, a former Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler came to speak to our class.  He spent a few minutes talking, then offered to show us some moves.  My instructor tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I want you to go up against him.”  Now, I’m 110% certain that this man, had he wanted to, could have crushed me in about three seconds.  And to be fair, it didn’t take much more than that for me to be flying through the air, wondering precisely how strong someone had to be to swing me around like that. But I got back up and went for another go.  I would like to tell you that I managed more than four seconds that time, but no. After that, my trainer asked if we wanted to come to his studio to work out.  We said yes, but then time and other preoccupations got the better of us and we never followed up.

I’m not a person who generally looks back and has regrets.  I’m not always proud of the things I do, but I feel that if it’s worth it, I’ll make it better.  I’m lucky that I’m surrounded by people who believe in forgiveness and moving on.  I try to live my life well.  I don’t try to hurt people, I don’t lie, I try to be kind.  I take chances. But this is the one opportunity I wish I had taken, to do something maybe a little out of my comfort zone. Something different.  I could have been a fighter, a warrior, I could have spread the pain.  But I didn’t. I’m ok with my choice, but sometimes I wonder, how would that choice have changed me?

One thing’s for sure.  I would have had a kick-ass fighter name.


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