Two years ago at the age of 37, after a 23 year break I decided to start training in Tae Kwon Do again, this time with my two young sons. We attend a family class which is pretty tame in comparison to some martial arts classes and that suits me. Fighting was never one of my strong points, but I enjoy keeping fit and play fighting and it’s a great shared activity to do with my boys.
Yesterday a new guy, I guess in his early twenties, joined the class. Although he didn’t have a uniform and was placed at the back of the room, I quickly clocked that he was no beginner. For a start he was able to do the splits in the warm up stretches, something I’ve never been able to achieve, even when I was teenager. During the kicking drills the power, skill and intensity of this mans kicks made everyone else stop and look open mouthed. It took all the energy of the poor chap who was holding the pad for him to stay upright under the barrage. I noticed a foreign accent, French perhaps? I was reminded of Jean-Claude Van Damme in the film Kickboxer.
We were then told to put our sparring gear on, boxing gloves, shin, foot and head guards. The instructor placed me with “Jean-Claude” for the first round. Considering I had become accustomed to sparring the other Dad in the class and a few of the younger teenagers, this was a rather daunting prospect. I temporarily forgot all my self development training, and as I visualised myself being carried out on a stretcher, I regressed into a kind of Woody Allen caricature.
You can imagine it, a nervous Woody Allen in boxing gear squaring up to a grim faced Jean-Claude Van Damme, seconds away from round one. Woody decides that the best survival strategy is to make friends and starts asking questions. “What’s your name?” “Been training long?” “Where did you get your boxing gloves?”
At this point the instructor hollered across the hall “Enough Darren! Just tell him you don’t want your head kicked in!” To which the whole class, myself and Jean-Claude included, burst into laughter.
The spar itself, although pretty intense went fine. My opponent knew what he was doing and thankfully understood the meaning of “light contact”! He certainly kept me on my toes and pushed me to up my game, which was a good thing. I could definitely feel I’d been training at the end of that session!
So what can I learn from this little experience? I was impressed with my instructor Chris Snows intervention. In one well timed humorous sentence he was able to put me (and the rest of the class) at ease. There is of course a place for negotiation, but sometimes it’s best to cut to the chase and just get on with it!
Some of the people who come and see me for hypnotherapy have taken years to get to the point when they’re ready to see someone like myself and make the necessary changes in their lives. But when the time is right and a good connection with the tools being used is made, those changes can happen remarkably quickly. As Julie Gill, one of my clients wrote in a review after just a few hypnotherapy sessions: “The resulting changes have been dramatic, I feel calmer and more confident, able to assert myself in situations which in the past would have triggered crippling anxiety. I take myself less seriously yet I value myself more and I’m able to approach work -and life- pressures from a much more balanced, positive perspective.”
Self development is an ongoing process. It doesn’t end and needs to be regularly maintained. I’d like to thank Jean-Claude and Mr. Snow for reminding me yesterday of the power of being direct, getting to the point, and of course, laughter!
All the best
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