Friday, September 22, 2006

Cardio Girl and the Baby Dragons

Unfortunately, the Dragon Academy has not been on my itinerary for several days due to my schedule, but when I showed up for class today, I happened to be early. I put my Mr-N-Approved hand wraps on and stopped to watch the Baby Dragon class that was still in session. The five-year-old Baby Dragons were having their tae-kwon-do class and the instructor, a 25 year old pink cheeked fella with curly black hair, was herding the little ones quite well.

The Baby Dragons were a spastic swarm of bodies in white cotton pajama robes - a blur of arms and legs rotating, kicking, punching. Heads whipping back and forth. Squatting, jumping, running round and round in circles. Wild sounds emerging from their lips. It looked like a pure, unadulterated sugar high to the eighth power.

The pink cheeked fella commanded them to “line up” and the mass of five year old energy made its way slowly into a line. Each child scrambled, pushed and switched with one another for his or her correct place. When finally they were standing at attention, the pink cheeked fella announced: "Today we’re going to learn about (name of thing I didn’t recognize). Can anyone tell me how old it is?"

One girl stood with arms tense and straight at her sides. If she were a cartoon character, the bolts of lightening emerging from her fists would levitate her several feet from the floor. She leaned forward at the waist and rose up on her toes to get her face as close to the instructor as possible to shout: “A million years old!”

The pink cheeked fella told her, “No.”

A boy, hardly waiting for a pause, shouted his own answer, “Eight billion years!” His feet danced a little riverdance and his elbows flapped up and down. When the pink cheeked fella told him "no", he spun around 360 degrees in a blurry flourish of disappointment.

Meanwhile, Mr. N snuck up behind me and whispered, “Watch out for those! They very strong. Bwahahaha!”

* * *

The Academy is a large open gymnasium floored completely with mats. Around the walls Mr. N keeps the pads, mitts and other sparing equipment neatly stacked, ready for use at any moment. The only thing that ever separates the kickboxing class from the Baby Dragon class is a large blue mat propped precariously on its end as a wall. When I walked in, class had started and the other women and I knocked out the combinations on punching bags.

Left hook, right straight, round kick. (repeat, repeat, repeat)
Three hooks, two knees. (repeat, repeat, repeat)
Left cross, right straight, left hook, right straight, round kick. (repeat, repeat, repeat)

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the blue mat wall falling in toward us with a wwooOOOSH of air. The pinked cheeked fella walked toward us in two long strides and reprimanded the Baby Dragon who knocked it over: “Joey! How would you like it if the Cardio Girls pushed the wall in on you??”

* * *

I am Cardio Girl. Of course, during the day I pose as a mere marketing consultant assistant – but at 5:30 pm on Tuesday and Thursdays (and 6:15 on Monday and Wednesdays) I emerge from the changing room in my spandex cape, sweat pants and stumpy pony tail. My entourage of Baby Dragons swarm like a cloud of chaos around me and I stride upon the matted floor - chest puffed, sweat dripping from my nose.

No invisible jet for me! No magic lasso! I fight the good fight with my noble powers of the one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two punch. Take that fatty! 30 girly pushups and 90 crunches! Three more times!