The Quit Point

Quit pointI’ve trained with some bad boys and girls in my time. I’ve partnered with chicks wearing bandannas over their cornrows, and I’ve stood in front of boys wearing mohawks and tattoos. I’ve rolled on the mat, feeling their elbows and knees press into my flesh, pushing my chin into my chest. They beat the precise rhythm of punches and kicks against my body, and pulled me into the dance in the stance.

I know what they do.

They move with muscle machinery, they drive with blood mechanics, and they stand with sweat architecture.

They have championship belts, international titles, and huge gold plated trophies.

But as kick-ass and hardcore as they are, I wonder if they ever have quit points?

Do they ever let their eyes wander to the clock while they jump rope to check how much longer they have to keep it up?

Is there ever that instant when their back slams against the cage, when they feel their will drain like gas out of a tank, and they fear that it won’t pump back up before the bell rings?

As surgical as they can be with a spinning hook kick, do they ever worry that they’ll miss and get knocked out instead?

Do they ever feel like it’s too soon to hang it up, but they just can’t hang anymore?

What is really at stake for those guys who have everything that I want? Energy, endurance, balance, strength? What do they have to lose?

These days when I step onto an empty mat, I center in silence before turning on some fight music.

Every time I put on my gloves, I think about how fast my heart is going to beat the more punches I throw.

I think about how hard I’ll be breathing the more kicks I whip.

I think about how much my shoulders and wrists are going to throb from doing push ups.

I think about what unseen hand will carry me through the jogging AFTER the sit ups and lunges.

I try to figure at what point the dizziness and the nausea will kick in and whether I’ll stop for water or not.

I think about whether someone will look in the window and wonder “what the hell is she doing?”

Every time I step on the mat. Every time I put on my gloves. Every single time I walk up to the bag…

I think I should just quit.