By Joelle Prokupek
“Add a rear leg fake, front leg front kick to that and land in a back stance knife hand guarding block,” said Karri, Chief Instructor of Quantum Martial Arts.
I could feel the sweat dripping down my back as I listened to the string of techniques that she described too quickly to visualize or practice in my head. She shouted a kihap.
No time to worry about what I knew or didn’t. Luckily, my body knew what to do.
Belt tests are always fun like that. Jude Vesavrut, who was testing for their Blue Belt, and I tested for our belts on February 16. I was testing for my Green Belt, so I’ve participated in a handful of tests and watched a few since 2015.
This one was special for me because I’m also half way through my first pregnancy. However, this is nothing particularly special in Quantum. In fact, it’s almost a tradition.
You might be thinking, What?! You sparred and got punched while pregnant? Not at all. Quantum worked with me to keep me safe during the test. My sparring rounds were no contact, and I took particular care not to fall during any parts of the test.
That does not mean it was easy. The most surprising thing for me was that I was able to make it through about four hours of physical activity without much issue at all. I’ve been consistently told that exercising while pregnant is good, but I need to take it easy, to baby myself.
But nothing has really changed at all. Quantum taught me to listen to my body and to know my limits. Body awareness, beyond just hand-eye coordination, is an important focus in the curriculum. Yes, the goal is always to touch your toes during warm-ups, do that perfect back stance or round kick, or get a really low horse stance, but we modify our stretches, calisthenics, and techniques without shame and are still able to obtain intention and intensity.
We practice Quantum Martial Arts so that we know our bodies and can trust them. I can’t wait to pass this practice on to my son.