The best fight I ever had with my teenager

Two nights ago Margaret and I got into a physical fight.

No really, we did.

Well, sort of.

It wasn’t a real fight. It was more of a simulated fight, light

64557146 - vector illustration krav maga with silhouettes of people

sparring really – she was my partner last night in our Krav Maga class.

Margaret’s been taking Krav Maga for six years now. She’s also been fortunate to have been part of a kid’s instructor program for the last year. Now that she’s 13 years old, she’s allowed to take some of the adult classes. So last night, we took class together.

I haven’t been taking Krav nearly as long as Margaret has. I blogged previously about why I started taking Krav Maga. To recap, Margaret had been taking for a few years and one day, I caught a glimpse of the news while waiting at the store.  The video showed a very tiny young woman getting attacked in the lobby of her apartment complex as she was getting her mail. She tried to fight back with all her might but the poor thing didn’t stand a chance. Why? Because she didn’t know how to defend herself. And she was tiny. An ideal situation for a predator; not so great if you’re the victim. That one video propelled me into enrolling in Krav Maga.  My decision to take KM was also a function of husband’s constant nudging me to enroll. Oh, and most relevant to this post, the abject fear that my daughter could beat me up if she really wanted to didn’t hurt (pun intended.)

Back to last night. Margaret and I had taken a few adult classes together recently but we hadn’t partnered together until last night.

Because I haven’t taken Krav as long as she has, I was concerned that she’d be impatient with me. Even though I’ve been taking for a few years, she doesn’t seem to grasp that reality. Plus, her track record is bad; we partnered in a kickboxing class a few years earlier and she was wretched to me. Granted I had just started Krav, but it was a miserable experience. Regardless, I welcomed having this new experience with Margaret replace that one.

At first, it was very bizarre partnering with Margaret. Here I am, attacking this person who I birthed, nursed, burped, bathed, rocked and serenaded. Thirteen years later, at my height, she’s half my size which is super skinny because I’m pretty thin too. There are really big people (mainly men) who take Krav, so I was concerned about her getting slammed.

We had a few hairball moments. Like when we were doing a particular ground technique and Margaret insisted I was doing it wrong, I insisted she was doing it wrong. It turns out we were both right. She’s learned the techniques a bit differently in the kid’s program than I have in the adult’s program. But as we worked together in class, it became more fun to partner with her. And as I became less concerned with whether or not she’d be OK in the adult class, I became much more convinced that this transition is the right thing for her. I was able to see how strong her technique is from an entirely new perspective than when I watch her in the kid’s class as a participant or as a kid’s instructor. She is tiny, but my baby girl is fierce!

I don’t know if she’d admit it, but I think she got to see a different side of me, too. Krav Maga is not something I would have ever gravitated towards naturally. See, I grew up in point shoes singing show tunes! But last night, I think she got a glimpse into someone other than just her momma, whose mere existence on this planet from her vantage point is to chauffer her around town and go ape-sh-t over her room looking like the FBI just raided it.

Our commitment to learning Krav Maga has been quite an investment these past six years. We’ve seen many families come, stay for a while, and then go. But we’re in it for the long haul. Because this world isn’t getting any safer.

After partnering with Margaret the other night, I was affirmed that it was worth every minute, dime, and drop of sweat.

Not so sure about the bruises…thank goodness for arnica!


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