My son got back from visiting his dad’s family last week, and since then I’ve been catching him up on the kung fu movies that I’ve been previewing for us. Well, mostly it’s been a Jackie-Chan-Film-Fest-o-Rama, and we’re having so much fun!
After every movie, he wants to tussle with me. As an only child, he’s got no one else around to tussle with after hours, so I’m it! Punches and kicks get thrown and blocked or avoided, Tickle-Fu gets deployed, and there have been not a few incidents of Bum taunting from my pre-adolescent son (as they are wont to do – and hey, Jackie Chan does it in Fearless Hyena, so that makes it cool, right?).
I feel like I’ve been thrown back 30 years, to the days when my brother and I would watch old Three Stooges movies and then roughhouse in the same style, laughing at our goofiness until one of us would invariably really hurt the other, and then real fighting would ensue… ah, those were good times (owch!)
Since I’ve been exercising regularly (nothing fancy, just sit ups, push ups, leg swings, balance ball stuff, horse’s stance, and lots of stretching) I find myself mostly enjoying these tussles. Before, he’d end up hurting me pretty easily, as I didn’t have the strength or body awareness or grace to be able to handle the blows effectively, and that made me pretty frustrated and angry. It was also a factor of my depression, which magnified all the pain.
It feels good, now. The slight pain of countering my 10 year old’s punches with blocks feels enlivening. I love this process, now, relearning how to inhabit my own body. I love being able to spend time with my son doing something we both enjoy. I love feeling him collapse into fits of giggles with a well timed tickle counter-attack. I love how these tussles teach both of us how to read each other’s movements and reactions, how to move with control and respect.
Martial arts and family bonding!