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my son, a punch and a kick

published: 2017-10-10

My son asked for a ritual together. That was the word he chose: “ritual”. Something especially for us. I opted that we could set a fixed day in the week to see a film. We could try roller blading maybe? Swimming, or chess lessons? Music?
“Kick boxing,” he said.
And so it is, that he and I find ourselves across from each other wearing boxing gloves and shin protectors. We have learned a few basics, some punches, one kick, and how to block those. Instead of doing it to the mirror, we are now to do it on each other.
I find myself stepping back, and back again, as my son hops around me while throwing punches in the air and towards me.
“You tense up as a defence,” says the teacher, “while if you relax, you can block an attack much better.”
I glance at him and my son throws me a kick, and another one. He does not stop. I am not prepared for this and laugh in a game-over type way. I search for the teacher, expecting him to stop it. He sucks on a toothpick and does nothing.
All right then, I get it: I can’t laugh things off or expect someone else to move in and help me. I have no choice but to punch back. I do so, but against my son’s gloves which makes him think he’s blocking my punches. As for my kicks, I hold back and tap him with the bottom of my shin.
Meanwhile, my own thigh is bruised and hurts as my son kicks me there again and I am too slow. My lip trembles.
“Stay with yourself,” says the teacher, “you keep moving away from your center, everything is towards him.”
On leaving the teacher asks me if I learned something. I choose not to indulge him and walk out feeling shaken.
My son beams. He punches the air a few more times. Can we keep doing this mummy? I swallow and nod.

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