Body Combat

About a year ago, probably more, Eugene started going to the gym. At first I was really happy that he was making a choice to look after his body, but I wasn’t sure how to show it in case it came off as offensive. After a few weeks he was still going, and I didn’t think much of it. He’s been going ever since, three to five times a week I think. He’s been really working hard, and coupled with a significant diet change (starting with leaner meat and less fatty foods, to like six carbs a day now) he’s really gotten in shape. He was by no means fat before, but he’s really toned down and become surprisingly muscular.

I once went with him to one of the outdoor training classes his personal trainer holds- after the first half hour of the hour and a half, I had to lie down because I was too dizzy to continue. We thought it was low blood pressure, but sadly when I later investigated, I was just unable to keep up the pace. Eugene on the other hand ploughed through, doing the harder variations of the exercises and doing them quickly, without apparent need for rest. I’m really impressed with how healthy he’s become! He recently invited me to a Body Combat class, which I understood to be a kind of aerobics with moves inspired from Muay Thai, Boxing, Karate, Taekwondo and various forms of Kung Fu. Considering my shameful attempt at the last class I joined him in, I thought this would be right up my alley and I could keep up with if not surpass the instructors. Foolish, foolish me.

The hour-long class was a lot more aerobic than I anticipated, spent almost entirely bouncing on the balls of the feet, interspersed with punches, knees, kicks and a block or two. Come ten-to-nine, I was quite tired and looking forward to the end of class. And when the clock rolled past nine o’clock, I realised that we started at 8:30, not 8, and I was barely halfway through. I tried to maintain form, keeping my guard up and making the hits count, but I was just so tired that I began to shortcut my technique towards the end in favour of conserving energy. Now I am by no means unfit, but as I discovered, neither am I at the top of my game. I was particularly impressed with the instructors, who were yelling out encouragement and talking all the way through the course, as well as working hard for the full hour. And Eugene didn’t seem to tire at all- he told me at the end of class it was the easiest session he’d been in. Holy crap. As we were driving home, we were talking about our styles of exercise, and we’re both more for sprinting than endurance. I offered to race him from the end of the street back to our house, just to see if he was indeed a faster sprinter, and it was only mildly surprising to discover he was.

So there you have it! My brother is faster, stronger and more endurant than me (if that’s a word). I still have flexibility on him, but that’s no great feat and he could overtake me if he wanted to. I’m proud that he’s transformed his body so wholly, and it inspires me. To be perfectly honest, I’m pretty scared of going back- I pushed myself so hard and yet fell so short- how much harder must I push to get results? To the limit, every time? Beyond the limit? It’s a pretty wrecking experience to give it your all and still not be quite good enough, but maybe I’m taking it the wrong way. I might not be ready for another class for a little while, but I can (and should) still commit myself to becoming healthier, if not for combat, for my body’s (and my pride’s) sake. Guess I’ll continue to see where my limits lie.


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