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I am not a model. I went to a model search thing when I was about 12 years old with my cousin, and they told me I would never make it because I was too short, and my parents weren’t tall enough to imply that I would grow much taller. However, I have had some really awesome experiences lately with photographer friends, so when I saw a request for models for a bridal shoot, I figured, why not? I was a little surprised to find out I would be bringing my own wardrobe and it was the hair and makeup that were wedding themed (not the dress), but I still had a really fun time. I had my first ever experience with fake lashes, and got some beautiful pictures out of it.

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As soon as we were done with the photoshoot, I drove to Montreal with Johnny, for a couple of days of family and income taxes. One was a lot more fun than the other.

We drove back to Toronto on Tuesday, so I could work at Michener, then try out a Krav Maga class. A friend started taking it and said it was a really fun workout, and you learn self-defense, so it seemed like a win-win situation. I arrived as class was starting, so I jumped right into the elbow moves. We learnt them, then were told to get into groups, grab some pads and practice. I was lucky enough to end up with a guy who is also a krav maga instructor, so I got a lot more practice than everyone else, and learned quite a few things that the others didn’t. And it was really framed as a self-defense class rather than a workout, which was a bit scary in what it makes you think about, but also a really interesting approach.

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After krav maga, I went to 4 Points for the NOGI class. It’s an hour and a half class, where the first hour is spent learning new techniques, and then we roll for the last half hour. The one who knows the technique better is always the one who does it first, so that wasn’t me. However, I was really proud when my partner was having trouble with a certain technique, and I was able to help him figure it out. When it came time to roll, I tried more things, actually using armbars and kimoras rather than just trying to not have them used against me. When someone asked if he should take it easy on me and let me do all the attacking, I told him to just go for it and I would tap out if he was hurting me. Rolling has become a lot harder now that people aren’t going as easy on me, but I am also learning a lot more. In one of my rolls, the guy not only didn’t hesitate to put me into submission, he went straight to choking me or armbars, anything to make me tap out. The one time I thought I might have a bit of an upper hand, he just stood up, so I was hanging off his neck and shoulders, upside down, and then he turned around in circles before bringing me down to the floor. We restarted every 10 seconds because I kept having to tap out, but I was still incredibly proud of myself. Because even though I knew he was going to have me on the ground and tapping out within seconds, I literally just sat back up every time and went for another round. There are a lot of things in life that are scary because they are unknown, and now I don’t have to be afraid of being twirled in the air, choked or whatever, because I know it really isn’t bad.

On Wednesday I did a boxing bootcamp, then spent some time with the roommates before going to dungeons and dragons. I am really enjoying these games and wondering why I didn’t start playing years ago. Also, I think LARPing would be awesome.

On Thursday I went to ACTRA for the Respect on Set workshop, where I had the chance to meet some fellow members, and actually learnt a few things that could definitely be helpful in the future, and would have saved me a lot of trouble if I had known it years ago.

After the workshop, I went to my third pole dancing class, where I learnt a new back spin, as well as sits. Apparently, sitting on the pole for extended periods of time isn’t exactly a question of building up strength, but of building up a tolerance for pain (or discomfort?). ACTRA’s website suggested asking yourself if you have a high threshold for pain before becoming a stunt performer, so I guess there are benefits to building it up? We also tried elbow hangs, which I managed with help for a few seconds, but my pain threshold is not there yet.

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Friday was one of those days where I was THAT GIRL. I went to the boxing class, where I was alone again, so I got a thorough workout, and learnt a new combo for the boxing. At the end, he asked if I wanted more pad work or conditioning next week. Pad work is obviously more fun and feels like much less of a workout, but I am aware that I need to build up my endurance and my core and my hips and all those fun things, so I did not take the easy way out. I’ll hate myself next Friday, but in a good way.

After, I had a Jiu-Jitsu class, where we learnt some new techniques (or at least new for me). One of them I had absolutely no confidence that I could do, and wasn’t sure I really wanted anyone to try it on me, but I kept my fears to myself and trusted the guys I was learning with. Turns out it really wasn’t bad being the one who is thrown, and I actually managed to throw the guy who twirled me around on Tuesday over my head. It wasn’t like he was putting up a fight, because we were learning the technique, but I am still pretty impressed that I managed it.

That evening, I drove to MWF Madness, which was recommended to me probably because they work on stunt stuff on Wednesdays (according to the website), but Fridays are for gymnastics. Which I love so much in theory and would really like to get better at. We learnt a bunch of cool jumps on the trampolines for a warmup, then did stretching and stuff before tumbling. There is a list of skills to go through and I was starting below the newbie line, but I am very looking forward to moving my way up. At the end, it is open gym for everyone to work on whatever they want to work on, so I got some advice and worked on my back rolls, handstands and trampoline work. Both he and my boxing coach gave me things to work on before I see them again, so looks like I will be shadowboxing and spending some time upside down this week.

On Saturday an hour long open mat rolling session turned into an hour of technique and a half an hour of rolling with a Jiu-Jitsu champion and stunt guy from Montreal, Lee Villeneuve. I am now used to being the only girl in a lot of these classes, but I hope the guys aren’t too disappointed when they are paired with me. Today, Lee was teaching all the techniques, so it was even new for the people who had been training with David for a long time. This meant that although I always assume that the other person knows so much more than I do about whatever we’re learning, this time we could actually help each other figure it out. And while I usually ask which hand goes where and which way do I turn, this time it was more of a mental game, because we could either wait to ask the teacher what was wrong, or we could realize that grabbing here creates a space there, and putting the leg here makes it easier to go there…it was really exciting for me.

When we got to the rolling, I obviously wasn’t one of the few who got to roll with Lee, but I do think I got better with each time. I used the technique we did on Friday to throw someone over my head and instead of just “Once more unto the breach” with the guy who twirled me over his head, I tried to hold my ground a bit, or stay up, to at least delay the moment where he would get me to tap out. Because learning how to lose and go back for more is great, but you also need to learn how to hold on and fight rather than to just resign yourself to a defeat. All in all, it was an awesome class. And a really cool week of new classes and pushing boundaries that is totally worth the bruises and the pain.

 

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

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