How does it feel to have done one hundred push-ups? Well, that question has never crossed my mind until this morning, after I have actually done one hundred push-ups last night in my martial arts class.
Doing push-ups has never been appealing to me, let alone doing a lot of them. In fact, I couldn’t really believe that it was happening while I was doing it.
Four and a half years ago, when I started my martial arts training, I could barely do five half push-ups, also known as “lady push-ups”, where you kneel on your knees thus decrease the amount of weight you have to push up. Two years ago, my Master declared that half push-ups were not allowed in his school. I started doing full push-ups: I started with two, and gradually increased to ten. My comfort level was two sets of ten as of last week.
During class last night, while we were in the midst of one hundred sit-ups, the Master said, “Next, I want everyone to do one hundred push-ups.” I think it was my audible gulp which prompted him to say to me, “you just have to do fifty.” I couldn’t reply in words because I was too busy surviving my one hundred sit-ups. Another student, a man, jokingly said, “she is not saying anything because she wants to do two hundred.” Being the only female in the class, I felt the need to redeem my sex.
I used the mental trick that my husband taught me. When you count up to 10, you say “one”; then start from one again and when you get to twenty, you say “two”. That way it doesn’t feel like you are doing a lot. When I got up to “five”, I looked around me, the men were grunting through just like I was! Can I do ten more? Sure if the men were still working; so I went up to “six”; then twenty more to “eight”. I thought to myself, I can do twenty more, can’t I? It was like at the 20th mile during a marathon, where you say to yourself, I can do another six miler, can’t I?
The hardest was at 97. During the last three full push-ups, my arms felt like lead and I could hardly bend at the elbow. I lifted one leg to do one more, then switched legs to do another one. I don’t know why I did that, maybe variation made it easier. The last one was all will power. The need to complete a task, to go to a round number.
“I was impressed!” said my Master. “I was shocked!” I replied.
So how does it feel to have done one hundred push-ups? This morning I held a large coffee in my hand and wished I had ordered a smaller cup because the cup would’ve been lighter for me to carry. But what I can carry high is my head in my next martial arts class. Just because I am a girl doesn’t mean that I should be expected to do less.