Ginger Ninja

I pre-purchased my Post-Grading Bacon on Saturday morning.

"Didn’t you do this before the Moonwalk too?" asked Gareth, "It’s like you’re a dog – you only get a treat for performing tricks."

Too true! The bacon before that was because I finally found a new job. The bacon before that bacon was because I’d turned in my book. But it’s bloody amazing bacon and it must be treated with reverence. Except for Saturday when I was starving and turned the whole lot into a toasty bacon, tomato and avocado sandwich. Hubba hubba.

I was concerned that Grading Day would suck without a bacon-shaped carrot dangling in front of me, but I pulled through!

Dacks I broke out my sexy new Official Fancy Trousers. Many times my pals had asked, "Why do you not wear the Trousers?" and I said snootily, "Because I haven’t earned them yet!" But as with the bacon I decided to seize the reward before I’d earned it and see if the universe fell apart. I only wish I’d bought them earlier – sure it looks like you’re storing a picnic lunch in your crotch but the bagginess is makes for free and easy kickin’.

The grading felt different from previous sporty events. With the 5K and Moonwalk I could zone out and fall into a rhythm once I’d crossed the start line – the only thing to remember was put one foot in front of the other. The grading was more like high school exams – so much information crammed into your brain; wondering if you could get away with writing the answers on your arm.

To prevent freak-outs, I broke it all down into chunks: three different belts, six different sections for each belt, then sparring at the end. A total of 19 components. We weren’t allowed to bring anything into the room with us except a bottle of water, so my spreadsheet had to be a mental one – I ticked off each chunk as we went through. Five chunks down, 14 to go! It was much easier to deal with that way. I calculated what percentage of the grading had been completed, percentage remaining; number of tasks cocked up versus tasks successfully executed. Etc etc etc!

I tell you what’s irritating: when you’re spewy with nerves and you can hear someone prattling, "I’m not nervous at all. I’m feeling quite relaxed and calm." Oh reeeeally now! In contrast, one of my mates was convinced she was going to screw up. My heart pinged because she’d worked so hard and there was no logical reason for her not to believe she’d kick arse. So I’d say after each panic, "You can do this dude! I’ve seen you do it a thousand times before."

Just saying those words out loud to someone else helped soothe my nerves. Throughout the four long hours of grading I’d mutter to myself, You have done this a thousand times before. You have done this a thousand times before. It pains me to admit that such cheesy self-talk bollocks was helpful.

Of course there were stuff-ups. The worst segment is like sight reading in piano exams – they yell out a random sequence of kicks or hand techniques and you’ve got to do them on the spot. ARRGH! It’s so hard to stay focused and not totally forget the instruction. I always seemed to be kicking with the wrong leg and doing the wrong punch at the wrong time. It was hard not to feel demoralised for mucking up but I kept up the chatter: That’s just one of 19, calm the hell doon!

I think Orange went the best – it was the hardest one, but by the time we got round to it we’d been going so long that the nerves had eased. For the first time ever I did the Orange set movement in a flowing fashion, without Rain Man-style mutterings!

The sparring turned out okay because I was mercifully grouped with my mates – we’d kicked each other plenty of times before so I didn’t feel scared. Finally I was calm enough to think about the moves and actually throw some, instead of waiting for the blows to rain down. About bloody time.

Finally the grading was over! OVER!

All twelve kickboxing dames gathered wearily before our Great Leader, where he informed us that we had all passed.

White belt!
Yellow belt!

And then our Leader actually shed a few wee tears, saying he was so proud of us and how much work we’d put in. Aww. It was a tender moment.

I didn’t blub, for once in my overly emotional life. I was too busy feeling euphoric and relieved and stunned. And wishing I hadn’t already eaten that bacon.

51 thoughts on “Ginger Ninja

  1. WOOT! Congratulations on your new belts! That’s so awesome. Will you be wearing them to work with your best trousers? πŸ™‚

  2. Well done!!

    What style are you doing?? I did 7 years of martial arts when I was a kid so reading this post has brought the memories flooding back!

    Go you good thing!


  3. Yay! Congratulations!
    OK, I have an idea for your next book cover: Shauna kicking and punching bacon and avocado sandwiches out of the way!
    You are an inspiration πŸ™‚

  4. You rock, and the orange belt coordinates nicely with your Ginger Ninja color scheme. πŸ™‚ I am super-amazed and awed by you and jealous of your bacon and avocado sandwich (I’d want tomato on mine too, cuz I’m greedy).

  5. Orange. ORANGE!!!


    It’s really such a great colour… go on… go and take another admiring look at it (you know you want to!)

    Awesome job Shauna!

  6. Yay! I’m really pleased for you. Me, I tried Kick Boxing for Dummies and did not last 5 minutes. It sits on the shelf gathering dust. You are amazing.

  7. Sooo…you wish you’d saved your own bacon? LOL (I couldn’t help it!)

    Congrats! I’ll salute your orange-belted navel with the Aussie Navel Orange I eat at at breakfast time tomorrow.

  8. See, I told ya! Well done DG XX In your honour I will eat a bacon & avocado wrap “this one’s for you Shauna” πŸ˜‰

  9. Huge congrats, Shauna! It’s been great reading your posts in the build up to the grading … I am constantly impressed at how hard you exercise — and how much fun you seem to have!

    Well done again! Go buy some more bacon, you’ve earned it πŸ˜‰

  10. Well done you! And told you so! (If we ever get round to meeting up I promise to buy you an orange-belt treat. I’m thinking carrot cake – it’s sort of orange-y)


    @Kek – Alas, the farmer’s market comes but once a month, so I can’t get another fix until October 11!

    (Unless I go across to Edinburgh. Or trek out to the Puddledub farm itself. Hmmmm)

    @Jen – It did have tomato! BAT is one the best sandwiches ever don’t ya reckon? πŸ™‚ Droooool!

    @Jesse – I don’t yet have an actual orange belt, methinks you have to buy ’em. In the meantime I think I will just buy some nasty orange belt from Primark with studs all over it and just wear that about. Hehe.

    @FLG – Sounds tasty! And caramelised onions sound like an exxxcellent addition.

    @Kada – Puntastic πŸ™‚ Love it.

    @Loth – Brilliant idea. I lurve carrot cake.

  12. (lurk off)Yay! Way to go – I was dying to find out how you got on.

    Puddledub have opened a butchers shop in Kennoway – but there are quite a few places you can buy it now in Fife, tho not so sure where in the West. (lurk on)

  13. Why hellooo Victoria! Thank you for that juicy nugget πŸ™‚

    In case there’s any bacon-lovin’ Scots out there we’re talking about Puddledub Farm bacon – as approved by Nick Nairn and his tartan trousers. They’re always at the Edinburgh farmer’s market and looking at their website it appears you can get your fix all over the place.

  14. Never had a doubt…I totally new you’d kick ass at kicking ass! Way to go…now you’re ready for Brooklyn…lol.

    Mmmm…Bacon…one of my absolute fav’s…congratz, you earned it!


  16. Dude! Rock on! I’m addicted to that euphoria. πŸ™‚ It’s true with fencing, so I’m sure it’s true in other sports like it; when you win (or get a belt or whatever it is you do in kickboxing), it feels a bazillion times better because you did it all by yourself. No one had to bail your sorry a** out, you were solely responsible for your own victory, and you won/passed a level/got a belt. It’s not like team sports where if you drop a pass, a teammate can step up and help you out.

    On the other hand, you also take 100% responsibility for defeats, but… the good stuff feels so damn good, you know? πŸ™‚

  17. Great job! I don’t think I could handle that, but maybe one day I’ll buck up the courage to try. What I wouldn’t give for some fantastic bacon right now…

  18. Congratulations!

    And, damn, I need one of those bacon, tomato, and avocado sandwiches now! Maybe that will be my dinner. Just need a nice tomato.

  19. so… an orange belt with those blue and white trousers? Niiiiice….

    *Runs away before Shauna can kick(box) her*

    Congratulations, though – knew you’d do it πŸ™‚

  20. Had to de-lurk to say congrats! Bet you never thought when you first stepped on the scales at weight watchers in oz, that you’d be winning belts in kickboxing – you’ve come so far Shauna! Thanks for taking the time to email me back btw, your blog is keeping me motivated. 3.5 stone down, 3 to go…

  21. I totally bet the bacon is the reason you passed… all that tasty, salty, fatty goodness flowing through your veins! πŸ˜€

  22. Thats fantastic!

    I find the same thing as you, that I get much calmer when someone else is freaked out and I’m soothing them. If someone else panics I’m super levelheaded. But then I’m kind of relying on someone else to panic because otherwise that panicking person might be me!

  23. Super duper huge congrats to you!! I hope your duly proud of yourself!!

    BTW-I really need to try one of those sandwiches, they sound amazing!!

  24. Yaahh! I knew you’d pass Shauna! So, are you going to wear all three belts at once? I think one above the other would look the best…like a long white, yellow and orange flag you can wear around your waist…

    well done πŸ™‚

  25. you little gem, i didn’t doubt you for a minute. As always you achieve what you set out to do, you put the graft and you get the results. And you are honest, none of this ‘oh I didn’t study/practice’ bo11ix from you.

    Well done

  26. Heh, before reading the post I assumed you were going to write about all the nifty things you can do with a wedge of ginger. The reality is much more interesting. Congrats!

  27. Hey… finally something you have done that I have done, too! I finally feel validated, and not like a complete loser! Thanks. I carry my orange belt in the trunk of my car at all times. Just in case.

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