Friday, July 19, 2013

On Recognizing Compliments That Take Unusual Forms

The Friday taekwondo instructor is a very observant Muslim woman, the wife of an imam.  She is also one of my heroes and high on the list of the coolest, most personality-filled people I know.  Back in March, she came to the St. Patrick's Day party Himself and I throw every year.  I was amazed that she came, a holiday party centering around a Christian saint and alcohol not being a likely place to find her, but she did.  And she had on a green headscarf and a light-up, flashing shamrock bracelet!  I think I commented here at the time that her mere presence was one of the highest compliments I've ever received, since nothing but true friendship would have gotten her to a St. Pat's party.

I was thinking about that during her class this morning.  She is notorious for teaching a tough class and for mixing it up every week so that we have no idea what to expect: she's online the night before looking at football drills she can adapt and coordination exercises and all kinds of crazy things.  She's the one who has us doing jump kicks over targets and leaping between hula hoops and weightlifting with water bottles and whatnot--her classes are never routine, at least!  The running joke is that we have to look at the theme of the week before we decide if we are coming to her Friday class.

Her classes are especially demanding when the theme of the week is either Endurance or Sparring, and this was a Sparring week.  Even worse, it was a Sparring week during Ramadan, which means that she was hungry, thirsty and caffeine-deprived while teaching her usual hellacious sparring class!

And yet, the class was still full: another compliment as good as it gets.

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