Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Commodity In Short Supply

A college friend in touch with me via Facebook and old-fashioned telephone said to me, "It sounds like you don't do much beyond work and 'grappling.'"

I did figure out a while back that, on average, I have two hours a weekday night for everything I need to do--eat dinner, talk with my wife, do chores or bills or whatever needs doing. This two hours is what's left after work, commuting, martial arts training, an hour to get ready in the morning, and 8 hours of sleep.

And sometimes work intrudes into those two hours. At the very least, I'm checking the BlackBerry.

At a certain point, I can't keep this schedule up, and that happened last week. I missed class Monday because I worked late. Wednesday, I was exhausted but took two hours of class. The first hour, standup sparring, was the best sparring I've done in a long time. It showed that putting in two hours a week on sparring, and paying close attention to instructors, is paying off.

The next hour, grappling, saw me getting crushed by everybody, including some of the people I picked apart in sparring. But I did ask my sensei about why I keep getting put into a cradle by the big guys (weighting 30 or 40 pounds more than me), and he showed me that I stay too rigid when they pass my guard--I need to switch to a looser, more flexible defense at that point. Being rigid just lets the big guys manhandle me easier. Interesting; I'll see how that pans out. I'm sure it will take some trial to get it right, but definitely what I'm doing now ain't working.

But Friday, I missed class because of one of the few work-related parties I attend each year. I vowed not to get plastered, and indeed, I was able to hold the wine to a single glass, so I could get up in the morning for the Saturday 8:30 AM yoga class I enjoy with my wife--it's fun to share a form of exercise we both enjoy. (I did also get time in on the rowing machine at work Tuesday and Thursday.)

This coming week, between Thanksgiving and travel plans, I'll get little training in. But maybe a bit of a break will help me enjoy it more when I return.

Happy Thanksgiving to my friends in the martial arts.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Good Week Of Training

In training, you make a plan, things get in the way, and you come up with another plan.

Monday: An hour of grappling.
Tuesday: Rowing machine at the gym at work.
Wednesday: First setback: Had to settle for one hour of sparring; couldn't stay for the second hour of grappling.
Thursday: Rowing machine again at work.
Friday: Worked late, got to class late; so I just took 3/4 of an hour of "core" class (bag workout, cardio, strength training) and one hour of sparring. Was reminded that when I'm jabbing, it's not enough to keep my right hand at my cheek--I need to move it in front of my face for protection.
Saturday: Two hours of training: First hour, grappling; second hour, sparring, which included among my first two rounds of actual MMA fighting--starting in standup, transitioning to grappling but with punches allowed.
Today: Blessed Rest.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Grappling: Psychological Questions

1. I was paired with a woman in our class Monday night, a lower belt who's doing well at grappling. My sensei said, "Don't crush her." I'm rarely paired with women. I wanted to let her work on her grappling. At first, I got her into an arm triangle forcing her to tap out. But then I let her go for submissions; twice she went for guillotines, and while I didn't give her the submissions, I also didn't try to power out of them or use really rigorous defense; I just tapped out. I thought it would be good for her to get the tapouts.
   Later I wondered, did I do the right thing? My sensei and very skilled black belts like Anthony don't allow themselves to be tapped out. Did I lose standing in the eyes of some classmates by tapping out to a lower-belt female? Or is it in my head?

2. I've come to realize I have a psychological block in grappling: When an opponent has good side control, is putting a lot of weight on me--especially when some of that pressure is on my mouth--I find myself becoming short of breath, worrying that I won't get enough oxygen. In short, I panic. And I tap out, even though I'm not in a choke or lock. It's happening with increasing frequency.
   I'll certainly talk with my sensei about it, but: How do I break that debilitating panic reaction?

Standup sparring is going well, I feel like I'm learning a lot by going to two classes a week. There's always lots to learn, but I no longer feel like I'm stuck on a plateau, not making any advances.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Funny, But...

A couple of younger guys at work--too young to have made the realization their health depends on what they do--have a joke about themselves: "Every day is the fattest day of my life."

I trust they'll figure it out eventually, and it will no longer be true. I hope so, anyway.