MA: Do The Thing, Part Two
Jesse Glover’s Non-Classical Gung-Fu taught me a valuable life skill.
When I learned the punching and sticking drills I was taught them formally, but was then told that it would take about 6-8 months to get them right. My training partners held up the pads and provided their arms for Chi Sau and I drilled. I drilled and drilled and drilled. I tried punching with my head up, then punching with my head down. I tried pushing off my rear leg, then sprinting off it. I tried sinking my hips, then floating them.
With each body mechanic variation I got immediate feedback: my partner’s hand holding the mitt would either barely move or get violently thrown off my centreline. Also, when hitting the mitt correctly, I could hear a distinct ‘pop!’ Knowing I was getting a result or not, in real time, allowed me to do the thing and fix it as I went.
On February 23, 2019 I went to my first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition. I had some techniques start clicking in the gym and decided to try it out in competition. I had no frame of reference. I didn’t know what to expect. Sure, I’d boxed before in front of 500 people being the opening act for a professional, but this was completely different territory.
Most competitions have a Masters division that starts at age 30 and is divided up every five years. At this competition there was a Masters division but it didn’t have enough in my age range. (The age range was closer to 48-55.) Being 39, the organizers put me with the 23- and 24-year olds. I ended up having a total of five matches that day. I managed to secure a bronze with a 1-minute sudden death match, but I was unprepared for the multiple adrenaline dumps during, and crashes after, my matches.
Having a frame of reference now has helped me immensely. I know what to expect at the next event. I also know where I am weak - in technique and in fitness. Having a laser-sharp focus, instead of my previous blurry vision, allows me to work harder at the club. Drill and drill and drill again.
Also, I find it hard to lift heavy weights and train BJJ at the same time. It is hard on my body. I feel totally drained. However, I do find it easier to work on my cardio by skipping rope, lift light weights, or swing a kettlebell. At the end of the day I have to do right for my body and work on the kinks in my armour in the healthiest way possible to ensure longevity in the sport.
And I could only know where those kinks are by doing a thing and fixing it as I go. So go ahead. Go do a thing. You might not do it well. But at least then you’ll know where you’re headed.