Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Good things

For the first half of last night at training I sucked. When I didn't suck, I blew. Please don't take these references beyond the scope of martial arts. Russell Whittaker knows exactly what I mean, albeit he puts it a little more prosaically.

Every dojo is slightly different as to whether or not you rotate training partners throughout the night. This one is like Commitment Chairs rather than Musical Chairs - when the music (rolling, warmup) stops, you end up with whomever makes eye contact with you - for the next two hours.

I generally have a rule that I don't like training with other women. I'm 6' and built like a good Russian peasant girl that can plow the fields and down half a litre of vodka as consolation. I find most women too small, too fragile and just too damn confronted with the whole 'potential hurtiness and rather serious deadliness' of the art to be effective training partners. I once trained with a woman that had serious concerns about breaking nails - funny in anecdote, not funny when faced with the creature itself.

Last night, I therefore had one goal in mind "Anyone, anyone, anyone....bar that small blonde. No, really, ANYONE. I'll even take the guy who can't stop grinning. Even that one. Just not the girl."

Of course, I somehow ended up with the girl, proving once and for all that Anthony Robbins type positive thinking is complete BS.

So I resigned myself to a night of half-assed training and being overly concerned with barely touching the creature in front of me. I find this really, really hard. Although I (and anyone else conscientious) will train so as not to seriously hurt a training partner, slight taps, light punches, grabs, slaps, whacks to nerve points and just whumping the other person into the ground is all a part of going through the motions of a move. Training so as not to cause the other person any discomfort or pain is nigh on impossible when you're twisting their wrist and arm into a lock which you then use as a lever to throw them ass-over-tit into a mat. So you do what I do, regress to doing things really softly, slowly....and....basically....badly.

Then it was her turn. She gave me a solid whack to the side of the neck, pinpointing the nerve points exactly. This should have tipped me off - it takes a fair amount of training to know exactly where to hit to produce the exquisite pain she was putting me through. Again. And again.

I like to think I learn quickly. Not last night. It took me about an hour to figure out that this chick knew what she was doing, REALLY knew what she was doing - she was just rusty. This situation is compounded because roughly half of us don't wear our belts, so you don't always know what level of skill you're training against. An hour of wobbling around like a drunken gumby because I had a preconceived notion about the way that women train. Pillock.

Things got far better when the Fog of Stupidity lifted and I began to train properly. She relaxed, realising that I knew what I was doing. I deadened her arm. We became friends.

I learned early on that training with short, wiry guys was a real challenge - they're fast little sprites - capable of running rings around you before you have time to realise that something's happening. Looks like I'm going to have to change my view on women too :)

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