Archive for August, 2011

It’s slowly sinking in.

August 31, 2011 2 comments

For a girl on summer break, I’m freaking tired. Why? The answer is simple: over training. It’s a strange feeling. I’m not sore. I’m not in pain. I’m not even feeling lazing. My muscles just feel weak and…reluctant. Yes, conditioning is important. However, the conditioning is supposed to help me on the mat, not suck the energy away from it. I realized over the last two days that 40-60 minute morning work-outs plus two – four hours of training at night are doing me in.

Tonight was a great practice. I was the only student so my instructor had me drill sequences that will be really good for my game. It was awesome. But when you’re working one-on-one, I think you end up working much harder and getting a lot more reps in. There’s not much chit chat or pauses. I love that, but tonight I felt myself shutting down and politely requesting to call it a night a half hour early. I felt guilty and wussy for a moment, but these feelings were beat out by a sense of relief as I recognized calling it quits was a glimpse of common sense. For once.

I know the human body can handle a lot, but I’m not 16 anymore. I’m not even 25. And while a girl can dream, I’m not exactly an Olympic-caliber athlete. If I keep pushing myself seven days a week, I might just run myself into the ground instead. Recognizing our limitations is no fun. I suppose this is when I should remember that whole “maximum efficiency, minimum effort” thing we judoka talk so much about.

Categories: Learning, Training

I can’t believe I’m saying this…

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m really going to miss Tuesday nights. School is about to start, so I won’t be able to fit in Tuesday night’s BJJ and Kata classes. (Well, not unless I want sub-par grades. Sacrifices, sacrifices).  Kata and jiu jitsu are two things I used to love to hate. I started taking classes in these two practices solely to make me a better judoka. While I would go to BJJ other nights during the week, these classes were sandwiched between kettlebells and judo, which are mega fun for me. Going through an hour and half of jiu jitsu followed by an hour and a half of Kata, however, felt more like taking my vitamins and eating all my vegetables. Yes, they are good for me, but they are more funner things I could be doing.

My attitude has changed in the last few weeks. It could be the bigger class sizes make for a more intense practice. It could be that I realize I’m learning and progressing a little in both BJJ and Kata. It could be that I’m getting a little more confident. I think, though, that what I’ve grown to appreciate about BJJ and Kata is that they really make me think. I have to slow myself down and stay calm.  BJJ matches are long. I can relax and figure out my next move during training. I have the time to work on a basic technique or experiment with something new. Kata requires you and your partner to obtain a sense of timing and be able to help and correct each other without words or obvious movements. You have to remain calm in order to that.  While I do exert a lot of focus during judo practice, I have the benefit of getting a four year head start as a kid. Some things for me are instinctual because of that base. So during judo, most of the time my body is running the show and my brain is along for the ride. I like experiencing the opposite with BJJ and Kata.

I’m sad that I’ll have to slow down my BJJ and Kata practice since I’m gaining momentum in both. At the same time, I think this charge has formed a sense of commitment to these two practices for me. I entered BJJ class with my only goal being to suck less at mat work. Promotions and competition seemed like a joke. Now, I can see myself maybe next summer entering a local BJJ competition. I would even like to compete in Kata at some point down the line. For me, I know I care about something if I want to push myself and be tested.

Maybe I like eating all my vegetables more than I thought.



Haikuesday 08.30.11

August 30, 2011 1 comment

When I think ahead,

It excites me. The problem?

Right now should matter.



Categories: poetry

Degree hog.

August 29, 2011 Leave a comment

In roughly a week and half, I will start my last year of my Master’s program. Come May 2012, if all goes as planned, I’ll have my MSW. I’m pretty sure I’m going to feel awesome about this, maintaining a huge sense of personal and academic achievement. However, even though I still have two semesters to go, I don’t think a Master’s is going to be enough for me. Counseling is going to be hard, probably harder than I’ll be prepared for.  I’m drawn to it and I love it, but there may be a point in my career where I realize that direct practice is wearing me down and I’m not doing the good work I want to do. This is the point where I think pursuing a J.D. comes in. I can see myself practicing law and remaining an effective social change advocate. More importantly, whatever path my career takes I want to ensure that I never stop gaining knowledge and experience. I realize that accumulating numerous academic degrees isn’t the only way to guarantee this, but I do love the exchange of ideas that occurs in the classroom.

Oh, I also really, really want to get a doctorate in something. “Dr. Latimer” just sounds so good, right?

Categories: Learning, Life, School

On loving bruises.

August 26, 2011 Leave a comment

When I step off the mat after training, there are a few indicators for me that mark a good practice. They can be a breakthrough in executing a technique, trying something new for the first time that feels like a good fit, or simply having good chemistry with my training buddies. Now, I know this is going to sound sick to some of you, but my favorite indicator of a solid night of training is being covered in bruises. I really love my bruises. Most of the time, we don’t like bruises. They remind us each time someone touches our sore spot or we knock it accidentally that we got hurt. And getting hurt is bad. When it comes to judo though, seeing black and blue marks left from my training buddies’ fingers and thumbs means that we were working hard that night, that we weren’t holding back, or letting the day’s fatigue leading up to class get to us. So my bruises doesn’t serve as symbol of pain; rather, I see them as a symbol of how exciting it is being in the moment, giving everything we have on the mat.

Of course, I do recognize the downside of my leopard spots. For example, when you’re a girl who will be wearing a sleeveless summer dress at a formal occasion this weekend, a smattering of black and blue finger prints can raise some eye brows. It’s hard enough explaining to some people what judo is in the first place, let alone the fact that I love doing something that makes me look like a victim. Little do they know that my bruises make me feel ready to take on the world.

Categories: Human Nature, Judo, Life

More bad poetry!

August 24, 2011 1 comment

Last week, I posted a haiku, following suit after my friend, Brandi, at Mama Knows It All. I think I am going to adopt this into my posts as a weekly practice.

Big things don’t scare me,

But acting like an adult

Always make me freeze.

Categories: poetry

Happiness only costs $1.

August 23, 2011 4 comments

It’s strange when you are able to remember exactly what you were doing on a specific day in your past, forcing you to reflect on how things have change as the anniversary of the day rolls around. Over the weekend, I realized that it was exactly a year ago that I ended a seven year relationship. I’m not going to get into specifics about the guy or the relationship–I’ll just say that it was something I needed to do and that it was the right decision.

Needless to say, though, ending something you’ve been doing for seven years is big deal and it was a huge transition. The morning after the break-up, I got up, packed up my gear, and went to Sunday judo practice because that’s what I did on Sundays. The El ride to practice felt like all the other El rides. Getting changed in the locker room was the same as ever. However, about 20 minutes into practice as my coach was instructing me on how to correct my tai otoshi, my head started swimming, my face started burning up, and I knew I had to get out of the room immediately. I went downstairs to the locker room and cried for about three minutes. Then I was done. But I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t really want to finish practice. I didn’t want to go back upstairs and tell my coaches I was leaving. I also didn’t want to just slink out the door without saying anything. So I just sat there, frozen, as I tried to figure out my next move.

After about 10 or 15 minutes, my assistant coach come down to check on me and make sure I wasn’t puking my guts out or had died. She asked what was wrong. I told her. She gave me a pep talk. I felt a little better. Then she said, “OK, let’s go back upstairs.” She didn’t offer me the option to go home. When we got back upstairs, everyone asked if I was OK, and I was too tired to lie. They were all really sweet and genuine. The next night after practice, the club was going to go out for one of our black belts’ birthdays. They’d done stuff like this since I’d joined the club, but I never went with them before, thinking I shouldn’t stay out too late and that I should get home. This time, though, I thought, what the hell? I ended up having a great time. I felt like a found a new family. It was a good way to start my new life.

Last night, we went out again for the same black belt’s birthday. Packed into an inauspicious $1 skewer shack in Chinatown, I learned that one of our guys is going through some life stuff right now. And like they all did for me last year, we gathered around our guy, and picked him up with a slew of disgusting jokes and sincere conversation. It was just a funny little moment for me–realizing that we’re always moving forward, but so much of our lives feels like a big circle.

Categories: Friends, Judo, Life