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Haikuesday 01.08.13

January 8, 2013 Leave a comment

On my run tonight,

I tripped and fell flat out.

But I got back up.

Categories: Training Tags: ,

Attitude = outcome.

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

As I left judo practice last night, I thought to myself, “Practice was OK.” The more I thought about it, the more I began to think that I actually had a bad night. When I left training tonight, however, I thought, “Tonight was a really good night.” So what determines whether I have a good or bad practice? Well, I make that determination.

Last night I went to judo on auto pilot. I’ve gone to practice six billion times feeling tired or not in the judo mindset. At times, I’ve gone in with a combination of both. Within in minutes of stepping on the mat, I make myself snap out of it and all I have for the next two to three hours. At practice last night, I don’t think I pushed myself. I had a good first hour of class, and then when randori came around, I went back to auto pilot. My fighting spirit had checked out and I just let it go. When it came time for mat work, I knew I was sucking, but I didn’t rally so that I sucked less. By the time I got home, I was pretty disappointed in myself.

When I left work tonight to head to jiu jitsu and Kata, I was definitely on auto-pilot. Then I remembered how unsatisfied I was with the night before. Tuesday is rough for me since BJJ and Kata are so mentally taxing. But I reminded myself that Tuesday is my night to really challenge myself and learn. I found myself walking a strange line of feeling relaxed and excited to work hard. From an outsiders perspective, it might have looked like I did not have great BJJ or Kata practices. I didn’t pick anything up immediately and had to do extra reps of every technique just to get an inkling of the basic mechanics. Still, I left feeling satisfied with the night and looking forward to my next class. I know this is because I remained engaged.

Learning is not a passive action. I can’t expect to progress if I don’t offer more than the bare minimum. Although I might not have mastered any technique tonight, I have a lot of reflecting to do and some mechanical questions to work through. This is significantly more than last night, when I left just feeling blank and out of sorts. As I move forward with both my social work and grappling practices, I must remember that my work has to come with right attitude. Otherwise, I’ll get stuck on auto-pilot.

Little keys open big doors.

January 9, 2012 2 comments

Today was an incredible day for me in both my social work and grappling lives. I had several little moments where I caught a glimpse of my potential in my two practices, which I love more than I can say. Each experience I had at work and on the mat, while seemingly small and unremarkable, felt electric and expansive. Really, all that happened was that I learned about learning.

This is what I’m taking away today from social work, jiu jitsu, and judo :

1. It’s OK to slow down.
2. Sometimes, you just need to start over.
3. Remain flexible and open to how a situation can unfold.
4. Stay confident.
5. Stay humble.

Although I’m exhausted and a little battered, I feel like a rocket ready for blast-off.

Teach me to relax.

December 27, 2011 4 comments

This week marks the second week of my winter break. Next Tuesday, I’ll return to my internship. The following Wednesday, I start my last semester of classes. After that, I will have earned my Master’s in Social Work and full-time employment awaits (fingers crossed). That means this week should be a chance for me to breathe easy and collect myself in preparation for the stress, panic, and chaos that will inevitably sneak up on me during the next three and half months. Sounds OK, right?

Last week, I was perfectly happy with this arrangement. I finally cleaned up my apartment and went to the supermarket. I ran. I read. I wrote. I trained. I even socialized. On Saturday night, I went to my dad’s and planned on staying the next day for Christmas. I thought I was going to go home Monday morning. I’m still at my dad’s.

I don’t know why.

Yesterday started out the same as last week. I’m really good at occupying my time. I read and wrote. I signed up for an LSW licensing exam prep course. I applied to a summer study abroad program. Up until about 4:30 PM, I felt like I was striking a good balance between enjoying my time and keeping focused on the future. I planned on going to judo. I really did. At first, it was not even a question. However, having all day to think about whatever I wanted to think about instead of the social worky things that preoccupy me during the semester, I started to have some irrational fears.

My grandmom is not doing so great, and her condition is such that she’s not going to make significant improvements in her health. So yesterday, I’m looking at my dad making phone calls to her nursing facility to check in and all I could I think about is that one day, it will be me on the phone with my dad’s medical team trying to figure out what’s best for him. Which led to me to think about how many good years I might have left with my dad. Which made me think I should spend more time with him. Which made me question if I should go to judo. If I went to judo, was I choosing judo over my family? What kind of person does that make me if I chose judo, which I’m not even good at, over my family? And lastly, what the hell is wrong with me that my brain would equate going to judo with not caring about my family? By the time I realized what a nutball I was being, the window for me to make it practice slammed shut. Great.

Did I enjoy hanging out with my dad? Yes. The thing is, though, is that my dad would have been totally cool with me leaving for practice and to return to my regular life. He trained for a billion years. He knows how it is. I think my problem is that too much time for myself is not a good thing. I thrive on the challenge of deadline and meeting one goal after another, no matter how big or small. Being still never feels right.

During a break, if I don’t give myself enough structure, I start to question pretty much everything about who I am and what I’m doing with my life. I find myself wishing I was one of those people who could be truly content with small bouts of laziness, but laziness brings me panic. As last night demonstrates, laziness come with a whole spider web of crazy, unproductive thoughts as well.

Here I sit, once again, wondering where the balance lies.

The best kind of inspiration.

December 20, 2011 1 comment

Last night, our judo club had a black belt promotion. As I’ve mentioned before, black belt promotions get me super emotional and last night was no exception. A lot of it has to do with who was getting promoted. Yesterday, it was Eric. I think everyone in our club would agree that Eric is a crucial part of our team. Not only does he help teach judo class on occasion, but he also runs one of our jiu jitsu classes. Even though he has a demanding full time job and a family, he puts in a lot of mat time and competes often. Eric even spear-headed building the floor for our club when we moved last year and I don’t know how we could have gotten our new place together without him. There’s no question that Eric is dedicated to our club.

For me personally, Eric has been a big part of my judo life. I remember him from when I first started with the Philadelphia Judo Club. Even though Eric is well over a foot taller than I am and has about 80 pounds on me, my coaches would often pair me with him to train. They don’t always have much larger people work with much smaller people. But Eric is just the kind of practitioner who you can pair with anyone. He’s patient, he’s safe, and he wants both partners to get something out of their training. He definitely helped me feel a little more comfortable with groundwork in judo and although BJJ is pretty painful for me mentally, I always learn a lot in Eric’s classes. What I’ve admired and respected about Eric is that he works hard to improve, but he shares what he’s learned with his teammates.

Last night’s promotion seemed so perfect. Not only do I believe that it’s Eric’s time to start the next stage in his judo life, but it was good timing for me to see one of my grappling role models hit that turning point. I’m so happy to be healthy enough to train again, but it’s been hard for me to accept how out of shape I am. It’s difficult for me to go through a practice and feel tired at points that would have been no problem two months ago. I hate it when my physical condition takes away from the rate at which I can progress. Seeing Eric earn his black belt, though, reminded me that it’s no fun if it’s easy. We keep coming back class after class because we love the challenge. You don’t get as far as Eric has by letting discouragement win.

 

Mr. Latimer comes to judo!

December 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Today was my first day back on the mat for over a month. This time away from training is the longest I’ve gone without judo since I came back almost two years ago. All this week, I could not wait for 11AM Sunday. I finally began to feel better after about six weeks of being pretty sick, but this past week I had a ton of work since I had one week left in the semester. Sunday judo was the light at the end of my final exams tunnel.

Today was also a big day for Mr. Latimer. This was his first day back on the mat, too. Except for Mr. Latimer, it’s been years since he’s gone through a full practice as a participant and not as a coach. Even in terms of coaching, Mr. Latimer been away from that for a few years, too. But after losing 30 pounds, rehabing his knee, and a month of trash-talking, he told me he was going to come to practice at my club at beat the hell out of me the first Sunday after I finished my semester. For those of you who know Mr. Latimer on a personal level, you know that he is a man of his word. He did beat the hell out of me. He even choked me a couple of times.

Although I was really, really excited to back to practice, I was also nervous. I know I’m out of shape. I know I gained weight. Those two factors typically don’t make for fun training sessions. I also had all kinds of irrational fears, like maybe I’d forgotten how to do forward rolls. And all of the throws I’ve ever learned. I was also nervous since my dad can be, um, a little critical when it comes to judo. In the back of my mind, I was not that pumped to have him see me train when I’m not at my best physically. However, I stopped thinking about myself (for once) and thought about what this Sunday morning might mean for my dad. I can only imagine how he might have felt as a second degree black belt with 25+ years of experience. Stepping back on the mat after well over five years with all that hard training behind you–that has to be a big deal. Probably bigger than I can wrap my head around, not that Mr. Latimer would ever give any indication of the significance coming back to practice has for him. He put most of his focus on trying to break me psychologically.

Despite my nervousness about class today, I had so much fun. Yes, it was weird and a little discouraging feeling how much strength I’ve lost and knowing my cardio isn’t what it should be. I was just so happy to be back on the mat, working hard with my training buddies. And like good training buddies, they beat me bad, but not as mercilessly as Mr. Latimer. I know he had fun, too, because after five minutes of smashing and choking me he said, “That right there was worth coming in.”

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Fighting, Judo, Training

Gym bag full of guilt.

November 6, 2011 2 comments

My gym bag has been sitting patiently in a corner of my apartment for over a week. This morning, I went to grab something out of there and carelessly didn’t zip it back up. A few minutes later, I realized my judo belt was peeking out over the edge, having been knocked askew my by my fumbling hands moments earlier. I immediately felt terrible as my belt stared at me, alternately glaring at me with the disappointment of a scornful parent and then giving me the imploring gaze of a hurt, neglected puppy. I couldn’t get out of my apartment fast enough.

Since I got my brown belt, I really want to step it up, even more so than before. I got promoted a little less than a month ago, but with mid-terms and then getting pretty sick this week, I’ve only been getting on the mat once or twice a week. Once is probably more accurate. I hate this. I know, I know–judo is not going anywhere. There’s no rush. Still, it’s hard for me now to be away from the mat so much because I love judo more than most things. When it’s not in my life regularly, I just don’t feel like myself. Also, I think I’m starting to feel OK with my promotion, so I just want to get to work. I want to compete. With the amount of training time I’m getting in now, I feel like a fraud.

There’s a tournament next weekend that I potentially could compete in. Historically for me, this tournament has not really had any girls for me to fight, but it could be worth it to go out there. However,  at this moment I have zero confidence about fighting. One of the black belts at my club basically told me it didn’t matter if I haven’t gone to class much; I still remember judo. But I don’t feel strong right now at all. I’m not sure what I can do this week to change that. And now, I feel like what I’ve just written is an excuse because I don’t want to compete and lose a bunch. There’s no real consequence, though, if I lose all my matches. As long as I can learn something and fix my mistakes, it’s probably OK. Ideally, I would love to go to a tournament feeling prepared, but how often do we get the luxury of experiencing our ideal?

Life’s no fun if you’re always afraid to jump in with both feet.  For me, judo is a part of life. I should probably go ahead and jump.