Sunday, August 31, 2014

another hiatus. obviously.

The best part of this post is that the title was saved (no actual text, mind you) back in April.

I never even came back to attempt said excuse for hiatus. Le sigh.

I'm not sure I actually feel like attempting it now. Here's the long and short of it: My work schedule hasn't changed, so neither has my ability to train with any sort of regularity. I got wore out from trying to scramble after people to train with all hours of the night and day, and having them either bail last second or never commit to begin with. I also know myself enough to realize that once a week at an open mat isn't enough for me. 

I still make it to my self defense class, with some regularity. And maybe as the seasons change and weather turns crummy again I may find myself more apt to hanging around for open mat, but during this summer, I just couldn't convince myself to stay in a room breathing in the smell of staph, foot, and ass and teasing myself with a tiny bit of bjj. I love it too much to halfass it. That's the truth of it. 

I feel the pull still, but have had to acknowledge that I cannot pursue it as I do all things I actually care about: relentlessly. 

So rather than torture myself with what isn't, I've just shifted focus to what I can do. 

And pursuing what I can do has led to me getting more than halfway through my weight loss goals. That has to translate to mat improvement, whenever I do resume training. My cardio has to be better (although most days you'd have your hands full trying to convince me of it). My flexibility has come back. 

I'm trying to make sure I don't let the sort of misery I sometimes experienced in bjj find its way into my pursuits in crossfit, although I've already sensed familiar patterns of annoyance as I chase after strict pullups. 

It's supposed to be hard. It's supposed to take time and work. But above all, it's supposed to be fun. 

more another time. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

chugging along nicely so far.

Made it through the first "cycle" of 5/3/1 and still made it to crossfit four times this week. Didn't catch a cold (my usual first response), but I have to say that by Friday I was seriously fatigued. And my sleep absolutely sucked all week. And I was hungry all the time. I mean I was even waking up hungry.

I didn't get in as much/any jiu jitsu as I'd have liked, but the honest admission here is I'm blase about it right now. And this happens from time to time. Maybe it's because I'm more focused on crossfit at the moment, maybe it's just my natural response to not being able to train with the sort of regularity I would prefer. I'm waiting for the next "aha" moment or the next path to pique my interest in it again.

And I think I've found it - always a reliable source of obsess-worthy material, World Martial Arts graciously released two new series from Ryan Hall. One I'm definitely excited about - passing the guard, and another I'm excited about because I know one of my favorite training partners will be stoked about - the inverted guard.

I don't dislike the inverted guard, it's just not the most easy thing for me. Yet. This may be what turns it around for me, or at least makes me less apprehensive about anything involving inversion.

Guard passing has long been a path I've felt the need to spend more time exploring, getting lost, getting found on. With all due respect to my trusty smash pass, I don't want to be a one trick pony. Especially if everyone else figures out that trick, leaving me to be a no trick pony.

Hunting season is pretty much over for me, so that distraction is also removed. Add to that an influx of people looking to resume drilling, and hopefully the love affair will begin anew. I won't force it, but I think I've finally made peace with letting it be what it will be, when it will be.

With yesterday being my forced rest day, it was hard to keep my mind from wandering to darker places, especially with the anniversary of my grandmother's passing approaching. It's been several years, but still knocks me for a loop. I was glad to get back to the gym to lift today for sure, to release some endorphins and find some clarity that simply would not reveal itself to me yesterday.

And that's fine. It's perfectly okay to have a dour mood about this, it's a heavy thing. And it's one of several pretty heavy things I deal with on a day to day basis. I underscore this too often. I stop short of acknowledging it - the equivalent of the stiff upper lip? - mostly because the burden hasn't shifted much. I don't see it shifting soon, either. I don't mean that to sound as negative as it reads, I'm merely being realistic. Stating a sound observation.

Anyway. 5/3/1 went well. It made for some soreness that impacted my performances at crossfit, but I'm anxious to see how the effort translates over. It has also made me REALLY appreciate the coaching, the facilities, and the community. Some of the lifts have just NOT felt at all natural in the setting of Nautilus - notably the leg-based ones. Squats felt weird and uninspired, and deadlifts (today) felt downright alien on the deficit platform. I'm not sure how my form was on them, and I had real hesitation in selecting assistance exercises to perform. I'll need to put the blinders on perhaps. Nothing hurt, or is hurt, so I guess there's at least that from today's work. However I think subsequent weeks of deadlifts are going to leave me nervous.

Huh. As I took a pause from typing, someone sent me a message asking if I wanted to train tomorrow. And it made me smile. As good a sign as any other I can think of.

Friday, November 29, 2013

has something awakened, or is my ego running rampant...

the earlier part of this week, something set me the hell off - it really wasn't anything new, but for some reason it just didn't sit well with me. I was struggling with deadlifts at crossfit, which also isn't news - after injuring myself pulling up 235 a year or so back, I've had some serious fear and apprehension.

But I'd long since gotten back to okay numbers, usually putting up 205 easily. That day, I stalled out at 185. I looked around and watched other ladies surpass that with varying degrees of ease.

And it made me furious. And determined.

In my earlier, formative years of lifting, it wasn't at all unusual for me to put up the highest numbers in my gym. In fact, I usually insisted on that being the case. But those were the days of youth, pride, and better recovery systems. And more recently, I've had to settle for not being anywhere near the strongest girl in the room. And I've been just fine with that. I normally take a goodly portion of inspiration from seeing folks put my numbers to shame.

So what the hell changed?

"Pride goes before the fall"

This has echoed in my head for the past few days. I bumbled through a workout that involved a stout number of deadlifts at lower weight this week. As per usual, my back tightened way the hell up. Not to the point of injury, just a strange fatigue that I couldn't justify the early appearance of. It made no sense - how can my lower back tire so quickly? I mean, I do bjj. I can do any variation of a squat with a fairly respectable weight. I stand in guard with far heavier weights wrapped around my hips.

what. the. deuce.

Halfway through, I pulled plates off the bar thinking it would return me to proper form. Nope. So it wasn't the weight. It was suggested to me that I stop, mid workout, if my back wasn't digging it. That just set me off into a ridiculous prideful fit that I now regret.

What am I trying to prove? I could've reinjured my back insisting on that sort of display. I'm probably lucky that I did not. That time. Idiot.

I've since been reading up on the 5/3/1 method of strength training, and would like to give it an honest go. A friend remarked "oh yeah, good call, more lifting. Since you need more injuries." And I don't know if this is good advice or not. Is more lifting what I need? Or less. I mean logically, more time under/around the bar should translate into better performance, should it not? Or would I be derailing the programming at crossfit by supplementing it...

This hasn't been all negativity. I mean, I'm newly driven towards improvement, which I think is a good thing. I just need to figure out how to temper that enthusiasm into helpful, not hurtful, ways. My tendency towards red-lining is well documented.

so I guess I need a choke chain for my ego during this phase. and a short leash.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Time to set new goals

Realized partway through the week that I have, since obtaining my purple belt, gotten lax on setting new goals. Or perhaps am just feeling lazy about it all. I'm not sure which.

I've settled into being happy to study the earlier curriculum, assist folks working towards their blue belts, or even just their first stripe on their white belt. And I don't think either is at a huge detriment - it's reviewing portions of the curriculum that I never had to test for, having shown up with my blue belt and some stripes before the curriculum ever came into the picture for me.

I'm seeing a lot of the curriculum with new eyes. Seeing things way differently than the first however many times I watched the moves done. Connecting the dots. Hearing what isn't being said. And that's pretty cool.

Meanwhile, other folks are already obsessing over putting stripes on their new purple belts. Man, I still don't see what all the rush is about. And that could easily be a function of my having accepted slow rank progression as just a matter of course for me. I'm still not able to attend regular classes, so I guess I don't fixate so much on advancement. I know it's going to take me longer. Which is also fine by me, since I prefer being thorough. I prefer knowing the bejeezus out of the moves long before I test on them.

I've heard it said that by the time you reach purple, you're done learning new moves. That you simply refine what you have already acquired. I hope that isn't true - I'm coming back around to things I never thought would be a part of my game, learning new positions that have drawn the current favor, and I'm still not satisfied with it. I still want more. I want to take my sweet time enmeshing myself with every dvd I ever bought, learning it inside and out, seeing if any of it works for me, and if not, fine, how do I defend against it.

Maybe I'd do better to focus on that instead. I felt, once promoted, a huge relief more than anything else. Sure, it was validating, and I feel very proud of what I achieved, but since then, my underlying thought has been "Good. Now I can go back to just studying it at my own pace."

But something about that is making me feel... lazy. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

I can math, dammit.


Now that I'm officially in my new house, I figured "cool, self. Let's go ahead and resume magazine delivery, and renew some expired subscriptions..."

Top of my list: Gracie Mag. I love that magazine (even though I have to spend more energy ignoring the various pervasive bias(es) than I used to), and have kept every issue. So off to their website I go, credit card in tow. Okay, looks like it's 24 months, 12, or 6 months. And there are free gifts with each. Okay, I like the t-shirt with the 6-month... add to cart. check out.

What the deuce.

$25.00 shipping?!

Hold the damned phone. Err, keyboard.


$8.95 x 6 = $53.70. Less my 10% discount at Books A Million, That's $48.33

Graciemag webstore price, with shipping: $64.40

Pure bullshit. Hell to the nizzo.

I mean, really.

Comparatively, 1 yr subscription to Jiu Jitsu Magazine: $37.99.

Yeah, I think My answer is pretty damned clear: option C - order both from budovideos, and come up with excuses to buy additional stuff ;)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I should really have some lengthy, lofty post for this, but

Here's the long and short of it: I got my purple belt. like 2 1/2 weeks ago. While I'd been told to get my shit together and test "soon" I had no idea how soon it would be. I was figuring a few months down the line.

I was told about 3 hours prior that I'd be testing. I've been packing and moving and unpacking, but had zero idea where the hell any of my materials were - so there was no studying/cramming or anything of the sort. So I just made peace with either knowing enough or not. Either earning the belt or not.

But I'd also placed trust in my instructor to not push me into a test I wasn't ready for. If we all waited for me to say "I'm ready" then the process would've easily taken another 6 months or more. Because I'm never "ready" to my liking. If it isn't perfect, I don't proceed.

But perfect never really happens. I'd do well to stop chasing it, and holding myself back for it.

I'm relieved that it's over, and I'm happy that I was successful, mostly by virtue of now being able to stop being distracted by it all and resuming the study of the art. Which is what I love most about it - the endless study, the elusiveness of any sort of mastery.

I was told that I should be done acquiring moves now. That the core of my game has been set and now it's about refinement. I'm not sure that it's as closed a door as that. There are too many things in flux that could change things. But maybe it won't. I'll always favor open guard, I imagine. Don't see that going away. But as I age, as I lose weight, as I gain strength, flexibility, etc. moves that were before out of my range are coming into reach.

But I am content to wait and see how it all develops. Work still knocks me out of a decent schedule that will allow training. But I'll work around it, same as always. While my other purple belted cohorts now chase off against each other towards brown, I'm going in reverse to rededicate myself towards learning the earlier curriculum. It allows me two things I like doing: immersing myself in study, and helping others to understand said study.

I really never should have let anything deter me from that anyway. Damned herd behavior.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

sometimes it clicks, sometimes it leaves you hanging with your mouth agape.

so I've been hitting the curriculum hard. Trying to gear up for 4th stripe, as I was charged with getting my act in gear and getting it done already. I tend to let a LOT of time go by before I'll test on curriculum. I am not a fan of this whole get your next [rank belt stripe] in 5 minutes culture that seems to be going on in bjj lately.

you have to let that shit marinate. cook it on low heat. love it. tend to it. let it do its thing gracefully. immerse in it.

it's been my nature with anything I love. typical creative brain. I want to be totally enmeshed with it before moving on from it. I want to know it inside out, all 360 degrees.

when someone asks me about XYZ move on a part of the curriculum that I've supposedly mastered, I don't want to go blank. that is disrespect. To my teacher, and his teacher, and his teacher.

[edit] later that day... Received my 4th stripe Sunday. It may've been an unnecessary undertaking, but I wanted to specifically test for and demonstrate the curriculum moves. It changes nothing with regards to being expected to belt test in the next few months. And that makes me nervous.

There's still so much to be done. So much to review and master. I want to take the time to study the entire curriculum like I have the past stripe's worth. It seems like it makes more sense now than it did back when I tested for 2nd, 3rd, etc. Not to mention the entirety of the curriculum that came before (i.e.- white belt as a whole and 1st stripe blue).

So often I tell newer folks that just because they don't like a move they've learned today, it doesn't mean that it won't make more sense later on down the road. It may become a move they like later. Once their bodies become adept at executing it, or once they find themselves in a situation where it's the easiest, most natural way to counter something. In the spirit of that statement, I feel compelled to go back and rework things.

But I've only a few months (hell I don't know, it may only be weeks) to do so before testing will ambush me. And during that time I really need to work on flowing better. Seeing opportunities better. Not sucking at rolling. All easier said than done perhaps (nevermind the obstacle of my work schedule).

Meh. Whatever will be, will be. I might be forced to test and fail. Whoop dee doo. My path will likely not change much based on that. That said, I feel way less worried about it. Back to pushing the rock.