Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Pain of Progress

This stuff sucks.

I mean, let's be serious about this.  Roughly four times a week, I go to jiu jitsu.  I learn or refresh my memory about a technique or three, and I spend some time training.  Once every week or two, I get to train with Klint.  And when that happens, I end up in pain.  All colors of pain, from that gentle off-white "this is a strange position I've found myself in" pain to that bright red "I need to scream before he keeps pressuring that lock" pain, even that subdued green "how the hell did I get here and what exactly is he doing to my shoulder" pain.  Usually, I can walk away fairly unscathed, only my pride hurting (which, to be fair, is half the reason I keep going to jiu jitsu).  Every now and then, he'll hit something with just the right pressure that tears shoot out of my eyes as I tap.  Last night, it was a lot of that.

In class, we worked open guard sweep cycles.  The last few weeks, he has been very adamant about putting everything we're doing into a fluid system, and it's been amazing.  I have not put this many different moves into this kind of context before.  So we've worked side control, guard opening, guard passing, back defense, closed guard, now we're on open guard.  What they've done with the curriculum is really impressive.  And we get to reap the benefits by having a six-man class with a black belt instructor every day of the week.

So I rolled with Klint, and the results mixed improving failure (with a waft of success on the horizon) with abject failure.  At one point my body reverted to stupidity and I just held a collar hoping that it would stifle his pass.  Clearly, it didn't.  And we laughed at that.  He said that my pressure on my guard passes was better, and that I have to improve my side control.  Which was obvious when I (for once) got side control and was back in guard within four seconds.  That first roll, though, cracked my neck and back in a few places, to the point that the pain woke me up a few times throughout the night.  (It's along the same vein as when I wrenched it last fall, but not nearly as bad.  I just need to be careful with it and work to relieve a bit of the stress on it over the next few days.  I even opted not to go to morning class because I didn't want to tweak it any more.)  And the rest were partly a thrashing.  At one point, I definitely had to dig deep, force myself to continue.  And not only to continue, but to continue training with the requisite attention and effort.  Anyone can revert to "just tap me already" mode after a few rounds of abject failure; refusing to do so is very, very hard.

Then I worked with Andy for a while.  We need to figure out how to get him beyond the psychological barrier that turns him into a purely defensive creature when we train.  He's going to be competing on the 21st, and I'll be there supporting.  But training with me only not to lose the same way is not going to prepare him.

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