Friday, March 23, 2012

Training Day: Friday

Good training today. Managed to join the class early on, and trained armbars and armbar/omoplatas from the guard with Mark before we went off into Live Training. A good six-minute roll with Mark, another good 8-minute roll with Angus, and then a full-length, black belt-calibre, 10-min roll with Professor Carlos.

Right now, the goal when training is to develop a series of familiar movements, to create a map of the game in which every road leads home - whether "home" at the moment means submission or mere survival, pass, sweep or escape. An ideal moment that I want to better exploit came at the end of training with Professor Carlos. I've already been caught a couple of times with chokes from back control and, now more than 20 minutes into the sparring session, I'm beginning to feel significant fatigue.

Professor is urging me on, and I'm trying to keep up. But as difficult as the cardio battle is, what is making this exponentially more difficult is that there is no familiar path that I slip into. It's become clearer than ever that, indecision is as fatiguing as any unsuspecting increase in training intensity. Like that great line from Dan Inosanto, my first favorite "MMA" quote, that ends: "When you're tired, you're not even smart."

But, again, jiu-jitsu. The trick isn't to do the impossible, to become someone who never gets tired. The trick is to become someone who doesn't need to be "smart" to perform at the necessary technical level. That is to say that the solutions have to be in your body, in that place "beyond knowledge" as Rickson Gracie famously put it.

Time on the mat is necessary but not sufficient to achieve this, I think. It requires a real focus, day in and day out, an every day interrogation: Am I breathing? Am I using strength? Am I getting my partner/opponent to give me what I want or am I trying to just "take it" from them? Am I using space to my advantage?

Helping a couple of teammates on the lesson of the day was a huge reminder of helpful it is to work and re-work the basics. Every time I explain something to someone, I feel like I am teaching myself, a real reward of the process. Even if at the end of the day I feel more comfortable as a "tutor" than a "teacher", there's no doubt how fulfilling it can be to help solve problems.

A surprise wrinkle in the schedule will allow me to make it to training tomorrow for another 4x week. I feel like the universe is giving me a lot of time to train, almost a suspiciously generous amount of time to train historically speaking. There's no sense in not taking cosmic advantage of every bit of it.

160 and change on the scale post-train. To the extent that the featherweight limit is 154 in the gi, it wasn't a horrible number. But here's hoping Saturday's post-train weigh-in is a couple of pounds lower.