Why is this?!
I’ve got a bunch of things that I’m working on – the New Year isn’t necessarily the starting point, I feel like “working on” is a lifetime pursuit of sorts. But one of the things that I’m particularly (read: habitually) bad about is taking care of myself. It sounds a little ridiculous, I know, but I have struggled with it my whole life.
In the past, my parents not only implored, but essentially had to fight me to go to the physical therapist when I had an injury (second ACL tear, meanwhile.) They had to fight to get me to go to the chiropractor (which I nearly didn’t do, save that I actually couldn’t lie down without severe pain.) They’ve fought me to go to the ER when I thought I could glue my own finger. They’ve had to tell me to take it easy when I don’t feel as up to my routine because I somehow tell myself I *should* still proceed ahead despite that I have a collapsed lung.
Yes, I know that our conversation with the Universe has a massive impact on our lives (I’ve seen it time and time again – good, bad, and ugly.) But I also feel it’s important to admit mistakes when necessary, as well as shortcomings. And frankly. . .
I’m not smart sometimes!
I push too hard, and I refuse – never for a great reason – to do the right thing for myself.
Take Jiu-Jitsu for example… Master Cycle is not just one jump up from Combatives. It’s SEVERAL. You learn more techniques, and build on the knowledge that got you to Blue Belt, but you also roll a lot more – free sparring means the injury level goes up. Generally Blue Belts have learned some control, but it takes YEARS to become proficient enough to be smooth. Injuries are going to happen at a high level too, but less so from lack of body control… Either way, you have to protect yourself – the element of possibility is always present.
In the last few months I’ve had my nose fractured twice. I’m blessed (and thankful!) that it wasn’t worse than it was…but it definitely makes you pause. I wasn’t wearing a mouth guard and it would have been only an inch difference to have possibly lost teeth. My husband has urged me to wear my mouthguard from the get go. “It’s uncomfortable,” I said. “It’s harder to breathe.”
“Would you rather lose teeth?!”
Of course I thought “NooOoo!” But. . .I still didn’t wear it.
So I’ve decided that my obstinacy and bullshit stops six days ago. It’s a perfect time for me to pull it together, and do the right thing to take care of myself. Loved ones shouldn’t have to fight me over my self-care, for crying out loud – and they aren’t pushing me for any reason beyond that they want me healthy, happy, and able to do what I love.
My parents put up with it for nearly 40 years. At almost 40, it’s fair (though possibly unfortunate) to say I’m pretty set in my ways. But that doesn’t mean I don’t learn, that I don’t care, or that I won’t make an effort to be a better person. We all have room to grow, and I do not consider myself unusually immutable.
For me, being a better person is a top priority – I feel distressed when I fall short of being anything but a positive influence on anyone in any regard (especially my family!) Of course I will fall short – I forgive myself in advance, knowing I’m human. But I do try – even if a little later in the game.
Better late than never, so they say, right?
Or, better before I lose some teeth.
It’s funny…but not. Especially because it isn’t so much the white belt who ends up hurt, but the training partner.
We all start somewhere, no question about it – accidents ARE going to happen, it’s Martial Arts, for crying out loud. BUT…
It’s absolutely vital that newer students are not only encouraged to slow down, but ASKED to. The first nose fracture I sustained a few months ago wasn’t from a white belt – it was a tough technique, a few parts went awry between us…it happens.
But this time it was more the result of over-excitedness, and lack of body control – common to newer students.
I went slowly. I made a point to say “because this is designed to break the arm and damage the joints, it’s really important to go slowly. It’s easy to go too far before your partner has a chance to tap…”
The message has to come from all of us, though – it has to be engrained from the get-go, because many of our techniques (self defense-based, as much as offensively-based) are designed to injure. Even when a technique is meant only to control, there is room for an accident – mindfulness makes a HUGE difference in lessening the potential for injury on the mat.
After I took a heel to the face, re-fracturing my nose, a fellow student took the time to say (to my distressed training partner) “you really need to go slower. You have a high energy – that’s great -but in here, we really have to go slow…and slower still. We go slow for a LONG time.”
I think there’s a misconception that going slowly is a bad thing – it ISN’T. As the saying goes, slow is fast, fast is slow… Being deliberate in the movements builds – first of all – the proper muscle memory. Bad habits are a NIGHTMARE to fix – you want to be drilling the correct mechanics of the technique so, when it matters, that’s how you respond.
The other part of that is…you actually CAN hurt the person you are working with. It isn’t a stretch because that is precisely what you are learning to do. If you are more senior, you don’t have to be overbearing – but it is partially your responsibility to guide others when you notice they aren’t as in control as they need to be. Sometimes even then…accidents occur. So back up your peers if you need to – my friend stepping in was appreciated because while my partner won’t forget she fractured my nose…she was given extra reinforcement from the messages given to her afterwards.
A friend of mine. . .er, a training partner. . .recently posted this. Humor to be found indeed!
Most of us see each other on the mat, in the Dojo, and sporting a gi. Period.
There are those rare occasions on which we are spotted in civilian clothing but generally speaking, “hanging out” translates to “sparring.” Again, period.
Even our Facebook message threads. . . it’s all about an impromptu class here, a “did you see that fight?!” there… Our social hour includes rolling, choking, striking…you know, the fun stuff. But I guess at the end of the day it all works out because we are on the same page…er, mat…right?
Don’t judge. We all have our thing!