Martial Arts Humor – Injuries And The White Belt

It’s funny…but not.  Especially because it isn’t so much the white belt who ends up hurt, but the training partner.

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(C) Cartoonstock Jcen624

We all start somewhere, no question about it – accidents ARE going to happen, it’s Martial Arts, for crying out loud.  BUT…

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.”

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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.

Martial Arts – Always Learning

Exactly the attitude I think everyone should have – not only in Martial Arts, but in Life.

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Our learning never ceases – we will never know it all, and we can always take something positive (and useful!) away from each individual we work with.  

From teaching children to helping a student new to Martial Arts (or just your specific one), we can always learn something we didn’t know before – truly, it is limitless.

Stay humble, with an open mind, and the knowledge will flow.

 

Jiu-Jitsu Humor – White Belt

I can say this because I am new to the Art…!  Despite a lifetime of training in sports, and many years of other Martial Arts…I still leave with a sore neck!  *LOL*

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What I LOVE about Jiu-Jitsu is that it is about technique.  It is about being strategic and learning how to maneuver even when you are outweighed and outsized – as a 142 lb woman (5’6″), I want to know EXACTLY what I need to do, without completely exhausting myself, to maintain control, and submit, or get free.

Even with a background in movement, as you learn to fight on the ground, you may find yourself using too much energy and gassing yourself out.  While it may be instinct to fight back, it is a surefire way to tire yourself out, leaving you vulnerable to well-executed counter attacks, or the sheer brute strength of an opponent.

As my awesome instructor says, “just chill.  Wait for your window of opportunity and take it…but until then relax and let your opponent exhaust himself.”

Perfect advice from where I’m rolling! 😉

 

To Be A Lion…

I love this quotation because it stresses the importance of giving your all – not just in a competition, but every day in practice.  To be a lion, we must train with lions – we have to get right in the middle of it.  Doubt, ego, embarrassment, and insecurity have to take a back seat.  We all start somewhere.

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Today I had the fortune to participate in a wrestling class along with some of my fellow Ninjutsu classmates.  Wrestling is a completely foreign language to my body, and I LOVE that.  I love that it doesn’t matter how much weight I can press in the gym, how many weighted walking lunges I can do…  It doesn’t matter that I have trained my whole Life in other sports… Something as simple as shuffling, dropping into a sprawl, and jumping up to take a shot is E X H A U S T I N G.  

And…

It is and AMAZING feeling.  

Why?  Because it reminds us there is always more to learn, and always ways in which we can grow positively.

Some of the students knew more than I did – I respect and appreciate learning from them as much as the Sensei (wrestling, but also Ninjutsu) who was instructing us.  I sincerely believe that all of us can learn, and all of us can teach – not only at the dojo, but in all areas of Life.

The irony also holds true – there is a true sense of empowerment born of stepping outside our comfort zone.  It’s important to challenge ourselves – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  By so doing we learn, we grow, we enhance the richness of the experience we call Life.  Trying something completely new and different is a perfect way to change the pace and avoid plateaus.  

After a number of years in three Korean Arts I began to feel that I had some real holes in my training.  I believe most all Arts have MORE than enough material – beyond Lifetimes of learning, without question! A person could do only one Art and still have areas to grown and improve – even the Grand Masters.  There is no limit, nor perfection, but rather the endless pursuit of learning and movement.

That said, however, each Art has a different focus, leaving other areas exposed.  For me, I was lacking in ground skills.  I also felt that I had less time for the self defense than I did for offensive techniques.  So it was very much a matter of putting my training and rank to the side, donning a white belt, and walking into a new environment all together.  

It can absolutely be intimidating – not just for those new to a given sport (Martial Arts, in this case), but also to those with a background!  There is anxiety, a huge learning curve, and some discomfort – when an activity is new, it is just par for the course – frankly, I don’t think there is any way to avoid it!  But that discomfort is HEALTHY.  It is important for our own overall growth!  Stepping outside that comfortable zone is vastly more rewarding the security of staying “safe.”

So when it comes to our training…if we are SERIOUS about what we want to achieve, and serious about our learning and growth, we MUST jump in the ring.  

It isn’t enough to watch the lions at a distance – we have to get right out there with them, make mistakes, be corrected, and humbled by being at the end of the line.  These things keep us grounded, they build a solid foundation, they remind us that there is ALWAYS room to grow.