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Martial Sciences

March 19, 2009

leonardo1 If there is one thing that is good about not working it’s that I have plenty of free time to spend on my other hobbies and interests. Currently my main passion has been getting myself back into shape through Gracie jiu jitsu.

It’s been nice. The people at my school have always been super friendly, and very supportive. It’s probably the closest thing I have to a large group of friends here in LA. Whenever I do miss practice and come back in they’re always asking where I’ve been, and after classes you’ll often find people hanging around just to chat. It’s been great to be back at the Academy and see all of my old team mates, but more than anything its been great to see my game get better over this period of time. 

Certainly a lot of it has to do with my training. I’ve recently signed up for a competition class, which is preparing me for two tournaments coming up. The training has been brutal, but it’s beating me into shape. It’s an inverse pyramid where we do 30 push-ups, sit ups, burpies, penetration steps, tuck jumps, squats, then sprawls, each with 30 seconds of active rest in between. We then cut it down to 25 reps of each with 25 seconds rest, and down in increments of five. It’s been great for me, and I feel like I’m in some of the best shape I’ve been in since college, or high school even. But more than my conditioning, I feel that my jiu jitsu game is coming along, and my mental approach is getting stronger.

The other day after training I tried to get some tips from my coach, but all he really said to me was that I, “… look like a jiu jitsu guy instead of a wrestler,” and to “… just keep at it. ” While it was frustrating to not have notes I could work on, I did take it as a complement. And the more I think about his remark, the more the game makes sense to me. As a wrestler I was always more technically minded. I used my technique wear my opponent down and out think him. And as a jiu jitsu fighter I’m finally learning how to let the techniques work for me. I think I’ve mentioned most of this in an earlier post of mine, but I’ve always been fascinated by martial arts. And while I have tried a few other martial arts, grappling has always interested me the most for the sheer amount of technical knowledge it requires. Gracie jiu jitsu is just as much a chess match as it is a fight.

I love sports that require technical knowledge. Even if I do end up working again (if that ever happens), and I get out of shape I will still have my technique (no matter how rusty it may become). You take the swimmer out of water or the runner off the road they will loose their sport. Sure they will have that PRs set in stone, and it’ll be there for the rest of their lives, but as their bodies diminish through lack of use their times become harder and harder to achieve. To me sports that require technique represent something a zen like quality. You do by not doing. I think tennis is a great example of this. The better you are at tennis the less you have to work. You just hit drop shots, top-spin lobs, or continual cross court strokes to make your opponent to do all of the running. 

I’ve always wanted a black belt in something. To me it represented the upper echelon of the martial artist, it shows that he’s the best of the best. But the more I spend time in the gym, the more I realize it’s much more than that. It represents knowledge. And knowledge can only be acquired through constant training and studying. It represents hours you’ve spent in the gym, thousands of techniques drilled through repetition, and gallons of sweat expelled through live training. When my coach didn’t give me any notes on my game it wasn’t because I had achieved an ultimate level of excellence in my game, because I know I am no where near that. He told me to “keep at it” because everything I need to learn will come in time. There is no advice he could give me that would instantly fix my game, what I needed to learn could only come through time and practice. Just like any other field of study, area of work, or life lesson worth learning.

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