Saturday, March 29, 2008


Or should I say exhaustion. Absolutely grueling.

I beat the first guy handily after a minute and a half or so. Triangle. The second guy was tough. I was up on advantage for four and a half minutes, then blew it. I held him in a triangle, but just used too much energy, ineffectively, for too long. I felt my strength fading, along with my resolve, and character, and desire to live. We had to reset -- we'd moved out of our area -- and the fella used that time to gather in his will power. He passed, and mounted, and put on a choke. He didn't have the choke and we ran out of time, but I'd given up.

I could hardly stand. Tunnel vision and flashing black spots. I actually leaned on the guy as we left the mat. I had, as we say, left it all on the mat. I lay on the wooden floor next to the table and gasped like a lung fish. I was dizzy for half an hour. I had to rest twice on the way to the car. I coughed all the way home.

But it was very good. Valuable. As I say, I'm in fantastic walking-around shape, and my so-so conditioning is better than most people's elite conditioning. But these guys are not most people. He deserved the win. If I'd fought him first, I'd have taken it. But ifs are for losers ... oh, but that's me, today. First time I've lost. And it's a good thing -- not in some idealistic philosophical way. Pragmatically. Got a few things in focus. First, I really don't care much for losing. Who knew?

There's a fitness program called Crossfit, all about conditioning. My son knows quite a bit about it. The whole idea is to not specialize in anything -- just getting fantastically fit, overall. Of course, that is a sort of specializing. I don't see any great need to be optimally conditioned all the time. I think for just walking around it's better to be strong -- it's certainly easier. But when there's some specific goal, some concrete reason for it, Crossfit sounds ideal.

So the scheme my son and I discussed on the way home is to do a strength cycle, of just meeting a series of concrete goals, and then the last five or so weeks before a competition, doing Crossfit with some strength maintenance. Take the last week easy. Sounds like a plan.

I went into this competition knowing that I hadn't trained for it. It was a casual decision. The bulk of my preparation consisted in taking a few days off, and rolling light most of the past few weeks. Don't you be getting sarcastic with me. I'll show you degrees of sarcasm of which your poor mind could never conceive. The point of such rest was for me to stop aching so much. Also, disengaging a bit helps with getting a perspective. And indeed, my brain was putting some things together, as with the darce. Very elegant maneuver.

Point is, if competition is important, the key is understanding that victory is earned. It isn't some colossal effort of will during a five minute bout. It's the hours you've spent in the weeks before. All I did was roll. But the Mundials are coming up in five months, and I expect I'll give that a go. Fighting guys 20 years younger than me too. It should be after my birthday, you see. My 49th birthday.


After I'd recovered my ability to speak and form human-like ideas in my head, I asked the score-keeper for my license back. He said that my brother had taken it. My brother. Brother. It was my son.

I'm a phenomenon. I won't be letting it happen again, gassing out like that. Anyone as pretty as me deserves to win.


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