Thursday, July 2, 2009


So Tues was the muay thai class. No strain on my back at all. There's a bit of a something back there, but the pull is healed. Pull. Tear. A tear. A torn muscle. Does it heal with scar tissue? Is it more subject to injury now? No matter. Now that my shoulder and knee and back are largely better, I am once again invincible, and see no need for caution.

I don't mind kicking. What after all is dignity? I made a mistake though. It's a common mistake with beginners, that I always tell new white belts about. Don't go fast, and don't use strength. Just get the technique, and not a little bit. Dig out a deep synaptic pathway. So what did I do of course? Did the move a few times, then thought I was cool. Ego, my friend. Even I, so humble, so modest, fall prey on exceedingly rare occasions to its insidious lure. Ah well. My secret theory is that the movements themselves will help me get flexible again. Bjj did not do it. I still have a ninety degree split. Ever see a giraffe drink water? So. I like the class. It's a very different energy.

Isn't it funny how we think we're heroes, just waiting for a crisis? I have no idea about this sport. I've always said that nothing is more direct than bjj. Nothing is more primal -- it's how monkeys fight. But striking is more direct, in the sense that it is, well, striking. Bjj is about victory. Striking is about hurting someone. See? The aggression is more direct, in its brutality. I'm sure there's subtlety that I wouldn't catch. But it's brutal. I expect it will tap into the aggression that I generally avoid. With bjj I have to get tapped before I get really focused. I'm always trying to go easy. Save my energy. Maybe I'll need it later? I will be disabused of that fallacy, with striking. Fight or die.

So tonight W, the black belt, had advancements. Gave a couple of blue belts out, and a purple belt. Then he gave stripes, just a line of tape on the end of the belt, to mark movement toward the next belt. Four stripes, and then the next belt up. It helps people be less impatient, I suppose. It wasn't the custom where once I trained. So there we were, all lined up, by belts, incidentally -- it's very hierarchical -- and W calls me up. For a stripe. "Me?" I mouthed. Yes. How odd. I've been a p belt for a month. After a year off. But you can't turn these things down. He said I was doing well, and I said it's just that I'm big, and he said no, he was watching, and I had some good technique, and that I was catching the brown belts. Well, you can only say thank you to something like that. Smile, be pleasant, say thank you.

I've trained for precisely three years, excluding time off. That's very short to get to p belt. But I did train a lot. A lot. Everyday. Five and sometimes six times a week, for three or more hours, not all mat time, but working pretty hard. I knew I had to do that, because I'm not naturally gifted, not notably coordinated, not particularly agile, not very bright in that part of my brain. Just long and strong. Slow to learn, so I have to work harder, do it more. That's not modesty.

I expect, seriously, if I continue to train, and as much as I can, to be at this belt for three or four years. I'm fine with that. W seems to promote early, but that's an opinion based on insufficient observation. I can't say I was promoted too early to p belt, since it really has been confirmed now. I suppose if it's about results, I'm where I should be. I have to take it as meaning that if I'd come there at the start of June as a blue belt, I would have been promoted tonight to purple. Being me, I can see another explanation -- that W was as it were staking a claim on me -- but that is an unnecessary idea. It's not wrong to be crafty, but it's wrong to think someone is crafty when they're not.

I know, though, I really do, how very limited I am at this sport. Somebody else in my body, training as much as I have, would be a marvel to behold. I just plug along, aware of the internal inadequacies, the frank stupidity, the smallness of my game. I'm okay with that. It's why I have trained so hard. I will outgrow my limits.

You see of course what I'm doing here. It's a metaphor. What, you think I'd waste so many valuable words just talking about myself? You should know me better than that after all this time. Frankly I'm a little hurt. Kiai!


No comments: