Sunday, December 14, 2008

Whipped by Whitman

So there's this guy named John Whitman who comes around to Fit and Fearless a couple of times a year to teach us. He's a 4th degree black belt in krav, a former president of our system, & many, many of our drills and exercises come from him. I hope I can remember what we did yesterday to tell you properly - as usual after a good training session my body is buzzing so much I can't sleep that night. I finally got up at 1 a.m. & took an ambien, and this morning my brain is a bit fuzzy.

We started with the focus mitts, moving in with a right hook for an initial strike, eventually adding other combatives to the mix. One of the interesting things we did was after warning our attacker to move away a couple of times, we'd attack with a right hook, then assess to see if they were leaving us the hell alone, moving in for strikes, or shooting in for a takedown. John had me demonstrate the takedown during the exercise - I suspect its largely for the visual effect, as my partner was a 6'4", 230 pound wall of a man, and I'm me. The first time he went for the takedown he got me! I landed on my back with a resounding thud & flailed around like a cockroach trying to get his massive body into my guard. The next time I got the sprawl & he didn't take me down - whew! The general is so much fun to partner with, he is constantly drilling me to improve on every little thing, which helps, and he's so big I don't have to hold back, I can just strike.

Next John talked about when to be the first person to strike, about the importance of making a decision now - right now, in class - about where your line in the sand is drawn. I was hoping we'd cover this again, as I think its so important. In On Combat, Col. Grossman tells us that interpersonal conflict is the universal human phobia. Its true, and often we will resist acknowledging that a threat is real until its too late, because that thought is so scary to us. The time to make the decision when you will strike is now, not when adrenaline and fear are blasting through your body & short circuiting your brain. Taking it seriously and drawing my own line in the sand during the last Whitman lecture on this subject has saved my butt in the past. I'm grateful and I hope he always covers the subject.

Later we worked weapons, handgun & stick. I've never worked with sticks before, and was happy to discover it came naturally to me & felt really good. It didn't feel really good when I got whacked hard in the head with the stick a couple of times because my defense wasn't strong enough. That's freaking negative reinforcement of the highest order, so I fixed it pretty damn fast.

Next we did standing sweeps, which I didn't want to do because my fall breaks are weak. Of course, standing sweeps are exactly what I need to be doing! Everything went great until I allowed myself to feel tired & lost my concentration for a moment, when Miss M slammed me into the ground with the force of a tsunami. My head didn't actually slam into the ground but I had such a hard whiplash that now my neck feels like concrete. Stupid girl. Me, I mean.

I get so much out of John's visits! You know, if he looked like Brock Lesnar, or Rambo coming in here, I don't know that I would be as motivated or learn as much. John just looks and acts like a normal, friendly, polite human being. He's a normal-friendly-polite human being who can hit you so fast and hard that all your arms and legs fly off your body, that's the cool part.
Because he looks and acts like someone you can relate to, he makes you feel like you can do it, too. That's the kind of teacher I hope to be some day.

Day 2 starts in a couple of hours!

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