Thursday, February 26, 2009

Achille's Heel

Well then, I'm in teacher training today, and its going really well. A few corrections, but mostly its, "My, my, Miss Parker, aren't you a clever girl?". And then the Gorgeous Bastard walks in and I turn into a babbling idiot. I think they wanted to take my temperature or call a priest to make sure I wasn't being possessed by the stupidest demon in Hell. And then the Gorgeous Bastard leaves, like a plague of locusts flying away, & I'm myself again.

I don't know what my freaking problem is, but its time I brought out the insecticide. Can't stand to have GB watch me teach, so I'm putting myself under his microscope - setting up a private lesson with him to do nothing but teach him for an hour. No fear is going to get the better of me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mighty Fine

Tonight was my favorite kind of training night. Long, sweaty, breathless, challenging, & surrounded by my friends.

First hour the Gorgeous Bastard taught our teacher training session! He talked about running a classroom, the image you have to project, the way to treat people so that they are challenged but feel supported. Lucha Libre was there for the first time studying teaching Crossfit, & Spike & the Gentleman were there, as always. I suggested to Spike that he must be learning a lot about leadership that will serve him well when he goes to the Marines officer camp this summer - and he looked at me slyly & said, "Yeah, that's occurred to me, too." In fact, that's one of the things I'm appreciating so much about this training. I'm not just learning how to teach people to perform rote techniques, I'm learning how to lead.

2nd hour was level 3/4, again with GB - I watched him implementing some of the things he'd just taught us to do the hour before. Partnered with Mighty Mouse tonight, and really enjoyed it. A strange thing happened, though, and its happened before. We were doing a 3 person drill with Attila & I just totally blanked out. Its like aliens beamed out my brain for a few minutes & MM & Attila were looking at me like, "Girl, where are you?!" It doesn't happen as often as it used to, but I wish it would go away. Otherwise, I was on it & it was a great class.

3rd hour was yoga - I wonder if Dr. J would like us to shut up and quit making smart aleck remarks to each other? I hope not, because this is the funnest yoga class I've ever taken. We do challenging poses - which we are all getting better at - but we give each other endless shit the whole class. I notice everyone really tries hard to do a good job, though, so hopefully Dr. J sees that, too.

4th hour was MMA, with the Professor. Oh, I'm soooo happy! I actually tapped out a guy twice while we were rolling! Same move I used to make Spike tap last week though, they're going to be onto me soon. Actually, this kid already is. After the 2nd time I asked Leonidas to explain to him what he was doing wrong, then I never could pull it off again after that. Too bad, but there's no point in being an ass, he's there to learn just like I am. Another good thing was that the one time he made me tap it took him freaking forever, and he's an experienced wrestler, so that made me happy, too. He finally got me with a heel lock. I'm terrible at defending those, but I won't be for long. Also sparred a little standup with the Professor, he of the lightning hands. I'm a monkey on sedatives compared to him, but I'm learning.

Friday, February 20, 2009


So I was talking to The Scribe last night in the lobby of F&F after class, telling him I'd like to write more about martial arts. He asked if I wanted to focus on women in MA & I realized I actually do. I was a bit surprised, because I've generally preferred training with men, but when I'm teaching I do find myself gravitating more toward women. And here's an example of why that is: there's a particular woman in level 1 I've thought about frequently because when she strikes she's very meek about it, she looks uncomfortable doing it, and I've wondered how I can help her past that. Then last night I peeked into bag class & saw her going crazy hard on the bag! So, what's the difference, mentally and emotionally for her, between striking a person holding a bag & just beating up a freestanding inanimate object? This is true of female beginners more often than not.

Part II of this is a strong memory I have of when I was very new to training, at Kim Soo Karate. There was a head-turningly beautiful woman, a brown belt, who was teaching me some basic strikes on the heavy bag. I was striking veeery meekly, very lightly. She asked me, "Why are you doing that?! Why do women always strike so softly? We have so much power and we never use it!" Then she started going apeshit on the bag to show me how to do it. But I simply could not get my head around behaving like that. It was like we were two different species & I just did not believe I could ever do what she did. I wish she could see me now! And still, I know I'm not delivering as hard as I can, as hard as I will be this time next year. That block isn't completely removed, though its on its way out.

This, in a nutshell, is why women like me find martial arts so addictive. I once saw myself as weak, and now I see myself as strong, and I run toward that vision like an escaping prisoner runs toward freedom.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Baby I'm Amazed

Here's why I love Fit and Fearless. When you are training, they will only ever ask you for one thing: everything you have. They will ask you for all your effort, all your willingness to suffer. They will request all your focus, all your ability to face your fears, all your drive to keep fighting through bone deep exhaustion. They will ask you for all your sweat, and maybe even a little bit of your tears and blood.

And if you give them what they ask, you will get something remarkable in return: everything they have. They will give you their undivided attention, their patience, and their support. They will give you the knowledge they earned with their own blood, sweat, and tears. They will give you their time, and their faith that you will prevail, even when you doubt it yourself. They will push you when you need to go harder, and they'll give you a break when you really need it - though not when you just think you need it.

It's said that nature is red in tooth and claw, and that is the attitude I've taken toward my own training, both physically and mentally. In return I've received a massive grizzly bear defending me. And let me tell you, when you're fighting for something, its really nice to have a grizzly bear on your side.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


What I learned in krav today: If you smack a guy strongly enough in the balls, he'll stop choking you so hard. Hmmm....

So, I thought I had headlock from the side down. Wrong! Turns out my attackers in class have been taking it easy on me - now I know in with absolute certainty how important it is to go hard in class. I was delusional.

So today I spent a whole hour re-learning how to perform & teach headlock from the side. Daddy J is a very patient man. God bless The Gentleman & Spike for being such good sports & working with me. Especially Spike, I poked him right in the eye.

The most fun? Doing a different kind of defense in case I get taken to the ground - a real possibility if I'm surprised by a larger attacker. You roll out with the momentum & over again, ending in a modified side mount in a perfect position for strikes. I always thought BJJ was not going to be useful for me, that I just studied it for fun. Wrong again! Because of my BJJ training the technique worked like a dream, even though I was scared.

The other good thing was when Spike & The Gentleman, under strict orders from Daddy J, attacked me hard 10 times in a row in a continual stream of attacks, no pausing. Its scary, but exhilarating! And here's where the ball-bashing comes in. Poor Spike wasn't wearing a cup. The defense includes a groin strike. Because I am such an angel, I tried smacking his thigh to simulate the attack, but no go. He squeezed me like a fat grandmother at Christmas. So I nailed him right in his Christmas package. (Yeah, we know, Spike, its a gift ha ha.) Miraculously, his death grip on me loosened & I was able to complete the defense. The Gentleman was a tougher nut to crack. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! I got a million of 'em. He was wearing protection, & is no gentleman on the mat, but I was finally able to pull it off, thanks to my 3 great coaches.

Still have so much work to do, but I'm having so much fun doing it.


Last night's class went really well. It was a h-u-g-e class. I taught about half, The Gentleman taught the other half. I actually did really well, the only thing I messed up on was after teaching inside defenses I didn't know how to wrap it up so the Gentleman came in and saved me. Also, I've gotten used to just assisting & letting the lead teacher worry about time limits on the exercises. It allows me to spend more time individually with the students who have questions or need corrections, which is good, but now its time to master helping them while keeping an eye on the clock, and taking in the activities of the whole room. Kind of like working with my middle school students. Well, I've done it before, I can do it again.

And I've learned that I can focus much better during class if I spar or hit the bag for a few minutes just beforehand. It really focuses my brain & lets me relax and do what I need to do in class.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mo' Bettah

Hallelujah. Forever I've been wondering what my problem was, why I couldn't go as hard as I needed to in front of the class & finally I realized that I've been thinking of myself as an interloper up there in other people's class. In my mind it wasn't my class, so what the hell was I doing taking up time? Also, I realized I have a tendency to submit to Alpha Males. And you know, you'd think there would be only one Alpha, but they're all Alpha-types to one extent or another, and my level of meekness was in direct proportion to the lead teacher's level of Alpha-ness. Well, that was yesterday, baby!!

Once I realized the problem I was able to kill it, and I finally went back to my old bossy self last night in class. Doomsday (aka The Dragon) taped me teaching & let me watch it & I could see a major difference in my behavior, stance, everything. Finally. The cake isn't completely baked, yet, though, I could tell I still needed to be even stronger. Not a problem, I'm on it.

So tonight, The Gentleman, sweet sweet sweet, is letting me take his class. I've never taught a whole class before & just saw the lesson plan & its nothing I've ever taught before! D'oh!! This is gonna be fun...

Speaking of fun, last night in MMA I got to partner with the Library Lady. Oh, how I wish she would go to Apprentice whenever I do! She is so much fun to train with, we're well matched in size, strength, and temperament. Oh, well, I'll take time with her when I can get it. You know, my whole life the majority of my friends have been male, I've never really been able to relate to other females well. One thing I love about F & F is there are so many females there who actually like the things I like. Punching things, for instance. Fight chicks rule.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Time For All Things - Part II

And now is the time to get over myself. (If you have not read my previous post, from earlier today, please do so now. I'll wait.)

I've often noted that I couldn't care less how well I perform in Crossfit, or weightlifting, or running. If I do well, hurray, if I do poorly, I know I'll do better next time. Or I won't. But if I do poorly in krav, it eats at me without mercy. So I've been berating myself endlessly for my poor performance earlier today.

I called my best friend of 20 years, Missy T, for a thump in the head, but she wasn't home, so I laid on the floor thinking woe is me! You really should come to one of my pity parties, they freaking rock.

As I lay there wallowing my phone rings. Its BB, my friend with a black belt in Chayon-Ryu. So I asked her advice & she gave it to me. Like to hear it? Hear it goes:

1. Stop obsessing about Apprentice. You're worrying too much about the end result. You will improve when you focus on the process. Go to class, train, practice, get a little better every day. Do the best you can in the moment and let it go.

2. This is clearly something you need to work on in your life, and you're being presented with an opportunity to work on it. Know that that's a good thing.

3. Stop worrying about being too hard and being perceived as acting like an asshole. You are stretching into a role, a harder persona, and its a balancing act. You're going to have to be willing to look like an asshole so you can draw yourself back down into the balance of where you actually need to be. People will let you know, verbally or otherwise, when you're acting like an asshole.

4. When you're acting in theatre you overplay it, when you're acting on film you underplay it. Right now you're in theatre, so overdo it to the point where you think its too much. It will feel silly, but that's not how it looks from the outside. Theatrical directors are always yelling at their actors, "Give me more! Give me more!". You need to give them more.

My friend is smart and I feel better. Hurray!

A Time For All Things

And now is the time to bitch. Ahem:

Too weak
Too quiet
Too feminine
Not dynamic
Not commanding
More movement
More footwork
Harder strikes
Better conditioning

Dammit. What is my problem? Today was very frustrating. I'd do a demonstration or teach a technique and even I would think, 'what the hell was that'? Everybody has bad days, but I can't afford to have bad days right now!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Boxing Day

Ooh, I finally sparred Miss M last night! I'm scared of her. Turned out she's an excellent sport & didn't try to disembowel me after all. We were both pretty defensive, I think we'll mix it up more next time. Also, I bopped her on her injured nose a couple of times on accident - I'm not experienced enough to strike precisely with those big boxer's gloves on, I just see an open face & punch it. So it looks like she's going to get a headgear with a mask on the front to protect her nose, which means I'm meat. My experience so far has been that once your sparring partner knows they can't take a hard one in the face they get veeery aggressive. We'll see if I live to tell the tale.

Afterward we both sparred with the Gentleman, and its like sparring a spring loaded rocket. He's everywhere. I was gassing out & sweating like a hog in the summer sunshine. He's a great teacher & I can't wait to do it again.

Turns out the Gorgeous Bastard is pretty smart. He said keep my chin tightly down, so if a punch to the face gets past my defenses it'll mostly just hit me on the forehead. Well, he was right! I got bopped a few times on the forehead & it didn't hurt so I picked up my face to say, "Hey, it works!" and POW took one right on the nose. Sweet.