Ground Up

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“Suckin’ at something is just the first step towards being sorta good at something.”

Mixed martial arts training workouts are testing me.  First of all, just because you run respectable distances with some regularity does not at all guarantee that you are ‘in shape.’  This is not news to me; I’m acutely aware that jogging really focuses on only a select grouping of my muscular structure.  In fact, that’s precisely why I wanted to join a high-intensity gym — to get complementary core & toning work done.

While the cardio may whip me pretty good, it’s the actual “boxing” that presents a true challenge, both physically and mentally.  If you’ve never attacked a 150-lb. hanging bag designed to absorb countless strikes, you wouldn’t know that those things do not easily give.  The tension of connecting with a SPLAT just reverberates right back up your arm.  And it will make your muscles SORE.

Furthermore, your first instinct when instructed to repeatedly punch something (likely your first instinct anyway; I myself dabbled in pacifism once) is to start punching HARD.  That is neither wise nor necessary.  No, the correct course of action in this training process is to begin small and with restrained force…focus on your form, stance, technique, and balance.  Without that groundwork foundation, your wild haymakers will yield naught but your face against the mat, wondering what just happened in the ring there with your opponent.

I want the workout benefits and I want them NOW.  Where does that line of thinking sound familiar from?  “I want a drink and I want it NOW”; “I want my clean time and I want it NOW.”  I have used the ‘fight / battle / match’ analogy probably too many times in my writing, but if nothing else, it holds up.

The difference with alcoholism is that there are no set rounds, no bells to break up the frenzy, no end to the bout.  Sure there may be different weight classes — no two addicts are exactly the same, just as no two boxers are exactly the same.  But as long as you keep fighting, you’ll never find yourself to have any losses in your column.  It’s only when you throw in the towel that you’ll lose this particular fight.

Start slow, start small, and build with time.  Accept the pain & discomfort as part of the process.  Accept that you will get better but you will still catch one on the chin from time to time.  Shake it off.  Tighten your gloves.  Steady your balance.  Map your next move in your mind.  Strike fearlessly.  Find an opportunity to be brilliant — and take it.

———

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