The below is an open address to anyone who competes, or harbours some desire to compete for our team in the future.
I had a little word with someone for coming off the mats with a knock last night. The lad in question is a good lad, and I almost feel sorry that he has to be singled out in this blog so I’ll start with a proviso that this could mean maybe 50% of people who train with me. You only have so much time to do anything- strength, cardio, sparring, skill work- when you’re training for an event, so every round of every night you should view as precious. The one round you spar with a guy might be the one round where you get to make catching a kick work for you, or discover that changing angle on a takedown attempt is what you need to do to finish it properly, or any number of things. You may just discover that you need to spar more.
So if you get a knock, a bump or a bang, then you need to deal with it and keep going most of the time. Blunt impact injuries are a feature of combat sports and learning how to deal with taking a knock and continuing on is a part of the learning and training process. Before I go on I should say that there are obviously times when it’s a good idea to stop, when an injury is obviously an injury. These are usually soft tissue strains and sprains, and should be looked after. But if you walk off every time you get a bruise, a bump or a hard hit, you are probably going to miss a lot of time on the mat, and very minute of every round you miss is a minute out of your fuel tank when it comes to fight time. Do it regularly and those minutes start to add up. What’s in the tank then? Enough? If you’re asking that climbing into the ring then you’re in trouble already.
Same applies to missing whole nights. There are lots of reasons for not being able to show to training when you’re fighting. Illness, work, family are all things in your life that are higher on your list than training. Somewhat lower are tiredness, soreness, bad moods, football matches and so on. There’s always that old saying ‘your worst night in the gym is better than your best night on the couch’ to trot out, but I won’t trot it out again… oh wait I already have. So when it comes to being pissed at training, or sore, or wrecked, get off the couch and do it anyway. If your coach is any good he’ll either a) tell you to cop yourself on and kick your ass back onto the mats, or b) give you a night of light work or c) give you the night off altogether. But you’re best off in the gym, with your team mates.
Lastly on nights off- I can’t speak for other coaches but when you take a night off you FUCK UP MY TRAINING PLANS. Hark back to one of the very first posts on this blog and you’ll see that there’s a plan to almost everything I do. Sometimes I have to make changes mid stream for individuals but mostly things go the way I have them written down. I don’t lay claim to being the best coach in the world or even one of the good ones, but I do say with no degree of modesty that I’m not too bad, and what I do I give 100% to and try to get the best out of everyone I train and what I lack in talent I make up for in hard work, good planning and maybe a bit of imagination too.
Look around the gym tomorrow night and find 3 guys who give you the most trouble in sparring, and I can bet you my house that those same guys are in the gym every night they can be, and aren’t just beating you on talent. From coaching a good few years in various martial arts I can tell you that talent alone lasts approximately 2 minutes, after that, it’s the weeks of hard work that count. Just to give you a quick example. The Kiddie Krippler is my least favourite guy in the whole gym to coach. He questions everything, and does nothing that I tell him to do. The other day I told him to keep his head up when he threw a teep and he just said “No”. More or less anyway. He’s a cock, but with him, if he doesn’t show, I know it’s because his house blew up, and if he limps off the mat during training, I reach straight for the first aid kit because I know there must be something genuinely wrong. There’s a couple of other guys like him too, and that’s why they improve all the time because there’s no excuses with them.
As for me the athlete as opposed to me the coach, I’m a moan. I have my injury problems, probably always will, and I moan about other stuff too when I’m training, but it’s just noise and all I need is a foot up the hole. Thing about me though, even with the moaning, is that I always show up, I’m an annoyance. I show, complain about how tired I am, moan a bit more and then get into the session. If you’re in any doubt about that, ask my old coach Andy Ryan. If I had to describe what type of athlete I am, that would be it, a moaner.
I’ll probably do another entry later on about how I prepare teen classes and the goals of those sessions as I said I would yesterday, but this is long enough for now.