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the show must go on, and it did

In the last few weeks the following has happened. A dog, a cute little one, came wandering into the gym one day and I fed it, gave it some water and it was fairly obvious it was lost. I took it home for a couple of nights and looked after it and rang the pound on Monday morning. Sure enough, someone in Cabra was missing a dog called Spike. The owners arrived and handed me a voucher for a shopping centre which they really didn’t have to do. I felt a bit guilty. After all, I had probably technically kidnapped their dog. About a week ago myself and my wife were out in a shopping centre and were about to sit down for a cup of coffee when she noticed a purse on the table. The girl behind the counter said that someone from the chemists across the mall had been sitting there, so I went over and returned the purse to a very delighted lady. As we were leaving, she ran after us and gave us a bag which contained a bottle of aftershave and a bottle of perfume, both pretty expensive ones too. My basic theory about people is that you get what you deserve, broadly speaking, so I try to be nice.

Friday last saw the third incarnation of my Christmas MMA show, an true to form, its very existence was under threat from external forces. It just wouldn’t be my show if that wasn’t the case. This time it wasn’t the fighters or the venue as with the two previous years, it was the weather. Severe cold isn’t unheard of in Dublin in December, but snow is, and last week we got it. This lead to the most hazardous driving conditions known to man, or at least Irishman, and all I got all week were calls and texts to make sure the show was going ahead. Yes of course it is I would respond, it’s only a bit of snow. But in truth I was very worried right up to the last minute. www.met.ie got about 100 hits a day from this IP address as I checked and rechecked for any sign of a thaw. Eventually I badgered my way through a phone maze to talk to an acquaintance in the Met Office and she told me “strictly off the record now” that there was going to be a slight break in the weather on Friday afternoon and evening. On the basis of that, and that I’d had so many fighters pleading with me that they’d fight in an empty room if they had to, I decided to go ahead. I also knew for sure that 100 of the crown would not be driving as a bus had been hire to take them from Blanchardstown. This was a small relief as I had assumed the conditions in the car park were bound to be a little slippery. By that stage, I hadn’t yet seen the car park.

On the morning of the event, I got a phone call from the bar manager of the venue. Was I sure I wanted to go ahead? Why, I asked, already having a good idea of what the answer would be. It was of course, a weather related issue. Heavy snowfall overnight had rendered the car park almost impassable. The front entrance was like a skating rink and the doors and pathways to the venue itself were under 8 inches of snow. I went down to have a look myself and sure enough, it was pretty bad. A small crisis meeting was held in the arctic car park. They needed the revenue from the event, all the fighters had already cut weight, one fighter had flown in from Sweden, and quite a bit of money had already been spent by both me and them, stocking the bar, paying insurance, printing and so on. We needed to go, simple as that, so we set out several insurance satisfying conditions for the event to go ahead. Key among these was the clearing of walkways between the gate and venue, and clearing of the car park entrance of ice and snow. The car park itself would have to remain as is, there simply wouldn’t be enough time or manpower to clear it in any effective way. Also, the entrances, smoking shelters and emergency exits would have to be cleared of snow.

This was all very doable, but for the fact that there was only one of me, and I sort of had a fight show to organise. I could do nothing but call for help. A text message later I had 4 people with shovels giving up their Friday morning to dig a pathway through compacted show so that the show could go ahead. It took them 3 hours of hard labour to clear everything, but they did it. Without them, the show literally wouldn’t have gone ahead. When people use the word team, they often use it loosely. I don’t. These lads are my team. Thanks boys.

On with the show itself and IPMMA had its worst night ever. That’s not hyperbole. We didn’t win a fight out of the 4 we contested. Contested may even be a misnomer for what happened in one of them. I had 3 guys give their all and one guy give very little. I don’t mind whether you get KOed in the first or guillotined in 40 seconds as Glen did, I’m proud of you as long as you go out there to fight. Things happen and no matter how good your training is, come the fight you need lots of things to go your way to win and sometimes all it takes is one thing to go wrong for you to lose. The important thing is that you went out there and had the courage of your convictions to try to impress your training and gameplan on the other guy.

I’ll have a good look at the video footage and a good look at what my lads did right and wrong and talk to them about how they can improve. I’ll analyse the training camp and see what I can do better. It’s a learning experience in every way whether you win or lose. I don’t get too over the moon when we win a few and I don’t get too down when we lose a few either. The nature of one of the losses annoyed me the other night but that’s a discussion I’ll have to have with that guy. Peaks and troughs. There’ll be days when we go 4 and 0 instead of 0 and 4 and on that day, I won’t be here saying what a great coach I am, just as I’m not crying about how terrible a coach I am now that we’ve lost a few.

I’m still on the medal trail, though the weather put the kibosh on extensive training last week. Listen folks, I’m going to try harder to put more BJJ on the blog, so does anyone have any ideas on what they’d like it to be? I have a few ideas myself but put it in the comments or on facebook and I’ll get to it. I thought a good one would be to go through every grip I know. I know that sounds weird but I thought it might appeal to some of the mat rats like me. I was hoping to follow it up with an “Every… I know” series every few weeks. So one might be “Every spider guard sweep I know”, the week after might be “Every collar choke from top I know” and so on. I won’t do any research and come up with loads of obscure techniques, I was thinking that I would just put up every one I know and teach or use regularly as opposed to hauling through my instructional collection and showing what a geek I am. Let me know what you think though, I’d be interested.

See you on the mat real soon,

Barry

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