Tag Archives: Scatha

Boxing: Day Three

It’s getting there.

I already feel like I’ve ironed away several of my little bad habits in regards to body mechanics. My jab, which was giving me grief at the beginning of the week, is feeling much faster and my body feels more balanced while I’m throwing it. The funny thing is that the whole improvement boiled down to one tiny little piece of advice the instructor gave me, after which I realized everything I was doing wrong and began to work on fixing it.

It often seems to happen that way; that one little correction that rectifies a mistake you didn’t realize you were making and sets everything in motion again.

On the other hand, I am still the weakest link in terms of endurance. Considering all the other exercises I do, you wouldn’t think circling my arms to work my shoulders for three minutes would be that hard – yet I feel like a scrawny kid in gym class when I try to do it. I can barely go past a minute without making pain face and stopping for a second. I also, as always, suck at push-ups. But there is nothing new about that.

In regards to hitting the punching bag again, the standard good workout seems to be ten rounds (30 minutes with 30 seconds of rest after each 3 minute round). I can do five before I start hitting like a ninety-year-old pacifist.

HOWEVER: As far as yesterday went, I did seem to pick up the actual techniques faster than some of the other people in the room. So I feel good about that. At least I can trust my ability to adapt and learn new styles to a certain degree.

I’ve noticed an amusing habit I have developed though, and that is that I am a hipster for martial arts. When someone asks me in the middle of class if I’ve had any other training I essentially start to say “I have, but you wouldn’t have heard of it”. To a certain degree I have been modest to the point of lying when people talk to my at this new school. When I first signed up I talked to one of the instructors (the same one I worked with briefly yesterday) about what I did at Scatha and Duello, but since then I have basically said “I’ve done some other martial arts, but I haven’t trained seriously for about a year” and then I let them draw their own conclusions. After all, I am there to add boxing training to my repertoire, not to fish for interest in my other endeavors. (What’s interesting, though not unexpected, is that nobody I have talked to at Sugarray’s has even heard of Academie Duello, despite the fact that the two schools are in walking distance of each other.)

The coach who was working yesterday, whose name I don’t recall, seemed to be one of the folks chiefly in charge of the establishment. Actually, considering I just agreed to spend the next year there, I haven’t really researched the person/people who started it or what there background is. I should probably do that. It’s nice to know more about other people than they know about you.

Anyway, said man was a brash, (I believe) Scottish fellow who was more than happy to call you a wanker and smack you with a target pad in order to get you to work out harder during the warm up. I was taken aback for the first few seconds, but I’ve worked with enough people over the years that I stopped taking it personally pretty quickly. I have a feeling I will both hate and be grateful for working with him. Despite his gruffness and accented insults, he was also very good at explaining the technical side of things.

So the grind continues, and thus ends day three.

This Week at Scatha

Well, this week’s class seemed to be an interesting example of collective consciousness. Apparently the hive brain of our students all unanimously decided to stay home and watch the Hockey game, and I do mean all. Only one person arrived last night. It was a very quiet evening, beginning with a relaxed set of exercises largely done on our own time without the usual structure and motivation. The single occupant is also a student who usually only stays for the warm-up/work out portion of the evening as well, so she left after an hour. Thus remained nobody but us instructors.

As disappointing as this was, it was also a good opportunity. It can be very difficult for us teaching types to actually get together to work on the new ideas we have, so a solid hour and a half without students was not wasted. We took the opportunity to work on some ground fighting techniques that turned out to be remarkable easy and effective. No doubt we will be teaching them to the rest of the students next week.

Normally I don’t care for wrestling and ground fighting that much (Given the choice, I much prefer to hit, stab and cut people. Not to mention all that rolling around in other people’s sweat that goes with grappling) but I do my best to enjoy it and gain skills with it since obviously I can’t neglect a whole aspect of combat just because it isn’t my forte. The stuff we were working on last night was different though; If wrestling usually feels like fast paced weight lifting, these techniques felt more like short bursts of sprinting. Never have I found it so easy to escape mounts and change positions. Brazilian jujitsu usually frustrates the hell out of me, but this style felt more like stand up jujitsu and came very naturally.

Hooray, for the first time ever I genuinely enjoyed ground fighting.

The last dredges of the irritating cold I have had for the last few days are MOSTLY gone, and the weather is a pleasant overcast that is perfect for outdoorsy-ness. My plan is to have a hearty breakfast, and then make my way down to the park along the seawall that actually has gymnastic rings. It is very rare to still find these apparatus in public parks anymore, though they used to be everywhere. I guess you wouldn’t want to encourage kids to actually get exercise when they could just sit in those horrible plastic buckets that make you dizzy instead.

The gymnastic training we have been doing at SCG is something I haven’t spoken much about yet, partially due to the fact that we were keeping it under out belt for the time being as our little secret. however, since George St. Pierre’s recent lauding of the same kind of training we have been doing, there seems little point in being discreet. It is true, by the way, basic gymnastics is THE best physical  conditioning there is. If you look at the physique of any professional gymnast, I guarantee you that they got that way without ever touching weights. I have done many different conditioning programs in my day, but the results I’ve had from just doing simple gymnastic exercises have by far outdone everything else. I have put on more useful muscle and gained more strength much faster than I ever have before.

If you were to take a weight lifter and a gymnast of similar build, the gymnast would most likely be twice as strong as the lifter. The kind of deep, raw power you get from gymnastics is far above the general strength that weights can build. Some people argue that you can develop the same muscles using more modern approaches, but that simply isn’t true. You might be able to bench press 400 pounds but you wouldn’t be able to do a proper planche push-up – It is a completely different kind of strength.

Planche

There is also the flexibility, agility and general ability to move more efficiently that also comes from this kind of conditioning. A martial artist who also has a gymnastic background will be capable of a much wider range of techniques than one who only does general exercises.

On a different note, today I will also begin working on my new sabre curriculum. This Monday will mark the first unofficial sabre class that SCG will offer, and hopefully this will garner enough students to make the classes official early in June. By August I hope to have a small but successful practice for classic duelling sabre running at least one day day a week. The specific time and place has yet to be announced, but shall be before the end of the weekend.