Sunday, February 7, 2010

Melbourne - week 1

I'm taking part in a 7 week competition preparation course at Dominance MMA in Melbourne.

Every Saturday, starting yesterday, there is a three hour training session. The last weekend of it is the Victorian Championships in Melbourne on March 19+20. Next weekend, there is a no gi mini competition so they can see us competing. All other Saturdays we have two hours of BJJ including competition style rounds, followed by a one hour long conditioning/strength session.

For me, it's a 2 hour trip to Melbourne, which is a pain in the behind, but the drive home is worse |-). I'm lucky, most of it is either freeway or quiet country road, but the problem is sitting cooped up in the car after the exercise. I was pretty knackered when I got home yesterday. Had a rest and then dragged myself out to feed the horses. After a good sleep, I had enough energy this morning and not enough soreness, to go for a two hour horseride. Or maybe I'm just an idiot ;-)

My shoulder hurts because I tweaked it Friday night. I didn't have time to worry about it yesterday, and found with things like that they hurt only when I'm cold, not when I'm warm and working. But they make up for it when I'm cooled off! Having worked it hard, it hurt like a bitch on the way home in the car but is better today. I did also manage to do something to my right ring finger. It's swollen on the knuckle near the hand and it's stiff. I taped it up when I went riding. My friend thought that was so funny, she took a photo. Yeah, haha?! My shoulders are generally stiff, but the rest of me is in pretty good shape, aside from a missing piece of skin on a big toe due to matburn.

Was it hard? Yes. Did I last? Yes. I even moaned and groaned less than quite a few others, and I wasn't so washed out after the conditioning session that I needed to lie down and die. I could have even kept going. But it was tough and between now and the March comp, it will get tougher. Several times, I did ask myself the obvious question: why am I doing this? Still looking for an answer...

The BJJ part of it was a quick introduction, then a warmup (joint mobility), then 2 minute rounds holding positions and the partner trying to get out, taking turns (back, mount, side control, guard). Then guard passing from open guard in groups of threes with one person resting. After that, competition style rounds from knees, then comp style rounds from standing. From recollection, that pretty much filled the two hours. We were urged to go hard, with constant reminders to keep up the pressure if on top and to look for a sub. If on the bottom, get out and do something!

I reverted to my usual game of protect, survice and try to get out. I had girls as partners for the rounds. That's kind of novel to me :-) But it was good and certainly painfully showed the obvious holes in my game. I have a lot of work on before the comp in March. But at least the blue belt girl commented that my defence is really, really good, she could get nothing forever and had to work hard for it. In the course of a few rounds, I managed to pass guard a couple of times and get some positions, but nothing came of it. Work to do!!

I wasn't the only one struggling against fatigue. Really, very far removed from the casual rolls in class ;-). Totally different intensity, and only brief rests.

Aside from that, we did some drills working on grips, taking turns getting and defending grips. I was told I have good grips :-). I did show my partner a way to peel hands off her collar which she then promptly used against me. She showed me a way to get her hands off my pant legs, so we both benefited. She was an excellent partner anyway.

The conditioning hour was basically three lots of 15 minutes (about 5 minutes break between). Each 15 minute session was divided into 5 three minute intervals, the first, third and last interval being intensive, the other intervals were jogging. The work intervals were in bursts. First session was sprints/jogging. Second session was burpees/jogging and the third interval was pummeling hard/slow. I have never thought it would be possible that I should look forward to jogging |-), or that I can recover so well by jogging for three minutes. And I managed to maintain a jog. A no time did I walk or shamble, and it didn't take the ungentle motivation and jibes of the fitness coach to keep me going (there was a lot of walking going on!). I found that astonishing as I never run or jog, as I hate it. And I don't even have sore legs. Maybe a bit tight in the hamstrings, but that's about it.

It is amazing what I discover about myself. I'd never been pushed hard physically until I started martial arts. And since then, I've been pushed hard a few times, but yesterday was a notch up again. It will be interesting to see how well I'll survive the next few weeks :-)

Anyway, I think I'll take the rest of today nice and easy, maybe ice my hand again. I'm going out for dinner tonight. That will be lovely. And then I'll be fit and well enough for regular training tomorrow night!


  1. I didn't realize you were in Australia. Have you met John Will or been to his school?

  2. Hi Jason,

    Yep, am certainly in Australia, the big hot land downunder :-).

    John Will visited our school twice (since I started there) and ran seminars. Both were excellent. I'm a bit slack with my tags, but if you search for "John Will" (bottom of blog page), you will find my brief posts about the seminars.

    I had a chance to train at his school once last year. Unfortunately, John wasn't there. But I had an awesome class with Craig Robinson. I certainly hope to train there again some time.

  3. That is cool! Maybe one day I'll get to the land of downunder.

  4. That sounds like a really fun course... but I bet that drive home does suck. I don't blame you for doing it though... I am sure I would do it too. lol

    And I feel you on the injury thing.. For about two months I was straight up mangled and sore all day everyday... Yet, I kept going, and kept grappling... and here I thought that we humans had built in self preservation. lol I guess that only applies when the pain is greater then the fun you have while getting injured. =)