Friday, December 2, 2011

Usually I wouldn't blog again so soon after a recent post (creativity takes TIME people) but I thought I would follow up on last week's MMA cliffhanger.

Occasionally, I've been known to participate in backyard wrestling tournaments.  This usually happens after a night of boozing and watching a UFC pay-per-view and I get too wound up, like a seven-year-old who has just watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and has to burn off some extra energy by doing flying kicks onto the couch.  I've had some success against my equally boozed-up opponents, and I think that deep down, on some level, even though I knew it made no sense, this convinced me that I was still in something resembling shape.

MMA training rapidly disabused me of this notion.  It was 45 minutes of warm-up/cardio, followed by drills where we practiced blocking an opponent who is trying to kick you.  I summoned all the skills that I learned from the karate lessons I took in 5th grade and tried really hard not to look like a fool.  I only knocked myself down once, so I think I more or less succeeded.

Then the drills got a bit more realistic, and we were practicing takedowns (or something, I can't quite remember) and it involved a bit of light punching.  Everyone in the class was super nice and obviously recognized that I was a beginner, so they were very good about going my speed, but even when these dudes were playfully jabbing at me at about 5% punching power my brain had a really visceral reaction.  "WHAT IS HAPPENING.  THAT DUDE IS PUNCHING YOU IN YOUR FACE," it was saying.  Unless I'm not remembering something, I think that was the first time my face has ever been punched.  Guess I can cross that one off my bucket list.

Anyway after that there was full sparring, which I happily volunteered to sit out because there was an odd number of people and by this point I thought I was going to either have a heart attack or barf or possibly both and I thought that might make me look a bit silly.

So what did I learn from MMA training?  Keep your head up while trying to tackle a standing man, unless you want to get choked out.  Twist your hips when throwing a kick.  Getting punched in the face is by no means pleasant but is also not the end of the world.  And perhaps most importantly, unless I am prepared to do some serious exercising I should probably stick to wrestling people who are just as out of shape and drunk as I am.

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