Training For My Test. Testing My Training
At the beginning of the year, I decided it was time I prepared to take my instructor’s test. Burton and I have been married for 10 years now and since we’ve met, I’ve trained on and off. Up to the end of last year, I could count on my fingers how many one-on -one training sessions I’d had with him. I know most of you probably assume that I’d taken advantage of the fact my husband is such a great teacher but as human beings often do, I had just taken this convenience for granted. Until now.January 2008 came and it was time to make some changes. I wrote down my goal and this is how it appears on the sheet that is currently taped to my fridge:
BECOME A CERTIFIED JKDU INSTRUCTOR
Train in all JKDU group classes (we only teach twice a week, three 1-hour classes.)
Train 1x/week with Burton
Train 1x/week at The Studio (this is Egan Inoue’s new school in Hawaii. He asked me to join his wife, Marcia, and her training partner, Corrie, for their jiu jitsu practice).
The first couple of weeks, I definitely dragged my feet a bit. I wasn’t into it and would complain a lot when training with Burton. Despite the complaining, I kept at it and the one weekly session turned into two: Mondays and Wednesdays for 30 minutes. Half an hour. I can do that.
At first, we would only do performance games, standing and in the clinch, then a round of passing and defending the guard. No helmets. No gloves. Super light training.
A few weeks later, Burton added some weaponry rounds at the beginning to serve as our warm up. A little while ago though, Burton hurt his back, and David Giomi, who usually trains with Burton, agreed to be my training partner. Dave is much bigger than me, but he has very good control. It’s good for me to deal with someone of his size because that’s what would most likely happen in a street situation. For him, it’s good to go with someone small, so he has to rely on his skills instead of his strength.
The past few times we trained, Burton had me do the actual test. Seven rounds: knife sparring, stick sparring, kickboxing, clinch, defend the guard pass, pass the guard and start standing with everything for the final round. Each round was 1min40 the first time we did it and at this point, we’ve worked our way up to 1min50. The rounds during the actual test will be 1min20. I’ve already improved tremendously and my conditioning is better. This also teaches me to get used to the equipment I’ll be wearing for the test. If I get stuck in a particular place over and over during the sparring, or if I get to a particular submission regularly, Burton will go over more techniques in those areas to fine tune my game and we’ll finish the session with some drilling.
From my experience doing the mock tests, I decided it was time I joined the sparring part of our weaponry group class as well as our advanced JKD Unlimited group class. Up to that time, I was attending only the beginner/intermediate class. I did not want to make it too overwhelming when I started my new regimen. But it was time to step up and make the training a little bit more challenging. I also want to deal with as many training partners as possible so I do not get stuck in one game! I now do about 15 minutes of the weaponry sparring, then 1 hour in the first class, and about ¾ of the advanced one. On days, when I’m truly exhausted after the first hour, I’ll just stop. The key is to be honest: am I making an excuse, or do I truly need to let my body recover? Am I being lazy? Or is this rest necessary for my improvement? The last thing I want is get injured so rest is part of the training routine.
I also go to the Studio, as planned, every Friday morning. When I first started I had a big knot in my stomach every time. I was scared. Scared to not do well. Scared to be tapped out. And I was not enjoying the whole GI thing. But I surprised myself and really did well. I decided to keep going every Friday, knot or no knot in my stomach, and despite the sore fingers from gripping the GI. It’s actually really cool to train with girls who know what they are doing and can challenge me out of my comfort zone. It’s also nice to feel safe. Although we train really hard, at no time, do I feel that I am at high risk for injury. To me, this is a major key to successful training: finding the right training partners. Corrie is a competitor (she already won her first tournament!). I have no interest in competing but I enjoy being a tool for her improvement. In order to help her, I have to get better. It’s not only about me and my test any more. It’s also about not letting her and Marcia down. I video tape all of our sessions.
Burton and I study their game and my weaknesses and work on specific areas during the week. The entire training session is done in about half an hour also. Before the rolling rounds, we start with a killer warm up routine. At first, I was exhausted just from the warm up so I decided to do the same drills when I train at home and only a few weeks in, I’m doing much better. We’ve all had to tap at one point or another now. I realize it’s no big deal although I still do my best not to have to! I still need a lot of work when it comes to conditioning. I get tired before they do and then I don’t have the energy to pull off any technique. The knot in my stomach is still there but the tingling right next to it from the thrill of improving is way more prominent and it gets bigger and bigger. I don’t complain any more. I actually ask for more. Want to do more. I guess, I’m learning that discipline is a pretty good thing.
Whatever you want to achieve, write down your goal, write down a plan. Make sure you break it down into small manageable chunks so you don’t overwhelm yourself. A little bit every day is better than a lot every once in a while. Act on your plan, adjust it as needed and enjoy the results!
I’ll write again if, WHEN I pass my test!
Proud JKDU/MMA For The Street trainee
PS: I lost 9 pounds too so far so it’s all good!
Co-owner of Jeet Kune Do Unlimited.
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