Saturday, August 25, 2007

We got to play with an MMA guy the other day. Very young fellow, reminds me of a particularly aggressive hobbit.
This guy could wind darn near anybody up who decided to play his game his way. I appreciate his trust, his generosity, his good manners and enthusiasm. I have enjoyed watching him play on the same mat while we were playing, and said so. I just love seeing joy in training in action.

I'm not a fighter, my motivations for training have nothing to do with competition, or even so much to do with kicking ass. I'm pretty sure this guy could knock me
over and wind me up, but I'm also pretty sure I'd be grabbing a piece of re-bar while he was going for the shoot... yeah I keep one in my office, thicker than my thumb, just in case.

What I've been learning has been about antiquated systems, weapons and principles. We wear weird pajamas, freaky culottes, and carry weapons not much used since the early 20th century. Not a long time by Asian or European standards, but by US standards it's too long to think about or find relevant.

The kid came over to instruct me several times (I don't mind this, he's so motivated and I'm curious) even though he was born when I was in high school. I've been doing budo of some kind or other since he was in kindergarten.

Still, he came over and taught me how to do this, that, and the other thing if this guy does this and then you do that and... I broke in on the monologue and said, "Dude, I am going to kick the guy in the head, smash his windpipe and run, not stick around and cuddle!" which seemed to be a new concept to a kid focussed on winning BJJ-centred, closely controlled grappling contests. I don't want to stay in contact with a stranger who wants to hurt me. I want to make them stop and break contact.

I like the "short and sweet" version of techniques, since they are so practical for the, er, non-complex like me. In this way, I enjoyed what he shared, but I just couldn't get into the various ways of getting all so on the ground with some big sweaty smelly oaf... my usual training partner is a prince of a guy who would give the late Raoul Julia a run for his money, so it's not normally a problem. My good friend and partner helps me train. The things I have to do to get his attention, would truly mangle a normal person.

MMA guy was trying a lock I showed that works great on my partner, and getting all wound up and bent over in it, and I stopped him (it took a minute) and asked him to look again.

I sat up on my heels (kiza) and showed the lock again (for aikido/jujutsuka, the shiho-nage pin with the elbow held distal and the wrist twisted distal with kime to the wrist joint) demonstrating that I was not just involved with the pin, but that I was also in "zanshin" and tried to explain the concept to him.

I was worried about this kid, I felt like he was missing something. I had read the stories about the bars in Fort Sill and how the locals had learned that the soldiers had been trained in BJJ. Locals would send one guy to tangle the main fighter up, and then everyone would gather 'round to kick his head in while he concentrated on grappling with their "fall guy". Soldiers were ending up in the hospital.

Soldiers these days face enough dangers from IEDs and cranial trauma without getting their fool heads kicked in because they are going for points instead of paying attention to reality.

We told him the story, and I showed him better posture and the importance of 360 degree awareness and the ability to reach your cell phone while in control of an attacker, and stay in control of the situation, not just the fight.

I'm not a fighter, I'm not tough, and I'd never in my life enter any kumite, shiai, or other contest. I rely on my body to do my work, and it's a damned stupid proposition for me to do anything to damage my body, and thus my income.

I can only hope that this middle-aged budo babe's experiences, along with some instruction from an old guy recovering from hip replacement surgery sitting on a physioball overseeing the training, and a younger, talented, wrestler-judoka with joints of vulcanized rubber, had some impact on this kid's perspective.

We call them kids, but these soldiers are facing tough situations and tough choices. I know the recent trend in military newspapers is to capitalize "Soldier" but for the ink and administrivia they spent on that, couldn't they have just paid them more, protected them better, and given them better benefits?

I'll do anything to help them out, and I found myself really speaking out, taking risks and confronting ideologies to try and give this kid an edge up, as I saw it. I don't have anything on the line, so anything I give is free.

One of the military credos is: "No good deed goes unpunished".
I'll take my punishment for this one.

Not willingly, but gladly.
If that makes sense to you, you get me.

My training has been about coming to terms with the fight IN ME, and has not much to do with anyone else. This point in my training is a new one.

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