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Rusty

Posted December 18 by John Birmingham

Finally returned to the mat last night. The first time I’d trained at the dojo, in about five or six weeks. I was away of course, and when I came back I promptly caught a tummy bug. Missed a week or so before travelling too, with all of Thomas’s graduation stuff.

Long story short, I was rusty.

So of course we did knife work, all night.

It was interesting to be reminded just how quickly your skills degrade when you’re not working on them all the time. Even a dull bladed training knife will do that. I kept my fitness up while we travelled. The hotel gym was pretty swish and I was walking about 20km a day, most days. Even with all the beer and chicken I kept the weight off.

And last night, my base level of fitness was still there. One of the ways I turn up the calorie burn at jujitsu—which isn’t always cardio intensive—is to do a burpee up off the mat whenever I get put down. That can mean doing twenty or thirty of those bad boys every session.

No problem with that last night.

But the jujitsu itself?

Rusty.

And not just in body, but also in mind and spirit.

I looked across the dojo at one point, watching about a dozen pairs of uke and tori doing various knife defences, many of them involving the breaking of limbs and the gouging of eyes, and I recall thinking very clearly, almost in surprise, “Holy shit! This is really dangerous. A bloke could get hurt doing this stuff!”

Just for a moment last night I felt myself a newbie again, and newly exposed to harm.

Of course, part of the art lies in training to do harm without coming to harm, and I’ve been doing it long enough now that even after five or six weeks away, I have enough muscle memory and neural imprinting to move along pathways laid down over the years. I also know from previous breaks that it wont take long to get back up to speed. About three sessions.

But man, the skills do decay when you don’t tend to them.

4 Responses to ‘Rusty’

jl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 18
"The skills do decay..." Yeah. Very, very true. And not just the skills, the body too.

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she_jedi ducks in to say...

Posted December 18
I really felt this. I took up Pilates at the beginning of the year, which is a particular form of torture, and then I got a cold that knocked me on my butt for a week, and then lingered for another 3 weeks. And then I got diagnosed with low iron and low vitamin D, both of which contribute to feeling fatigued, and I missed about six weeks of Pilates between the cold and the diagnosis (I came second in my doctor's annual 'which of my patients is a vampire?' competition. A healthy level of Vitamin D should have a recording in the 70s. Mine was 16. The winner of the competition's reading was 6. It was not a shock that both of us work in IT).

Now that I'm on supplements for the iron and D deficiencies I'm feeling better and went back to Pilates and oh boy were my glutes and abs PEEVED at me. For weeks. In fact they still are. I had Pilates this morning and I know I'm going to wake up tomorrow and everything will hurt and I will feel like I'm dying, and then I'll go back on Friday and do it again. Then I'm out of the country for a couple of weeks and will miss it again so the small progress I've made will be lost again. Sigh.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted December 18
Yup. We break for Christmas at the dojo this Thursday. Don't resume until mid January. And then I'm off overseas again in Feb.

she_jedi asserts...

Posted December 18
Ouch. You're going to be hurting in March!

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