BJJ Grrl

"Be gentle, kind and beautiful, yet firm and strong, both mentally and physically." ~Sensei Keiko Fukuda

Meltdown commencing in 3… 2… 1…

on September 25, 2008

Not totally, but close. I’m exhausted. Completely my fault for doing too much, eating too little, and sleeping too little, and for failing to say “No” when I should. Just took a slow, hour-long walk at work and had a talk with myself.

So, long post coming, but it has a happy ending (well, at least a “happy medium” for now).

1. Doing too much. If I count every class that I’m in, should be in, or am teaching, that’s 14 (!!!) classes a week. (And if you add the judo class, which I probably need, that would make 15.) I do have a full-time job, and it’s not training.

  • Monday (1): BJJ, advanced class. (Judo is after.)
  • Tuesday (4): BJJ, gi/beginner. TKD: beginners’, intermediate, and advanced.
  • Wednesday (2): BJJ, advanced class. Kickboxing (techniques).
  • Thursday (4): MMA. TKD: beginners’, advanced, and intermediate.
  • Friday (1): Kickboxing (conditioning, techniques, and/or sparring).
  • Saturday (2): BJJ (morning). Kickboxing (same as Friday; afternoon).

That leaves only Sunday as a complete day of rest. And it’s not enough. I know that part of my exhaustion right now is still from not getting a full night’s sleep Tuesday night. But overall I feel as if every week I have less total energy available and as if I’m getting to exhaustion sooner. You know how in video games you can collect little pieces of hearts or whatever to extend your total health meter? I feel as if, instead, someone is slowly stealing from my overall meter.

2. Eating too little. I’m stuck at 125 lbs and so still need to cut ~7 lbs for the kickboxing tournament in November. However, I’m doing 14 classes a week, which means I need energy, which means I need to eat. I’m not planning meals and days well, though, and am usually ending up on the lower end of my calorie range (and sometimes well under — or well over, if my body rebels and eats everything in sight). And this, of course, is contributing to me being exhausted and in my health meter getting shorter…

3. Sleeping too little. TKD goes until 11, 2x/week, which means I’m not in bed until about 1 a.m. But I still have to go to work the next morning. I can’t take naps (the work thing again). With getting to bed later, I haven’t been remembering to foam roll and stretch at night; I try to eke out as much extra shut-eye as I can, which means I’m rushed in the mornings, so I don’t foam roll/stretch then, either. Overall, I’m not getting enough recovery time between intense classes (and, of course, they’re all intense), and again, my health meter drops again.

4. Failing to say “No.” I agreed to take over as the next head instructor at the TKD club mostly because I have a whole lot more experience than anyone else who’s interested in the position. There’s so many good things that have happened in my life because of the club (BJJ is one of them), and I would feel as if I were abandoning them if I didn’t take over for next year. But my heart isn’t in it anymore…

There’s also kickboxing. I started it because the instructor asked me to, mostly so he can have a competitor in the women’s side. He wants to attract more women to the sport/team, and it usually helps to have a female already doing it in order to get that going. But if I’m really honest about it, I’m just really not in to it.

About the same is true for the MMA class; we used to have BJJ and then MMA, but our coach switched it to MMA and then open mat, so guys could come for MMA and then go home earlier. I’ve just kept going at the same time and doing whatever class was there even though I’m not actually that interested in the MMA side of it.

So kickboxing and MMA, I’m really doing because they’re there and because I like the guys teaching them, even though I’m not all that interested in either…


I know that being stuck at 125 lbs is a result of all of the above (too much training, too little eating, too little recovery — and probably failing to say “No” to certain food!) thank to FLTS. This summer, when I had time to recover, I dropped ~7 lbs easily. I need recovery in order to lose weight.

Whereas the 19yo on my team who’s getting ready for his first amateur fight next week trains 2x/day, 6 days/week; doesn’t have a full-time job; and only had to cut out junk food to drop 10lbs. But I’m not a 19yo guy, and I can’t train or eat like one, much as I would love to. I need to eat and train with what works for me.

I just remembered a conversation with Dmitri from a few weeks ago. It didn’t click at the time, but it just now did. He was also frustrated. He’s just as strong as the other guys, and when he’s rested he can deal with the muscling newer guys and negate their attempts to overpower him. However, he’d been coming to class every night and was tired, while the muscling guys come 1-2x/week and were running over him. So we’re not recovering, and they are. Not to say that all my problems are because I’m tired and they’re not, because I know my technique still has lots of holes to fix, but it’s one more little piece. I’m a nut sometimes…


Maybe it’s all just lack of sleep talking, but I do think some of this has been coming on for a while. Over the summer, I had only 1 class each weekday and Saturday (and MWF was me teaching only, so basically “off”), and I could handle that. When summer TKD ended, I added kickboxing; that was 1 class each weekday and 2 on Saturday with no “off” classes. Rough, but not too bad. Now regular TKD has started back and I’m looking at another KB class; on Friday/Saturday, I have 3 classes in less than 24 hours.

And I’m worn out. My dad would be saying, “I told you so,” if he read this; he’s been after me for a while to eat more and do less. *le sigh* I know, I know, that’s what I need to do — no, really, that’s what I have to do. I’ve complained before about work being boring, which it still is, but it’s actually been a good thing: I have no energy left to concentrate on intense projects right now. However, there are rumors of more work being available soon, so I need to get my head back…

So here’s what I’m thinking for now:

1. Do kickboxing until the tournament. I agreed to do the kickboxing tournament in November. So I’ll keep KB for now. Ultimately, though, I’d rather not do it; maybe help out, or practice every once in a while so I don’t get too rusty. I was excited when I was at the tournament a month ago, and I’ll probably get excited again at the tournament, but when I’m being rational, I realize that I don’t really like it so much as I sometimes think.

2. Drop MMA. I go because it’s there and because I like my coach and my guys. But right now, I’m training upright fighting with KB (and most of the stuff in the MMA class is similar to the KB classes since most of the guys need to learn the basics), and I need a night off. I don’t want to fight; as with the KB sparring, I get excited about it sometimes, but usually I’m just Meh about it. Maybe after the KB tournament I’ll spar with my guys before class M/W/S. Maybe. I’ll still go to the class (and sit) since it’s a nice landing spot before TKD.

3. Stay for 2 TKD classes. I teach the beginners’ class. (That’s the first step to taking over the whole of the teaching. Next semester, I would also add the intermediate class as “mine.”) Right now, I also stay for the next two classes and assist. But since I need more sleep, I’ll talk to the current head instructor about staying for only one extra class. And I really need to talk to her about not wanting to do the head instructing so much anymore. Gah, that won’t be easy, and I don’t know what a good alternative answer is…

4. Roll less? Not take fewer classes, but rather not jump in every round of live rolling. I realized recently that I’m terrified that if I miss 1 second of class that I’ll fall totally behind and/or will lose everything I’ve learned… which is just silly when you actually say it. So I’m trying to be less of a freak about that. However, I’m also afraid my subconscious might be trying to find a way out of rolling with the guys I can’t do anything against, the ones who “frustrate” me. I don’t want my brain to solve one problem (getting “frustrated”/being muscled around) by pretending it’s another problem (being tired). And I don’t want to be a wimp/sissy/prima dona. (I guess I could always sit out of rolling with the blues and purples and only roll with the strong-arming guys. That’ll teach my subconscious to plot against me.) I could just do the sitting out thing until the kickboxing tournament is over and/or only on Saturdays because of the 3-classes-in-24-hours insanity.


I realize “normal” is a little too much for me to hope for. I think “more sane” would be a good compromise. Ultimate goal of this martial arts mayhem makeover would be:

  • to do BJJ
  • to do sparring or drills 1-2x/week (otherwise I get rusty)
  • to get my weight to 118ish and maintain there, i.e., never have to cut so much again (not just for kickboxing, but also because there’s a BJJ weight class around there, I think)
  • to get to sleep earlier!
  • to find a way to extricate myself from the TKD club, as hard as that will be (that will also mean not continuing to train for my 2nd degree…but I’m okay with that)

As much as I would love to do everything, all the time, I can’t. I have to choose. Until now I’ve just added everything that came along and haven’t really thought about anything. But I can’t keep doing that. I need to figure out what I really do want, and then need to figure out how to make that work.

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