Iron crashing into iron. A weight bar jockeying into position before being lifted again. The treadmill whining as the speed increases. The rhythmic "thump, thump, thump" of feet on the pavement. The high speed smacks of a jump rope slapping into the concrete. All sounds of hard work and the efforts to get back into shape.
All sounds that began to bore me after another month.
So rather than doing what I said and warming the bench with my out of shape posterior, I found a local gym and began attending classes again. My body is sore, my fists hurt and my fingers creak and crack as I type away at this poor excuse for a fluff piece.
But I couldn't be happier.The first thing I noticed as I entered the MMA gym in the strip mall was the size. The bags are hung up over the same mat that people grapple on, protruding a few feet into the floor space. They're taken down or put up depending on the class. The dressing area is a back room with half a piece of plywood nailed to the wall for some 'privacy.' No drinking fountain, no big amenities or some things I've come to expect from bigger, more well known gyms.
It feels fitting. Spartan, concentrating more on class learning and private teaching than being an 'everything' gym. It works, as I'm starting over. Or finally starting, depending on how you want to look at it.
The humble gym does have a very enthusiastic pair of instructors who are knowledgeable, personable, and have experience in the fight game. They greet me with a smile, learn my name immediately, and do one of the greatest favors you can get.
They throw everyone right into the mix.
So I start off right alongside the guys gearing up for fights, doing the same warm ups, learning the same lessons, and going live at the end. A few were new and I felt great to teach a few tiny tricks that I learned and stopped from locking on submissions to let them keep rolling and throwing a few punches. I was polite, relaxed, and all about helping the guys learn and get ready to fight, as applicable.
Boxing classes are proving just how rusty I am. My shoulders are tight, my punches are short... I need to work on opening them back up. I drop my hands and telegraph my right hook. My combinations are rudimentary and hampered by my stale footwork. It sucks. But...
I need it. I love starting out at that bottom level again. Being the new guy, getting rolled a little bit, getting put back into place.
That's where my learning has always begun... so it's fitting that's where I am again. Onward and upward... with a fistful of NSAIDS.
Odds and ends
1. A guy that outweighed me by 50 pounds, gearing up for a fight, seemed to want to prove something to me. He crossfaced the hell out of me three or four times, threw knees to the body (allowed, but he put oomph into it) and tried to neck crank me. I put up with it for the first 3 minutes, but after the last crossface I got a little cranky. Shin choke for that guy. Was I wrong, since he was gearing up for a fight? How long do you put up with that kind of stuff before you start 'playing' back?
2. Is it better to NOT lock on a submission when you can have it against a guy in training camp? Let him know you could've locked it? Let him keep getting his reps in?
3. Rash guards. I need new ones. Showing up to work with my neck and arms looking like New Jack took a cheese grater to them was hard to explain.
4. I do not heal as quickly as I did 10 years ago. I'm still bouncing back for the next day's lessons, but there's definitely a catch in my step. My cardio conservation is much, much better than when I was 18, but the recovery takes longer. BioRhythm's AfterGlow post-workout drinking is a life saver. Expensive, but worth it.