Monday, December 14, 2009

Fighter Frustration

I am so incredibly annoyed about this stuff that I don't even know where to start.

The mistakes I was making in week 1 still seem to be there. I do not seem to be fixing the errors of my past. I know that I often throw my shots badly, that my blade falls flat. I was focusing on practicing this at home, but now of course my other problems are demanding my attention.

I seem to have learnt new bad habits. I don't throw proper shots, bring my sword back to my shoulder between throws I am told. I do this then I am told that I do one thing at a time, block then throw, block then throw. Practice more on a pell, I am told. What annoys me most by this is I doubt very much that some of the people telling me this have ever just stood alone with a pell for an hour. Sure they come to training, but actually practice on their own, no I doubt it.

Everything I am taught I f***ing forget. Absolutely no muscle memory. Yes I know practice more, but I do practice, I practice a lot. I go to training at least twice a week and I spend about 3 hours a week just doing pell work. Lets face it at this point I just suck.

Everyone seems to know what I should be doing. If only I just did this or that and I would get better. There are only so many times I want to hear that I am making the same mistake I made week one, before I feel disheartened. I want to be good, I really do, that is enough pressure. The added pressure of everyone else wanting me to be good is at times rather too much. On the other hand, I like that they are interested in my progress.

My right thumb has doubled in size, my left knuckles are worn through where my shield has started to bite and I don't f***ing care, in fact I like the little hurts. I am not sure why I want it soo much, but I have to do this. I am not going to stop this just because I am crap. I have something to prove and I don't know why. I would have thought I had proved enough to myself in the past few years.

I once thought I would never go to university and yet here I am being paid a wage to do just that. I never thought I would be able to run several km's and now that is my idea of an easy workout. The reality is that this is a bigger challenge. Running is easy, just put one foot in front of the other, university is easy, just do what I am good at learning, problem solving, logic and math.

Fighting is hard. Competition is something I always avoided as a child. No point competing in sport I was going to lose anyway. Learning to move my body certain ways has always been hard, I have always been a clumsy child. Something I worked out early on, but co-ordination, is just another type of intelligence and one that I don't have a lot of.

Relax your grip, a cry I heard for all the years I played the flute. Relax your grip, they tell me as I swing my sword, they might as well be telling me too not grind my teeth when I sleep as well. No, I will learn to relax my grip, but first I need to build a bit more strength in my hand so that I can wield a sword while only holding it with my thumb and forefinger. I will just not today and probably not tomorrow, but I will. It is frustrating for them I guess, they have given the advice, why don't I just implement it. Why don't I just think "ok move my body this way then that", but I do, but my body doesn't seem to listen.

I imagine it is like teaching someone a math concept simply and straight forward, some people get it straight away, others on the other hand, just don't get it the first time or the second and usually by the third time, if they haven't given up their teacher has. Yeah, I am the dumb student, but I am not going to give up, just because it takes my 3 times as much effort as everyone else.

I want my armor to be ready, but then I don't because I know I will just get a whole new lot of frustrations to deal with. I sometimes wonder if some of my problems is because I am afraid of not being able to pull a blow and that I might hit someone. In armor I hope this fear will be gone, but if I am still not throwing proper shots, then I will be just frustated as I am now, maybe more so.



  1. I answered this on my blog, as I wrote reply in Notepad, but then could not paste it into the comments field.

  2. Friend of Bart's here -- and black belt instructor in ju-jitsu, of 20 years experience now.

    1) I'm still making the mistakes I made when I began. I just make them smaller now. Much smaller. And I know they're mistakes.

    2) You forget everything they put in front of you? Fine. If you keep one technique from a session of learning, you're doing well. If you keep practising that one technique, and keep adding one technique per session, in a year or so you're going to be someone to reckon with. The trick is to keep practising the one technique you manage to remember.

    3)Ignore "everyone". You've got a mentor or a teacher or someone who's style you believe in? Go to that person for guidance. Be polite to the others, but ignore them as far as possible. And practise the stuff you get from your teacher/mentor. And keep practising it.

    4)Learning new bad habits is progress. In throwing a simple front punch, you can't learn that you're not rotating your fist at the point of impact until you can actually keep your elbow tucked in and land the goddam punch accurately. I don't bother teaching anyone to rotate the fist until they can hit the bag hard enough to move either me, or themselves, depending on who's bigger.

    5)Running isn't easy. The action is easy, but the mental commitment to do it and keep doing it is not. If it was, the nation wouldn't be full of fat bastards. Ergo: if you run in a committed way, you've already got something more than most people.

    Finally: you raise the point of 'doing what you're good at', and you mention people who are 'quick learners' in this area you've taken an interest. I don't want to get into too much detail, but trust me -- quick learners often pay a price in the long run.

    People who 'do what they're good at' learn to depend on being able to do exactly that, as you have discovered. And if they happen to be good at a lot of things, they never learn to discover and exceed their own limits. They don't learn the the little habits of organisation and care and routine that most of us use to get through the day.

    Quick learners tend to burn out when they reach the point where they can no longer absorb the new stuff effortlessly. They don't know HOW to learn the hard way, because they never had to before.

    Stick with the practise. The day will come when you catch up with the 'quick learners' and leave them in the dust.


  4. Thanks I really didn't expect any feedback and to get so much good feedback is great.

    Training tonight was great. It was fun, practical and positive. I am sure there will be times of frustration, but at least now I can go back re-read these comments and bring myself back round.

  5. If it's worth anything to you, Bart knows how to get hold of me, and I have a blog called "Move Along. Nothing To See Here", through blogspot. I realize our fighting disciplines are different, but as you can easily determine from the comments I left, the process of learning is fundamentally similar.

    Any time you want to talk about this stuff, I'm happy to be available.

  6. Flinthart is completely endorsed. We've known and got up to shennanigans/ respected each other for over fifteen years. As you can tell a much better writer than I am, so much better suited to this interweb medium than I. I would suggest picking your 'one trainer' to listen to with physical training, and work on headology with Flinty.