Training Diary: Week 4

Only one session this week but what a session! Only myself and a tall athletic guy attended so the instructor really seemed to pick up the pace. A decent warm up went straight into teaching wrestling-style take-downs. We went from practise straight into drills whereby someone keeps having to get up despite being taken down again and again or where each partner has to work to alternate taking the other person down with a little resistance. This is really gruelling work, completely exhausting in a holistic bodily sense especially when you are struggling to remember how the take-downs actually work. I had to throw in some trips I had learnt elsewhere in martial arts to get the guy down (which they seemed happy with) but mostly I was tired and confused.

Exercises like this make you appreciate why the product of wrestling is not a certain technique or strategy but the wrestler himself. Frankly someone who can go through that kind of training week in and week out is something special, a human chiselled down to something that keeps working and operating through extreme stress in a way that kickboxing-type martial artists often don’t because they can alternate between attack and defence more freely.

I am trying to focus on practising the techniques as told but it is very hard and easier to use techniques I have been shown before. In a sense, it is easier to teach someone who comes with a clean slate, which is not to say that the person with prior experience might not be a good student, just someone who has an alternative it is all too easy to take rather than what the instructor is teaching.

The training switched to stand up pad work. I agree with the instructor that  my jab needs some work. It is a little wild and circular rather than being small and untelegraphed. It makes perfect sense as in Taekwon-do sparring you hit straight and fast with little power but when you place a pad in front of a Taekwon-do person and ask for power as well they often revert to the sort of punches that they would use in self defence which more resemble the punches of the patterns. These punches are super powerful but easy for a sportsman to see coming and certainly not an opening jab. I have encountered this lesson before but it will take some time to weld into my brain the middle technique that is half way between a point-scorer and a smasher.

I enjoyed the pad work (as noted in an earlier entry, I look forward to it) and did ok but I tired very quickly after the wrestling and couldn’t get my kicks going very well. I am unused to the position of the Thai pads to the side of the body which is much further forward than a Taekwon-do style kick shield would be placed. It’s designed for a kick I suppose with far less rotation and frankly, one that rises diagonally from the ground in a way that runs against the grain of traditional martial arts teaching. I am sure I will get used to it as I have no doubts in my kicks themselves (a shield to the body seems far more realistic to me than a set of thick thai pads held away at an angle).

After the lesson I was thoroughly tired and was still out of breath just walking along frankly. In fact, I didn’t really catch my breath or feel back to normal capability until the following morning and even then continued to walk stiffly. It’s nothing new really to someone who trains in martial arts but it does beg the question how many sessions I can really handle in the week once the Taekwon-do starts back up again. We shall see. If I can average three to four sessions a week, I will be really happy as I should get into pretty good shape and have a lot more confidence in my abilities all around.

At the very least, I hope this extra training shows at least a little bit when Taekwon-do restarts.

The instructor wondered if the training made me want to throw up. It didn’t. It probably ranked up there in the top ten of hardest sessions I have done but my 2nd Degree grading and a trio of Muay Thai sessions I did in London were much harder and really did make me feel sick. I guess that’s an achievement in some kind of weird sense.

Still basically being taught something completely new every session. Wonder what it will be like when we go back over something….or how long it will be before that happens.


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