Monday, January 25, 2010

Fatigue and the Pain of Others

November 30, 2009

So I didn't go deaf tonight. Progress. I got pretty close, but I'm learning how to tell when I need to stop vs. just push through the pain. At a certain point, all the advice the instructor's giving me, everything my partner's helping me with...I'm just too tired to hear...or process...or apply.

This is a new kind of tired for me. Before this, I would have to say the most tired I've ever been is after hiking the Great Wall. My best friend and I, adventurers that we are, visited a section that was basically 2km of stairs. Steep stairs. Steep uneven stairs. We got back to the hotel and passed out...I think. I was too tired to remember. This is different. 10 min after leaving the gym I'm fine. I'd prefer to sit, but I'm generally ok. That's the strange thing about muscle fatigue. I can be in the middle of a roll and bam, no more energy. I rest for one round, get back to rolling, THINK I'm recovered, and 1 min in, bam, I'm weak as a sleepy kitten. This is an important fact for a woman, or anybody really, taking a self defense class. I was once told that part of the reason they put heavy drills and warm ups at the beginning of the class is to simulate the fatigue and exasperation that occurs in a real fight. All I know is that fighting tired is no joke.

I've found though, that my being absorbed in my struggles has left me oblivious to a lot that goes on around me (kinda dangerous while sparring). While my rolling partner was re-tying his belt, I looked up at another white belt that's quite a bit better than me. My "wuzzup" buddy. Don't ask me why, but from day 1, instead of a handshake and bow, we've been giving each other a handshake and a raspy "wuzzup!". Tonight he was rolling a few feet away from me. Now, Wuzzup is in good shape. He breezes through the warm ups and drills at a speed that makes me almost jealous. He can hang through all the sparring without sitting out. I looked over at him, embarrassed at my own state and gave a sheepish smile. He smiled back quickly. It was a smile I recognized. That smile you give when you want to smile, but you're too busy trying to cram oxygen into your lungs to really engage all the muscles in your face. He was sweating, face bright red, brow furrowed, chest heaving ...a pose I thought only I took. I realized then that I'd been so busy worrying about how tired I was, I'd failed to take in what was going on with the guys around me. They looked just as tired as I did, just as frustrated. They had more endurance, but they looked like they were in just as much pain. More lessons that apply to life outside of BJJ.

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