I have going back to basics on the brain.
A few months ago I wrote a post on the importance of fundamentals. How very key it is to make sure the basics of the activity are solid before one starts to pile on everything else.
At the time, I was nursing a few chronic injuries and discovering that I suck at punctuation. Four months later, I’m enjoying the best movement I’ve had in the past few years, thanks to some review of basic workout form and body mechanics, and I still suck at punctuation.
However, this morning I find myself in a quirky coffeeshop in Indianapolis, Indiana and am, oddly enough, thinking about basics.
I have a feeling if I ordered a Pumkin Spice anything, I would politely be asked to leave.
For the last few months I’ve been training in Naperville, Illinois with Sensei Sharkey for the general goal of getting better and improving my competitive skills. It’s working, but the biggest critique I’m always getting is about my basics.
Since August, I’ve discovered I punch incorrectly, I step like a basic student, my blocks are ineffective, I’m not moving from my core, I throw my shoulders in weird ways, and I seem to try to muscle through a lot of techniques instead of y’know, doing the technique correctly. To say this was a little disheartening is putting it lightly (especially the first day). But, oddly enough, it’s also liberating.
I’d hit a point in my martial arts career where I felt I had stagnated. There were several places I could go and train to learn new things. But that wasn’t as exciting as it was five years ago. There were also some cool opportunities to go and compete in neat places. This was more exciting, but I’d been getting skunked pretty regularly in the tournaments I had been doing.
So, I was in a place where I wanted to move forward, but all the options I was entertaining weren’t giving me that sense of frisson that I so absolutely crave. Then, as so often happens, an incredible amount of things happened all at once.
Out of it, I ended up being on Team AKA and now I try to train with Sensei Sharkey about once a week (schedules are horrible, horrible things.) It’s hard work, but everything I do is exciting again. Discovering there were some gaping holes in my knowledge was humbling, but also motivating. The spark is coming back and I get to work on these small gaps every time I teach a form or combination.
It’s occasionally been a little distracting for all of the kiddos. If I throw a punch that doesn’t feel right while I’m teaching, I’ll throw a couple more. Usually, at least 8 children confusedly follow along. Which leads to a discussion about proper technique and how I don’t have it (Which only goes to show we can always improve and keep on learning. Gotta rock those teachable moments!). There’s also at least one reassurance that Freedom has not suddenly accumulated 5 punches in one spot.
Which sort of brings me back to this coffee shop (that’s called a “terrible segue” professors will yell at you if you do that in a paper.). I feel like I’m coming to a point in life where I maybe need to stop accumulating more things to do, and really start polishing what I already have. The first step?
Jeepers, that might be me growing up a little.