Are you a natural?

 

"first learn block, then learn punch!!" Trevor is a natural, but  he knows it's still a long journey to mastery.

“first learn block, then learn punch!!” Trevor is a natural, but he knows it’s still a long journey to mastery.

After my childhood dalliance with gymnastics, and before my adult career in CrossFit,  the only sport I was really involved in during my more formative teenage years, was martial arts.  And as such, I have carried a lot of the lessons I learned into my mindset, attitude, and behaviour. One of the things that grinds my gears about many of the more traditional martial arts, was their descent into a cash register ringing business behemoth.  Nothing at all against making good money, but outside of monthly fees, the only additional income most martial arts bring in, is from belt gradings.  So the more often a student graded, the more money went through the till.  And then we ended up with black belts who look like this.

. kid

I’m sorry but there is no way someone this young can be worthy of a black belt.  And yes, I also subscribe to the belief that it’s actually only once you GET your black belt, that the real learning begins.   But still, a kid this age, is only capable of parroting movements, but not understanding them.  Let alone all the other aspects of martial arts – respect, honour, integrity, discipline or mastery. I received my black belt at the age of 18, and I still think it was too soon, in hindsight, I don’t think I was mature enough for the responsibility, and to be honest, I trained on average twice per week leading up to it.  That is not the sort of commitment worthy of what the layperson considers to be the major milestone in martial arts. Actor Ed O’Neill, most fondly remembered for his role as Al Bundy in Married With Children, has studied Jiu-Jitsu for many years.

In this video he chats to a class about his first lesson, and receiving his black belt.  He jokes, ’16 years to get my black belt. This must come naturally to me!!’   But I think there is an element of seriousness there too. You can’t rush mastery.

I have another favourite martial arts style fable that emphasises this point. There was a young student who wanted to become the worlds greatest martial artist.  He sought out the best teacher in the land, and kneeling at his feet in respect, asked him, ‘Sensei, how long will it take me to become a master of the martial arts?’ The teacher replied, ’10 years’ The student, believing their self to be the most dedicated and the most natural practitioner, was taken aback by this answer, but not discouraged, and retorted, ‘but sensei, what if I sold all my possessions, moved into your school, forsake all relationships, and live and breath training 24 hours per day?’ The teacher appeared to ponder this very seriously……….. pulling thoughtfully on his beard, before replying, ’20 years..’

So are you a natural?
Or are you trying to rush it?
FITNESS
A1.
PushPress 5 x 5, build
A2.
Strict Pullups 5 x 3-5
B.
3mins Row (1 point per cal)
2mins Russian Swing (2 points per rep)
1mins Burpee (4 points per rep)
- 1min rest between exercises
C.
3 TGU/arm
Max Strict Knees to Chest
2-3 sets
PERFORMANCE
A.
Push Press 5 x 5, heavy
A2.
Strict Muscle Ups or Strict CTB (+ Circle Up) 5 x 1-5
B.
3mins Row (1 point per cal)
2mins KB Snatch 24/16kg (2 points per rep)
1mins Burpee Box Jump (4 points per rep)
- 1min rest between exercises
C.
3 TGU/arm
Max Strict TTB
2-3 sets