I’m not very proud of what follows, but if I can’t be honest in my training journal I’ve got bigger problems, so here goes.
Over the last few weeks I’ve started learning the first few of the “pure” throws in Hapkido. I don’t mean joint-lock based throws, but throws coming from the Judo influence on Hapkido. I’ve never done anything like this before and I’ve been struggling, even in slow motion, with getting down low enough and getting my feet positioned correctly before the lift, without losing my balance.
Throwing someone is kind of tricky to practice by yourself, so given I had a week off work last week, I was looking forward to going to as many training sessions as possible, hoping to sort out some of my mistakes.
Well, I did learn some good lessons, but the best one was not about throwing.
I have two regular training partners of the same grade. Unfortunately, one was away for the week, and the other has just restarted training after a back injury and can’t throw or be thrown.
So Monday night during individual training, I got in a few throws with one of the black belts, but then the rest of the time all I could do was practice getting from the block into the pre-throw position with my injured partner, and not actually throw.
I went home a little frustrated.
On Tuesday the group training was coincidentally also on throws, so I had double the time I could spend on ironing out my problems. But again, all I could practice was getting to the pre-throw position.
There are other students of higher grades I could ask to help me out after class, and I know they would happily have given their time to do it. However many of them had gradings this last weekend, so I decided to grit my teeth and ask after the weekend was passed, rather than impose on their preparation time.
Thursday, back to just individual training on throws, but again, no actual throw, just the lead-up.
Driving home after training that night, I was more than frustrated. I was pissed off and I’m embarrassed to admit, feeling sorry for myself. Why couldn’t any of the instructors see the bind I was in? This wasn’t fair, a wasted week. Boo-bloody-Hoo, poor me.
That’s part of what I’m not proud of, but I’m even less proud of the fact that in all of this I didn’t spare a thought for my injured training partner. He’s not just unable to practice his throws, but he’s had a month off training with his injury. If I’m feeling frustrated about a wasted week, how must he be feeling? Well, I don’t know, because I’d never even considered it. It was all about me.
That realisation came as a slap in the face. I’d been acting like a selfish child.
I decided that during the next training night I’d focus on what he was able to practice, given his injury, and help him catch up from his downtime.
And that is exactly what we did last night, and I plan on doing it through the rest of the week and beyond. It’s what a training partner should do, and I can do with the practice on those things anyway. It’s also a little bit of penance for last week.
If that was the end of my lessons from this episode, I’d consider it a pretty good one. However, there was one more.
During all of my frustration about not being able to “consummate” the throw during the week, I was blind to something that some of you have probably spotted already. Back at the start of this post, here’s how I described the problems I was struggling with:
“I’ve been struggling, even in slow motion, with getting down low enough and getting my feet positioned correctly before the lift, without losing my balance.”
Both of these issues were with pre-throw positioning. Yep, the very thing I’d been frustrated at being forced to practice endlessly all week was the thing I actually needed to practice. I probably couldn’t have devised a better week’s training for this problem, if only I’d been able to stop feeling sorry for myself long enough to see it.
Monday night I did some after-class throws with one of the black belts, and all that practice I’d been so annoyed about had paid off. It felt smooth and natural and I didn’t lose my balance.
My main lessons from this? Relax. Any training will teach me something. Oh, and try not to be such a tool.