Since my hand to hand training with my previous trainer ended, I have been looking for someone or somewhere to get the skills I need and want with not much luck.
I have felt very stale; not afraid, but vulnerable because I am not maintaining any skills nor I am developing any new ones. I have not been blogging much because this is mostly a blog about my personal journey and my journey has been stagnant Very little shooting(other than dry fire) and zero hand to hand or knife training. I like blogging, but the worst part has been the lack of growth and feeling like I do not have enough tools to defend myself should I need to.
I do not believe I need to know every trick in the book or be a self defense guru, but I need more than hand grabs and more importantly my mind still needs work.
My town is not ta small one, but it doesn’t offer a lot and what it does offer is pretty much the same. Lots of “self-defense” that is really just fitness. I like fitness, but I have been looking for real world training and not the kind where I blow a whistle or learn to kick some guy in the groin(although perhaps a good idea).
After months and months of searching and months of frustration I happened upon a place that claimed to be a facility to learn to defend oneself and was serious about teaching the real world skills one would need. I was excited at the prospect but not over hopefully as up until that point, I had been disappointed.
TSM had to work, so I went it alone which in itself is a big thing. I was not nervous or concerned at all, but when I go into something new, I like to have back-up.
I walked in and was greeted right away by a man who was otherwise engaged in a conversation, but he saw me standing there, he stopped and very politely asked me what I needed. I told him I was there for a the 5:45 class. There isn’t a 5:45, but there was a 6:00 pm class. The schedules had recently changed, so there was a little mix up. No biggie. He said I could try the class at 6:00 and then stay for the 7:00 pm class to get a good idea of what they offered. The first class was Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The next class was an MMA style curriculum
Great! The gentleman gave me a tour and took me to where the training takes place. He explained the difference between their fitness program and their self defense program. As he was explaining the self defense portion he asked if he could grab me. I said sure with a smile.
He took my shoulders and grabbed like he was going to take me to the ground and then said “if some big guy comes to attack or mug you and says….” for whatever reason my eyes welled up with tears and I felt like an idiot. I didn’t freak out and tears didn’t even stream down my face, but those words, hit me. Totally unexpected.
He asked me if something had happened and I said yes. He was very nice and in about a millisecond I was fine. Went to the bathroom mostly out of embarrassment and collected myself. When I came out the owner of the gym was waiting to talk to me. He took me back to his office and we talked. In fact we talked so much about guns, self defense, knives, bad guys, etc that I missed the first class.
He is almost as passionate about this stuff as I am.
I do not know much, but I know enough to know what I am looking for and what I do not want to hear from a trainer.
He talked a lot about much of what is learned in whatever program is not always effective on the streets. That each system be it Krav Maga or boxing or traditional martial arts all have their strengths, but even what he teaches is not the complete answer. He purposes filling in as many gaps as one can. He also is not a big fan of woman peeing on themselves to stop an attacker, so right off bat I liked him.
He has a wife and a daughter(met his wife) and a very interesting life story. You know me, so since it isn’t my story to tell I won’t(I only know the basics as he briefly described), but I loved how even though he was so busy, he wanted to know my story, why I was there, what my goals were and he shared about his training and philosophies.
At some point he took me to the gym portion and introduced me to a trainer and a student and the two of them worked with me one on one for about 15-20 minutes.
We did grappling. It started out with me on the floor on my back trying to get this woman off of me. The trainer showed me a few moves to try to accomplish that. Very cool and they were both amazing.
Then I went to the MMA class. Last night was grappling but next week it will be striking Again, I was paired with 2 gals(looked like maybe in their 20’s). They have skill and technique but I was able to keep up with them. I even was able to get one of them to tap out on an armbar and no she was not going easy on me just because I had no clue what an armbar was. The neat thing was after the live roll, she said, wow you are fast and high fived me. Seems to be a VERY competitive group, one that is serious, but incredibly supportive.I have long legs and long arms and I am stringy, which happens to be a disadvantage in these particular drills or at least for me since I am clueless at this point.
One drill we were suppose to have our legs wrapped around their neck(this training is very up close and personal. I am pretty sure I am going to have to give up Mexican food) and twist and well the point is at some point it is suppose to be uncomfortable and the other person taps out. So, there I am squeezing my legs and pulling and she is like, “Uh, nothing”.
The problem was that my legs are so long that when I flipped my thighs were not high enough on her neck to hit a pressure point. I had to adjust that a few times, but eventually I got the feel for placement. The young lady was very concerned about my feelings. She said she as sorry that she didn’t want to discourage me on the first night by saying she couldn’t feel it. I assured her I DID NOT want her to spare my feeling. I did not want her or anyone else to pacify me. She smiled and was pretty much full on from that point forward.
Last night they paired with women because it was my first night, but typically the idea is to train with men as well. Me fighting a lady my same size is not much of a challenge(it was for me, but you get the idea). I liked that the trainer said that. I liked that he saw the value in that. I freeze and I am apprehensive and emotional, but I hate being handled with kit gloves and the point is I am training to move past all that.
I was sweaty and felt like I had learned some things.(even though the owner said in a real fight he doesn’t suggest armbarring someone). Mostly it was a confidence boost. I left there feeling like I was stronger than I thought. Stronger both physically and mentally.
I didn’t freeze at all. Here I am in a new place with people I have never met, doing things I have no clue about with people who have been doing this a while and I jumped in. When it was the live roll portion even if I didn’t “know” the right move I just did something, anything to avoid getting beat. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. Having strangers watching you can be intimidating, but I didn’t care. I want to learn and overcome this emotional fear and the freezing that still lingers.
After the class the owner took me back to his office and again we spoke forever. I would still be there, but I think TSM was beginning to think I had skipped town. I was suppose to be there from 5:45-6:15. I got home at 9:30.
The classes are expensive, but I am committed to learning, so I am willing to make the adjustments in my life to make it happen. My biggest problem is that I have to wait until next week to go back and you all know how impatient I can be when it comes to training…
TSM’s biggest problem is that I am all amped up again and he is going to get to feel all the effects of my training. At 10:30 last night I had him down on the bedroom floor(he got excited for a minute:) to show him what I had learned.
All and all a very positive experience and one I am optimistic about. I met some nice people, learned some things and I came home with BRUISES!
So, it’s a start. Stay tuned…