Out of frustration I decided to kick my cardio up a few notches so..out came the Insanity DVD’s and pushed aside went my grappling dummy. After two weeks of every-other-day cardio hell I went to class and noticed a vast improvement in my rolling. In fact my friend Mike T and I rolled for 45 minutes straight without a break and I felt just fine. This was a big deal for me because I typically can go all out for 5 minutes and then find myself playing defense a lot in order to recoup my energy, but I was able to play both offense and defense equally the entire time. I continued to work on cardio and came to realize the most important aspect of the training. It wasn’t necessarily the physical work that was paying off but the state of mind I had to put myself in in order to survive such a strenuous circuit. Learning to move your body even when it’s telling you to stop is a great way to separate yourself from your mind’s natural tendency to under-achieve your physical potential. Don’t believe me? Try and do 40 push-ups right now. You’ll see that around the halfway point your body is probably already hinting that you stop, but if you had a gun to your head you know you could bang out the whole 40. It also reinforced the concept of continuous breath focus. As you might know, holding your breath is a cardio-killer.
Okay so I know I have to keep my cardio up but at the same time it occurred to me to bring out the old grappling dummy and go over some techniques, but this time I’d approach it in a different way. I started in mount and did some fall to the side arm bars. That’s where you place your hands on the opponents chest and end up on their side hopefully with one of their arms secured for the submission. A flash of realization stuck me and I actually started laughing out loud. All these years of practicing this technique and the whole time I’ve been missing one simple principle. (Sure my instructor mentions the small details when teaching the moves but a lot of those go by the wayside until you are mentally ready to adopt them.) By applying this idea I was able to shave, I’d say 15% energy off of the execution of the technique. What other moves have I been “over applying” all these years? So I went to the triangle choke and found a way to knock off a few energy percentage points from that. It might not sound like much but as you know if you train, any time you can use less energy to accomplish your task you go that route; it can allow you to thrive on the mats and possibly save your life one day.
So I figure that if I continue to do both cardio and technique refinement practice I should improve vastly in the next few months. As I test my results in open gym I will explain my methods but until then I’ll just have to say, stay tuned. 🙂 -Mike