Last Monday Sensei decided he hated us and had us go through a brutal work out: 1,000 punches & 1,000 kicks. It was broken down into 100 reps of 10 types of punches and 10 types of kicks; and 10 push ups in between each set of punches. (I should clarify – this post is about one class, not an entire week, like would-be SEALs go through).
Contrary to what I had expected, the upper body portion of the work out was far easier than the lower body portion. I had always considered my legs to be my best fighting quality (despite how inflexible they currently are). But at some point after my 500th kick my satorius and Rectus femoris began to quit on me and I couldn’t lift my leg for a proper hiza geri (knee strike) or mae geri (front kick).
Worse yet, as the training wore on nausea had gotten its hooks in me and I had to choose to either train until I throw up, or take five. To my utter disappointment, I was forced to choose the latter. After a few moments I rejoined my class and continued for as long as my muscles would permit, only to grow too winded to proceed further. I sat out for the rest of the class and waited for my stomach to stop swirling and my leg muscles to stop twitching.
When I was new to the dojo I had many more days like this (I suppose it bears mentioning that I am in Florida, where it gets exceptionally hot, and we don’t use any air conditioner when we train). Back then I would become not only disappointed with myself but critical and angry. It was plain to see how upset I was at my weakness – my wife always knew when I had a ‘bad class’.
What a difference a few years makes. Now, even though I consider my performance a failure I didn’t let it become a ‘bad class’ for me. Instead I decided, as I felt I was reaching my limit:
1. I will keep training until my muscles (or stomach) make me quit.
2. I will remember this and use it to push my training harder next time.
3. By the time we test again, in a few months, if I cannot perform 1,000 punches and 1,000 kicks then I will forgo the test.
I have set forth a challenge for my training. Next time, I won’t fail.