In my experience, especially with grappling and MMA, every gym has a different style and program. Most of what I know I have learnt through tips from other people or from watching fights on TV. When everyone is on the same program it puts you on par with other students. This recent change in gyms has really highlighted a lot of technical gaps and gaps in my knowledge.
My grappling is still very new. Yes I dabbled from time to time in Melbourne, but nothing significant enough to warrant mention. In all honesty I mostly went to spend time with my grappling buddies and to take a break from getting punched in the face.
When I left Thailand I finally felt as though I had turned a corner in both my grappling and MMA sparring. I went home and rolled with a good friend who had trained with me in Thailand earlier on in the year. He had a lot of good feedback about my development in the few months in between which was a relief to hear.
Fast forward to Berlin and I don’t even understand a lot of the warm up. I feel like the broken link in the chain slowing my partner down during drilling. It’s the first time where things have been shown to me and I can’t put them into action. It’s so frustrating to feel like I am starting all over again.
Fortunately, I am still a white belt and most people have exceptional patience with me but I’m eager to catch up with this program and to start developing again. It’s a strange thing having your rolls be ok, but having no technical training against technical grapplers really shows.
I had my first sparring session over the weekend which was nice. I almost backed out but thought it might be nice to see how I go on my feet – do something that I am more comfortable with.
One of greatest things from the past few months at AKA has been getting in MMA sparring 3 times a week. I relied heavily on my clinch in my fights and never took the time to develop my striking until this year.
It was a very uncomfortable beginning. A few (accidental) concussions and some quiet (and some not so quiet) tears. After a few sessions you decide to quit or not be the punching bag and I went with the latter. I worked with people I trusted, people who would push me, and I grew. My striking still has a long way to go but I am feeling a lot more confident on my feet. Even in my exhausted and jetlagged state, I felt comfortable standing and trading.
It’s always difficult being the new kid at a gym – it takes time to see where people are at, what is acceptable in training and how hard people will push you. Today was a great way to help me find my feet although I still feel like I was a few steps out of place.
I’m, however, definitely in the right spot for now. I feel completely supported in my career and I have some really talented training partners. I joined a team and a family and I’m excited to see what lays ahead for us all.
I am hoping to announce my next fight soon but this next week will be spent getting on the new program – getting some of my fitness back – and hopefully shaking my awful jetlag!