Friday, February 26, 2010

Tap when it hurts

Man, today was painful!

We did Aikido today. Usually I'm like, "Woo hoo, Aikido! I love Aikido!" because I enjoy arm-bars and wristlocks and submission. I dunno; maybe I'm crazy, but I usually get very excited when we learn Aikido stuff. But like with anything else, after doing the figure-four-arm-bar-elbow-pit-reversal-submission-death-throw ('FFABEPRSDT' for short) twenty times on each arm, I was beginning to hate life a little bit!

The move (which is actually just called 'Figure Four') starts out with an attacker throwing a punch at you. You're supposed to sidestep out of the way while giving them an arm-bar, then very quickly, you twist their arm up into a shoulder-lock and simply walk forward until they lose their balance and fall down.

Maybe I'm just a big complainer, but after we were finished with class, I could actually feel my joints throbbing and aching. Tomorrow I'm going to have to do a lot of stretching to make up for today.

I don't think I would've had such a problem if I had tapped out before Zach, my classmate, actually started to hurt me. I've found that when Zach is my partner, I get kind of competitive. When I'm working with Zach I feel like a big wimp if I complain about anything, so when he had me in the figure-four, even though he went too fast and over-extended both of my elbows and shoulders almost every time, I didn't tap. Even when it hurt, I didn't tap. Some people might be extremely proud of that, but now that I'm hurt, I'm not proud at all. I just hurt.

I should have tapped, but my pride won out over my better judgement. In martial arts, you're supposed to avoid injury. If it is possible to walk away from a fight without hurting anybody or getting hurt yourself, that is the ideal solution to the confrontation. Likewise, practice is not supposed to cause injury. If I had told Zach to slow down or to not push as hard, I might have been able to avoid over-extending my elbows and pulling the muscles in my shoulders.

This was a painful lesson to learn and it was unneccessary to allow myself to be injured just so that I could say, "Hey, look. I'm not a wimp." After all, who cares what other people think, right?

I confess that that doesn't work as well when I'm around people whose opinions matter to me. But I should've known better; Zach and Sensei are both great people whom I've trusted on many, many occasions. Sometimes I forget that they're my friends and that they aren't going to think less of me if I tap when it hurts.

I guess I just need reminding of that every now and then.

Hopefully I'll be able to skip the Motrin next time I need a reminder.

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