Yesterday, Sensei said to me,
"Okay Becky. I realized that after Zak knocked you out, we should probably start sparring with headgear." Then he proceeded to give me my new headgear. I was so excited! I finally had the ENTIRE sparring gear set! Gloves, shins, mouth, head! I couldn't wait to put it on.
When I did get it on, it took me about ten minutes to realize that I felt very lightheaded and shaky. It was a tight fit. Really tight. I discovered that I felt a bit claustrophobic in there. I couldn't use my peripheral vision to judge how close to the ground I was (I have some trouble with balance because of ear infections when I was a kid) and it made me dizzy and hot. Sparring was difficult. I couldn't focus.
I wasn't pleased with myself because I always want to try my hardest and give it my all...and it just wasn't happening with that headgear on. It was difficult for me to relax and think while I couldn't hang onto my depth perception.
My solution? Last night I slept with it on so that I could get used to how tight it fits. My reasoning was that if I could fall asleep with it on, I could definitely spar with it on Wednesday. I also wore it most of the day today and practiced striking with it on. I have to get used to it because we're getting advanced enough that strikes to the head will soon be a regular thing.
Being distracted and disoriented by something that's new can be a dangerous thing. It's important to keep ourselves focused on the task at hand. If we find ourselves in a situation that's a matter of safety or of life-and-death, it's not likely that we'll be able to keep our attention 100% focused on getting through it. When we're blindsided by something significant, it's really easy to be distracted by physical pain or mental uncertainty or fear and to lose our focus on finishing what needs to be done--whether that be finishing a fight quickly, or studying for a last-minute test, or making a dreaded phone call, or coming to a decision we don't want to make.
We can't prepare for everything, granted...but for the things we can prepare for, we should. Tonight, my headgear sleeps with me. Whatever it takes to make it work.