Month: August 2013

An itch that won’t stop….

I have noticed over the past few months some issues that have been cropping up for me.  It mainly started when I was trying out some Jeff Glover Swiss Ball Exercises.

I could do the first few just fine with a little practice.  But there was one where I had to jump kick both legs out to the side and bounce on and off the ball with my butt.  I tried this for a couple of weeks, I just could not do it.  It felt like something was just stopping me from committing to the exercise and really going for it. ( I still haven’t got passed this)

More recently I attended a morning seminar and left before the rolling started.  In my head I told myself it was because I didn’t feel great, I had already done an hour private and I had to meet Mrs Munki.  But afterwards I knew it was because of the prospect of rolling with guys who I don’t know was intimidating.  I was really nervous about getting injured, as I amy still working on the shoulders.  I was making vast assumptions about guys I did not know, but it got in my head that I was going to get injured. (The shoulders are still restricted).  I felt pretty disappointed with myself later but I eventually managed to let it go.

But thinking about these situations I have realised that it was fear that had held me back.   I try to be as positive a person as possible, which isn’t easy why your job is being a Risk Manager.  I get paid to identify the problems that can happen and that mentality does seep into your personal perspective on the world. No Disney view on life for this Munki.  It appears that this negative view on occasion has limited me and held me back.  There have been plenty of times when I have been nervous and I have taken a deep breath and just got on with it. I have been pretty pleased that I was able to do that afterwards.  I am aware of the potential problems but stop myself from dwelling on the “what ifs”.  I have done this so much recently; starting jiu jitsu at a new club, starting rolling again, starting a new yoga class.  So much new and scary stuff but I have wanted to do these things so much that I just did them and have had positive results as a consequence.

It seems for me that fear just scratches the itch of doubt I’ve had  in my mind, making it spread and get worse?  It certainly seems to be what has been happening to me recently.  Is this where I stop listening to my mind.  I guess I am looking at another  situation where the chimp (I have spoken about this in my previous post here) is running riot and I am not calming it down and listening to the human rational me.  I have to calm this itchy hairy little beast down and give my more positive, rational side an opportunity to speak.

My mind created these fears, but my mind also overcame a lot too, so what makes it pick?  Research? Commitment?  Knowledge or Desire?  I’m not sure to be honest, I am guessing it boils down to catching it at the right time.  If I can ignore an itch when it first starts or give it a really good scratch that’s it, it just goes away.  If I can’t reach it or I scratch it too softly then it spreads and gets worse.(Wow I’m spreading this itch analogy out).  If I do the same thing when I start having negative or fearful thoughts, it might be the way to keep going and not be held back or it become a total road block.

I would be really interested in your comments on this post, as it is a little confusing for me and I hate the thought of limiting myself.

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Down the rabbit hole we go…..

mst_brain I am currently really struggling with the mental side    of my game.  I am reasonably strong and I seem to a  problem using my strength when rolling.  I was really stuck because as we all know its about technique not strength but I didn’t seem to be able to match the other guys at my school.  It felt like I was just going down a rabbit hole without knowing where it was leading to.

I did a lot of google searching and this lead me down the path of pressure.  Do I need to improve the pressure I put on my training partners? OK so how do I develop that? I read a quote from another blog which said “Physically, pressure manifests through superior technique, superior pace/conditioning and strength, usually in the form of pressure being exerted on a person…..”. So further down the rabbit hole I went.

Still stuck I thought I would ask around.  I posed the question to a guy I have mentioned before Liam Wandi.  He is a purple belt but has the same sort of view on BJJ as me.  So I was hoping he could give me some sort of insight, from a similar starting point as me,  What he came back with was both surprising and eye opening.  It’s not strength but speed I need to develop.  This made complete sense.

As I don’t want to be aggressive and all snarly about my jiu jitsu as it is a bit of a douche thing to do.  But speed is definitely something I’m lacking.  I guess I am trying to do techniques that I have not drilled enough so I can’t react I have to think “what next” and that is what slowing me up.

I am somewhere going to have to make some time to drill some techniques more.  After some discussions previously and some tips ob drilling from others, I’ll be looking at breaking techniques into micro drills.  Plus I have found a load of movement drills on You Tube I can try to improve my general movement.  I have the techniques in my head, but they are not coming out under external pressure.  So I have to get to the stage of learning that is “unconscious competence”.  Obviously this is not going to be a quick thing but small wins lead to a greater victory.  I do take consolation in the fact that I have recognised these issues and I am looking at what I can do to resolve them.  I may not yet have all the techniques available to live up to my blue belt, but I feel I have the mental attitude and understanding. Anyone else gone through anything similar?


I originally wrote this a week ago and have gone through a series of considerations and in addition to drilling, I do think I am being a little too playful for the guys I roll with.  I am approaching it as an extension of a technical learning experience to improve my “skills”. However  I think some of the guys I spar with treat as a way to practise under pressure. So I think it is me that needed to change perspective. If I’m not applying the pressure no one is getting anything out of the session.  I have since gone harder when sparring and I do seem to be getting better results.  Just need to work on the drilling.

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Move your body….weight.


Since my surgery I have been recuperating physically with a combination of hypertrophy weight training and yoga.  This is mainly to replace the muscle mass I lost during the first operation and also to create a muscular symmetry.  So I don’t look weird.  I have seen some great physical improvements with this, but now I have achieved this I have decided that I am going to  move more towards bodyweight and kettlebell training for a while.  I am hoping this will give me the level of body control I need for BJJ, without wearing me out.

I am not really that bothered about getting big and muscly, I’m more interested in staying healthy, injury free and in good shape as I age.  I am not giving up lifting weights, hence the continued use of kettlebells. But changing up your training is a good idea as part of a periodised programme or just generally to generate “shock” as part of the GAS principle (more on that here).  Plus I want to limit the potential impact on my joints, especially the knees.   With the BJJ technique, rolling, judo and working full time, I have to pick my battles.  Ultimately I want to progress my jits and the other stuff supports this and supports my overall health.  Also as an Old Munki I have to ensure adequate recovery, to benefit from my fun activities.

I have also noticed that I am in no shape at 6am to hit the gym and start lifting heavy weights.  Some yoga has been good to stretch my muscles or I have managed 30 minutes kettle bells and bodyweight stuff a few mornings a week. I think this in addition to my main training is more than enough to keep me physically in shape, without burning myself out.

I would not consider this strength and conditioning training in the conventional way, but it is what works for me and the point I’m at in my physiological age.  It support my targets and keeps my body active.  Speaking of which I am also trying to keep myself moving more at work.

I was conscious that despite all the effort I was putting in before and after work, I was spending hours at a time sat in front of a computer.  so I have been setting my self a target to get up and move around more.   I have now started to offer to go to others offices for meetings, walking to my managers office to speak to her instead of emailing her and getting the coffees in for the team.  This keeps me moving a lot more than I used to, it also has the side bonus of making me more popular in the office.

After thinking through all of this and putting it in place, I subsequently read this article by Mark Sisson on his website which basically supports my own findings.  I thought that was pretty cool overall.

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