Friday, November 30, 2007

Stepping It Up: Conditioning for MMA

There is no God. There is only my MMA coach. And he’s definitely NOT benevolent. Last night I headed out to the dojo to train with Mark, my MMA coach. I thought maybe that since I was still sore from Wednesday's training that perhaps he might go easy on me. I was wrong.

You know, I used to think that I was in pretty good shape. Last night, as I trained across from Gina Skopelitis (the girl in the photo), Mark’s Diamond Glove winning boxer, and I was disabused of any such notion. The truth is I am in very good shape compared to the average martial artist. But that level of fitness is not even in the same league as pro-level fitness.

We went through a series of conditioning exercises, including: 100 squats, 60 leg lunges, 2 minutes of jumping up and down from the ring, 2 minutes of sit-ups (while lifting a 4kg medicine ball up over the head then passing it back to my partner), 2 minutes of sprawl push-ups (while passing the medicine ball back and forth with my partner in between), 2 minutes of doing boxing punches with resistance bands. And after that, we started our skills training. Before this week, we had only really focused on skills training. I guess Mark was trying to learn my style before diving headlong into a heavy physical program.

Gina, systematically went through each and every exercise, putting everything she had into it while I struggled to keep up. Every time she sensed my energy flagging, she would yell, “C’mon! Let’s go!” and I would respond by eking out what was left of my reserves. Endless respect to her. I provided self-comfort by reminding myself that she’s already been training with Mark for over a year. My muscles silently screamed back in response, “You think we give a crap?!?” Even today, as I sit at my desk, every time I shift or move, a different muscle group gives me the finger. Boy, am I glad that today is my rest day!

As we finished the series, Mark approached us. “Good job. That was one round. We usually do three, right Gina?” Gina nodded stoically. I looked at them both incredulously. I couldn’t decide if they were serious or this was Mark’s way of testing to see how serious I was about my training.

The way I look at it, I’m in this far. May as well see how deep it really gets.

(Photo of Gina taken from a Richmond Review article about her recent victory.)

1 comment:

Malcolm Bale said...

Sounds like quite the program. It's aways good to see other MMA and Jiu-Jitsu clubs putting students through it.

I like the exercises and I also like the attitudes.

Best Regards and Keep up the Excellent work -

Malcolm Bale Sensei