after a week of work abroad, and another week of being sick, i was finally able to return to krav and crossfit tonight. oh joyus day!!!! since my last week was spent “resting” i made it a point to REALLY rest. lots of sleep, lots of good food, and lots of rest. so the pain i feel tomorrow will be well deserved.
to start out my first night back, i went into xf where our wod was 5-5-5-5-5 for deadlift and for benchpress. this was interesting. the deadlift, not a big deal, the mechanics were the same as i remember from hs with one modification—look straight ahead, not up at the ceiling (i was taught to look up in hs, that was a teenager ago though.) the benchpress on the other hand… that was something new. i gave it a shot and my verdict is this: it feels really weird.
this is what i don’t like about the new mechanics:
1. the touch point for the bar is between the nipples and the throat. for me, this is unnatural and awkward. the new bench mechanics taught tonight are supposed to mimic a pushup—which i understand—but when i do a pushup, i cannot get any closer to the ground than the highest point on my chest which happens to be my nipple line.
2. bringing the elbows in: when i used to lift, i was taught to have a wider-than-shoulders grip, come down and touch the chest, and raise it back up. my elbows always took care of themselves. with this new technique, we were taught to bring our elbows in so they were angled, and then push the bar back up (slight angle to a lot of angle, tough to remember the specifics on this part). what throws me off about this is that i have to think about how my elbows are positioned. imho, i don’t think you should have to think about your elbows. if your grip is right, and your mechanics are right, your elbows will take care of themselves.
3. the tightening of the core. with the majority of the exercises i’ve done in crossfit, conditioning, and krav so far emphasize core strength to the point of brainwashing. i get it. power comes from a strong core. without a strong core, your base body mechanics are shit. got it. but using your core on a benchpress? maybe i’m old school, or maybe i was taught wrong, or maybe there’s been new things discovered to help with bench pressing mechanics, i don’t know. but what i do know is that the bench press is meant to isolate the chest, shoulder, and arm muscles. isolate. chest, shoulder, arm. where does the core come in there? now, i did do some research tonight, and found the coach rippetoe teaches students how to arch properly (keep your ass on the bench!) and he also teaches how to use your feet to drive power into the bench press. great. i’m not completely sold on it yet. i’m a fan of strict, isolated movements for some exercises, pull ups being an example. imho, i believe the strict isolation can build better muscle fibers. point in case: strict pull up vs. kipping pull up: lets say two people are hanging from a ledge for dear life, person A has been doing strict, isolated pull ups for a very long time. person B has been doing kipped pull ups for a very long time. in this life or death situation, both have to pull themselves up to safety. i would place money on person A being able to get up no problem. i’m not saying person B wouldn’t be able to get up, but what happens if there is a wall that is preventing them from kipping? that’s all.
so, even with my criticism of this new bench press technique, i’ll still give it a shot. one night isn’t enough for me to say weather or not it’s bs, but i am skeptical.
and after crissy, kravina was waiting for me. it wasn’t tooooo bad, but i was definitely “glistening” with sweat midway through class, a great sign of a strong class! got a chance to work with a lot of new people in the level 1 class, and even got a chance to work with a couple “advanced” students. always good, that. no stress drills tonight, just a lot of hitting and kicking and defending against chokes with a push. a great class to get back into the swing of things.
and no pop quizzes either.
Remember… you are expressing the technique, not doing the technique.
— Bruce Lee
and now for something completely different…
this morning i sucked it up and did the Intro to Crossfit class. this 90 minute intro seminar introduced us to the 9 basic movements of crossfit:
- air squat
- front squat
- overhead squat…
- shoulder press
- push press
- push jerk…
- sumo deadlift high-pull
- medicine ball clean…
i found it was really nice to get back into a gym and do some power lifting techniques since i haven’t done any since high-school (my experience with the power lifts is only with deadlifting and powercleaning). our training utilized only a “closet hangar” stick and a 15# medicine ball—the workout that followed was more exhausting than i expected considering the equipment we were using. but given the situation it made perfect sense. instructing a class of newbies on how to powerlift is much safer with an unloaded bar than a filled bar. both lake and kat were making the rounds to ensure our forms were correct before we could move onto the next movement.
once we got through all the movements, lake decided to give us a little workout:
21 med ball cleans, 21 pushups
15 med ball cleans, 15 pushups
9 med ball cleans, 9 pushups
I didn’t realize we were being timed. i was told my time was 4:13. i suppose that’s ok, but i don’t really have anything else to compare it with. as of right now, i think i’m going to continue with the monday night “elements” class to see what else is covered and then decide from there how to incorporate this type of workout into my krav routine.
and now for a few video links that deal with the proper technique on some of the above mentioned movements.
- the power clean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TlbDQUWs0s
- the deadlift: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjBI9qxibTc
- the push jerk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxP1YdSHGus
everything that i have read in regards to krav maga says you should make the training as real as possible. tricking the mind into believing the situation is real makes it easier to deal with “if/when” the situation ever should happen. today in class, i realized the importance of having a good partner to work with when doing drills. working with someone the same size as yourself is what the instructors recommend, but i am growing partial to working with people who are either better than me technique-wise, or someone who is physically bigger than me. this benefits me in two ways:
1) if the partner is better than i technique-wise, then my mistakes are pointed out as i make them, and are corrected on the spot instead of waiting for the next time we cover the technique in class.
2) if the partner is physically bigger than me, it helps me overcome the fear of facing someone of that stature. and let’s face it, chances of me getting into a fight with someone my own size is almost zilch. the chances of me falling into an altercation with someone larger than me? much more likely.
my partner today was massive. probably 6 foot, 230lb? all muscle. trying to choke him from behind was rough to say the least, but defending that same choke from him gave me a better gauge for how violent my first moves have to be in order to free myself. this was very useful information. working with him today made me realize the importance of working with a partner that takes this just as importantly as i do. there have been a few times i have partnered with someone who just didn’t focus enough on doing the technique properly, and in a few of those cases, no matter how much i tried to correct them, they persist in making the same mistakes. those types of partners are extremely dangerous to work with, as the likelihood of hurting them, or them hurting you are greatly increased. i am going to be more diligent in picking a proper partner from now on.
November 5, 2009 at 11:11pm
Courage is not the lack of fear, but the ability to face it.
— Lt. John B. Putnam Jr. (1921–1944)
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.
— H.P. Lovecraft
two words: Zombie Drill!!!!!
if i was to be rewarded for my tenacity and hard work from last night, then this was definitely it. ok, let me back it up first; i have an irrational fear of zombies. ambulothanatophobia if you want to get technical about it. not sure when or how it happened, but as a little kid, i was a bit of a weenie. too many horror movies plus an over active imagination, and well… you know. so, as i’ve gotten older, the phobia is more tongue in cheek now, but there is one thing i always do to the point where it has become automatic: whenever i go somewhere new, or look at a new home or apartment, i always check the zombie-proof-ness of said property. if it looks rickety or lacks proper zombie-security, they lose points. i know it’s absurd. but i still do it. i even do it when i’m on the bus or walking around, and i must say—San Francisco, you got some proper zombie-proofed buildings! pretty stoked about that.
but back to tonight’s class… the drill was this: 23 students in class, 7 at a time were the “humans” while the rest were zombies. humans had to stay out of the reach of the zombies and not let the zombies wrap their hands around the human throats. i think i got a bit too excited though. i seem to have been the only person getting into character and doing zombie groans, and throwing in the occasional “braaaaiiiiiiiinnnnnnnsssss” for good measure. oddly enough, the drill seemed to elicit a little bit of fear in some people, i could see it in their eyes. it was almost a panic. very odd how role playing can cause certain responses in those participating.
after the zombie drill, we did a few more drills to warm up, hammer fist strikes, groin kicks, knees, and a couple combos before we moved into the meat of the class. choke defenses. choke from the side, and the choke from the back defense. we worked these both last saturday and this last tuesday, but i find it beneficial that we keep going over this material. it seems just as i think i have it right, i find a flaw in my technique. as they say, repetition, repetition, repetition.
i think that is all for tonight. until next time.
(here’s some fun links, enjoy!)
ps. in light of the zombie talk, one thing that comes to mind is fear. we never expect to be attacked, and for those of us who have had the experience of being attacked, the body goes through “fight or flight” response, i.e. adrenaline rush. if you do not make a decision quickly about what you want to do, you freeze up. what krav does is it helps us take our natural, instinctive reaction and modifies it slightly to give us the upper hand in an otherwise scary situation. if you are like me and you are training in krav or some other self defense art, always make your training as real as possible without hurting yourself or your training partners. the brain does not distinguish between what is real, and what is thought up in the head.