Wednesday, January 21, 2009

MMA update

I am really worn out right now, and really disappointed that yesterday was a constant running from one thing to another and no time at all to watch any of the inauguration. There is of course the added irony that in my class we were discussing an article by a Buddhist recommending to us that we slow down and be mindful.

Buddhists have no appreciation for multi-tasking.

Anyway, I did want to keep you caught up on the MMA stuff.

Based on a series of conversations over the past few weeks this is what I think has happened at MMA. Gary would dispute this account, you should know that.

In the beginning I think they were going a little easy on him. Though it is mixed martial arts, they are mostly kick boxers, and I think they mostly spared him kicks and blows to the head. He was, and is, better than many of them are on the mat. If he can get them down, there is a good chance that he can pin them. He is not better in other areas. So mostly they learned to defend against his moves to get them down, and he has not been doing so well anymore. He is not longer the greatest.

Everyone else recently left for a tournament, and they were badly beaten. It is not good for Gary to see that the guys who are able to best him are losing at the tournament.

Well, Tuesday night the coach/teacher/whatever was pushing everyone really hard. Gary reports that he told them to go 110% and that if they got hurt they had to keep on going and if no one liked that they could take their gear and go home now. Gary hurt his ankle, didn't have a mouth guard, got kicked in the face and needed a new tooth.

So now Gary is thinking about taking a class at the Y.

I'm all for it. The Y is a heck of a lot closer to home.

I think Gary is beginning to reconsider going to the tournament in the summer. He hasn't found a job and though there are people who will help him, he knows that he has to earn a certain amount of the money. He also no longer has the "karate kid" image of himself. He no longer thinks he will walk in there, previously unknown to the world, and take down all comers.

This might sound like he is really down on himself, but I don't think he is. He doesn't seem to be worthless or even discouraged. I think that he just has a more realistic assessment of his own strengths and weaknesses.

In other words he is growing up.

And that is a good thing.

Besides, if he doesn't do really well on his English final this week he will be in summer school and if he is in summer school he just won't be able to leave for a week for the tournament.


  1. I find it kind of sad that once again this kid's perception and reality don't match and he has to change his goals and plans.

    Even if the Y is closer to home and more realistic, there has to be some value in continuing to study something that was his "life" last week, even if he isn't the King Sh** he thought he was. My sense is that he is giving up too easily...all with perfectly valid reasons of course, but we could all come up with a hundred reasons not to do things when the going gets tough.

  2. I understand. And I know that part of the equation is that it is so much easier for us. They take the bus to the class, but have to be picked up at 9:15. It is 20 minutes away and Gary has been going four nights a week. If he wants to take the class at the Y that is only five minutes away, that is pretty appealing.

    And I know it should be his needs that come first.

    The adult class at the Y is, I believe, fairly rigorous. There are at least some adult that he knows who are serious about training who go there. Or at least he thinks that there are.

    I'm not really sure. I'm going to let him make the choice on this.

    I'm really not in a position to know which class is better for him. I really haven't a clue.

  3. There's nothing like a dose of good "reality therapy" to change a kid's view of himself is there?

  4. Poor Gary! Getting one's clock cleaned is so um, humbling. Had it happen a time or two, but thankfully have all my teeth and other body parts. There is usually a point in all martial arts studies which is the "bail out" place. The learning curve steepens fairly suddenly (at least it seems that way) and all of a sudden you have to decide if the extra effort is worth it all.

    I hope whatever decision he makes is the right one for him. I'd want him to hang in there a bit I think, but I totally hear how much easier it would make your lives if he found a satisfactory experience at the Y.

  5. Anonymous2:28 PM

    Not a comment but a question. If a child's photolisting says "All families will be considered for [child]" does it mean A) the agency is so desperate to place this kid they'll consider anybody, or B) the kid's issues are not dire enough to rule out single parents, inexperienced parents or families with younger children?
    ina, not anon.

  6. I used to think I was the karate kid. I got my ass kicked when I was 11 in a sparring match with a boy half my size... in the first half second he hit me so hard in the stomach I fell down and couldn't get up.

    I lost interest shortly afterwards, but today I wish I hadn't given up. Just because I wasn't great at it doesn't mean it wouldn't have benefited me in other ways.

    Anyway, I think we should face failure, not denying it and eventually learning from it. I haven't always done that in practice, but it's a principle I admire. People who never ever accept failure live their lives in a constant state of anxious confusion.

    Whether he decides to continue or not, I hope Gary can gain greater self-knowledge and confidence from the experience.

  7. Reality checks are rarely pleasant, but always important. I am glad he is getting some reality injected into his dreams.


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