Competiton and Fear

We went to a tournament in Fayetteville this weekend. The entire Sellers family; John and Jennifer, Sarah, Hannah and Ben competed in the white/yellow belt divisions for their age group. Heidi Mullins also made the trip for her first competition.

Early in the day I was able to give Ben a big hug when he walked out of the ring carrying his two trophies. Because I was judging in another ring, I didn’t have the opportunity to see all of our guys compete. I caught little glimpses in between the action in my ring. But all of the LRMA students came home with two trophies each.

That is not what this is about.

While placing and winning a trophy is great, what impressed me was that these students got out on the floor and competed. I realize that many of our students could not make the trip because of other commitments or finances. But I wonder how many did not even consider competing because of fear.

Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown.

How often do we keep ourselves from experiencing something really great and rewarding because of fear?

I wish you could have seen the huge smiles on our guys’ faces after their events. Yes there was fear, trepidation, nervousness beforehand. But that was overcome. Each of them stepped into the ring. They faced their fear.

Look, you can’t grow if you don’t get out of the house. Yes, you may fail. You might mess up. And horrors! Someone might be better than you. So what? At least you got out there and DID something!

To my students that have had the courage to step out on the mats and learn martial arts, I applaud you. So many want to do what you have done and haven’t the courage.

To my students that have competed, you ROCK!

To those of you that are still sitting on the sidelines, what are you waiting for? Here is an invitation…start right now. Take martial arts with us, or with someone else. Martial arts or ballet, soccer or oil painting, it doesn’t matter. Take this time you were given on this earth and grow in courage and confidence by getting off the couch!

The thing about jumping rope is….

I’ve been getting some feedback from my students about our conditioning warm-up.  Some of the feedback has been non-verbal and consists of groans and rolling of eyes when I tell the class to “grab a jump rope”.   However, a couple of the students have been so enamored of jumping rope that they have written about it!

Richard Schreiber wrote a journal entry today on the LRMA site:

“I am new at jumping rope.  I can play every musical instrument invented except for drums and flute, I got a pilot’s license, manage a multi-million dollar company, owned a restaurant at age 23, fathered children, am a happily dutiful clergy spouse, can cook, and was an usher at the International Barbershop Quartet Convention.  I am terrible at jumping rope.

I am getting better.  I started this new hobby in August when I re-upped at LRMA.  In the days of Mr. Hudson and Mr. Turley real men didn’t jump rope…and then Mrs. Ray came along.  In August I couldn’t get that rope around twice, now I can make it 30 seconds or so before that little timer in my brain says, “Miss it, and miss it”!

Pre-school girls can jump for hours and giggle at the same time.  All of the women in adult class skip over the rope perfectly timed to the thumping music on Mrs. Ray’s iPod. 

And then there’s Mrs. Ray.  She doesn’t jump rope like a girl.  She jumps like a person possessed, in double time, occasionally glancing at the clock wondering if we should go another couple of minutes. 

Someday I hope to be good at jump rope.  Not like “Cinderella dressed in yellow”.  Maybe like, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee“.

 Jennifer Seller on Face book yesterday:


So what is the deal with jump ropes?

With the advent of the New Year, I’ve been on a mission to get back on my workout routine.  After my test December 11, I took a few weeks off from training.  (The fact that I couldn’t walk on my right heel for a couple weeks did have something to do with that decision.  Four inches of wood for a board break did more damage to my heel than the boards)

The break was nice, but time to get back to the routine.  If you there on December 11, you probably noticed that cardio and conditioning was a major component of my 5th Dan test.    If you weren’t there, let me just say that I was really glad I had been working hard on cardio and being in shape.  If I hadn’t, I would not have survived the test. 

One of my favorite conditioning warm-ups came from Master Dring.  It includes jumping rope. 

Two years ago I went to Master Dring’s for a workout at noon.  He told us to get the jump ropes out.  Ten minutes later I was a ball of frustration and my toes had welts on them.  I felt awkward and uncoordinated, and I was not a happy camper.  I chalked it up to a frustrating day, and forgot about it.

The next class…same thing.  And I was just as awkward.  Plus I was gasping for air.  In retrospect, I might have been winded because I was holding my breath while trying to concentrate on jumping rope without bruising my feet.

By the third class in a row, it became evident that jumping rope was going to be part of the workouts with Master Dring. 

When I got back to the school I got online and ordered 30 jump ropes.  If I was going to have to jump rope, I was going to learn how to do it.  If I was going to learn how to do it (because it was good for me, right?) then my students were going to jump rope also. 

Here is the thing about jumping rope.  If you are in my classes, you have probably figured out that jumping rope is going to be a part of your future.  It’s a great way to get cardio in, and it works on footwork and coordination.  I don’t think it’s the cardio that is the challenge (although I could be wrong) I think it is the coordination and footwork that is causing the problem.  Yes, I do see the clenched jaws and frowns of frustration on my student’s faces.  I know learning this new skill feels awkward.  Been there myself.

It took a while, but I was eventually able to jump for 30 seconds or so without whacking my feet to shreds.  That is when it started to be fun.  There was the challenge of how long I could go without tripping.  Could I make it all the way through “Right Round” or “Boom, Boom, Pow”?  There are variations with the footwork and rhythm….feet together…two each side then two together…knees up…slow/fast….

So now we put the jump rope together with Master Dring’s’ conditioning workout.

This is the “getting back in shape” version:

1 minute jump rope, then 30 seconds each jumping jacks, shuffles, squats, mountain climbers, pushups, ab work.

We do three rounds.  It takes less than 15 minutes. 

That is going to be the warm up for the next few weeks.   Fair warning!

The “getting into better shape” version:

We will work up to 2 minutes rope, 1 minute each of the rest of the components. 

By our next test in February everyone is going to be in much better shape.  Hang in there with me guys!