Wednesday, 6 November 2013

On the Mat Day 425: The Dead Zone

I've been away from training for about a week with a cold. I take this as a blessing because it has allowed my back to almost fully heal up. I did plan to go training last night but a friend who is a pro boxer contacted me and wanted me to attend his first sparring session in 5 years. He's been away from the game for that long and says that he is very rusty but to my untrained eyes he looked very good with a sharp left hook. He asked me to record the 3 x 3 minute rounds that he would spar with a guy who had a fight coming up. I stood on the ringside in the gym to get a better view of him scrapping. When I did, I immediately recognized a feeling of what I can only describe as nervous energy. The type that makes your legs go a little weak and your heart to beat faster. Bear in mind that I was only standing recording him but felt this weird vibe.

Later we talked about it after he finished the rounds. He immediately agreed that there is always some weird feeling around the ring, and agreed that he also experiences every time he steps in there. I can relate it to the queasy feeling I get when I step on the mat in a BJJ competition against an unknown opponent who will be going full force against me to submit or dominate me. We talked a little about this and he termed it the dead zone, the space where nobody really wants to go into. You feel it because it kicks in the fight or flight reaction. I'm sure it is much worse in boxing that in BJJ, where you have someone smacking you around the head. But the feeling must be tenfold for MMA fighters after the cage door has closed behind them. Most guys in this age never get to experience that feeling. We are a grazing society where pretty much everything is given to us on a plate. However, there are the odd few of us who confront the fight or flight fear and are better men for it.

Today, I went to class in the morning to train because its the wife's birthday today so have to be at home tonight. I was disappointed that not many turned up but Matt came and he is always game. We also practiced specific sparring at my request for mount escapes vs mount chokes. It is very difficult not to be bridged off when the 2nd hand goes in for the choke. Perhaps, I need to study Roger Gracie. K-sensei gave me some advice that I need to be heavier with the elbow of the 1st hand in the collar and it should be more offline than center. It's still damn hard though. After class, I asked K-sensei a lot of advice especially on the arm in and arm out guillotine as well as escapes for both. Today was a very productive day and I will try to do more specific sparring from now to fix my weaknesses. Just it's difficult to get partners to stay on and work on stuff.

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