Workout Recap - Week of February 19, 2023
Well, it seems my patience has short limits at times. After talking for a while with my first kru and thinking things over, I decided to go back to my previous gym for Muay Thai days. A quick reversal, perhaps, but I think it's been for the better. That said, I'm still sticking with the new place for their grappling classes until my membership runs out, since that's all new content and so there's still plenty for me to learn even if the teaching style doesn't suit me particularly well.
Muay Thai class
The new gym was closed for a holiday, so I went back to my first one. It turned out to be a head-to-head drill day, too, which was even better, since those are the classes I'd enjoyed the most (sparring notwithstanding). It's a good chance to work with several partners, and I think going against an actual person instead of pads helps with training visual reactions and fight-realistic execution. A couple of my partners took the opportunity to push things a little beyond the basic drills with me, too, which I appreciated. We finished with a five-station drill gauntlet rotation, which was brutal but in a satisfying way. All in all, if I'd had any doubts about whether my time at this gym was really as much better as I was remembering, this class erased them.
Muay Thai class
We were banging out the kicks today, which was especially timely since I had watched Joe Valtellini's video on evaluating switch kick skill level a little earlier in the day. I tried going hard with my kicking power, so I started running out of stamina near the end (two weeks off and an additional week of substandard training intensity did cause a little regression), but I should get back up to where I was on that front soon enough. On the plus side, my teeps felt nice overall with both legs, and I did a good job of staying balanced during the recovery to flow smoothly into follow-up strikes.
This class focused on side control, going over a couple of options for maintaining the position when someone tries to turn out of it and going into a couple of basic submissions (kimura and straight armlock). I didn't feel up to doing open sparring at the end, being so new to grappling, so the coach helped me practice grip-fighting and passing guard instead. They said I had good instincts when I was packing up to leave, but I've been finding grappling to be very frustrating in general, so it's hard for me to judge how genuine that was.
Muay Thai class
As predicted, my stamina was feeling much better this time around, after having pushed it a couple of times earlier in the week. I partnered with one of the competitive fighters for padwork, and we had a good time laying into each other on some intermediate-difficulty punch>kick/knee sequences. The class finished with repeated round kicks on each leg (55 in total per side), and I was very pleased that I didn't struggle with my balance during that, since there had been times in the past when that was an issue for me, especially on my left leg kicks.
This class focused on more BJJ, starting with standing takedowns and working into eventually applying (or defending) a rear naked choke. Overall, the movements and positioning still feel very awkward for me, but hey, it's only my third class in a very different style of martial arts, so it's going to take time to build some comfort. I think I'm also tending to not lean enough of my weight on my partner, so that'll be a point to keep in mind for the future. Even so, I did partake of some open sparring rounds at the end (focusing on positioning and control without trying for submissions since I haven't had enough practice with those to feel confident about being able to do them safely), which was nice since it let me make use of my athleticism and aggression to help make up for my lack of skill and size (I think I was 40-80 pounds lighter than either of the people I partnered with). In that context, it's a big win for me that I was able to get into positions where I could've theoretically applied at least two arm triangle chokes and one rear naked choke, even if I didn't attempt them. Maybe I do have some good instincts after all, though I'm sure there's the usual caveat of not reading too much into such success due to partners limiting themselves when sparring with the newbie.