16 Days Before the Test - Practice Makes Perfect

With only sixteen days left until my test, I'm trying to fit extra practice time into my schedule. I'm working extra on my cardio to improve my stamina as much as possible, writing down things I need to work on, and writing out what I want to say when presenting my self defense scenarios.

My test has overtaken almost every waking thought...literally. I've caught myself thinking about self defense in the middle of church and imagining my techniques working. When I go to bed, I'm awake for longer than normal because I can't help but go over forms in my head.

Tuesday night at class, Mr. G and Mr. Mc were opening up boxes from an order they had made with Century. I was getting ready for class and glancing over every few seconds because I had an idea of what was going to come out of one of those boxes. My black belt. Mr. G held it up for me to see, told me not to touch, but to look and see how pretty it was, and how pretty it will be with my name embroidered on it. I'm sure I was wide eyed as I stared at my belt. Mine. Well, mine in sixteen more days.

No More Mat Burn. . . .Here's to Hoping

I thought I had solved my mat burn problem.

After searching through a lot of forums and a few articles, I set out to the store to buy athletic tape and also some first aid tape to wrap up the mat burn on my foot which was still healing. Before Jiu-Jitsu on Saturday, I wrapped my foot up nice and tight so that the mats wouldn't have a chance at making the sore spot worse,  then headed to class.

Throughout the class, I was careful to not let the tops of my feet rest on the mats. I made it through the warmup and drilling (the first half or so of class) without causing another burn or irritating the one I taped. At this point, I was feeling happy with my solution.

The problem came during rolling. The tape stayed on, but I had gotten too close to the edge of the mats without realizing it. I was on my knees, and when I shot in for a takedown, my foot found carpet. In the past, I've never felt the burn until after class. I felt this one immediately. Cue pain and I was sure there was going to be blood involved. I was in the middle of the roll with about a minute left on the clock, so I kept going anyway. When I sat down to watch the others, my foot was starting to bleed, and this burn was bigger than the others.

Darn it.

All my barefoot years of Tae Kwon Do have built up callouses on the bottom of my feet, but the tops of my feet are obviously very soft and wimpy.

I wanted to tough it out because I'm used to going barefoot, but when I keep adding new burns every week. . . I decided enough was enough. I  caved and bought some of these to help protect my girly feet.

These are Toe Sox for Pilates, Yoga, Martial Arts, etc. etc. As soon as they get here and I try them out in class, I'll write a review and post it. I've never liked toe socks before, so we'll see how these do.

28 Days Before the Test - So Much to Do, So Little Time

When I signed in to my blog and looked at my countdown clock, I did a double take.

28 days.

Back in October when my test date was just getting set, I was thinking, "Oh, five months. That's so far away. I have plenty of time!"

Today is February 11th.


Just where did all that time go?

Everything is starting to come together as it should be. I've been reminding myself that there's always going to be things that I need to work on or that I'm not happy with. My perfectionist side has been rearing up the past few months, but I think I'm doing better at pushing it aside and not putting myself down for every single thing that I do wrong.

At this point, I'm concentrating on upping my stamina and fine tuning my forms, basics, and kicks at home. Sparring and self defense are two areas that are hard to work on without a partner, and I have expressed to my instructors that I want to get more comfortable with both so that they become more reactionary. At this point, I'm still thinking and analyzing too much instead of just reacting.

We focused on sparring at Tuesday night's class and Mr. G announced that we're going to be working on both sparring and self defense almost exclusively in class until my test.

If there is one area on my test that I'm the most apprehensive of, it's freezing up and going "deer in the headlights" when I'm asked a question. The combination of being afraid to say the wrong thing and wanting  to have the answer fully answered in my head is not going to cut it. The black belts start thinking of what questions (mostly opinion questions based on previous training, but also some technique "why's?" and philosophical questions) weeks and months before the test, so my instructors have been working with me on answering impromptu questions more quickly and having me just start talking the answer out instead of standing there looking like I don't know when I'm actually just deep in thought.

Four more weeks. *Takes a deep breath* Okay.

Burned Out About Mat Burn

Rant time! Be forewarned.

I now have one gripe about BJJ and grappling in general. My feet are becoming spotted from three instances of....mat burn. We have these thin little puzzle mats and they just tear at my feet. The bruises and occasional cuts and scrapes are not a big deal, but the mat burns on the top of my feet are worse than carpet burns. I'm even thinking now that it's worse than the shin to shin clash during sparring matches at Tae Kwon Do, and that's saying something. I'm serious. At least when your shin is bruised, it doesn't get stepped on or squashed by a shoe or dragged along on the ground at Judo class when you're sitting on the floor trying to stretch and attempting to avoid agitating said burn.

Of the three I have, my left foot is the best. I have a tiny one on the knuckle of my big toe that's not hurting whatsover. The one closer to my ankle is better now and it looks like it's going to scar. The burn on my right foot on my toe knuckle is the worst. I wore an ankle support which covered the one on my other foot, but every time a Band-Aid is ripped off in Judo or Tae Kwon Do, it pulls off more skin on the newest burn.

I'm considering buying stock in Band-Aid's now. I'm going through them quite fast. I've also tried a liquid bandage - the kind that looks like fingernail polish and covers a cut to keep the germs out - but taking my shoes off at the end of the day messed that up and made it bleed. Not good.

I could probably avoid the mat burns more if I sat more on the balls of my feet rather than my heels when I'm in someone's guard, but this newbie is having trouble with focusing on her feet when the opponent she's rolling with is attempting to armbar her.

Anyway, that's my rant on mat burn. It's annoying, but I guess I can't complain. It could be worse. It could be something like Mr. Mc dislocating his little toe and having to pop it back into place during a short sparring match on Tuesday night. Um....yeah. I think I'll take the mat burn.