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The Difference Between Knowing, and Knowing

I just finished the third week of the black belt test, and it’s only now dawning on me exactly how much of a commitment I’m in for. The conditioning log, checklist, and attendance log looked a lot smaller when they were empty; now that three weeks have been completed, those remaining blank spaces are starting to look awfully daunting.

Black belt conditioning log

Captain’s Log, Week 3 of 24. (Yes, I’m the crazy one with the project folder, tabs and stickers.)

Logically, I knew what I was in for, but there’s knowledge, and then there’s knowledge. I roughly “knew” what this weekend’s two-hour black belt conditioning workout consists of each year because I supported Jordan during his black belt test last year, but this time around, my body (and my booty — man, my glutes hurt!!) knows, which is a very different experience.

The last several years, I’ve tried to find balance in my training between pushing myself to become a better martial artist, and being kind to myself. Frankly, I know that I tend towards the lazy side of the spectrum, but on the other hand, I know that if I push too hard, I burn out and abandon activities I wanted to love.

For example, one reason I sporadically attended sparring prior to my candidate belt was because I didn’t want to bring a bad attitude to the mat. Not so much out of worry over unleashing my dark side…



…as much as fear of facing that utterly deflated feeling I sometimes get when I’m poorly coping with too many things at once. I forced myself to come to class once when I was in that state, hoping to knock myself out of it, and ended up flat on my ass during a routine kick combo, crying my eyes out. Hashtag #awesome! Also, hashtag #awwwwwkward.

Anyway, it’s not that I’m getting overwhelmed and wish I could bail. There’s a level of freedom in simply taking yourself as you are on any given day on the mat, without judgement or apprehension. (Maybe I should thank my new meditation practice for that.) One week, I go to sparring and I’m on fire. The next, every time someone throws a hook, I get popped in the noggin. I think I tripped over Steve last week, and I wasn’t even sparring him!

I’m slowly getting to that point where I’ll make the shift from “knowing” that this is going to be hard, to knowing that it’s hard. But, realizing that I’m in it for the long haul, and also seeing several manageable milestones ahead of me that I can use as benchmarks, has shifted my perspective a little, away from a frenetic burnout and towards a less intense, slow burn that I can maintain over the next few months. (I hope.)

So, yeah. It’s week four, and I’m pretty tired in ways I hadn’t anticipated, but I’m pretty sure I can handle it. Many thanks, as always, to all my teammates, coaches, friends and family. I might not show it, but your support (even the occasional, “nice one, E!”) totally keeps me going.

4 thoughts on “The Difference Between Knowing, and Knowing

  1. Isn’t there a saying that simply showing up is half the battle? Or maybe its 80% of the battle? Whatever, you get the point.

    I remember the law enforcement academy was somewhere around four months. I remember thinking at the beginning of it, “What the heck did I sign up for?” But each day I just showed up and did whatever I could.

    I fully admit that some of those days I came ready to kick ass, while other days I just barely dragged myself in and was one step away from quitting. Some of the days I had awesome results, while others I got everyone in my entire academy yelled at for something I did (I am not exaggerating). If it hadn’t been for a talk from Brad, I probably would have quit in the middle after a particularly bad week. But I didn’t…

    The best advice I can give you is just don’t give up. I look back at that time now for myself and realized passing that class literally changed my life and made me the person I am today. I think this achievement will have the same opportunity for you.

    1. Thanks for that, Sam… because on some level I keep thinking that this is a somewhat pointless venture (or at least, a very selfish one). At least you come through the academy with the skills to help people and make Reno safer. But that kind of negative thinking isn’t totally true. Self improvement is always a bonus in your good relationships, and also in your interactions with strangers.

      And I totally “just showed up” to training this week on a day I otherwise would have skipped. I even managed to not cry until I got back to my car! (…I was just REALLY tired, lol.) Ironically, it was another kick combo day.

  2. Every time you train you are honing your skills on a physical and mental level. I totally understand about not wanting to bring outside stress or tension into your training, and thus not wanting to attend class. But even though I have felt similarly in the past, I always walked away from those classes in a better mood.

    And I’m sure I have already said, “we are our own worst critic/enemy”. Don’t be too hard on yourself for any one particular performance during training. If we could execute everything perfectly already, hell, we’d all be blackbelts! We are all going to have off days, as well as days where everything is perfectly shiny. It just comes with the territory. So,Go Elaine, Go! You got this!

    1. Thanks Rand!! Our BKJN always says that the mat is where we should be able to come and just put aside everything else to focus on training, which is great for stress relief. And sometimes that’s totally true. Other times I’m just a total spaz lol.

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