Well, the new year buzz has died down and the jinx of new years resolutions is safely behind us. I spent some time in January reflecting on 2013; the things that I tried for the first time, things that I continued working on, and old hobbies that I rediscovered. After some consideration, I developed a challenge for myself that I would like to pursue over the month of February to help me overcome some pretty major mental roadblocks.
Before I get into the specifics of the challenge, I want to explain the reasoning behind the need for it. I think it's important to write this kind of thing down somewhere to hold myself accountable.
I started taking classes at Fight or Flight Academy in 2012. By started I mean, I took a couple of parkour classes and then never went back because I had more excuses than I had motivation. When they started offering Krav Maga classes, I managed to convince myself to start going to the gym again. I made a few friends at FOFA and attendance became more of a habit. After some time, I started itching to give parkour another try and for a while I was going pretty darn often. During the summer of 2013, I started training outside and was even recording video of my training to keep track of progress. FOFA made me student of the month for October, which would have felt great if that momentum had kept going...
October was when excuses started to surface. An ankle injury in September put me out of commission for a few weeks, but once that healed, I started finding all sorts of reasons not to go to the gym. Then, when holiday season kicked into high gear, I was invited to participate in Art and Soul, and that consumed my life for the better part of November and December. I started pulling myself out of hibernation in January but was only going to a class here and there. Now, looking back on the training I have done, I'd be hard pressed to say if I've made much progress.
Taking one class every other week doesn't allow for much improvement. It doesn't give me time to be comfortable with movement, to gain the strength that many of the skills require, or the opportunities to explore and play with what I'm learning. Sure, I "know" what I'm supposed to do, because I've heard Chad and Skinny explain it a hundred times, but without practice it's just words and no ability.
That brings me to my silly way to jump start my training and prepare for spring. (Anyone else have cabin fever?)
For the month of February, I want to attend at least one class for every day Fight or Flight Academy is open. By my count, assuming they aren't closed for another snow day or an event, that means 24 classes. If I can't make it to a class one day, that means I've got to make up for it with an additional class another day. Twenty four classes of dedicated training time. In addition to that, I must attend at least one open gym session a week to continue training what I'm learning in class. I've never actually gone to an open gym, which happens nightly at FOFA. I'm embarrassed to say that I'm just too chicken to show up. The idea of practicing around people with little-to-no guidance triggers all kinds of happy little insecurities.
This challenge is pretty aggressive, considering that November and December were almost entirely devoid of gym time and January hasn't been much better. However, I'm convinced that it's doable and extremely important if I expect to see any amount of improvement in the near future.
Today I came across this blog post on Apex Movement's site about why one practitioner hates (loves) parkour because he sucks at it. It felt fitting given all of this other stuff I've been thinking about. Sure, I suck at parkour; it hurts, it makes me uncomfortable, it makes my face turn red with exertion (and some people delight in pointing that out to me, THANKS JOSH!!!). But I love it anyway.
The obstacles aren't just physical, they're mental, too. I've got a lot of work to do before I will feel truly comfortable telling people that I'm training in parkour. Right now it just feels like a joke.
I'll try to keep people posted in how I'm doing. But most importantly, if any of this inspires you to give it a try, come check out one of FOFA's free introduction classes on Wednesday nights or Saturday afternoons. They're running a deal for people that sign up after the intro class and I can guarantee that you'll be hooked once you give it a try. I'll even join you to help take the edge off of trying a new thing. I certainly need the practice!
Can't wait to see what February brings!