The martial arts is not just about what happens in the school but what happens outside the school . So the challenge is on again! Richard called me, ‘this is the challenge to end all challenges, so you better get yourself in shape, Adams', and hanged up. We're both recovering well from our injuries so there are no more excuses. The last challenge, which left me in several pieces on the ground was not enough for Richard, because he says that I keep getting up and coming back for more!
Richard's now spending a lot of time in the gym (he must be worried). In fact, he called me, the other day, about this 'never seen before' high tech weight machine from Europe he's been working out with and that I better give it up (the challenge). I said, ‘you’re going to need all the help you can get, Mr Norton’.
This got me thinking. What is it about challenges? It’s really all about the journey, not the destination (nice cliché). When I took up training BJJ three years ago it was time for another challenge – this has got to be the mid life crisis of martial arts. At first, you see just a couple of guys rolling around on the mats trying to tear their heads off. Eventually you realise how deep and meaningful it really is. Is it complicated? I prefer the word, challenging.
I'm now approaching 35 years in the martial arts. I despise how people say they have been in the game for so long, by counting their toddler years, 15 years break in between and their school hopping years (never really getting good at anything) My BJJ training is relatively new but few people would do what I do because my approach is different to that of a student. I now have over 420 hours experience on the mats which includes instruction from the very best, Richard Norton, John Will, Steve Perceval and Rob Naumoski. Not to mention seminars with Rigan Machado, Paulo Guimaraes and teaching my students in Sydney, Canberra and Qld. This has been a great boost for my confidence since my accident in 2002.
I remember, John Will, showing an MMA takedown which he improved as result of caressing his knee after surgery. Well, that now has just opened up a new ball game for me. With my injuries, that is going to put John out of business! I have to find ways to make things happen which actually end up improving the techniques. One of my senior Black Belts, Dr Chris, showed me his way of doing a Standing Guard Pass which is so easy to do and minimises potential back strain; that come about of necessity because of his back concerns.
Getting back on our feet, the BJJ would not be much use to us without the stand-up training. A bit like a sprinter who can't swim. So I am very consciouss of my grass roots before getting on my knees.
Back to the Challenge – I know what the prize is and Mr Norton can have it!