Man, you know what sucks? Thinking “If I had only started doing [insert martial art here] when I was 16 years old…” — I catch myself doing that some days. There is one guy in our gym who is sixteen years old and the energy he has blows my mind. He’s taking CrossFit, Muay Thai, and BJJ classes consecutively several days a week and still looks perky at 9 p.m., while I crawl home after 1.5 to 2h of class. Now, there is of course the question of how long he’ll be able to sustain that level of activity, but let’s not think about this, because this is about me! Hah.
Anyway, things are the way they are and aside from the many mental and physical benefits I get from martial arts training one that I didn’t expect was realizing my age and that the body is a machine that has to be maintained beyond eating right and working out. For the last month or so I’ve seen a chiropractor because of a pinched nerve in my back and it turns out that the main cause, or at least something that is severely aggravating the pain/discomfort, is a huge knot that sits right next to my spine at the lower end of my scapula.
To make a long story short, say hello to my new best friends:
My brother gave me the roller for Christmas last year and while I did roll around on it now and then, I never did so seriously or consistently. Now I’m rollering like a madman, squeezing those muscles and whatnot. And it really, really helps. Additionally, I’ve started doing the yoga flows that Stephen Kesting published as a DVD specifically for grapplers, because I figured hip and spinal mobility is not the worst thing to develop and maintain in general and for BJJ in particular. I like the exercises and we do bits and pieces of it in class, but it’s nice to have a ca. 1h flow you can just follow along with. It’s nothing fancy at all and the positions are pretty basic, but they definitely does the trick.
I’m also looking into some sports-specific workouts to do in addition to the weekly classes, because at the end of the day the knots and tightness in my upper back come from, well, over-stressing those muscles. Right now I’m gravitating towards Ginastica Natural (video), because, again, we do parts of it as warm-ups in class, and I like the flow-based workouts and the grappling-based movements.
I guess the point is that I’ve noticed that I also need to pay attention to maintaining and taking care of my body in addition to rolling and boxing and whatnot and pay attention to my body. I’ve never been an athlete, so all these little aches and pains are new to me and I’m learning the difference between the ones I have to pay attention to and the ones are just a normal part of the game.