Monday, July 26, 2010

That MMMPH You Hear Is the Sound of Maternal Disapproval

So, in answer to the most common question I get these days, "What is Ronda doing?"
Followed by the second most common question, "What do YOU think about that?"

Ronda is teaching at the West Coast Judo Training Center every weekend, where she does a great job, along with fellow coaches Richard (Blinky) Elizalde, Gary Butts, Victor Ortiz, jiu-jitsu black belt Sam Garcia, and the occasional old lady (that would be me) putting in a guest appearance. 

MMMPPHH (That is my maternal disapproval sound.) She is also competing in grappling and MMA. Last weekend she competed at the tournament hosted by Gokor Chivichiyan and Gene LeBell's club, Hayastan, in the men's middleweight division. She "accidentally" left her phone off so I did not know she was competing, because I could have gone to Hollywood and watched her. This is EXACTLY like the last time she was in a tournament in Los Angeles, competing in the men's division, several years ago. My husband had taken her to the tournament because I had to pick someone up from the airport. When I called him to see if she had anyone to fight he told me she was competing in the men's 180 lb and under division and she had said that 

"Mom always lets me do it."

 I said, with my usual calm demeanor, 

"WHAT?!! Let me talk to her! Give the phone to that child!"

The conversation went like this.

"What? What? Mom, I can't hear you. Must be static on the phone. Bzzzz. Bye."


(In case you are wondering, yes, she did win that tournament and the one on Sunday, too.)

So, now she has three MMA fights scheduled. Do I approve of it? Hell no. It involves someone trying to punch my baby girl in the face. Hell, no, I don't approve of it! The only way in which this would be even remotely acceptable to me is if the other person just lay down and let her pound on them, and it STILL wouldn't really be okay. I would be sitting there grumbling,

"Look at that person getting all their nasty blood all over Ronda. That's disgusting! I'll bet that won't wash out."


My only consolation in all of this is that some day, she will have children of her own. I am taking lots of pictures now so that when I rat her out to her own kids when she is making that MMMMPHHHH sound, I will have photographic evidence.

Monday, July 12, 2010

You Can't Sunbathe Your Way to Success

At practice this weekend, there was some complaining about the extra rounds of randori (yes, I heard you.  I 'm old, not deaf. )

MANY years ago, Rusty Kanokogi had a trainer meet with the women's world team. This was back when the whole idea of a strength and conditioning coach or a personal trainer was just a radically new concept. It was also back before everyone who couldn't get a real job was calling himself a personal trainer.

The people that met with us were the real deal. Their other clients included a professional ballet group and a major league baseball team. I don't remember what particular exercises we were supposed to do. I probably didn't do them. If Rusty was around, she would be the first to tell you that obedience was never one of my virtues. (Is obedience a virtue? I don't think it is.)

What I do remember is the trainer telling us that one day they brought both the baseball players and the ballet dancers to their gym at the same time. They looked out into the weight room and all the baseball players were lifting weights and all the ballet dancers were stretching!  Even before I started coaching, I got the point of this story - people were working on what they were already good at. The ballet dancers really needed to be stronger and the baseball players really needed to be more flexible.

YOU GET BETTER WHEN YOU GET OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE.  Read that last sentence seven or eight times. Have it tattooed upside down on your chest so you can see it every time you look down.

You know why so many people want to do throws instead of randori? Because just like the baseball players and the ballet dancers, they look good doing it.

A lot of people don't want to fight. They talk a good game. They lift hard in the gym. But when it comes to standing on that line and showing what they're made of, they have a million excuses.

"I did that yesterday."
"One more round of randori isn't going to help me win."
"I could get injured and not be able to compete in the real match that counts."

 (I have NEVER understood how you can be too injured to train but not too injured to compete, no matter how many times I hear that stupid line.)

Most people, deep down, don't want to fight that often. They're afraid. They're afraid to lose, afraid to get hurt, afraid that people will look at them and think they look stupid.

You can't get better by just doing what's fun or whatever you feel most like doing on that particular day. Okay, maybe you weren't sunbathing. I'll bet those baseball players were lifting really heavy weights and were probably sore after practice. It wasn't what they needed. What they needed was to get pushed out of where they felt comfortable and to work on whatever it was they really didn't want to do.

Guess what? As a coach, your job is to push your athletes outside of that comfort zone.  If you're just going to help people be comfortable and agree with them, you may as well be that guy by the pool bringing the drinks with the little umbrellas in them. I mean, that guy is cool and all. But he's not a coach.