A Bit of Honesty
Without a doubt, my experience this weekend was humbling. As I digest what I learned, I have had a chance to look deep in the mirror. My performance on Saturday, especially, just makes me wonder.
I have journal entries that state “Who is this guy?” after bad workouts or poor competitive performances. I try to disassociate myself from bad efforts as it seems to keep one emotionally (and probably all the other “allys,” too) moving forward.
I came in injured, maybe just hurt. I have been struggling with this hip issue and blew it up two weeks ahead of time with a new state record in the snatch (not much of a lift, but, well, whatever). Then, a week out, I popped my left elbow doing lots of pullups. I swore I had never been hurt before, but Tiffini (my wife who, for whatever reason, continues to love me) noted “Yes, except for that one surgery on that elbow, you have never injured it.”
The RKC experience is an opportunity to get called out physically, intellectually and emotionally. By Day Two, I was a wreck and I began to literally shrink. Pavel and Brett were wonderful in their encouragement and, honestly, I couldn’t find a better partner than Jeff McComb.
Here is the issue: I couldn’t do a windmill, I couldn’t do a Bent Press, I couldn’t do anything. The pullups and pistols work (where I just got EXPOSED) had left me sore. Moreover, I shrunk. It was like being on the bad end of a big loss; I got smaller.
I couldn’t push my hips, I couldn’t twist…I was done. “Who is this guy?”
Sunday, I think I rallied back even to the point of doing extra work and finding who I am again. The ideas have been tossing around in my head since then: how much emotional impact is there in physical training? Did I, as I assumed (I think wrongly now) “shrink” in front of my cadre?
This insight leaped me into a great realization about why training to failure is such…a failure. You literally make failure a normative movement. The body responds by saving itself the time and effort by reducing the time and effort it takes to fail.
On Sunday, I could do a Windmill even though “on paper,” I was trashed. Today, teaching my javelin throwers, I nailed a Windmill that would make Goddess DuCane not wince and would only encourage Team Leader Jones to make 20 or so corrections (well below the mark from this weekend when I did my work).
So, I sat there spinning this around my head wondering about the impact of emotions upon our training. Is it possible that “Stage Fright” can have the same impact on participants at a clinic? I think “yes.” I have always understood the importance of the emotional side of lifting, that all consuming rage that is masked by a face of calm and humor, but now I am also thinking that it can destroy something as simple as a “Kettlebell Yoga” move like the windmill.
It’s like a rhetorical question: one can answer right, but the speaker will still correct the answer. On Saturday, I let my embarrassment of physical laxity drain my ability to perform. Like a fifth grade girl singing “Tomorrow” and forgetting it’s only a day away, I tightened up and ruined my ability to be “me.”
Not that “me” is so great, but the insight that if I panic under the stress of the friendly atmosphere of the RKC II, one can only imagine the stress of our students, clients and athletes when we call upon them to go outside their little comfort zone. Literally, I had to reinvent myself in just a few hours to let myself “go” and move again at our certification.
The emotional hit of floundering was unexpected and humbling. But, I won’t forget the lessons.