As many of you know, I've studied aikido and other martial arts and a fan of MMA and other martial sports. In my own home workout routine, I incorporate a lot of martial arts practice. While I'm never going to be a fighter, I have fun, I appreciate the way it enhances my discipline, focus, and balance, and it's also just great exercise. I try never to practice bad form or bad practices.
There's one attack called a flying knee. As you might imagine, it's more or less a leaping high knee-kick in the air. It's generally ill-advised and impractical, but it's fun to watch, fun to do, and can be devastating on occasion.
And so, from time to time, I reward myself by letting myself practice a flying knee against the reflex bag.
About a week ago, I hit a really strong groove with the flying knee. I'll never look as sharp as Umar Kahn (the fighter pictured above), but my form was good, my movement quick and on target, and the blow had some power. And when it was done the inner half of my right knee was pretty purple and sore.
Last night was the first time after then that I tried to work some flying knees in again. They were terrible. I mean, just awful. Weak, slow, clumsy, off-target. Just rotten. Then I realized I was being a little gun shy. I had a momentary conversation with myself where I admitted that it's pretty stupid to practice flying knees at my level anyway and thereby tried to talk myself out of continuing with them.
Nothing doing. Not on those terms.
I made myself go harder.
Finally, I was connecting again. They weren't great, but they were connecting.
Then I switched over to the left knee. My left knee was rocking pretty well.
If you don't know what a reflex bag is, it's a small punching bag on a metal bar that's the spring-loaded into a heavy base. It's great for cardio and for working on timing and movement.
When I'm practicing flying knees, I'm leaping up and knee-kicking the punching bag target.
That's what was happening when I pushed myself and got the right knee going. That's also what was happening when I had the left knee rocking.
Hard against the metal bar.
My left knee is killing me today. Nothing like a real fighter injury, of course, but painful enough.
But last night, when I was hobbling right after, I took a second to shake it off, and then I made myself go it at one more time, just so that I didn't let it beat me.
Bruises come. Bruises go. But remembering that awesome flying knee? That's the kind of thing that can propel you onward.
The same for that great flash fiction piece.
That little pencil sketch you did.
The perfect cup of coffee you brewed.
The meal you cooked.
The way you folded that shirt just dang right.
Push through the bruises. Let yourself enjoy the flying knees. Fuel off your little smiles and drive through the obstacles. I know it's cheesy, but it's also a lot more satisfying.