Sunday, 13 July 2014

Common Sense Before Valour

For the last 4 weeks I've been in Plakias. A wonderful holiday resort in Crete, Greece that my father retired to about 17 years ago. Officially it's a fishing village with an indigenous population of about 150. Unofficially it's a party town from May to October where people go to have a lot of F.U.N.

When I set off I had every intention of visiting a Krav Maga club in Athens on the mainland of Greece and training for one session with a club there. This was all arranged via e-mail before I set out but then life got in the way. The Greek KMG director was at the International Director's meeting in Israel for the first chunk of my vacation and after that my brother got sick so that didn't occur (but will either later on this year or next summer when I go back).

My brother is into martial arts, holding a black belt in Judo and a blue belt in Jiu Jitsu. He also boxes, so set up a makeshift punch bag outside my dad's apartment, hanging from one of the wooden beams, and we had the grand total of TWO sessions on that before the hangovers began to conquer my desire to remain Kravvy.

I'd also vowed I'd continue my regime of 70 inclined push ups every day and 100 abdominal crunches. Happened the first day only.

Reality is, that unless you are very focussed and seriously “into” getting and keeping super fit, a holiday is not the place to try and keep up a training schedule.

I spent a month drinking heavily nearly every day; doing shots like they were going out of style; eating ice cream for pudding meal; gobbling down a full English breakfast about 4 days a week; wolfing down a pitta gyro at least once every 2 days (a kebab with chips in it); and having hangovers that made me contemplate genocide. I did virtually no exercise (couple of scuba dives, some swimming and a lot of walking) and would sleep in till about lunchtime most days

Bottom line is that I'm now officially unfit. As much as I want to go back to Krav and train with my club again, I'm also well aware that my body needs just a little TLC before I throw myself back into this. My chief instructor Bartosz is one of the best there is, and being that good he expects a commitment from his students that I'm normally happy to give. Last year though, I came back from Plakias after a month of doing whatever the hell I liked, and nearly puked during the warm up...about 5 minutes into the session.

So this year, I've got a different plan.

On the plane from Crete to London I ordered a cup of tomato soup and a pot of lentils with spicy couscous (menu option 5), even though I was salivating at the thought of a bacon and cheese hero sandwich, a cup of filter coffee and a Twix chocolate bar (menu option 2).

I landed back in England yesterday morning at 2am (Saturday 12th July) and slept like the dead until about 11am once I got home. I had bran flakes for breakfast, and made some soup and had a fruit smoothie for lunch and dinner. That night I chilled out in front of the TV with season 2 of “Sons of Anarchy” and again slept like the recently deceased until 11am today. I went for a bike ride of 5 or so miles (about half the distance I usually go) and came back and had a cup of soup for lunch.

I know guys who hurl themselves into Krav at every given opportunity, even if hungover or ill. Problem is that that usually invokes further issues and even possibly prolonged absence from training due to making their bodies feel a hell of a lot worse. Having trained while “under the weather” I know how you must feel at least 95% fit in order to gain anything from sports, especially something as cardio-based as Krav Maga.

My body is different now to how it was a month ago. I've gained about half a stone, I have a lot less stamina and my endurance is low. Not to mention that anyone using the toilet after me currently needs to take a canary in a cage in there with them.

Either later this week or early next week, I will return to my club and get stuck in. I'm itching to go back there now, but won't. One of the things Krav has showed me is that sometimes it pays to be patient and not run but walk.

So that one may walk in peace. Not fall to pieces.

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