Sunday, June 22, 2008


No picture yet, I'll try to get one.

Last weekend a small group of the KDT guys made it down to Singapore to go train with Rodney King. Unfortunately, we were almost all of us injured or sick. Vince had some really bad food poisoning, Mike cut up his hand in a freak accident with exploding beer bottles, and on the Singapore side, Kon was out of action with stitches in his forehead, while Sul also had food poisoning (but he was ok for the second day of training). It was a bummer also because Adam and Jem were not able to make it down from Bangkok, as Adam hurt his elbow and shin in one of his Muay Thai fights.

As for me, I had a really weird thing going on with the middle knuckle on my left hand. About 2 weeks earlier I hurt it on Mike's forehead. Wasn't a hard shot, just one of those things. I suppose I didn't take enough care of it, because on the Friday we got there, it literally ballooned up. It was a bit scary and really strange. A lot of ice helped with the swelling and the blood stuck around for a few days after, making half my hand really purple. Going to the doctor tomorrow.

The trip was pretty fun regardless, we got to see some good friends there and it's a treat to watch Rodney in action. I learned a lot just watching him coach basics. He also showed a few drills which were really interesting and will definitely make their way into CMD classes at KDT. I'm really looking forward to the week-long CMD retreat in November!


Bottoms-up cleans are MUCH easier with Pro Series kettlebells.

What can I say, I couldn't find my sneakers.

Assistant coach Chui led stretches for the day.

Posing down after a hard morning's work.


...about my training journal. And by that, I don't mean this blog. Instead, I'm talking about the actual notebook that I scribble in every now and then.

I've got this thing where I'm mad about brand new notebooks. I love everything about them: from the way the pages smell, to the sound they make when you flip the pages, to the feel of high-quality paper. It's especially the case for high-end notebooks, like the kind with the built-in rubber band, so they don't flop open, and the pocket in the back for loose sheets of paper.

I just hate writing in them.

It kills me when I have to start writing in a really nice book, because it's like I've just condemned it. Its future is now etched in stone. If I rip out a page so I can use the book for something else, I've just taken away a little part of its soul.

The worst part, though, the WORST part? There was a time when I was absolutely horrified of writing anything in my notebook about my BJJ classes until I had - and I know how this will sound - positively every aspect of every technique ready to put into print. Never mind the ignorance of assuming this was even possible. Let me explain.

Guy obsessed with getting everything positively right the first time with a notebook + constantly evolving system of combat sports = not fun. To illustrate, imagine the following internal dialogue:

"OK, right. So. I'll just start writing the alphabet in this book, with my ballpoint pen. So...whatever I write...will be permanent. So I need the first page for 'A', the second page for 'G' and the third for 'Y'...OK I can do this, I can do this, just breathe. Just breathe. Relax. I'm just going to write down some letters in a book. In order. But great Caesar's ghost, what happens if THERE'S A LETTER BETWEEN A AND G?!?!"

You get the idea, I hope.

Yes I know, there's something a little wrong with me. I mean, I'm no Tony Shalhoub. I think this is the only thing I ever really get all OCD over.

I've had the same book since last september. I started writing in it after last year's Australian BJJ Nationals, when I was on the train to Geelong for a visit to John Will's gym. The train was really jerky so the writing for the first 10 pages or so is frighteningly sloppy.

When I got back home I found some old notes from a seminar earlier in the year. I didn't want to lose them, so I copied them into the book. Pretty soon I started using it to take notes on CMD classes. Thoughts and things I had learned about coaching also made it into the notebook. I ended up writing in the book from both ends, so now there's just a bit of space left in the middle.

I'm trying to save enough space to make it last until after this year's Australian Nationals, at least, so I've been going back and looking for pages where I didn't write on both sides of a page to scribble in the latest notes.

When I look back at things I wrote just a few months ago I see rubbish and I wonder what I was thinking. That's OK, because I can flip just a couple of pages and be reminded of something I may have forgotten about, and have it become a meaningful addition to my game after some drilling. And who knows, a few months from now I may look back through my notebook and yesterday's 'awesome' will have become today's 'this is a joke, right?'.

I can, with some embarrassment, trace the progression of my game through the kind of notes I take, which for me is really cool to think about. It's also helpful that having a notebook does not mean I can just totally forget about stuff. In addition to the mat time I spend drilling something, I've also taken the time to write it down, which makes me think about it and analyse it enough to be able to articulate it.

The purpose of this is to say, just get a book and write in it. To an extent, it doesn't matter what you write, just as long as you get started. Write down things you learned in class, things you feel, things you think won't work, whatever. I mean, not to sound facetious, but if I can do it, I think anyone can. The trick is, if you are even half as obsessive as I am, don't think about it...start writing before your OCD defense mechanism knows what hit it.

It also helped that my notebook is ringed, and not bound with glue. It drives me absolutely up the wall when the spine on one of my books is damaged.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


...Stays these crazy kettlebellers from getting it on in public.

I've just arrived home after our first Kettlebells In The Park workout, held in TTDI park. The KDT bunch was joined by Jonathan Wong and friends from the Pushmore gym, which was really cool.

We got off to a late start, because it was raining a bit and there was also a pretty big event being held in the park, so there was quite a lot of traffic in and around the area. Fortunately I was one of the few who got there on time and managed to score myself a parking spot. The area where we got to work out was actually quite far in, so just getting there, while hanging on to a kettlebell, was a good warmup in itself.

I had made the decision to switch down in weight for today's session, passing my current 20kg kettlebell over in favour of a 16kg (fortunately they were both Pro Series kettlebells, so nobody could tell I was cheating). It turned out to be a pretty smart decision.

The KDT group was the first to arrive so we were already doing snatches, swings and squats. When the Pushmore gang joined and everything got under way, though, it turned out to be a really good workout! We did another several hundred swings, snatches, presses, jerks, squats and slingshots.

For me, the killer was when we did our sets of swings. First Cliff, then Thong and finally myself, each counted out 50 swings (25 each hand) and everyone followed along. In between each set, nobody could put the kettlebells down, and we were made to do slingshots as an active recovery exercise. By the time I was done we had gone through about 150 swings - which was really challenging for me, first thing in the morning - and we weren't even halfway finished!

I did manage to find one thing out for myself though. Placing my kettlebell on the floor with the handle perpendicular to me, and my hands on either side with my fingers pointing towards the ground, pushups are a great way to stretch out my wrists. Being that the swings only tired out my forearms, wrists and fingers - my triceps and pecs were still right fresh.

Lots of fun was had by all, and I'm seriously looking forward to the next time we get to drag ourselves out of our warm beds at 8 in the morning on a rainy Sunday to go hurl my kettlebell in a park with all the joggers and mosquitoes!

I'll be looking to put up pics of the workout, though since I didn't bring a camera, I'm rather at the mercy of those who did.
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