23 Apr 2009

Family matters

I love being a family man. My kids, my wife, my folks, the in-laws, the whole caboodle. But occasionally I ponder the fact that all this family time means I will never reach my full potential as a martial artist. The guys I train with and the guys that compete think nothing of training 4 - 5 times a week. Some train even more than this. Me, I'm lucky to get two mid-week sessions of BJJ in.

In my heyday, I was packing in 5-6 sessions of various martial arts a week (see my '7-day slam' posts: day1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Fast forward to today and I feel more like one of those 'mature' contestants on reality shows who are giving it 'one last shot' because they never got the breaks when they were younger.

But it's not all doom, in fact my family can help and inspire in ways I didn't think was ever possible...

My kids are the greatest source of inspiration ever. My little boy, 18 months old and so full of life and energy I can only marvel at this little dynamo. For little toddlers like him, everything is instinctive and self learned. Like the way he stands up in base - straight from the Gracie school of basics (hand on ground, nearside foot placed behind said hand, stand up in base and ready for fight or flight). His breakfalls are amazing. In fact his favourite game is to fall flat on his face and 'breakfall' with his hands at the last possible moment. He thinks its funny.
Then there are his attempts to beat me up. seriously, he grabs my legs for a takedown, and when I comply and do a comedy fall, he sits in full mount and starts slapping my face in true UFC stylee. I swear I did not teach him this stuff, he just does it.

My 3 and a half year old daughter is completely different, but no less inspirational. Where my son pushes, she yields, where he hits, she evades...and so on. Sometimes she shows jaw dropping flexibility - she can prop her leg over her head and behind her neck, and do the splits at will. All her natural abilities are facets that us adults have long ago lost.

Both of them never cease to amaze me with their fun, play and zest for life. Of course, they can be real pains in the bum too, but that's another story.

My wife, the long suffering missus who endures my martial arts obsession with good humour and interest is a great support. She actually showed a lot of promise as a competing kickboxer and trad JJ player before the rigours of kids and a busy job got in the way. Recently, she asked if I would help her get back into fitness and we started doing our own in-house gym sessions. I forgot what great fun it was to partner up together. We work on the pads, some trad JJ and BJJ drills. I have to admit, she's still got a very useful left hook!

Even my pops, well into his 80's and crippled by a stroke and arthritis asked if I could help him with some simple mobility and weights exercises. I mean I'm no physio, but I showed him some simple arm and leg movements and basic dumbbell exercises that would help warm the joints and muscles up a bit. He seemed to like doing them.

These are just a few examples of how my family help to inspire and motivate me. Martial arts is not just a hobby, it is a way of life. No, I don't mean like you have to walk around acting like a ninja. What I mean is that many parts that make up your life outside the dojo can be viewed
in the context of martial arts.

I may not be able to train 5 times a week, but I do have a living, breathing, loving, 24-hour academy that is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year...whether I want it or not!

About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


Isaac said...

Congrats for your family and life.
That's something a few people can say they have, and you should be prouder of that than doing well in a competition.

All of us want to train more. I'm not a professional, and I always want to train more, be better, etc...
The problem is that I want to do that in everything I do, not only in BJJ.
And there is only 24h per day :-)

Life is a trade off, and we have to choose.
IMHO, your choices are the best you could do.


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