Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tapping Out is Learning

It only took about a week to realize I should get a mouth guard for martial arts classes. First I got clocked in the jaw while holding the pads for a guy. His kick was a little more than powerful than I imagined.  He said I didn't even flinch when I face got hit though. Well, at least now we know I keep my eyes open while getting pummeled. Later, I discovered I'd chewed up the inside of my mouth while getting tossed around in Jiu Jitsu. Then I realized I have a little trouble keeping my tongue in my mouth when I'm exerting myself. So, yeah, a mouth guard seemed like a good idea. I'd like to keep my tongue attached as long as possible.

Needless to say I was pretty happy to have one the last time I went to Jiu Jitsu. I lost track of how many times I tapped out, which I'm pretty sure was the point since every time my favorite rolling partner tapped me out I'd hear coach yell at him to do it again. Apparently I needed to learn to tap out BEFORE something actually hurts.

This is a really difficult concept for an ultrarunner to grasp. 

Seriously it took me days to mull this over. In my head, tapping out and quitting were the same and I fu*!ing hate quitting.  Especially multiple times in 10 minutes.

I was still wrapping my head around this whole concept a few days later when I started chatting with one of the guys while flopped on the floor exhausted after Muay Thai class. This is sort of how class always goes for me. I think I can't do whatever it is the coach is asking me to do. Somehow I find a way to do it.  Forty five minutes later I collapse on the floor with my muscles literally shaking to rest for 15 minutes before the next class starts. Thankfully this is usually what everyone else is doing too so we chat. So, during this chat with my new friend whose name I was either too tired to ask or was too delirious to remember, my frustration with tapping out came up. Wise new friend of course had a pretty simple solution to my struggle. He said something like this,

"Stop thinking of it as quitting. Tapping out isn't quitting, it's learning. Every time you tap out you learn something. Sometimes you just have to tap out 5 times for the same reason before you figure out what you're learning."

Well ain't that the truth.  I have a feeling I'm so stubborn it might be more like 10 times. 

So tomorrow it's time to get right back at it. Tapping out. Learning. Facing a few fears. Keeping my tongue in my mouth. Doing stuff I thought I couldn't. Making new friends and learning their names....

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