Archive for September, 2010

And here I thought I was in shape!

There’s nothing quite like a sweaty, 250lb man lying on top of you to make you realize your cardiovascular system needs some work. You may think I’m describing a recent date I had, but I’m sorry to disappoint that it is not. I still very much enjoy women and if I had my choice of something laying on me, a large man would be one of the last things on my list right up there with a looney tunes anvil . 

Last night was somewhat of a typical night at Krav Maga where we get down and dirty and try to receive a very small taste of what a fighting for your life might feel like. Our instructor likes to run a drill called ‘The Circle of Life’. The drill consists of 5 attackers that surround you and constantly attack you with chokes, headlocks, bear hugs and often times sticks, knives and guns. The point of the exercise is to get your brain to stop thinking about ‘oh what should I do next’ and just react. If you were attacked on the street there would be no time to stop and think or assess the situation, you would just have to react. The drill also helps give you a sample of the tunnel vision and hearing that often comes when your adrenaline kicks in. When the fight is on and your fight or flight response is amped up you lose the ability of your fine motor skills. So unfortunately that means your super-secret-one-fingered death poke is out which is why Krav stresses gross motor movements like elbows, knees and headbutts.

For us advanced students going through the circle of life is still stressful but often we get into a rhythm and thus we don’t benefit from the drill as much as we should. Last night our instructor decided to mix things up and had us execute our combatives but our attackers were to keep attacking as if our strikes didn’t work. Oh man, talk about stressful. A simple choke from the front morphed into a double leg takedown which morphed into 250lbs of man pressing down on me while I struggled to get up. When I finally broke free another set of burly hands were quick to grab me from behind and pull me back to the ground. When I broke free again a headlock came on and yanked me sideways towards the ground. I gave it everything I had, but by this timemy arms were moving like cherry jello in a glass bowl.

When my round was finally over I was spent……all after only 1 minute. Yikes. My lungs were heaving and my legs were ho-ing (does that make sense?). I haven’t felt misery like that in a long time and it took several minutes to get myself back in order. Today I can feel that drill through my back, neck shoulders and legs, amazing! Nearly every day I work out and do weights, running or kickboxing but it appears I need to step it up a notch. Time to get back to the stairs or time to engage myself in more ground fighting before I test for the next level this coming November.

I heard an instructor once say if you can’t fight for your life for at least 2 minutes then forget about it. He’s right. 2 minutes may not seem like a big deal but when you’re on your back and someone bigger than you is choking you while you struggle to get free, 10 seconds feels like an eternity, let alone 2 minutes. Train train train.


Confused drivers and bon-bons

The roads around my office are a mess and have been for over a year. They’ve been that way ever since the City of Portland thought it would be a good idea to install a max line on Grand/MLK and to change the flow of traffic on Burnside and Couch. Nearly every day there is a new street closed or changed in some way making it difficult to get to work on time (or at least that’s my excuse).

My office is tucked away on a dead end street just off of Grand Ave. I love seeing people that think they are smart by taking the side streets around all of the construction mess only to turn onto our little street and realize it’s not a through street. It warms my heart to watch them make the 10-point turn of shame to get turned around and backtrack where they came from. To make matters worse the street south of our office used to be a through street but has been temporarily turned into a dead end due to the huge hole the city is digging into the ground. In order to not surprise anyone there are large orange and white signs that say “ROAD CLOSED” and behind the signs is a menacing back-hoe digger thing that tears the street up. Still this doesn’t stop some people.

I was nearly to my office this morning when I stopped at a stop sign waiting to cross the road with the menacing back-hoe digger and bright orange and white signs. To my right a green Subaru Outback slowly crept down the street. Sitting in the driver’s seat was a woman in her early 60’s wearing a red blazer, large 1980’s style glasses and golden seashell earrings the size of bon-bons (remember bon-bons?!). She was drove with her fingers wrapped around her chin, clearly perplexed as to which direction she should go. I waited impatiently since she had the right of way and I figured she would either turn left or right since the road was closed up ahead.


Like a deer caught in headlights she continued to move forward towards the construction. She pulled right up to the bright orange and white ROAD CLOSED sign and stopped her car. I’m not really sure what she expected to happen at that point but I didn’t get to see the outcome. Perhaps she thought the construction workers would make a road for her or fill in the large gaping crater in the street? Hard to say but I laughed and shook my head as I drove on by. I should’ve stuck around to see her execute a 10-point turn of shame but I had to get to work.


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