Friday, November 20, 2009

Best Foot Forward

My #2 ACL tear anniversary was on election night a few weeks ago. No big deal, but it is an opportunity to reflect.

My broken rib healed nicely, and I've been to sparring classes the past two weeks.

My first class back I made a real effort to pick one thing to concentrate on, besides returning to fighting with my right side forward. That one thing was getting my arm defenses up to snuff, and it really paid off! Rather than getting knocked out of matches with no points, I was at least pushing things to equilibrium--forcing the match to come to the final point to decide a winner.

My regular partner in class and sparring, John, said he really noticed the difference in my defensive abilities, and that I was getting back into the groove. He and I both liken sparring to dancing, and I was finally relaxing enough to just enjoy the dance and not worry about the steps!

This past Monday I began to re-think how I should be fighting.

I've been trying attacks that my body can't execute fast enough, so I really focused on defenses, reading my opponent, and scouring for counter-attack opportunities.

It paid back in spades when I bested one of the guys I consider a top adult fighter, one whom I've hardly had opportunity to score on since returning to sparring, and whose kicks I usually end up eating far too often.

At the end of class, I was again facing the same fighter--but this time with all eyes on us as we finished our match. I think the score was 3-2 in my favor, and the winner is first to 5 points. I watched carefully for a twitch, a sign of commitment to some move from my opponent. Then it came, in the form of a big roundhouse punch! Vigilance paid off as I leaned into a defensive side kick, catching my opponent in the side as the punch bounced scoreless off my shoulder.

I could hardly believe the referees called 2 points in my favor, ending the match 5-2!

That was a beautiful end to a fruitful night.