Right In The Feels…

Right In The Feels…

So I’ve been struggling to write for the past few weeks. I feel like I know exactly how I should feel. Where my emotions and mind should be at, and how I should be acting. I know that right now the ‘normal’ thing would be if I were stressing out and completely doubting myself, I should be dreaming about the fight and all the good and bad ways it could end. But the truth is, I’m not. And no matter how hard I try to make myself nervous, convince myself it’s there I’m just subconsciously suppressing it, or say that once “insert significant event” happens it will kick in; my track record begs to differ. Despite being told and witnessing several times the way this journey is meant to play out, it’s just working a little differently for me, and that’s kinda just the way life works. So ultimately it’s again become apparent that this tiny little portion of my life is serving as this crystal clear metaphor for life and the big wide world out there. No two people ever have the same experience. Everyone’s past experiences, chemical breakdown of their brain and body, morals, beliefs, goals Percolate through to all actions and reactions and impact the way events are perceived and handled. It’s the thing that has allowed humanity to develop into such a diverse, creative and always growing mechanism. This ‘oddity’ is actually A-Okay, actually is awesome. It’s what allows one single image to speak to hundreds of thousand people in an entirely unique and individualized manner. It’s the reason for the incredible path of humanity, from the creation of timeless pieces of art, to advancements of cars and the evolution of medicine. It’s this anomaly of the experience that allows for us all to live completely unique and fascinating lives. And as corny as all of this sounds, and something I’m sure we all know it’s only just revealed itself to me in such a tangible manifestation and just really hit me right in the feels so I felt like sharing…

So you know what, f**k it. F**k if you think that I’m bullshitting you, or I’m some reckless, arrogant teenager, just because I’m not freaking out. I’ve been working so hard to overcome this anxiety I’ve experienced my whole life that it seems so idiotic that just a week ago I was trying to make myself nervous and scared. Just because you hear everyone go on about how its good, and you need the fear to train hard, be successful, to win; doesn’t mean it’s right for me.

I’ve finally let go of ‘am I doing enough?, too much?, eating perfectly?, sleeping perfectly?, doing the right recovery?, and more and actually decided to listen to the coaches (go figure right?) and trust the process. And that right there is a massive revelation for me. The fact that I now am actually taking ownership of what I am doing and not only trusting the process laid down by the coaches but trusting my own judgment in listening to my mind and body is definitely one for the history books. It’s a skill that will surpass this fight and will really change my life in the long run.

Moreover, the last 7 weeks have been ‘fight camp’ in all their glory! Since the beginning of Phase two we’ve done some sparring, been thrown around like the bait we were in shark tank (ooh-ha-ha), were put into teams (#BlueTeamsBest) and finally got our match-ups. Training has hit in full effect which has seen me feel incredibly energetic, fit and happy as well as see me put my phone in the fridge (several times) and crashing out at 11 am. I’ve honestly never felt so tired, but I believe it’s teaching me great things about the total awesomeness of our bodies and the things we can do as long as we’ve got a sharp mind. Which so far I’ve got ticked off!

IMG_1384.JPG

And once again if these ‘normal’ feelings do finally hit within the next 3 weeks I will welcome them with open arms, but for now, I am sooooo ok with being chilled. I’m happy having 100% of my mind to focus on what I can do from now until the fight to give me the best chance possible. And people will disagree, and that’s their right, but I’m currently cool, calm and collected and plan on staying that way.

So with that,

Tata for now and thanks for reading!

Tani 🙂
P.s. Tickets for the finale are available here. It will be an incredible night that you don’t want to miss! So get on them fast and I’ll see you there!!!

15078856_10154594854370330_8148908208028118658_n

Fragility Rules!

Fragility Rules!

Let’s get deep for a second. Life. (pretty deep right). Life is the oddest, strangest, yet most habitual and standard thing. It has this facade that lets you actually believe you are in control of the path you are on. It has a way of making you feel that every reaction you experience is due to some action you’ve previously emitted. And while that is true to some extent. I believe it goes way beyond these physical acts. Whether it’s the vibes, thoughts, hopes or dreams you put out into the universe they all have a way of ‘boomeranging’ right back to you. And the second we drop our guard and fall Fragile (even for only a second) we can truly appreciate the mesmerizing strength of the universe.

A program that is meant to turn me into a lean, mean, killing machine has already begun to open me up and allow me to appreciate the vulnerable, humane side of myself that honestly, I haven’t actually acknowledged before. And admitting that is possibly one of the scariest things, but hey ‘when in Rome’ right? It’s something that this series must be teaching me in some, weird, metaphorical way. Learning to “trust the process” is something so foreign to me (being the control freak I am) but slowly and surely I am learning and growing.

Navigating my way through the horror house of thoughts, doubts, fears is giving me a new-found perspective and way of life. I get so swept up in the frantic culture of work, uni, training, life, that I excuse myself from emotions, or dark, devious thoughts (ain’t nobody got time for that). But this last week; off from training, uni, work, has allowed me to be alone with my thoughts, and its such a surreal feeling. The ups, downs, twists and turns my head goes through in a matter of seconds is crazy, but once I sit, acknowledge and process the thoughts, a wave of calm comes over me. That moment of “weakness” has the most empowering effect as it allows me to see a true strength. Being able to sit, alone and in the dark and open the closet to finally face the monster (as Coach Mick would say) has an absolute serenity and provides a satisfaction that can only come from such an unguarded place.

And although this week has probably been one of the toughest to date. It truly came at the right time in this journey. Taking a step back from everything, threw me in the deep end, but I found my way out and feel so much stronger for it. And when I got the call on Thursday confirming my spot in fight camp, I couldn’t have felt more pumped and f***ing excited for the weeks to come…

*****

Disclaimer, everything I am saying right now, will probably feel like the furthest thing from the truth in a few weeks time. But hey, what do you expect from someone who’s getting hit in the head for the next 10 weeks 😛

img_0039

Oh and for all of those that only read this to stay updated with the training, it has been fab! Week 10 was full of outdoor adventures and it’s safe to say they were my favourite sessions to date, despite the fact I’m still finding sand everywhere! And I mean everywhere….. I’ve just had a week off, which has got me itching and scratching to get back on the mats meaning Monday the 19th, the beginning of Fight Camp, can’t come quick enough.

So that’s it for now. Thanks for reading. And until next time, I’m out!img_9995

I’ve Been Listening…

I’ve Been Listening…

Week 7. Week 7. Week 7.

It’s been an interesting one. Some ups, some downs and a whole lot of struggling. For the first time in this journey, I began doubting myself. I got hella frustrated at things out of my control and ultimately caved into those thoughts in my head.

I started the week as per routine. I went to training on Monday, went to work, ate, slept and got up to do it all the next day. Everything followed routine, and I didn’t feel anything went ‘wrong’ per se. But sometime during the first few days, I started to gain a little bit of anxiety. I began to doubt whether this was the thing for me, was I improving? Would I be ready for December 10th? The thoughts would fill my head at the worst of times, and I found myself, zoning out, distracted and ultimately not in the moment. I would day dream during important sessions, lectures, conversations and catch myself thinking about what I haven’t been doing thus far that has lead me to feel so unprepared; which, in turn, made me feel worse and even more behind. It was an endless circle. And although I was surprisingly open about my doubts and was aware that this is something that comes with the territory of doing this crazy, insane program it didn’t make it any easier to get out of the dumps.

Then in total contrast, yesterday I went to the acupuncturist to release the beast that is the inflammation in my hip and something happened. I was left in the room with some 20 odd needles poked and prodded intro different chakras/body parts, and I began to drift off. They had the lights off, blankets over me and just to top off the sleep time vibe had some meditating guru ‘sand, sea and shore’ ambience in the background. I began to nod off like the grandma I am only to be woken by the most excruciating pain. My eyes shot open, and I found myself sitting up, with my left hand on the bed and my right arm wrapping around the imaginary arm of my opponent as I went for the kimura submission we learnt earlier this week… So instead of drilling like a normal human being, with a real life partner while I’m actually awake and aware, my brain thought it would be fun trick me into doing it in my dreams only to actually act it out in real life. As I awkwardly lay back down on the bed, I had a giggle to myself and realised that this little physical action had a really deep meaning to me. And although I can’t quite decipher what it exactly is just yet, I realised that I am changing both mentally and physically due to this series.

Ultimately I know that there will be many ups and downs, and no matter how unprepared I feel right now, if I put in the work, when the time comes I will feel ready. And that doesn’t help get rid of the darkness that we all go through, but it does create the slightest crack that will allow me to keep driving. Moreover, it is that crack, that makes me sit at my desk on a Saturday night, with my laptop in hand, happy to have experienced the lows of this week and feel more energised than before. Doing several sessions without a strong passion, motivation, desire to keep going is difficult, but I made it through. With a stubborn mind and an even more stubborn injury, I still managed to wake up, get to training and work. And although it may not have been my best sessions ever, knowing that even in the worst of days I was able to push through makes me feel 1% stronger than when I started this journey. And honestly, that’s all I could ever ask for.

Oh and Coach Mick thank you for engraining “you need to drill, all the time, wherever you are” into my head, I clearly must have been listening real hard…

Put the worrying away…

015a2290
Photo by Skyline Productions at BRACE 42
So here I am, it’s 8 o’clock on 13 August, and I’m in the car on the way back from BRACE 42 in Canberra. And what a show it was. 18 incredible fighters putting everything on the line to step into the cage and fight. The athleticism, discipline and outright courage emanating from all these fighters is crazy inspiring. And even though I could go on and on about the event, vibe, incredible sportsmanship (there were hugs at the beginning of rounds, yes full on man cuddles) I have to say there was something special about this one…

I’ve been to a lot of fights, but this one hit home (for the few seconds I had to stop and think about it). The weekend followed the normal routine. Another job, another city and another couple fights. From the weigh-in’s to the face-offs, the walkouts and even the first exchange, everything proceeded under ordinary procedures. But about halfway through the night, I heard a familiar phrase. The second I heard one of the coaches say “come on push, this is the last round of your fight, this is the last round!!!” a sort of tingly feeling kinda hit. Actually more than that… I felt like someone hit me over the head with a bat, and suddenly a lot of things made a shit tonne more sense. Over the last six weeks of training, that phrase has been thrown around a couple hundred times. But never has it made me feel the way it did a couple of hours ago.

Coach Thiago says it to us all the time and although I try and visualise being in that situation, and pushing myself past my limits; I’ve never had much of an emotional connection to it. But hearing the coach desperately yell the phrase at his losing fighter put things into perspective and even though it was only a split second, it gave me those butterflies everyone talks about, for the first time in the last 6 weeks. It was exciting and got me to stop for a moment and refocus on the path I’m currently on. I could finally feel slightly saner and more humane as I was able to have some emotions connected to December 10th.

…..

Since the last time I wrote, training has gotten tougher (again), we’ve met new coaches, learnt some funky, killer moves and settled into the routine that is a life that begins at 4 am. However, amongst all of the fun of that it has simply been just that… fun. And don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining about having a good time and seeing the positive in all of this. I’ve been loving starting off the day learning new skills and getting my sweat on and waking up the next morning a little bit sore. But I was starting to get slightly worried about not worrying about what’s hopefully going to happen in less than 4 months (it’s a lot of worrying I know). But getting that epiphany moment earlier today ironically relaxed me so I can chill out, continue going with the flow and enjoying the process and allowed me to put the worrying away for another time :P.

So that’s it for now, 6 weeks done, only 16 to go, and I’m sure it’s going to be a killer.

Thanks for reading and until next time I’m out!!!

Oh and big ups 👍🏽 to Skyline Productions for the pic 💛 Everyone should go check them out for all photography and videography needs 🎥👌🏽

Take your vitamins!

2 weeks done. And it’s gone in a heart beat… The week started and finished so quickly that I’m struggling to really debrief it.  

The realisation that this is my life for the next 20 weeks has slowly begun to set in. And although I’m nowhere near getting used to it just yet I think I’ve passed the denial phase, leapt over anger, bargaining, and depression (for now… I’m sure they will revisit me later) and I’ve landed right in the midst of acceptance. The intensity of training is picking up, and although everything is still new and fresh, it is becoming some sort of different, unnatural routine. Along with that routine comes the consequences…

I’m starting to feel the effects of late nights and early mornings and putting into practice the whole ‘rain, hail or shine’ motto. However, despite my mini whine, I do really feel that once you get out of the comfort of your bed, escape the freezing cold and get moving on those mats all thoughts from the ‘outside’ world seem to disappear. Probably to make room for the amount of brain power and thought space needed to learn and retain every detail of training, but, regardless it’s liberating. Training and especially training first thing in the morning sets a motivating mood, mind frame, and Mmmmotion (see what I did there?… eMotion… I needed another ‘M’ word… No h8 plz) for the rest of the day. And it all kinda got me thinking about the effects exercise has not only physically but psychologically as well. After reading the general information on how it makes you happy and confident, less stressed and more energetic, I wanted to dive deeper into the actual mechanics and details of what it is that actually causes these physiological effects. So I did a some good old googling and read pages and pages of scientific ‘mumbo-jumbo’ that I’m not going to bore you all with because I’m not sure I totally understand it… but it was honestly fascinating (I’ll throw some links in at the end for those interested). The best and most simple way I can attempt to explain it (complicated concepts for dummies) is that exercise is that multivitamin (or coffee in my case) that gives you a kick in your step; and helps you feel not only physically sound and well but mentally awake and ready to conquer the world 😉 That is alongside some endorphins, serotonin, BDNF, hippocampus (my new favourite word) and a bunch more. Plus exercise literally makes you smarter… We’ll sort of… It helps you grow new brain cells… Which will make you smarter… Right?

To wrap it up, this week was great, as per usual, and despite feeling exhausted, I’ve been able to view the infamous saying that this sport is 20% physical and 80% mental in a new light with an entirely different perspective. I have a new understanding of the impact exercise has on individuals psyche and after feeling it myself over the last 2 weeks couldn’t flaw the research at all. I believe that it is a grossly underused “medication” for not only physical hindrances and mental illness but as a tool to increase quality of life. The irony and juxtaposition in that the act of waking up at 4 am, going to training and intending on having a fight in 6 months, which makes me feel cold, tired, miserable and honestly slightly anxious; is ultimately having adverse effects. It all opens my eyes and gives an insight into the bigger picture of not only this journey but the lifetime to come… Oh and that the brain is a scary, dark, mysterious mechanism that is cool AF.

So with that, it’s time for me to take my vitamins, thank you all for tagging along for a little read and I’ll see you next time 🙂

Links
p.s. these are a few interesting sources I found, however, the real nitty gritty detailed stuff that I read was all sourced from google scholar, so… much of it is restricted access unless purchased. For that reason I haven’t bothered to throw the links in, but feel to check them out yourselves. 

The Remarkable Effects of Exercise in Cognition and Brain Cell Regeneration

Your Brain on Exercise

Conquer Worry Podcast – Episode 5 – Why Exercise Leads to Happiness & Tracy Shawn Interview

The Exercise Effect

Regular Exercise Changes The Brain To Improve Memory, Thinking Skills

I better get used to this…

It twas the night before Christmas… Actually it was the night before the first session! And although I didn’t think I would feel any different or nervous it’s somehow had a massive effect. At 6pm, feeling surprisingly tired and a little grandma like I walked up stairs, went through my night rituals, set my alarm for 4.20 and took myself to bed. Then I just lay there. Mind not able to switch off, but not thinking about anything in particular. I didn’t feel nervous, scared, worried and I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that was keeping me up. I tried everything the get my mind to go to sleep; chamomile tea, hot water bottles, relaxation music, and more… But, before I knew it it was 11pm and the rave in my mind was going strong as ever. After finally giving in to the thoughts in my head  I Somehow managed to doze off only to be woken a mere 5 hours later by the wonnnderfulll (note the sarcasm) tune of my alarm. I turned it off bounced out of bed and ran at the speed of light to the shower, ate some breakfast and slugged it into the car where I was greeted by the thermometer that read 4 degrees… I was cold and tired but couldn’t let that affect me. I rolled up to the gym walked in and that was the end of any concerns that I had earlier that morning. At 5.30 I stepped on the mats and we got working. The warm up killed me (I swear it’s not meant to do that) and then we started working on some striking. Trying to grasp all the details of each movement wasn’t easy as it felt so unnatural and I found myself reverting back to what felt natural and normal. Then in a blink of an eye we all huddled in hands in the middle and cheered for the end of our first session.  

 
8pm I’m exhausted. Sleep comes a lot easier and on cue at 4.20am Tuesday morning I wake up and go through the motions. Today’s session started with the punishment of 100 sprawls because stuff was left behind the morning before and then it was time for strength training. The session was great and once again finished quicker than expected. 

Day 3 was our rest day and man was it nice! A slight sleep in, waking up to sore muscles from the tip of my head down to my toes…. Ahhhhh bliss. 

Thursday we got to do some grappling which was interesting. Trying to do all the basics with the best technique possible requires a lot more thought than you would expect. But the way we drilled each movement over and over and over again helps the technique sink in and gets the muscle memory working. However, it’s easy to get lost in it and begin to day dream. Coach Mick pulled us up on this amplifying that we need to stay present in the movement and how everything we do will not only assist us come December 10 if we make it but also in life. Imagine the increased productivity and enjoyability of everything we do if we were to just stay present in the moment, activity, drill, whatever you want to translate it to. This really struck a chord and saw me refocus myself every time I started to day dream over the next few days.   And then on the 5th day of the week it was Friday. The infamous hardest most gruelling session. The one that would destroy you, leaving you weak and drenched in a pool of sweat. And boy did it deliver. We learnt the 5 drills (sprawls, height change, hip out, scramble and plank) and then with an overly excited “sprawl mother f*****s” from Coach Richie we began. We did 5 minute rounds of high intensity movements. The intestity of the movement was a killer but more than that the physiological games began. I didn’t know how many rounds we were going to do and to be honest couldn’t even keep count of how many we’d done. I just had to keep moving. One move after another until I heard “CHANGE”. We were told not to show the pain,  which is a s**t load harder than you think. However, it kind of acted as a distraction to me. Every time I felt myself slowing down, feeling the burn, considering giving up I just focused on my breathing, doing one movement after another and getting through the round. 7 rounds later we were done… Almost… Everyone joined on the red mats for 2 minute plank accompanied by the good old tune of ‘Happy’. I was screaming at the people either side of me (sorry about that). But being the stubborn ram I am I had to make myself accountable and there was no way I was going to drop my knees after yelling at someone for doing that exact thing. 2 minutes were up, we al through our hand ins the middle and then the week was over. 

So in short the first week went by in the blink of an eye. I still don’t quite know what I have done and haven’t quite come to the realisation that this will be my life for the next six months. But with a bunch of new skills, physical training and new knowledge about myself I made it through week 1 of 22 and I’m excited to see what’s to come. 

Until next week when I’m a little sorer, more tired and hopefully slightly wiser, I’m out. 👊🏽

Well I’m Not Dead

Well I’m Not Dead

So. June 5th. 2pm. Tryouts.

It’s the day that everyone talks about. The day that will push you past your limits. Take you to places haven’t been. And really test if you’ve got the mental strength and kahoonas to get through these next 6 months.

There is so much hype and pressure leading up to this day that honestly I really tried to not think about it. Anytime someone asked me about it I replied “what tryouts?”. And whenever I started to think about it, I forced myself to look the other way because this was the only way I knew how to deal with it. I’ve been warned, and I’ve witnessed the intensity of the tryouts several times, and surprisingly it didn’t manage to lower the anxiety in any way. There is something so confronting about doing something you have never done but viewed enough times to realise that it’s going to be bloody difficult. The anticipation of the build up is the worst part. Leading up to the tryouts the thought of June 5 meant excuses and explanations for failure would bounce around my head. I would think about the difficulty of the day, the struggle that would follow if I were successful not to mention that I was going to miss my favourite fighter Cruz beat Faber.

However on the day of tryouts, my perspective seem to change. Somehow I managed to turn the anxiety and negativity into excitement and eagerness. I think I came to the realisation that the day was here, and there was no more opportunity to escape it. I could confront the problem head on. I realised that one way or another I was going to step onto those mats. Get through the horrors that were about to be thrown at me. And hours later step back off them and go home. At the end of the day, I would still be breathing (probably more like a wheezing), but ultimately I would still be alive. And if I was going to have to go through the agony I may as well try and enjoy it as much as possible.

 

So 2 pm hit Cruz’s fight was about to start and of course at that moment we were asked to step onto the mats and take a seat. I sat down, began stretching and patiently waited. After several minutes, the coaches joined us on the mats and talked us through the next few hours. After being given the house rules and repeatedly warned to “not puke on the mats under any circumstance” the tryouts were under way. We got a physical assessment to check our movement and then were sent over to get interviewed. After all of that was completed the real stuff began!

Now I don’t want to ruin the mystery that is the tryouts for any future contestants but let me just say that it wasn’t your average conditioning session like I was trying to convince myself it was. It was tough. But none the less I had a bunch of fun. There is something about being pushed to my limits, while being surrounded by a bunch of people that all have the same goal in mind that is motivating. Somehow sharing a hatred for the coaches yelling at you, a deep burn in muscles you didn’t even know existed and sweating out the what seems like the Pacific ocean allows you to gain a sense of comradery with people who’s names you don’t even know. It’s one of the most astonishing parts of this series that I am yet to figure out and the strength of the bonds created within minutes with complete strangers manages to make you push yourself harder and keep moving. And with that inspiration around me, I managed to get through with positive thoughts in my head and smile on my face and step off the mats.

— If today was anything to show the next 6 months are going to be a hell of a ride, but taking each day as it comes, putting one foot in front of the other, I think I may make it out alive 🙂