Hello classmates, it has been a while.
I earned my Yellow belt sometime before the pandemic began and I have failed to come back consistently since.
This time away forced me to reflect on how things were, how they are now, and how I want to proceed with training. This post is also my first real attempt at coming back as a useful training partner to you all.
There is a grey area with time off. It’s not good, but it’s also not all bad.
First and foremost, I feel less dangerous — this is not a good thing. I don’t think I’m less physically capable than I was while training, but not practicing skills frequently brings fear.
I was a college athlete. I trained at my craft everyday. Hours upon hours of tedious physical and mental preparation. I was showing up ready for a battle on game day and I still failed often, despite everything I put in; that’s life/competition. Today however, I am ignoring training, letting skills dissipate, and then hoping I will be able to protect myself in a fight; that’s frightening. I know what it takes to be successful when you must depend on your body and mind, yet I am doing the opposite. My brain, experience, and upbringing are yelling: Stay Dangerous!
Secondly, I saw my classmates continue to grow and get their Orange, Green and Blue belts. Envy is not the word I want to use, but I’m competitive, I know I’d have a new belt right alongside them if I just kept going to class. No hate at all though, congrats to you all and well deserved.
That being said, here are the positives… and I am proud of these.
With my available time and a couple extra dollars I was able to improve in other areas I neglected:
- I got a new job. Same industry, but it’s the first place I feel like I could grow and have legitimate career.
- I found a therapist and started taking a look at my mental-health and trauma. I am not using that word lightly, there’s some demons I could not face for a long time and I’m working through it as best I can with the tools I have.
- I engaged new hobbies that would make the 5 year old Nathan very proud (drumming, skateboarding, snowboarding).
- I started taking better care of my finances, with budgets and investments.
- I returned to the gym, working with a professional to achieve my goals.
- I applied for an entry visa. This is a long, embarrassing, and expensive process, but I was finally able to return to the USA and experience some lost freedom.
- I also fell in love with an amazing woman.
I need self-defence practice. I think it’s a crucial skill-set for myself and those around me. I don’t train to hurt people, I just want more knowledge about combat, techniques, and awareness for when shit pops off. I have spent equal parts of my life up to no good and minding my own business – dangerous conflicts will come for everyone. Don’t be scared, but don’t be oblivious.
I really fell in love with what we’re learning at UTKM, and even though I am not happy with my progress I understand I can get back to where I should be with the re-direction of priorities. It’s a manageable problem to have, so I won’t panic yet.
I’ll see you in class.
Written by: Nathan Parade de la Feraude – UTKM Yellow Belt
Check out Episode 89 of Warriors Den Podcast to learn more about the author.