The MMA Video Shoot: Kicking Butt. Taking Names. Laughing Until I Pee. Just a Little. (HUGE thanks to Darren Batchelor and Kendra Ruff for sharing their expertise with us!)
Tonight found me with the inimitable Jen Sinkler – fitness editor of Experience Life mag, former national team rugby player and all-around hottie – filming a video about how to do an MMA double-leg takedown for Experience Life/LifeTime Fitness. We laughed. We did some takes. We laughed harder. We threw each other around. We laughed until I couldn’t breathe and drove the camera man nuts. We finished the video with me trash-talking into the camera. All fun and games! But I did learn a few Very Important Lessons in the process:
1. Anytime you get the opportunity to watch someone do something they’re really good at – no matter what it is – you take it. And be grateful for the honor. Whether it’s a poetry slam or an MMA slam, getting to watch someone in their element is a gift. It’s not so much that I love watching dudes wrap their legs around each other but more that when you can recognize the skill, effort and years of work that went into it, it becomes like art.
Pros Dan and Colby demonstrate what real MMA grappling looks like.
2. Listen first, then act. Sounds like a duh but I’m amazed at how often I don’t do this. I’m impulsive and I just want to do stuff so in my excitement I forget to listen for the directions. (Case in point: while Darren and Kendra were explaining the double-leg takedown here, I was giggling like a madwoman with Jen about some socks. Oh, THE SOCKS. Didn’t hear a thing and then had to have it all re-explained to me. Oops.)
MMA instructors and fighters Darren Batchelor and Kendra Ruff explain the art of the take-down.
3. Learn how to fall. Sometimes we get so focused on staying on our feet that we forget that learning how to fall is even more important. Because the fall is inevitable. Learning how to roll with it and keep ourselves safe – even while we’re falling! – is the difference between remembering history and repeating it.
This is what it looks like after you get taken down. Or after you’ve been tackled by security (not that I’d know how that feels at all). But notice how I’m not using my hands to break my fall? Good girl! Save those wrists for carpal tunnel syndrome from typing too much!
4. Approach is everything. Taking someone down, it turns out, is a lot like talking someone up. If you come in too high or aren’t close enough or use a bad angle, they’ll never let you in. But if you’re willing to get down on the floor with them and struggle through the hard stuff, you’ll have a friend for life. (Did I just waaaay overthink that? It’s late.)
Darren’s showing me how to floor slide. Which makes it the second time I’ve done the Jewish Bottle Dance in one week. I think the universe is trying to tell me I need to get back into community theater.
5. Slamming people on the ground is really really fun. Okay so that’s not a real lesson. But seriously. Being able to flip someone significantly bigger than myself and do it right was amazingly gratifying.
I should confess that I think Darren probably helped me quite a bit. The last time he told me he’d try to “push back a little bit.” But he made it look like I was doing it all on my own! I mostly was. I think.
6. Plan for the landing before you ever jump. One of the things Kendra kept pointing out was the need for safety and part of that is knowing where, when and on what (or on whom) you can fall safely. Before she ever jumped, she knew exactly where she was coming down. Taking risks can be good. Taking calculated risks can be better.
The start of the Judo flip!
And the soft landing. (Although I almost missed the mat and slammed her into the floor. Good thing she also planned for me being spastic and course-corrected herself.)
7. If you’re going to give it, you’d better be ready to take it. Or: Don’t ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. I have to say that as a mom, this is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my kids!
How much do I look like a cranky toddler right now?? It’s like Kendra is trying to drag me out of the candy aisle.
8. A sense of humor makes every situation better. If you can’t laugh at yourself, guaranteed someone else can. And that’s just not as fun.
Here I am asking Kendra for the first waltz. No, actually she’s trying to get me to turn around to throw her over my back. It took her like 10 minutes to get me to rotate the right direction. All my old dance team partners are sending their sympathies.
9. If you’re going to do something, do it all the way. The first time I tried to flip Kendra, it didn’t work at all because I didn’t actually try. I just kind of boosted her up on my back like I do my kids (I should have offered her a horsey ride!). But then Jen showed me how it’s done. If you’re going to commit to throwing someone, put everything you’ve got into it. And then jam your elbow into their gut.
It’s actually a lot gentler than it looks. I don’t know if that’s true for a real MMA fight but the Judo flip reminded me a lot of the aerial moves we did in swing dancing. Even the landing flat on your back part sometimes!
10. A giant zucchini can be used as a weapon. Or a Shakeweight!!
Jen was so sweet and brought me adorable workout clothes (thank you Jen!!) so what did I gift her with? A monster vegetable. You’re welcome.
What surprising lesson have you learned recently? Have you ever got to take someone down/flip them? What’s your fave way to use a zucchini??
P.S. My last post on “10 things I learned from my garden” went so well that I figured I’d try another in a similar vein – feel free to tell me if you think this is annoying and I should stop this series at two!