Wednesday, 22 April 2015

On the Mat Day 616: Neck Troubles

For the past 2 weeks I've been dealing with a strained neck. It happened during sparring as usual and has just got worse during nogi. You don't realize how much the neck gets pulled on and jerked around until you actually do nogi. It was getting better but then during sparring last night it got hurt again. I'm taking ibuprofen and icing it at the moment. With the competition in less than 2 weeks I am thinking about taking time off the mat. But doing so makes me worry about not making weight (I'm at 74 kg exactly for Light category) and lose stamina.

Monday I had a great day doing a P90X3 cardio workout (Accelerator) followed by 10 minutes of kettelbells. That was a lot of fun and I felt great. Then last night I went training and Hasegawa-san came from Grip JJ club. I wanted to spar with him because he's a great guy but never got the chance due to getting my neck re-injured.

So here's to taking it easy and keeping down the weight over the next couple of weeks.
I'm the handsome one in the Scramble kimono!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

On the Mat Day 610: Simplifying My Game

So with the Dumau competition in 3 weeks I've been trying to boil my techniques down to what work for me best. I really feel like this is the best thing I can do. During sparring for the next 3 weeks, I am continuing to use a couple of takedowns or work for the same few sweeps that I feel comfortable doing. It may be that things go my way or my world gets turned upside down and I find myself in a bad spot but I believe it's a smart move to at least have some kind of strategy set in place. Until now I have not really thought about strategy for competitions. I've just went out there and see whether it lands heads or tails. The worst competition I had was to be pulled into closed guard where I didn't recover my base and got swept. With that in mind I am really trying to drop to combat base in such a situation to prevent them from closing. I like how entering a competition makes me reflect on my weaknesses or areas I need to improve.

Friday will be nogi again this week. I'm very much looking forward to it and we might get a couple more people to join. It brings a fun element to jiu-jitsu and makes me work on things that I usually don't when wearing the gi such as leglocks.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

On the Mat Day 609: Apprehension

I wanted to say Fear in the title but that would be too strong. Despite having trained for over 5 years in jiu-jitsu even now I am apprehensive before sparring. I am worried about many things. I don't want to look bad in front of my instructor, I want to uphold the status of my belt, I don't want to tap to lower belts, I want to show upper belts what I'm made of...these fears all boil down to fact that I worry about what others think about me. This type of behavior is non-progressive and will not improve my skill level, in fact it will hamper it. It is only lately that I have started to regain my confidence and right now I feel comfortable where I am as a purple belt but it is a constant fight with the lizard part of my brain.

I have the same feeling now I had as a blue belt when I was doing well in competition and just before I got promoted to purple belt. That's not to say that I think that I deserve to go to the next level and get promoted to brown. I want to stay purple for another 2 years if possible. Right now I am finally able to relax and accept my failings. I don't feel I have anything to prove at this point. I have decent all round jiu-jitsu right now and I enjoy each roll as it comes whether I'm the hammer or the nail.

At our club we have started a nogi sparring class for anyone interested. I'm sort of the guy in charge of it as of now since I can always make that time to get to the gym in the day and apparently you need to be purple to be in charge of the class as a rule. Doing nogi has really sharpened me up and allowed me to be more efficient during 5 minute rolls because we roll for 10 minutes during nogi. When I drop to 5 minutes it feels like nothing and so I can constantly attack without gasing out now. Life is good right now because my interest doing BJJ has gone up so much recently.

Friday, 20 March 2015

On the Mat Day 604: More NoGi

I was overtraining with P90X3 so decided to skip a week and do nothing but BJJ. It was running my body down too fast and I had to prioritize. I'll hopefully feel better to pick it up next week.

Today I did nogi, Matt and I sparred for 2x 10 minute rounds and I felt much smoother in movement than I usually am. I'm working a lot on chokes like the Japanese necktie, Peruvian necktie, Darce choke and even a nogi baseball choke which is tricky because I don't have the finger grip down yet.

I carried on and trained in the normal gi wearing class after doing nogi so feel tired now. My goals recently are working on my breathing so that I breathe deeply into my stomach to calm myself during rolls and to sleep better using theta waves during sleep. Apparently, they allow you to relax and fall into a deeper more fulfilling sleep.

Friday, 13 March 2015

On the Mat Day 599: Low energy but fun training

I'm coming up to 2 months into P90X3 and also doing BJJ 3~4 times a week has taken its toll on me. I sort of feel like I have a cold but don't. I also took my blood pressure the other day and it was higher than usual by quite a bit. I think I'm overtraining so am taking yesterday to tomorrow off from P90X3 since it's the recovery week....I'm just foam rolling and stretching. Particularly the hamstrings.

It's good that James and I have decided to make the Friday 10am an official day on which we meet for nogi/self-defence otherwise I might have skipped today. It got me to go and I'm glad I did - as is always the case. Feel shit before training = feel amazing afterwards. Training really does remove the cobwebs on me both mentally and physically. Had some good rolls with James, tried to flow a bit more and so did he. I saw lots of bad areas I have to improve on such as shrimping the wrong way for instance.

I also asked F-sensei whether I was using too much strength when sparring. He told me I was using just the right amount but It feels like I overthink because I tend to stop and ponder what I need to do next while in that time he can capitalize on it and sweep me or attack. I know I have this problem and I think it's just part of my nature and so it may never improve.

Fun day, sun shining, feel happy.

Friday, 27 February 2015

On the Mat Day 593: Training nogi

James and I came an hour earlier this morning before the normal class to do some nogi stuff. He didn't want to use a timer so we warmed up a little then started sparring. We went for two 10 minute rounds at a moderate pace. I kept trying to work the BJ Penn pass but don't get my knee in far enough to flatten the legs. I'll keep working on it. Nogi is fun but hard in a way because there are far less handles to hold onto since you don't use the gi. I also saw that I have a bad habit when inverting under legs, I leave my other leg hanging for a foot lock. I need to drill this to protect that foot.

At the end we also talked a went over a couple of self-defense moves, i.e. the head lock escape and when someone grabs your neck from behind. I think we are feeling out the format we want to take this one hour class. James suggested 30 mins nogi and 30 mins self-defense moves. Both of these interest me so I agreed. F-sensei said at the end it would be good if more people come. I think he likes the idea that we can provide more variety for people to join up. I would love for it to eventually be a room full of guys doing nogi for an hour and just rotating between opponents. I also like the long time for sparring, instead of 5-6 mins you go for 10 mins. This forced me to go at a slower relaxed pace and not rush things and expend energy too fast. You have to strategize more in terms of how much you want to push the opponent because you have the fatigue factor. Whatever the case, I am just happy to be on the mat mixing it up with something a little different.

Very tired right now though and look forward to a good sleep tonight zzzz.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

On the Mat Day 592: Working out the aches

Armbar stack defense and escape
I feel so beat up right now. I've been training 3 days in a row and also doing P90X3 in the morning and it's catching up on me. Last night's training was good since there were a lot of people turned up for class. We covered closed guard armbar and spiderweb armbar escapes. Things like pushing the leg into your own and coming up and also the hitchhikers escape. I enjoyed it.

I tried to stay relaxed and loose while playing guard the entire night. I think I didn't stand up once. Lots of inverting and trying to get under the opponent. My back felt stiff this morning when I woke up but 30 minutes of yoga sorted it out but only temporarily.

Many of my attacks now are going for the omoplata or chaining it with triangles. Talking of triangles I was caught in a weird triangle the other night where my leg was also inside the triangle but I managed to pull out. It was very uncomfortable though and probably is the reason my neck is so sore today.

I've had a good few months training and keeping up a good place. I still have to be careful that I don't reinjure my groin though because it twinges from time to time.

I just started watching the Eddie Bravo Invitationals. Very inspiring guard work.


Saturday, 14 February 2015

On the Mat Day 586: Tapping out higher belts

I decided to go to class today, it's not only Valentines day, but also a Saturday afternoon which I usually spend with my family. But since I much prefer to train in the day but I'm not getting enough people to beat me up during the week I wanted to hit class today.

There were many more people there today who could give me a hard time which was good because I came away at the end of class with a lot of thoughts on where I made mistakes and what I need to work on.

One thing that came up at class was I rolled with the blue belt who had put me to sleep last time so I wasn't sure how to approach the roll. One side of me wanted to crush him into the mat, tap him numerous times, use all my strength to prove the legitimacy of my belt (sounds stupid, right?) but the other side of me wanted to not give a shit and roll with technique and low power and see how he would attack me today. Eventually I opted to roll twice with him, the first time I gave him no slack but failed to get anything substantial going although a had a lot of pressure on him and I could tell it was uncomfortable from his breathing. I controlled the position but damn he is getting better quickly. The seconds time I played defense. I allowed myself to be side mounted and back mounted to work escapes and this time protect my neck as I should have been doing. I told him later that getting choked out had opened my eyes to where I had been lazy and I thanked him. After all, that is what my teammates are there for - to show me where I am weak.

I also thought about how I tap out some people who are higher belt than me but never think I should be their rank. I realize they are either 1) having a bad day (lack of sleep, nutrition, simply tired) or 2) putting themselves in a bad spot to work from there. The big picture is, it doesn't matter who taps who as long as I am trying new techniques and having fun. I see this as an interesting part of my growth in BJJ.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

On the Mat Day 583: More focused

Training yesterday morning I felt more focused than ever before. I think being choked out last lesson has woken me up to the fact that I am doing a combat sport and I need to be more aware and focused on what I am doing. I've pretty much decided to roll to the best of my ability with blue belts and up and not give them anything like a free pass or back-take. For the time being though, I will let white belts work their game with me as I did on Friday morning, especially as some of them will compete soon.

I hope I can keep this focused from hereon and improve my BJJ.
On another note, week 3 of P90X3 is done and I am so enjoying the short 30 minute hard workouts. I also feel well rested, getting 8 hours of sleep a night on average, and am eating much better than ever before.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

On the Mat Day 582: Choked out cold

I had a first time experience last night at class. It was the first ever time I've been choked out and lost consciousness. I was sparring with a blue belt who has been coming a lot to class, maybe every day, so he has improved a lot over the last few months. I guess I underestimated him and stayed in turtle for far too long so he got my back and put on a collar choke from behind. At first it wasn't in deep but then he adjusted and pulled the collar under my chin. I tried to the escape that rarely works for me when I use both hands to pull his choking hand, give myself some room then flip his hook off so I can flip around to half-guard or side control. It didn't work again and I felt the choke cinching in but still in my mind I was working to get the hook off and flip around into turtle to escape. Then I woke up and people were looking at me weird.

I was unconscious apparently for about 3 seconds. I remember having a dream about my kids for some reason. Really peaceful and relaxed. It was quite pleasant and seemed to last for a long time. Then my vision returned and I saw I was at the club. I laughed because I could not believe what happened and asked him how long I'd been out and if my body shook as my brain reset. I didn't. I heard the instructor say that he would have tapped. The thing is, I didn't get a chance. I was fighting the choke then the next moment coming around. It was not painful because it was a blood choke so I could still breathe.

So what did I learn from this?

Last night training uchi-mata
I need to get my defense up (hands over neck) as soon as I am rear mounted then think about removing the hooks. I doubt I will use that escape again because it has failed me a lot. I should have cleaned my rear mount escapes up a long time ago. There have been a few instances where I've been in danger or lost in competition from rear mount but never worked on it. I will also try to be more active and attacking. I can't just relax and reserve energy with the lazy style I've adopted recently. I really need to be attacking constantly and there should be no delay between my movements.

Friday, 30 January 2015

On the Mat Day 579: Armdrags

This week has been fun doing armdrags from a seated position. Here is a list of what we did.
1. Armdrag sleeve then rotate and pull them in with far lapel to take the back.
2. Armdrag sleeve then hips up to take the back while they are in a semi-turtled positon.
3. Armdrag to sitting back kimura lock.
4. Armdrag, they stand up then single leg them.
There were a couple more but we mostly did taking the back.

I've been feeling much better this week compared to last. Eating and sleeping well. I'm trying to intake more healthy fats in the form of nuts, avocados and coconut milk and oil while eating lots of chicken breasts and tuna. I buy a ton of nuts, raisins and dried fruit and mix it up into like a trail mix. I'll even drop in some dark chocolate to make it a bit tastier. I have very little cravings for junk food as I had over the xmas holidays. I experienced some moments of great clarity this week because of what I believe is my eating and sleeping well. P90X3 in the morning has been OK. I feel less sore this week than last and actually enjoyed the yoga on Wednesday.

During class today F-sensei paid me a complement, although indirectly. After we finished sparring he told me that he hasn't forgot about the Japanese necktie choke I caught him in a couple of weeks ago. I laughed out loud when he said that because I was so surprised that he remembered it. I seldom remember who I submitted or who submitted me unless it was extremely traumatic. I've been working on the choke for a while and catch it a lot from top half-guard but was lucky enough to get my hands clasped together behind his head that time. It's rare that it happens, his reactions are so fast like he knows exactly what I want to do. Today, for instance, I pulled him in with a spider guarded leg and was about to get my bottom leg into the single x-guard position. He anticipated it and pulled that leg back as soon as it landed and left me stranded. I was so taken back by his quick reaction that I completely forgot about what I should be doing next.

Furukawa-san and I drilled a little on guard retention. One of you runs around trying to pass (no hands) and the guarder simply uses his feet to maintain the correct angle. You can invert or gramby roll if they get too close too. I think it's a great drill to promote fluidity and plan to do this and other types of guard drill from now on.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

On the Mat Day 574: BJJ, Power90X and Yoga.....

So I started P90X3 this Monday morning. I got up at 7.30 am and started the workout Total Synergistics. I didn't actually find this one hard. The only hard part was getting up in the freezing cold. After the workout I went off to train BJJ. We are doing omoplata this week.Tuesday I did Agility X, which was pretty fun and hard at the same time. It is a good workout to get my stamina back up to where it was at the end of last summer. Today I did Yoga this morning and then cycled to BJJ. I'm feeling extremely tired and worn down. This usually happens in the first week of starting a Beachbody program. My neck is stiff, my glutes are sore and I have a stretched muscle pain in my upper back but other than that I am sleeping 8 hours a day and eating better.

I noticed a new piece of equipment lying around at the club. A home-made Bulgarian Bag and just had to have a go with it. It is 18 kg and feels surprisingly heavy when twirling it around my neck. I have to keep my abs and back muscles tight to lift it correctly. It is a great tool, just like kettlebells, that makes you keep good spine alignment and build muscle and stamina. I plan to keep working with it after each morning class.

Home-made Bulgarian bag by Miura-san
Today's snack. Hard to find healthy snacks in Japan:(

At night I have been doing extra Yoga in an effort to improve my flexibility. It's a long mountain to climb but I enjoy the short stretches and the host of the session is nice to look at too.
Here is her first day of 30 on youtube. I recommend it.


Friday, 16 January 2015

On the Mat Day 571: BJJ Training then the Dentists

Such a mixed bag of a day. I woke up early bit into my toast and broke my tooth. It was an old filling that was probably the shit back 30 years ago but didn't hold up very well. It was shocking to me at first but it didn't hurt so I just packed my gear and went to class. As usual for this time of the year there weren't many people there. Luckily Matt turned up so I had someone tough to train with. We did a round of me in spider guard vs his passing then a round of just takedown. I felt quite energetic and don't gas so easily now that I am going 3 times a week on average. My fingers are also getting used to the spider guard grip again which is good and my brain is super active thinking about techniques.

I was among other things really trying to use Marcelo Garcia type escapes from side control or potential guard passes in which he uses a frame against their shoulder, neck or holds a lapel then scoots his hips away and turns back into the opponent. I was fairly successful with this movement, God knows I have been butt scooting a lot over these past 5 years.

Here is a video that really impressed me into learning how he does it. It made me very proactive and fight to stay out of side control. Usually I fight and fight, wait and wait, my guard is passed but I'm still on my back then I think "Oh, shit," and allow the opponent to drop onto me. Today I tried to move sooner as the pass is happening and it helped.


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

On the Mat Day 570: Still working on spider guard

My hands, fingers and forearms are so tired out. I had lots of problems with spider guard today. I need to do a better job of creating space and breaking down the opponent's posture. Probably need to drill foot on the hip and stretch out the opponent on Sunday morning. At the moment I'm attempting to either pull into spider x-guard or get into omoplata. I probably should go for the collar with standard spider guard or break posture also with shin to shin and extend them. Lots of things to think about after today's lesson.

Monday, 29 December 2014

On the Mat Day 564: Spider Guard

Grapplearts does a great job with its DVD sets. I just bought Spiderguard Masterclass and am both enjoying and overwhelmed by the amount of details. There are 5 DVDs chock full of good advice and techniques which I plan to devote the next six months to perfecting unless my fingers fall off in the process from all the gripping.

Too cold, I want to go home and get back in my futon
I attended the drilling class yesterday morning at 8 am and it was unbelievably cold. I looked at the thermometer hanging up at the door and it read -3 degrees. I felt like I needed gloves because each time my hand touched the mat it ached from the cold.

During drilling I mostly concentrated on spider guard of course and guard retention. My brain has not yet absorbed enough of the DVD yet to put it into practice and I am not sure where to start so I did basic drilling for breaking down the opponent.

I've also just got back from today's training. We are in the holidays for the end of the year and there were quite a few people turning up for training. I used spider guard entirely for each sparring partner and my hands and forearms now throb from being overexerted. I've forgotten how much grip power you need for spider guard. This should come back with time.

I was very successful with taking people over the top of me with the Roletta sweep and generally working to prevent passing. I find that I get tried much more trying to pass than when I play guard so felt like I had more energy to keep going but my grip gave out in the end. I need to address being passed when the opponent pushes their hips forward to remove my grips while standing. I also had my lasso hook stuffed to the floor and was passed on that side as well. It can be very hard to break down the opponent's posture when they are driving forward and hips forward. The deep lasso hook is very good at pulling down the opponent to destroy their base if I can get it in deep enough.

After class on both days I just had to have my favourite Boss canned coffee. Like liquid chocolate to spike my sugar as a good pick-me-up. I need to find a T-shirt with their logo for when I feel like a Boss.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

On the Mat Day 560: Friday Training in the Snow

OK so that was melodramatic. I didn't actually train in the snow but there was enough of it on the road on Thursday and most of it had melted by Friday but it was still ball freezing temperatures.

Ball freezing dojo
F-sensei had to turn on the Boeign engine heater to get the room to at least liveable levels. When he flipped the switch, black smoke came out and fill the room. I started to cough along with the other people and started to worry about the number of brain cells that had probably been destroyed by me inhaling the noxious fumes.

We worked on guard passing but using footwork. One person lies down, knees sticking up and feet on the floor, the other person stands and uses fancy footwork to step over the legs and end in knee on belly. These make good warm up drills and I wish we would do them more often as drills alone at the start.

It being Christmas in a few days, I decided to get myself something. Stephan Kesting has been taunting me lately with his spider guard masterclass titbits. I must say that I wanted the Ryan Hall passing or guard DVD but the yen is so weak and buying it from Amazon will cost too much to ship. Stephan offers free international shipping and the fact that the new DVD course he has release includes lasso spider made me buy it since this is my strong position. Also, the fact that after watching just one of his videos with double bicep control to omoplata has got me hitting this move a lot lately I just had to get that friggin DVD in my hands. So I have.....and can't wait to watch it and digest it.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

On the Mat Day 557: Dark Influences

The one thing about training BJJ that I benefit from the most is the fact that you are surrounded by positive people who never have anything bad to say about you. Your training partners may crush you in side control, choke you until you see the world closing in around you or throw you to the mat with such force that the air rushes out of your lungs, but at the end of the day they are there to build you up so that you become a better person. The dojo is a place full of good energy and people with the same goal.

It was never so apparent how important my time with my BJJ training partners is and how much I take their positivity for granted than when I went out for drinks last night with some friends who don't train and have never had their egos crushed on the mat. These friends probed, nudged and teased about various topics with the aim of making themselves feel good at the expense of putting me in a foul mood. I'm just no longer prepared or willing to allow myself to sit with people who are self-fulfilling and do not have my best interests at heart. I ask myself, does spending time with this person(s) make me happy? When the answer is "no", then they can no longer be called friend.

I cannot wait to get back on the mat tomorrow to shake off these dark influences.

Monday, 8 December 2014

On the Mat Day 555: Catching up on training

I've had more time to train recently and have been hit with the BJJ bug a bit so feel excited to go train again. I think the new 2 hour video from Roy Dean has helped to get me wanting to train. I enjoy his commentary before while his students are rolling on the mats. I wish I had access to something like that to give me feedback on how I roll. The video has also given me ideas about techniques I could use.

If you haven't seen it, you need to.



The mat on Saturday was so god damn cold. It was snowing outside but didn't lay. I felt like I was crazy to go training at a place that only has steel walls and no insulation but the club was actually full of people. I plan to do more training on Saturday morning because I had some good rolls with people who are better than me. It's the only way to improve.
Saturday morning training in single digit (Celsius) temperatures

 Saturday was our end of year gathering for drinks and food. Usually this is the time when people get promoted. Mine is a long way off so I didn't have any concern about that (although dropping a purple belt on me 3 years in was a shocking surprise and something I had a hard time adjusting to initially). We had 2 guys promoted to brown and a couple of whites to blue and a 15 year old kid who is very good promoted to Green. He will most likely be blue belt next year when he turns 16.

Yoshida-san was one of the new brown belts. He is very inspirational and I have enjoyed seeing him go through his BJJ journey as I joined about a year and a half after him. He is all round very good both at guard and passing, can roll hard or light, and has a very slippery feel when in guard and strong pressure despite being small when passing. I like how he intelligently thinks about jiu-jitsu in his approach to improving. It was his decision to start a Sunday 8 am - 9.30 am class just for drilling, something I had wanted badly for a long time. This drilling class has really helped me to probe into the small questions and ideas that I have in my head concerning BJJ techniques and to also work to fill the holes that I have. If he ever considers it, I think he will make a great instructor in the future.

Yoshida-san congrats on the brown belt!

Monday, 1 December 2014

On the Mat Day 551: Some success with new moves

I really think that the drilling class every Sunday morning is helping with my jiu-jitsu. It allows me to segment techniques and put them into compartments when I need them. It makes me think about problems that I face during sparring. For example, I've been mostly focusing on escapes and then guard passes versus different guards this month. As a result of drilling, my mind is faster to tell my body what technique I need at the required time so my ability to escape and pass the guard has improved. I've been getting a lot of success with guard passing knee shield and attacking a turtled opponent from the front using a peruvian neck tie. It was at first hard to get the feeling of where I am choking down but with drilling it my hand position has improved making the choke more effective.

There were something like 7 people in the morning class today which was amazing. I got to spar with a young guy of 28 who was very physically strong because of his job as a fireman. I asked him to go again later for a 2nd round because I want to get good at controlling and dominating opponents who are stronger but less technical than me. I had great success with the gringo sweep from closed guard on him after tying his arm and head up in a gable grip. This was a great sweep and I should drill it a lot more.



I can't wait until January so that I can get back into working out in the morning and getting fit for summer. I feel like I have lots of energy and drive to become a strong purple belt in 2015. This year has been tough with injury and the fact that I have constantly felt like I have stagnated. Apparently, this is normal at purple belt where many try to work on their holes as I have done with takedowns and escapes.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

On the Mat Day 546: Still working on my holes

I cycled to work last night and on the way back stopped off for the final hour of class which is sparring. It was full of blue belts initially until a few purple belts turned up. A lot of the blue belts are frequently training right now so they are getting quite good and interestingly each one has different aspects that I need to be wary of. Some are good at passing, berimbolo, triangles and takedowns. This is a good thing for me because I get to work on defending these because as any purple belt knows, blue belts are out for their blood and very rarely hold back. I have a much easier time sparring with purple and above. I think this is because they tend to use less strength and more technique so it doesn't feel like one of those 80s video games where you tap the button repeatedly to win the fight/race or whatever.

Button mashing fun when I was a boy
I was a bit bummed out by my performance actually (at one point I felt like heaving which is a first for me) but realize that you can't always be the hammer. I think that perhaps I have an unrealistic idea of what I can do. On the other hand I feel I have the potential to be better. I talked a little to the other guys and came to the conclusion that I need to train more frequently. That's why today I also went to the morning class, so two days in a row for me. I want to aim for 4 classes a week, 2 at night, 1 in the day and 1 drilling class on Sunday morning. I'll do this and see if it brings about any improvement. I also think I need to be more aggressive. For some reason, getting purple belt made me less aggressive during sparring. I think it is the fact that I have this impression of a higher belt being able to flow beautifully with no strength. This has led me to try to use less power (which is good) but I think I have lost the drive to push my opponent which subsequently pushes me to do more and get fitter. I need to get this back. I cannot continue to coast along while others improve faster around me.