Sports vs studies

I just came back from BJJ training. Small cut on my lip, no big deal. What worries me is this insurmountable exhaustion that i can’t seem to shake off. I am finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a fitness regimen and still put in adequate studying.

So far the highlights of this week included starting a social game of soccer with girls i have never met before. I find it remarkable how far along i have come – from the quiet, almost shy girl in first year of Medicine to one who brazenly walks into a group of strangers, say a cheery hallo, introduce myself and dive straight into the group dynamics. I have to admit that age probably plays a factor. At this age, i really could not give two hoots about being self-conscious. I guess as long as i have no boob hanging out or a huge stain at the back of my pants or anything like that, i am fine.

My team mate (from outdoor soccer) has been telling me how much my game has improved over the past season. I never believed her; i also thought she was being nice and encouraging. But that day when i played social soccer, and was running upfront, i actually scored a goal and took several shots on goal. I was very amazed. It was also the first time i finally realized that maybe learning all those dribbling skills will be within my grasp. Then the next day when i turned up for soccer group coaching session, i scored another goal and had more shots on goal. I could feel my confidence taking a little soar. It felt good. I hope it was not beginner’s luck, but i am gonna keep working on my skills.

It also made me wonder about something – remember how i was whinging when my coach (from the outdoor team) kept fielding me as striker, and i absolutely abhorred it? I am starting to think maybe he saw something that i could not pick up on. Maybe i am better as an offensive player than a defensive one. Anyway, since i am constantly playing midfield (not sure why, but i somehow always drift upfront, and when i play with people i do not even know, we always seem to naturally fall into a formation where i am somewhere upfront), i am also getting more familiar with my role and my responsibilities, so maybe that’s why i am starting to be a little better too. I guess i just need to keep forging on.

Scarf hold (Source: Ultimate Jiu-Jitsu)

As for BJJ, i am getting stronger. I keep hearing my training partners telling me that i am very strong and i always tell them that it isn’t the strength but my flexibility. But today one of the male martial artists corrected me and said i am both strong and flexible. I was a bit loss for words. Anyhow, today i changed tactics. With the stronger players, i keep getting flipped. I tried scarf hold (my signature move apparently), and focused on getting my base right yet i was still getting flipped onto my back. Now i am starting to think that perhaps with a strong opponent, a perfectly executed base is still insufficient. As long as they possess the strength to lift me completely off the mats, that technique ain’t going to work. So i switched strategies. Because i am a junior belt, i decided perhaps i should just work on my guards and prevent the senior belts from escaping my guards. I did well – no amount of struggling could pry my legs or arms off them, so my opponents could not create a submission. However, the drawback is that although i did not get choked or arm-bared, i was also not learning how to create submissions on them. The only thing that i learnt was that i am absolutely knackered from all that desperate effort to remain in guard position.

I think the guys are also a little horrified at how flexible i am. One of the instructors accidentally rolled over my hand, and we both heard my thumb popped. He got a fright and thought i broke my thumb. I merely straightened my hand and my thumb slid back into place (i have never done this before and although i can’t say i am surprised that i have such an ability, i also cannot claim that my flexibility extended this outrageously) and his jaw dropped. I overheard him telling one of the other instructors when i was in the middle of a grappling bout and my opponent could not arm-bar me despite having my arm in the right position.

Anyhow, the point is i am really tired from all these training. I mean i could stop these trainings but i also know that we need to work-out at least an hour everyday to remain fit. Even if i do not attend these training sessions, i will be at the gym running on the treadmill (or at home using my rather dusty and still quite brand spanking new 3 year old treadmill) and i will not be pushing myself quite as hard so the training value will be ridiculously low. Hence, i refuse to stop training; also the number of friends i have made is invaluable. But i always find myself unable to do any studying. I come back from clinics, sit around a bit or practice my flute, then rush off for training. When i get back, i walk the dog, eat my dinner and it is almost 10pm. By the time i am done with my shower and all settled down, it is 11pm. By which time i really should be in bed because i start early the next day. Can’t get much studying done. Not sure what i can do about this.

The frustrating part is that i am not learning much from General Practice at the moment and i am truly bored out of my fucking mind. I have been seeing patients on my own and i swear to God, everyone either has a cold or is in depression or is after a script. I curse inwardly whenever a GP kindly ask me to see a patient on my own. Don’t get me wrong – the GPs are nice and really i guess i learn crucial skills by running a whole consult by myself but i am not mentally challenged that sometimes i suspect i am using my sports to run away from reality. I used to feel devastated whenever a depressed patient came in and did not want a medical student in attendance. Now i realize that is an advantage because instead of wasting my time pretending to be interested in the consultation, i can actually get some serious studying done. Anyhow, before this rotation i genuinely feared that i may be a convert – that is deciding to be a GP instead of a surgeon. Now i know my initial choice is still correct – i can’t stand this insufferable periods of long interactions with patients. I can do quick ten minute consults and then zip into theatre to do some proper challenging work but i cannot spend 30 minutes talking about weight loss, diabetes control and the importance of avoiding hypertension to a patient who is not interested in their preventative care. Argh.


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