Round 1 (at top)
Round 2 (above)
Round 3 (above)
Difficult Padwork Days
Something that Pi Nu said to me early on was, “every day body not same.” This just means you have good days and bad days, strong days and tired days, focused days and what-the-fuck days. It’s all okay.
Padwork with Pi Nu is always hard. I’ve told this to friends and acquaintances who come through the gym and wonder what’s wrong with them because they’re winded after one round with him. He’s got a style and it’s the best padwork I’ve ever encountered. That style, however, incorporates a lot of pressure. He’s pressuring you every single moment, even when you’re not striking – it’s not something you can even easily see in video. As a result you have to figure out how to rest while actively moving or even doing a “screw you, I’m standing my ground,” approach. In the first days and weeks of this kind of padwork, you think you’re dying. It’s a combination of everything: the heat, how you’re sleeping, maybe I’m dehydrated, Jet Lag, etc. Yes, all those things can make padwork harder, but just believe me when I say this: padwork with Pi Nu is never easy. Never. I’m a year in and I’ve never breezed through a single round with him. I’ve had more fun and less fun, been more relaxed or less relaxed – just as you can find a combination of reasons for why it’s hard, there are things that make it better: how relaxed you are, how much fun you’re having, and how sadistic he’s feeling that day.
In the padwork in these videos, I’m tired. It’s a million degrees in the gym in the afternoons, Pi Nu is in a “work for it” mood, and I’m not relaxed. My attitude is pretty shitty, actually, but that’s because I’m focusing on how tired I feel. I can actually forget fatigue; I can forget that I just told the pad holder that my left shin is no good for kicking and then kick on it because I forgot that it hurts. That’s because it’s fun. I’m not having fun in this padwork and you can see it. But Pi Nu is still making me work for it.
And that’s something I really love about him, generally speaking. He can read whether I’m just tired or whether I’m crumpling mentally. He won’t back off of either scenario, but he pushes harder if I’m cracking mentally. I have to fix that under pressure; there’s no kid gloves in Pi Nu’s tool kit. There is just hard and harder.
On this day I felt very slow. I had just finished 25-30 minutes of clinching, and maybe 15 minutes of sparring. I was beat. I was in a pissy mood because I feel like I’m not doing very well, because I’m tired and being tired is making me unable to feel okay about not doing well. It’s circular and literally the only way out of it is to stop caring that I’m so tired – it’s only a mental solution, but on this day I was wallowing in it. So I’m getting more frustrated with myself for not blocking, for being off-balance, for being slow. And Pi Nu’s not trying to pull anything out of me in these rounds of padwork. On some days he sees that I’m not blocking so he just goes on a kicking rampage and forces me to either a) figure out the block, or b) figure out how to look like those kicks don’t bother me and get him back with something, anything, else. But this day he’s just trying to get me to look like I can push through; and I’m kinda failing. If my attitude was better, if I cracked a smile, if I laughed, he would have pushed me harder. Sometimes he throws me down and as I try to get up he’ll knock me over again with a push-kick, yelling, “M-M-A!” as he does so. He thinks it’s hilarious. The lesson is get up faster. But because I’m in a shit mood he’s just letting it ride, just seeing if I’ll push through. He always just gives you slightly more than you can handle. On some days that’s quite a lot; on other days that’s trying not to cry because my kick feels slow. Every day not the same.