Fourteen classes of training behind us. Twenty eight hours of class time. A hundred minutes of maximum muscle tension during sprints and strength exercises. Two hundred minutes of movement and balance work. Four hundred minutes of sparring…six hours of fighting. Imagine over an hour of picking up the heaviest weight you can. Two hours of carthweels, handstands…and moving in the most awkward way possible. Valkyrie WMA Assembly students now have put that behind them.

It’s been incredibly hard. The classes themselves are probably the easiest part. They breeze by, two hours passes in no time and we always feel like we want more. The real challenge is between classes. The next day the body feels like it’s been torn apart. You just start to recover and feel better, and bam…right back into class again. A class or two isn’t bad, but as the weeks go on the wear starts to accumulate. It hurts. You get tired…tired to the bone. The days between classes just grind by.

You start to notice a little more pep, and a bit more strength, after a bit. But your endurance is shot. You feel like sprinting up every flight of stairs, but you want to crawl when you get to the top. As your appetite increases, that goes away. You start to notice how closely your food intake and energy levels are related. Eating a small meal can affect you the same way a cup of coffee used to…

I’ve watched the students get gradually better. They’ve adapted like champions. Just before Monday class, everyone was feeling a bit ragged. We’d started to notice certain pains creeping in, and the signs of overtraining were becoming apparent. I adjusted the training for that class to reflect that, and last night was more of what is now a normal class for us. I think we’ve turned the corner now. Those of us with the steady training are now adapted. The pain is less, the energy is higher. The pain that lingers now seems to relate to being still. We are learning to not sit, to not rest…to keep moving, as if we were actually alive instead of just being still life portraits.

Watching the fights in class last night, I got to enjoy seeing the fruits of all that labour. The new students are starting to show some real talent with a rapier, and are showing a powerful athletic base. Experienced fencers are showing new levels of strength, which yields better precision, movement ability, and speed. I have to admit to feeling some real pride in their development. They’ve put some solid work in and overcome every challenge I’ve given them.

Our next trick is to start working the boxing and wrestling more. Boxing skill has been creeping up well, with the students learning to overcome challenges to power generation and balance while striking. With the arrival of the mats, we’ll start working on more wrestling power and endurance. And more pads and kicking shields means I can start teaching the lessons on hitting hard, which I dearly love. Minute by minute, we are building real mixed martial artists…