Thread: Pain in the neck
2/11/2008 10:42am, #1
- Join Date
- Jul 2007
Pain in the neck
(I hope this is an OK place for this question. If it's too much of a noob query, feel free to move it where appropriate)
I've been doing MT for about three weeks now (previously many many years of tkd). There is another woman at the gym with whom I often end up getting paired. She started at the gym at the same time as me, but previously trained at a bad gym — where they didn't do sparring or grappling — for about a year. Thus, while she's definitely more advanced than me in some ways, we're reasonably even in others.
My tkd years don't count for much in some aspects of MT training, but what I do understand from that time is how to train with control. If you're better than someone, you can beat them in training without injuring them. I don't think she gets this, which is perhaps understandable given her background.
I'm pretty bad at grappling. At this stage, we're (she and I, that is; everybody trains together at the gym) really just doing snaking hands stuff with light contact knees — from what I can ascertain, they really just want us to focus more on strategy, hand postition and positioning your opponent for knees than trying to smash the other person up. When I grapple with the other more experienced chicks, they beat me (naturally), but generally in a reasonably relaxed way, while still putting up a fight. Once they've got me trapped and I move to break out of the grapple, they let me go.
However, when I end up paired with this other woman (and I often am), she claws onto the back of my head/neck like a vice, wrenches my head into her breasts and holds me there kneeing until I can free myself - which usually takes quite a bit of force.
Now, she's better than me at grappling for sure, and has more upper-body strength, but she's also just going crazily full-pelt. When I use ALL my strength I can sometimes do the same to her, but I don't like to, because it seems (to me) to miss the point of the exercise at this stage.
It wouldn't bother me that much, but it is freaking KILLING my neck. We often do about half an hour of grappling, and after training with her, I often have problems holding my head up in a normal position and I don't have a full range of motion for the next few days. It also just plain hurts. I'm generally a grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it kind of person when training, but I'm actually kind of worried that I'll end up with a neck injury, which would obviously be a bit concerning.
So: should I be worried about this? Is there real potential for injury here, and do I need to tell her to lay off a bit? Or am I being a taekwondo cry-baby because my opponent isn't being compliant and it gosh darn hurts? Will this eventually strengthen my neck?
Last edited by retrograde; 2/11/2008 10:45am at .
2/11/2008 11:54am, #2
1. Tell her she's hurting your neck, and that you need her to dial the intensity down a notch or two to help you learn. If she doesn't lighten up then,
2. Find a different sparring partner.
You're a beginner (in MT). Her lack of control is interfering with your learning process, or worse, could injure you. Neck injuries heal slowly so don't keep quiet.
Will this eventually strengthen my neck?
2/12/2008 11:15am, #3
It sounds like she is going a little too hard since you are a beginner.
However, there are some things you can do to protect yourself. Get your hips in and lower your level. This will allow you to keep your head upright and take pressure off your neck. You can also shorten your neck before you engage her. If your shoulders are down and your head is up in the air like a swan it makes it easy for your opponent to grab your head and wrench it down. Instead when you enter plum (clinch wrestling) range you should tighten your shoulders and "shorten" your neck. This is where the chin up posture for which people sometimes criticize Muay Thai originates. You gotta keep your chin up a little when you are in the clinch or else your head will get dragged down. If you break the clinch and go back to punching or kicking range don't forget to tuck your chin again.
I really love plum/neck wrestling so I'll be happy to answer any more specific questions you have.
2/15/2008 8:05am, #4
- Join Date
- Jul 2007
Well, in fairness, she's a 'beginner' to contact fighting of any sort. I don't think she's deliberately trying to hurt me, but she's pretty oblivious.
I guess I don't like to look like a whinger. Also, on a more egotistical level, she is a general pain to train with (complains for the whole session, suddenly stops every few minutes when we're sparring to talk to people/stare out of the window/complain, etc) so I guess I wish I could just beat her without having to ask her to lay off first, but if it's a safety issue, I'm not going to put my pride first.
Cheers for the advice, guys. I'll test those tips then probably return with a gazillion more questions.
2/20/2008 1:36pm, #5
Is she the only other woman in the class? I often find that if there are two girls in the class, everyone just expects that we'll want to work together for some reason, like we both might want to go powder our noses or go to the bathroom together or something.
Pairing according to gender rather than ability level really doesn't work - I have one boxing partner that can't take any head contact, and a grappling partner who just parks her weight on me and waits out the round. I eventually spoke to my instructors and asked them to rotate partners frequently, so we get to work with 3 or 4 different people in each class. That works better for me, because I get exposure to lots of different skill sets and intensity levels. It took me a few classes to convince a few of the guys to actually hit me (and not air-punch past my head), but once they got over it, we got to do some good training.
Do talk to your training partner and get her to back off a bit - when you are ready for harder contact you can let her know. And talk to your instructor about rotating partners so you get the chance to work with different people. This will also give you some persective on the level of contact/intensity that is expected in the class - if everyone is going hard then you might have to either suck it up or find another class.
2/20/2008 1:59pm, #6
to the OP - white shark is correct, but one thing that i found when i went to thailand was that doing clinch drills left my neck sore for a few days. you need to be careful though and not let yourself get injured. there's a line between being a wussy and being careful. err on the side of caution, and always tell a partner to ease up if you need to.
to aerochick - a lot of the time, women get partnered together because of size issues. it can be tough to find a partner for a 115lb woman sometimes in a class full of 180lb+ guys. it becomes tricky when the skill levels are very different.
for instance we have a woman who is on the fight team, she is tough as hell and 115lbs, but she can't hold pads for the big guys. she doesn't have the mass and upper body strength to do that, she just gets knocked across the room (hell, i get knocked across the room with some of them.)
however, if i partner her with my wife (who is more of a recreational participant) she is too strong for my wife, who can't handle holding pads for her. often what i will do in this case is to step in and hold pads for her when her partner can't handle it.
partnering people properly can be one of the toughest challenges when running a class, so definitely give feedback to your coach if you have issues with your partners."Face punches are an essential character building part of a martial art. You don't truly love your children unless you allow them to get punched in the face." - chi-conspiricy
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2/21/2008 5:12am, #7
- Join Date
- Jul 2007
Yeah, there are other chicks training there - quite a few - although many of them are fighters. I do pair with them sometimes, although they will often pair with guys, too. When there are a bunch of chicks, we will rotate around. I have paired with guys before, but I would say 80% of them are experienced fighters, so they wouldn't get much out of it. For grappling, the size difference often makes it a bit pointless.
Also, boys sweat profusely and grappling with them is a bit gross.
2/21/2008 4:45pm, #8
Stick to posts about striking TECHNIQUE.
2/21/2008 4:46pm, #9Originally Posted by retrograde
At my old Kung Fu school i was the only girl there for quite a while. That was fine, but the guys- one in particular- never came with any intent. It annoyed me no end. One guy was twice my size so i get not wanting to go to hard, but i had to keep reminding him that it was ok to go faster.
Then when we got a new girl i was partnerd with her. It was ok at first, becasue it gave her a chance to get tips and stuff and comfortable with the class, but eventually i wanted more of a challenge so i asked the teacher if we could rotate during lessons, it worked much better.