Dojo of the Rising Sun

When I was a young man I was approached by a friend with an unusual proposition. Would I be interested, he asked, in training from 6 to 7 am? He was so busy with work and family obligations that he simply had no other open time slots in his schedule. I agreed, and we did this periodically for about a year. I enjoyed the training despite the unholy time of day: something always seemed wrong about getting up at 5:30 am and finishing a workout as the sun was rising.

Many years later I find myself in a strangely symmetrical place: too busy to regularly train during the day, and much too addicted to grappling to be happy about stopping it, even temporarily. I wracked my brain for weeks trying to figure out some way to train despite an oppressive schedule, but I just couldn’t think of the obvious solution. Finally I remembered my friend’s predicament, and started asking various training partners if they would be willing to occasionally do some training early in the morning. When three or four different people expressed interest I found out that training was a possibility almost every day of the week.

A typical session starts at 6 or 6:30 am. We warm up with 10 minutes of drilling, and then move directly into about 40 minutes of sparring. When we finish up there isn’t much chit-chat: we are packed up and out the door in minutes, and I am usually left with the feeling that the day is going to be worthwhile after all.

I should emphasize that I am NOT a natural early riser: I require several alarm clocks to get up at 5:30 am, but once I get my clothes on, a snack in my belly and my blood caffeinated I actually look forward to these sparring sessions. Maybe if I keep up the early morning training regimen I will eventually turn into one of those disgustingly chipper people who sanctimoniously blither on about the joys of rising with the birds and exercising with the rising sun.

I’d like to send out a big “Thank You” to the people who have made these morning sessions possible. I hope to resume a more normal training schedule in the near future, but until then you’re all helping keep the dream alive!

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