I feel like I should write a short combat wombat update. I am still playing with the wolverines two or sometimes three times a week. We had to take a break from training during the Corona lockdown period, but are now back and fully functional. Those of you who follow me on twitter know that I tested for orange belt (10th kyu) in February and somehow passed and even got awarded the 9th kyu, even though I still cannot do the required ten push-ups. Well, unless you count wombat flop-downs as push-ups, that is. And even though I am quite proud that passed the belt exam, the wombat in me feels like I don’t completely deserve it, because I might be good at remembering Japanese terms and the techniques that go with it, but strength and fitness wise I don’t feel up to par.

Funnily enough, the Corona break did help me a little bit, because even though I did not train all that much during that time, I did some other fun home workout stuff (like the 30 day push-up, situp, squat, dips challenge and some random YouTube workouts) and I converted my oversized balcony into a rooftop garden, which, considering I shlepped some 1500 litres of potting mix, compost and top soil up the stairs, counts as a bit of a strength workout in itself. And I suspect that was more than most of my kyokushin training partners did, because ever since we started training again, I can now magically keep up with the group during warm-ups and circle training. Sometimes I use slightly smaller weights and my push-ups are still mostly cheated, but I feel that for a wombat I am doing quite well.

My actual fighting skills are still very much what you would expect of a clumsy groundhogging marsupil, though. Slow, sluggish and with no power to speak of. I can throw myself at a wolverine with as much power as I can possibly muster and it doesn’t even flinch. It is a bit frustrating, to say the least. So I decided that I need more power (and also that I want to convert those flop-downs into actual push-ups) and that I’d do something that has been on my wombat bucket list for quite a while now: Hire a personal trainer. Due to the Corona induced lull, I am currently only working half of my regular hours, so I do have a lot of days off and that gives me a good opportunity to do that.

So I did have a look around on the internet. I wanted a personal trainer in the area, who had at least some martial arts background himself. I narrowed it down to two different choices and then went for trial lessons with both of them. The first one was also a physio therapist and did a lot of relatively static core strength stuff. It was good, but it wasn’t terribly exciting. Yes, this wombat is a bit of a thrill seeker at the moment, sorry. I want to kick and punch things. Hard. Not stand on one leg while trying to balance a medicine ball on my nose. (Okay, I totally made that up … but you get the idea).

So in fact the second trainer, Mischa, who owns his own fight gym, was much more to my liking. His workouts are more action packed and when he lays out what he wants me to do, my first reaction (at least in my head) is always: I can never ever get through all that. But in fact, I usually can. And that is a good feeling. Actually, I think at the moment, my biggest problem is in my head. I am so used to being the eternal wombat, to being the slowest and weakest person imaginable, that I really struggle to trust my own abilities. Every time on the way to training, no matter if it is the regular Kyokushin classes or the personal training sessions with Mischa, I worry that I won’t be able to make it through. I get seriously nervous about it, every single time. And it takes a lot of mental strength to go there anyway.

It is not a reasonable fear, of course. I mean, the worst that can happen is that I cannot complete an exercise and just take a little breather instead. It is not as if that never happened before. And it still happens sometimes, but it is no big deal. Nobody is going to kick me out because of it. Actually, the longer I train, the more often I see legit wolverines sometimes sneak in a few push-ups on their knees, when they reach their limits. But anyway, at the moment I have the feeling that the main reason that I stay a wombat is not that I am stuck in the body of a wombat, but rather that I have the head of a wombat. The school sports induced trauma is a deep one.