Stepping Out My Comfort Zone

I recently started listening to The Joe Rogan Experience podcast with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter Jean Jacques Machado. Jean Jacques Machado mentioned that much of their training was how it transferred outside of training. This got me thinking how indoor bouldering and climbing after a year and a half has transferred away from the climbing wall.

Sea photo relevant later

Indoor bouldering and climbing, no shit isn’t a martial art, yet many elements are similar. Repetition, confidence, practice, breathing, trusting your instincts, understanding why’s, timing, reactions, strength, flexibility, balance, agility, coordination and of course fun. With each climbing grade or level comes new challenges. Sometimes it’s a new move or in my case more heel and toe hooks, another layer of strength but most of the time it’s breathing, believing in yourself to let go of the good hold for the hold you’re doubting you can make. When you finally make the commitment, usually you’ve got it. If you miss and fall, well, you’ve had falling lessons, try not to alter your body falling and laugh it off. If one way’s not working, try another way. Sometimes I don’t understand myself climbing. I know my body’s protecting itself. I’m happy to jump down or fall when I know I will, but when I’m uncertain I don’t want to fall trying and chicken out. That’s another lesson my class once had. If you think you’re going to fall making a jump (up), dyno or move, you probably will. And a big one, talk to yourself, don’t listen to yourself.

Outdoor top rope not indoor bouldering. Just a better photo!

It’s no secret I love the beach and the sea. It’s my second home in the summer, well a tie 2nd with the gym and climbing. I usually thanks to my swimming skills, take a dip then dry off in the sun for a while. Put me in open water I’d sh*t myself. Now the days are getting shorter, clouds arriving earlier and along with the wind, it can get chilly if I arrive at the beach late. Previous summer’s I’ve skipped the dip as my fingers go dead from getting cold and I shiver in the sun and wind. All while thinking I wanna go in but know I’ll freeze. What’s this got too with taking climbing off the wall? I’ve switched my mentality. Sunbathe first then when the sun’s setting go for a dip, dry off with a towel, get changed asap to leave. I don’t get cold! I tried something different stepping out my comfort zone into the will I get cold?

Another is breathing. If something’s stressing me out, or I get stuck my building’s runaway lift for a minute (I’ve watched too many James Bond movies) or I can’t work something out. Pause and breath. It makes you stop, reassess, get yourself together. Then look around for opportunities, routes, options more calmly. I can step out of initial freak out. I’m out my usual comfort zone of OMG! Don’t get me wrong OMG! moments still happen. I’m learning to handle them better and quicker. I’m sure my reaction times to things have improved since climbing. There’s usually one option I didn’t see just ploughing ahead with no plan or thought. In class we had a class of climb so far, pause or block for count of 10. That count of 10 made us stop, learning blocking and/or rest and without knowing look ahead for a way. Climbing I’m sure has made me calmer, more go with the flow and that changes are okay. If it’s not working, try another way. Taking chances, being sure of myself, trying a new way, breathing, talking to myself it’s okay you won’t get cold, trying something different, stepping outside my comfort zone, even if it’s small baby step. I do most weeks climbing without realising.  

How has your sport transferred from training into everyday life? Please share in the comments below!

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