Breaking my CrossFit virginity

I went to my first CrossFit class last month at Crossfit Shapesmiths (in Clapham, London). http://www.crossfitshapesmiths.co.uk/

Overall it was a pleasent experience but it didn’t blow me away.  The guys running it were nice and very enthusiastic.  As you can imagine, the gym owners really love crossfit – that fact made you want to support them.  It’s a brand new facility and during the taster session they were still constructing parts of it.

The owners brought a real sense of community – I think this is quite a common theme amongst other CrossFit gyms.  There was a post workout tea/coffee in a chill-out area next door to the gym where most people hung out after the workout.

The facilities were characteristically CrossFit and there were plans to put in a shower, changing rooms and physiotherapy.  The kit consisted of a big frame (for pull ups etc), bar bells and medicine balls.

CrossFit gym

There was quite a lot of time spent on technique, for the impatient it would probably be frustrating. The exercise itself consisted of 15 minutes of clean and jerk, wall ball, sit ups and 800m run. Repeated AMRAP (as many reps as possible). Overall a good test of fitness, however, over the next couple of days I noticed a twinge in my shoulder. This is nothing new as its something commonly said about crossfit. It is probably wise to exercise personal responsibility when training crossfit to avoid injury.

One of the things we did at the end of the session was to record the number of reps we had individually achieved. This is valuable practice as the saying goes, what gets measured gets done!

It was pretty pricey, which is the main turnoff at £112 a month for two sessions a week (unlimited access at £185 per month).  Compared to a Martial Arts club which ranges from £40 to £70 a month, or gym membership, I would prefer the latter two options.

Tournament Organisation: Awards

When it comes to awarding success at tournaments, what is the best method?

Possiple options that I’ve seen:

  • Trophies including shields, cups, belts, mini statues, swords
  • Medals
  • Certificates
  • A mixture of trophies/medals and certificates
  • Cash
  • Just the title e.g. “Men’s heavy weight black belt British Champion 2016”
Example awards

Example awards

Two perspectives are important here, the competitors and the tournament organiser. From a competitor’s point of view, a nice shiny trophy and cash is the most sort after rewards. Conversely, these are the most costly options for a tournament organiser. Trophies are often bulky and more difficult to transport. Medals on the other hand are easier to manage logistically (as they take up far less space) and custom medals can be made at relatively low cast.

If you want to add a bit of extra quality to your competitions, why not add some personalisation? In my opinion, the tournament name is a minimum and should be engraved/noted on the award. A step further would be to personalise each medal with the winners name. Practically this is a bit of a nightmare as it takes some time to engrave awards and would have to be done on the fly. Including the tournament name on the award could be engraved on the medal or on the ribbon. The main advantage of using the ribbon, is that medals can be reused at other tournaments, so you could potentially bulk buy and just change the ribbon at the next tournament.

I’m against this, but you could award participation with medals (perhaps just to the young juniors) for the feel good factor.  On the flip side, I have been to a handful of competitions where they award outstanding performance for referees and fighter of the tournament.

Finally, tournament organisers should carefully consider how they should prevent the awards. A few options I’ve seen:

  • Present at the end of the category in the ring
  • Present on a podium throughout the tournament
  • Stop the tournament and present on a podium at certain points through the tournament
  • Save all presentations until the end of the tournament
Podium

Podium

They all have their own pros and cons for spectators and competitors. One thing to consider is how tight on time you may be, as some of the options above are quite time consuming.

Martial Arts lesson planning

I’ve spent the last couple of hours lesson planning to coach a Tae kwon-do squad training session tomorrow. I’ve written many before and was thinking there must be an easier way to do this. It struck me that the general format of my lessons are the same and, after a quick search, many other lesson plans take a standard format, that is:

  1. Warm up
  2. Stretch
  3. Training focus, which generally takes you down two routes: Technical or Sparring
  4. Warm down

I attend seminars and have trained under different instructors where I pick up different exercises, combos and drills.  I keep sporadic notes, but thought wouldn’t it be great to have a central resource of all of this and an app/website that can auto-create a lesson plan, with a community of users who can provide feedback and add to this collective resource e.g. I discovered single legged leaping burpees to be a great exercise in developing explosive kicking power, this can be added to the central resource to be shared in the community and it would also remind me to use it again in the future.

Let me know what you think!