Welcome to fight club. It is your first day and today we are fighting hand-to-hand combat against an experience fighter who has a knife. You get no weapons at all. 3…2…1… GO. In this scenario, do you feel well enough prepared to fight the person who has a knife on the first day of fight club? If you are smart and don’t have a long line of training hand-to-hand combat including lessons in disarming and defending against an armed assailant, then you should be screaming “no” to the question above. If you make a mistake, it could cost you your life. While CrossFit may not be a life or death fight like the scenario above, it is still a dark comparison to the first day of CrossFit and say, a workout like “Amanda.”
When starting fight club, I think it is reasonable to assume that the first month you will not actually fight anyone. Instead you would probably spend a whole class on stance and foot work. Another class on throwing a jab. Several classes on grappling techniques. Several classes on defensive postures…etc. You would breakdown the knife fight scenario over MANY smaller scenarios where your life is not in danger. CrossFit is no different. Just starting out you should spend plenty of time learning stances, postures, body control before even picking up an external load like a barbell. It is imperative that you are not impatient with this because all that high intensity stuff you see, and extreme weightloss… that didn’t just happen overnight, or even over a month. It took YEARS. Not A year, YEARS.
Alright you have been in Fight Club for a year and you are about to go into your first, real, hand-to-hand fight. Are you going to challenge an opponent who has a weapon while you still do not? UNLIKELY. If you are saying that you would then stop wasting your time in the civilian world and go pursue a special forces career, because you are clearly too advanced for general population and you clearly do not care if you are hurt permanently or not. Seriously, if you think a year of training is enough, stop reading this, stop doing CrossFit and go actually find something to fight for. CrossFit is not for you. Okay now that they are gone we can continue a conversation rationally. After a year, the scenario would still need to be broken down and practiced in segments. A single strike against you with the knife; Master defending and countering that before you move on. Even the competitive setting should have been practiced. Normal hand-to-hand fighting, grappling only, boxing only, etc. Only after YEARS of this would you feel ready. CrossFit is no different! Years of work to master your body and moving load around your body, then roll with the big boys.
All of this boils down to one thing, following a template that is merely a guide to success. It still requires that you, the individual, in communication with your coach, make adjustments daily to ensure that you are making progress. It should be slow progress! Master one thing at a time! Not more than one. Let’s go back to the aforementioned “Amanda.” This workout is 2 movements and a total of 42 repetitions (21 each). It is one weightlifting movement elegantly paired with 1 gymnastics movement. 9 muscle-ups, 9 snatches at 135lbs for men and 95lbs for women, then 7 and 7, and finally 5 and 5. That is all there is to it! You have been doing CrossFit for a year or 2 and the snatch is very doable for you but the elusive muscle-up has evaded your grasp entirely. Maybe you should chat with the coach about just working on the muscle-up today. Maybe you can somewhat preserve the stimulus and drill the muscle up with banded transitions or jumping variations. I would also consider eliminating the clock. Just try to move well with the snatch and then focus during your drill. Maybe your time will be slow, maybe it won’t. It doesn’t matter if you got one step closer to the muscle-up, you are still on top!