Way back in the balmy summer month of August, I injured my knee whilst training for the Great North Run which has curtailed my participation in classes over the last three or so months. Rather frustratingly, I have no recollection of how I injured my knee and it has been a slow recovery process.
Whilst I have still been attending club nights, I have been doing a lot more coaching than actively practising. This is no bad thing as there is always an opportunity to learn something yourself whilst coaching others. I often spot things that I know I do myself but watching others training you can see what the effect of this is. The challenge will be to address or implement the things I’ve noticed as I return to full training.
During much of this recovery period, Hugh has been working on a series of takedowns and leglocks, all of which have looked really cool but not exactly the most suitable moves for an injured knee. Drat! However I did try applying a couple of the moves so that I could then help to coach my club mates through these new practises.
As I say, it’s been a slow recovery but as I’m fond of saying “you don’t get any extra grades by being stupid” so I’ve very much phased my return.
Initially I was doing hand techniques only on pads, a good opportunity to work on power and accuracy. Similarly, I was doing kata but without trying to get a low posture. Whilst not ideal, at least it allowed me to work on the basic moves of different katas, including some new higher ones.
After about five or six weeks of hobbling about, I started adding some kicks to pad work. At first, I was able to do the more “straight ahead” kicks such as mae-geri and axe kicks but those involving rotation such as a mawashi-geri would have to wait as the movement still strained my knee. I was able to start doing those kicks by mid-October although with limited power and height. Of course, they had limited height and power before my injury but who’s counting?
I’ve avoided practises where I am not in control of my movement. My knee still gets sore when doing lateral or rotational type moves rather than straight ahead ones. Therefore pads, kata and specific sequences have been fine, but I’ve avoided sparring and grappling where it may get jarred if I get moved in an unexpected direction. In the last week though I had my first parrying practise since August (!) and man, did I feel rusty.
In fact, it is the loss of fitness that has been the most frustrating thing about the injury. Without being able to train as much as I normally would, my stamina has declined considerably. Last Wednesday’s training saw me sucking for air after some breakfall katas and a takedown sequence. Running is much the same as three miles has been the furthest I have run since early August. All in all, I’m a long way off where I was before the injury.
However, the good news though is that the patience has paid off and I am getting back to training, both Shoto Budo and running, so my fitness should improve again. We have been preparing a demo for the upcoming National course that will serve as Shoto Budo’s 25th anniversary and thus far my knee has held up to the practise and the stamina is getting there…slowly.
Next time out, I’ll have my thoughts on the course, our demo and gradings.
The BMAC blog began in 2013 to chart one member's journey to black belt.