Archives for posts with tag: Gymnastics

I just don’t want to die without a few scars, I say. It’s nothing anymore to have a beautiful stock body. You see those cars that are completely stock cherry, right out of a dealer’s showroom in 1955, I always think, what a waste.

-Chuck Palahniuk,   Fight Club

I didn’t sleep well last night. I’m not sure how much of the night was spent trying to find a comfortable position for my leg, and how much was spent dreaming about finding a comfortable position for my leg. It’s the third night in my life I’ve spent like that. I’ve never broken a bone, (except possibly a toe), I’ve never even stayed overnight at a hospital, but three times in my life I’ve damaged a knee to the point that I couldn’t sleep properly. It’s always near the end of training, and it’s always doing something that should be easy. It probably goes to show that I’m careless with things I’m competent at. It sucks. It really sucks. As I was turning in the air, I could tell I wasn’t going to land on the leg I’d intended to. I thought I could swing my other leg around fast enough to get me on to my feet. Had I of bailed, I’d be fine. For a moment I felt silly for crashing a 540 kick in front of the people at gymnastics. Then I stop feeling silly and things move in slow motion. My body is about two feet off the ground, with my right foot swinging down from over top of me to try and land (left side of my right foot is approaching the ground). It contacts before my body does. My foot and lower leg stop. My upper leg does not. There’s a sickening feeling as my knee briefly dislocates towards the ground, and I can feel the tendons and ligaments stretching (tendons are supposed to do this a little. Ligaments are not.). Before my body hits the ground, I feel foolish again. I feel foolish for throwing a move that I’m not good at at the end of a practice on a day when I’d had to walk for thirty minutes in the cold and I hadn’t been able to jump properly all practice. I feel foolish for damaging the knee that was still perfect.

I feel foolish for trying to show off.

Then the pain comes. I’d be lying if I said it was the worst I’ve ever felt, or that it was blinding. It was neither. But it was tremendously disheartening. A string of obscenities followed, not from the pain, but from the pain that was to come. In that moment I could see 6 months of recovery, hobbling about, wincing with every step. I calm down, and focus on my breathing, and the pain gets better. Practice ends. People offer to help. I stubbornly refuse. I get home. I wake up, and it’s today. I call in to work. I can’t make it down stairs let alone to work. A shower helps a little. Gradually, while reading in bed, the mobility returns. I currently have almost full extension, and can get to about 30 degrees of flexion. This is a good sign. I don’t think it will be as bad as the first time, and only marginally worse than the last time, which saw me back training within two weeks. What follows are the reasons I’m thankful for this injury, and for the others I’ve sustained.

  1. Freedom -Once I was up on my feet, I joked with one of the other people who had been at practice that I’d spent 8 years favouring my good leg, afraid of re-injuring my other leg. Now I don’t have a good leg, and I can become a more balanced athlete. Fear comes from having something to lose. There’s no reason I can’t make my leg stronger than it is now. My other leg is certainly stronger than when I injured it. Now I don’t have a “perfect leg,” to lose; instead I have two legs that can be broken, and can be fixed, and can be built stronger than they are. 
  2. Feedback -I know that if I had been at the same fitness and strength levels as before I came back to karate I would not be walking today, and would probably need surgery. My knee is (well, was, and soon will be again) more flexible than it has ever been and stronger than it has ever been (pistol squats were pretty unthinkable two years ago). The muscles around my knee protected it from a more serious tear that could have required surgery. As well, this tells me that I need to improve my discipline even with moves that don’t seem dangerous. I took my mind off of what I was doing, panicked, and hurt myself. Lastly, this shows me how much I’ve learned about my own body, and the body in general since my first injury. Rather than feeling at a complete loss for how to proceed, I feel comfortable assessing different aspects of what I’ve done, and am beginning to think of a regimen to get me back into fighting form (after a few days rest that is).
  3. Challenge -It’s relatively easy to keep your spirits up and persevere through something like the Tough Mudder, or even a black belt grading. You’ve got this great goal that you’re about to achieve. You’ve put lots of work in, and you’re finally going to be rewarded if you can just get through the next few hours. Injuries, on the other hand, are a different sort of challenge. They come uncalled and they seem unfair. Perseverance is the only option. You put in weeks, months, and sometimes years of work to heal completely, and what are you left with? You’re back to where you started. The challenge then, is to keep up hope: to see every difficulty as an opportunity to grow as a person and to meet the difficulties head on. There will be pain. There will be days when you don’t feel like stretching, or squatting, or getting out of bed.But at the end you’ll move smoothly and easy again, and nobody will ever know that you were injured. But you’ll know, and you’ll know that you paid for your right to move freely with your blood sweat and tears.
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Hello… You!

This week, I’ve been (you guessed it) sick! So much for getting used to my new routine; working out gets a lot more difficult when you can’t breathe properly. But all’s well that ends well, and I am, once again, well. Life’s been fairly tame the last week, though my busy-ness is steadily increasing. I’ve gone to physio twice now to get my foot looked after, and it looks like I’ll be going twice a week to that for the forseeable future. Apparently there wasn’t a serious fracture, though I suffered a sprain of the joint between my left, fifth metatarsal and proximal phalange (or, as I hope my medical jargon obfuscated, “I hewt my widdle toe.”). So in my spare time (HA! SPARE TIME!) I’ll be soaking it in hot water and rolling a tennis ball around with it. I’ve been using this non-butterfly-twisting time to contact dynamo gymnastics to find out what I could do to use their facilities for myself and the demo team, and apparently they have an adult program starting soon, so that’ll be added on to my schedule in short order.  Beyond all that, I perform a magic and juggling routine with my partner/assistant/girlfriend, and we’ve gotten a couple of bookings over the next little while. Any suggestions on time management strategies would be very welcome.

Oh yeah, I’m falling behind in PD2 (online course for students in their first co-op term).

Man, Christmas break is gonna be awesome.

So, to recap, on my horizon I have:

  • Maintaining my workout schedule
  • Physio twice a week
  • Preparing the demo team
  • Beginning at Dynamo gymnastics
  • Preparing for/Doing my own performances
  • Catching up on PD2
  • Writing my essay, “What Karate Means to Me”
  • Interviewing a living hero
  • Preparing the next Kyu belt graduation

Writing it out actually makes it seem more manageable. Maybe there will even be room for sleep over the next little while.

Anyways, let’s get on to the weekly recap:

Monday:

  • 140 Push ups
  • 140 Sit ups
  • 14 rounds of Seipai
  • 9 acts of kindness

Tuesday:

  • 140 Push ups
  • 140 Sit ups
  • 14 rounds of Seipai
  • 40 minutes of meditation
  • 5 acts of kindness

Wednesday:

  • 140 Push ups
  • 140 Sit ups
  • 14 rounds of Seipai
  • 20 minutes of meditation
  • 5 acts of kindness

Thursday:

  • 140 Push ups
  • 140 Sit ups
  • 14 rounds of Seipai
  • 20 minutes of meditation
  • 7 acts of kindness

Friday:

  • 140 Push ups
  • 140 Sit ups
  • 14 rounds of Seipai
  • 20 minutes of meditation
  • 10 acts of kindness

Saturday:

  • 30 Push ups
  • 9 acts of kindness

Sunday:

  • 200 Push ups
  • 200 Sit ups
  • 7 acts of kindness

So for Week 4 I did: 930 Push ups, 900 Sit ups, 70 repetitions of Seipai, 100 minutes of meditation 52 acts of kindness, and no sparring or jogging.

Cumulatively, I have: 3590 Push ups, 3420 Sit ups, 323 rounds of Seipai, 440 minutes of meditation, 142 acts of kindness, 45 rounds of sparring, and 20 km of jogging. It seems like the only thing I’m staying abreast of are my blog posts (ignoring that this one was a day late).

And lastly, in an act of abstract narcissism, for those of you who read to the end, here’s a video of me using nunchucks at a tournament (comments, questions and criticisms are welcome… except criticisms):

Until next week, Cheers!