Dealing With The Curve Ball
Training Martial Arts With Injuries
Life and martial arts training have a funny way of throwing you the odd curve ball from time to time and getting injured is one such time. At the moment I have a leg in plaster following a Judo injury to my knee that will take a couple of months to get back to full function and I know many of you have similar physical limitations caused by injury.
So what should we do about this? The first thing is seek professional help. Martial arts instructors are not experts on health or recovery from injuries and the first thing you need to do is seek qualified help to diagnose the injury and put some sort of recovery plan together. Having done that it is then time to decide what you can do with your time to aid recovery and more importantly so that you bounce back stronger and more skilled than you were before the accident.
The first thing to consider is weight control. It is too tempting to slob out when injured, boredom eat and to get fat. Now is the time to do a little research, reduce your calories and to ensure that your diet is nutrient dense. By this I mean that the food you eat has very few additives and a high amount of nutrients compared to the calories they contain.
One thing I have started doing is having smoothies made with fruit, vegetables and water. These pack a serious nutrient punch and will help give my body what it requires to complete the healing process.
Our mind needs to be active and I do this in a number of ways. The first is research. There are huge resources available through the internet on the various strands of the Russian style and other martial arts. Make the most of youtube and other sites that contain instructional videos then spend time writing notes on things you will practice when healthy and any other insights this process gives you.
A healthy mind needs a healthy body. An injured body can still be active and healthy. Exercise is an essential part of recovery in my opinion and one way you can come back physically stronger following an injury. My left leg is injured, but that does not stop me strengthening my right leg or upper body. Push ups, chin-ups and weight training are all available and can be done at home. Even if completely incapacitated you can always practicing tensing individual muscles to help maintain muscle control and mass.
We all know that some people completely stop training when the slightest injury comes along. Don’t be stupid and over train or cause yourself injury, but there is rarely nothing you can do to improve. Crawling, figure eight work, striking practice and working from a chair or the floor can all offer opportunities to practice when we have an injury. Be creative and take it slow. Do not do anything that is going to slow your recovery, but find a way to train and to remain connected to what you love to do.
I am not too fond of connecting my own training to religious overtones, but one thing that Systema Instructor, Vladimir Vasiliev used to say when I studied with him was that when bad things happen it is so that you can learn something from it. Do not let the opportunity to learn slip by. Remember the saying ‘Every cloud has a silver lining’ and find what you can learn from the position you find yourself in.
One last trick I am using is to watch at least one martial arts related inspirational video a day. Things that make me think there are no limits and that with the right mindset anything can be achieved. This clip is the sort of thing that makes me realise no matter what the physical impairment an injury creates the only limitation is in the mind.