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Friday, 27 December 2013

It's been a while...

It's been two weeks since I last blogged due to preparation for Christmas and the big day itself (which is awesome with a three year old!) but I'm back teaching and training full-time following on from my surgery. Recovery has been great and since rolling I've had no problems whatsover... except seriously bad cardio haha

So that's what I want to talk about, returning from injury. I know a lot of people do this badly. Most important thing is, you have to rest and rehab some injuries, you CANNOT train. It could be due to severity or injury but there are plenty of things which are best given total rest. The more you train the more you'll understand what injuries you can train with, but if in doubt speak to your instructor.

I had a fairly minor op on my knee so the main thing blocking me from training after it was swelling in and around the knee. I could straighten it immediately after the op, but I had nowhere near full range of motion bending it. This meant that sitting in posture or doing butterfly guard would have put a lot of pressure on the joint and put it at risk of getting reinjured. So I waited until I could touch my heel to my ass (should I say bum? Too much American TV haha) before I started training... and that took about 3 weeks.

I know a lot of people have quite a lot of trepidation about restarting after injury, but I think if you are sensible about it there is no need for this. Think about what movements/positions the injured body part will have to deal with and what sort of range of movement and/or weight bearing you're able to do. How much can you protect the injury and the type of injury matters a lot too... you can usually train with ankle and wrist injuries without too much trouble, but anything in or around upper leg/hips/abs is difficult to avoid worsening. Muscle tears and really easy to make worse whereas tendon and ligament damage can be protected by training smart.

Training smart with an injury means you are going to have an ego check... there are a few ways you can lose to it here; one, you've just had time off and you're not 100%... that means some people might have improved enough to tap you and plenty will definitely be able to give you a tougher fight than before. Cardio is also going to be an issue, so tough sparring sessions are going to be really hard, especially the last few rounds. Make sure you don't sit out or avoid people because of this, yes you might get tapped more, or by people who couldn't before, but if you avoid any sparring for fear of losing you've lost to ego. The second way to lose is by using the injury as an excuse... you only got tapped because of the injury, you keep having to stop in the middle of a round because you're sore. Maybe you tell other people these things, or just tell it to yourself, it doesn't matter... just don't do it. Then probably the least common but most dangerous issue is not being prepared to tap due to an awkward position or when you feel damage to the injury. This is just silly... if you need to tap, tap.

Finally, when rolling after or with an injury I think you also have to be fair to your partners. I don't like it when people tell their sparring partner stuff like "Don't grab my arm cos..." or "Take it easy because...", if you want to roll you just roll, if you need to tap then tap. If something is bad enough to need to avoid someone touching it at all then you shouldn't be rolling and if you do choose to roll it's your problem, you shouldn't expect your sparring partners to have to avoid doing things which will be natural reactions. All I ever tell people before I roll is that I may have to tap unexpectedly so they should be ready to stop if I do.

As for me... I've done about 6 or 7 sessions of rolling since I started back and my knee feels great. I'm able to roll fairly hard without any issue, although I'm still avoiding any big pressure on the knee and it does feel slightly sore after training (but the soreness is decreasing). Absolutely chuffed with how the surgery and rehab have gone, I reckon I'll be back to a full schedule of training in the first two weeks of the new year... going to start seeing how triangles feel on the knee then.

I've had a big change to my teaching situation over the holidays and want to have a look back at what's happened this year, so the next few posts should be much more frequent!


  1. Good post again Rob - I'm am slowly making my way back into training now 4 mths after my shoulder surgery and your post is bang on. I rolled last week and it was like I was a brand new white belt - getting completely mullered by everyone. But you just have to tap and get on with it. Its better than doing nothing at home. You made a good point also about making sure that you tell people to expect a tap - even if they don't think they are in a submission or finishing position. I tapped a few times from 'discomfort' simply as its not worth re-doing the injury but had primed my partners to watch out for a fast tap if I needed to.

    1. Yep, don't tell them "Don't touch my shoulder/attack my arm" etc, just let them know you might need to randomly tap, have no ego about it and you will be safe (or, at least as safe as possible)

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