Saturday, May 11, 2013

No pain, no gain, not exactly

Let's talk sports injuries, one of the more depressing topics I could cover on this blog. Most seriously competitive athletes have been told to shake it off, fight through the pain, pain is temporary, glory is forever and 100 other clich├ęs . I've probably repeated every one of those myself and there is a certain amount of truth to them. If you're going to compete on the world stage, you need to train under conditions where other people would give up. If you have a headache, a tooth ache, you train any way. If you had knee surgery, you do bench presses or run through mat work drills or perfect your sacrifice techniques - that's how Ronda learned sumi gaeshi and how I developed a really good ko uchi makikomi and tani o toshi.

Random irrelevant question - why do you see people in mixed martial arts do ko uchi gari and not ko uchi makikomi? Well, actually, the only person I've seen do ko uchi gari is Ronda, but the question still stands.

ANYWAY .... to get to the point ... that attitude is necessary to winning, but it can be overdone in two ways. The first is when you are ignoring something that will get worse if you ignore it. It took me several years to learn that when I get bronchitis, pneumonia or the flu and keep working and working out, I end up getting sicker until I absolutely cannot do anything.

The second way is more insidious. Almost every elite athlete ends his or her competitive years with some injuries and those get worse as you get older, particularly if you "fought through it" when you were young.

I had several knee surgeries and finally had my knee replaced when I just could not accept the number of things I couldn't do. I hadn't been able to run for over a year by then, couldn't really do any judo except matwork and even walking around all day, like at Disneyland, would leave me aching at the end of the day. Even bending my knee to get something out of a bottom drawer was out of the question. When Julia was young, we never went hiking or climbed out on rocks in the ocean as far as  I did with the other kids when they were little because I never went further with a child than I was sure I could carry her back if necessary. Now, every day when I just do the simple things - hike in the mountains or even bend down to pick something up, I wonder why the hell I waited so long.

I've been running around with my lovely grandchildren this week and it's very obvious that my arm is messed up.
It's been that way for a while.  Last month, my elbow was bothering me to the point that I tried to really cut back on typing, thinking it was repetitive motion injury. When that didn't help, I took the drastic step - for me - of actually taking two days away, staying in a cottage and going wine tasting - although I admit I took my iPad, a notebook and several books of technical documentation.

That helped a little with the pain - but 14 years competing gave me a pretty good foundation for ignoring pain. It's the obvious inability to do simple things - I can't do more than ten push-ups - I mean the real Marine-style push-ups, not the half-ass fake push-ups kids do at practice - I can still do 50 of those.  When I'm carrying my granddaughter who probably weighs 20 pounds, if I have to push off with one arm, say to climb up on a jungle gym, I make sure I put her in my right arm because I can only do a one-handed push-up with my left arm.

I was chasing my other granddaughter across the monkey bars and I couldn't get all the way across because, again, I couldn't pull up all of my weight with just my right arm.

My excuse for not going to the doctor about it was I could ignore the pain, I'd just get better if I went on with life, I don't have time to bother - hell, I'll have to get an appointment between trips to San Francisco, San Diego, Boston, North Dakota and Florida.

The problem with old sports injuries is that even though, like with illness, ignoring them causes more problems in the long run, unlike illness they worsen gradually. A second problem is ageism. There is the old joke:

A 93-year-old man complained to his doctor that he couldn't bend his right knee. When the doctor told him that at his age he needed to learn to accept that he would have some disability, the man retorted that his left knee was the same age and it worked fine.

It will be interesting to see if my doctor tells me that it is perfectly normal for a woman my age to not be able to do a one-handed push-up holding a 20-lb weight, or not whip off 50 push-ups and what the hell is a grandmother doing standing on top of the monkey bars with a five-year-old. (Fortunately, Maria did not post those pictures because, as Eva reminded her, "I don't think Grandpa would approve of this.")

The point is, that it is normal for ME. If we don't get those sports injuries taken care of we'll have a much more restricted old age, and after having a pretty damn full youth, that would be a shame, wouldn't it?

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6 comments:

Al B Here said...

I think that Ko uchi Makikomi isn't used in MMA because, from the looks of it, there's the perception that doing it incorrectly causes one to give up one's back and be vulnerable to Hadaka-jime. On a somewhat related sidenote, what's the difference between Ko uchi Makikomi and Ko uchi Gake. They two look very similar to me...

Dr. AnnMaria said...

There are (at least) three ways to do ko uchi makikomi. The way Ronda does it is more likely to score a full point in judo, but also more likely to get countered. The way I do it is mainly intended to bring you to the mat and is less likely to get countered but also less likely get a full point. The third way, if countered, could end up in hadaka jime, and is also illegal in judo now because it involves grabbing the leg. I always thought it was stupid to do it that way.

Maybe next week when I get home I'll do a post on how to do ko uchi makikomi

aglee said...

An instructional post would be great.

Ryan J said...

Ko uch gari/makkikomi tutorials would be fantastic. Please do!

dave schaeffer said...

I can do push ups, though they kill my shoulders. I now do incline dumbbell bench press with no pain. Actually, push ups with feet elevated are harder to do but easier on my shoulders. Could also be the extra pre season muscle I'm carrying around my waist.......

Jimmy said...

Good article. The mindset shift to go from "injured" to "better than before" is difficult but VERY essential. Let's not forget proper recovery and anti-inflammatory nutrition.

A anti-inflammation diet will increase your recovery time rapidly and allow you to train again without being 100%.

In all my time working with fighters, I have to continually remind them to follow anti-inflammation protocols daily. It's THAT important.