Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How Not to Get Injured before Competition

In Hayward Nishioka's book, Judo, Heart & Soul , he has a picture of me asleep on the mats. It used to really irritate my competition that I would take naps between matches, but I didn't do it to irritate them, that was just an added perk. I also didn't sleep in the long stretch from prelims to finals because I was arrogant and wanted to rub it into my opponents that they didn't worry me.

No, I did it to rest and conserve energy, and I WORKED to get the ability to lay down and take a nap in the middle of the national championships. It never made sense to me that someone would be doing throws, jumping rope or running sprints in the gym for 45 minutes and then go out there and fight. Whoever saw a sprinter go run a mile before his or her race in the NCAA finals?

No, when people are doing all that jumping around and speed uchikomis during the tournament, it is for one of two reasons:

  1. Most likely, to work off nervous energy, or,
  2. An attempt to intimidate the competition.

 To quote one of my teammates on the US team, Robin (Chapman) Chow,

WHO are you trying to impress? I sure hope it isn't me, because *I* don't give a shit.

The exact same illogical behavior goes on in the week or so leading up to a competition. I have seen this in judo, and even more so in mixed martial arts. People get hurt the week or so before competition.

Let me explain this to you ...

If your competition is a week or ten days out, you are in shape as you are going to get. If you've been training for ten years or more, that extra week, extra twelve rounds of grappling, another ten hours of randori - it is not going to make the slightest bit of difference.

Seriously - the difference between a world title and second place is not which one of you has done another five hours of practice in the past week.

I know your brain is asking you,
"But what if it is?"

Don't listen to your brain. Listen to me.

"It isn't."

You're just nervous because - congratulations - you're human. A lot is on the line. Nothing is on the line for me. I'm just sitting here at my computer. That being the case, I'm in a lot better position to think rationally than you are.

Now here is what you do ... you rest and heal up. Rest is good. If you are going into fight it never occurs to you to skip sleeping the three days before. That would be idiotic. In the same way, you want to rest your body. You won't get out of shape in a week.

Besides, I'm not suggesting that you stay home and play the Wii. Jog a few miles a day. Run some sprints. Swim. Do a moderate number of repetitions of weights far below your max. Go to the gym and run through drills with a friend. Hit the bags for a while.

Notice what all of those activities I just mentioned have in common?

  1. They have a very low probability of you getting injured.
  2. They will help you cut weight.
  3. They will maintain your level of physical conditioning.

Here is the other thing that will happen ....

If you are doing a more moderate level of exercise after having hit it hard for the last few months, your body is going to be shocked. It's like dieting, but for exercise. You know how when you have to cut weight and haven't eaten for a couple of days, you just can't WAIT to have your next meal?

Well, your body is also used to training intensely, too. So, when you hold back for a week, when you are on a "diet" from intense training, your body starts to crave that, too. By the time your match comes around, you'll be chomping at the bit to get out there and fight. Instead of being tired and sore, you'll have to hold yourself back to keep from attacking before the referee says, "Hajime!"

Speaking of awesome books (even though we weren't) I wrote one. It's called Winning on the Ground. You should buy it. 


Anonymous said...

Who needs that handicap? I'm always up for a good fight!

Stonewall Jackson said...

You mean you were... (gulp) human, once?!? :-)