Knowing when to rest & when to get back on the mats can be tricky. When I first started my study of martial arts, I was absorbed in a culture of, “You’ll be fine. Just keep training.” This seemed to work after a sprain but when I tore my medial collateral ligament & ripped a chunk of cartilage off inside my knee, it didn’t really hold true. I trained on that dodgy joint for the next 7 years before I finally had to take several months off after a double arthroscopy to clean both knees up. My good knee went bust due to compensating for so long. I got to the point where I couldn’t get out of the way of a slow moving rubbish truck! Not literally, but you get what I mean.
Had I taken some good advice, had a proper break from keiko & got the knee cleaned out (or even repaired early) I would have saved myself a lot of time off the mats, reduced cartilage in both knees, a lot of icing, drugs and ointments over the years. But I was too busy trying to be tough.
It’s a difficult call to sit out from keiko when injured. Your ego & your willingness to push through, to persevere, tells you that it’ll be ok, keep going. But you have to listen carefully to what your body’s trying to tell you. It could mean more time out in the long run. But if left too long then resting of an injury can have the opposite effect & keep you out even longer due to muscle wasting. Shoulders and knees are notorious for this type of flow on effect.
Our dojo, Sessa Takuma, used to have a saying when Morris came back from his decade in Japan.
“Harden Up!” was what we’d all push each other on with.
It was a mix of bravado and genuine encouragement. This attitude has to do more with pushing through the limits of our fitness comfort zone (as the bucket in the corner will attest to) more than our pain threshold with regard to injury. We train smarter these days. Although, Morris, is a big lover of sports tape to remedy most ailments.
“Just put some tape round it & keep going!” we often hear from him. Ha!