Search This Blog



I have often in my years of training "had" to train while injured. Friends and training partners have actually had to tell me to stop doing something because I was injuring myself further. There is one (and probably only one) perk to training while injured: you have to change what you do. I'm big, fast, strong, enduring, and clever (also a trifle arrogant apparently) but those assets are tasked to their utmost training on an injury, as I use these gifts to prevent myself from getting hurt further while using technique to prevent to humiliating of a beating.
Recently it's been my left knee which has a nice case of pre-patellar bursitis (not to mention whatever other ligament, tendon, and cartilage damage is hiding underneath). This knee is now less flexible, gives laterally, has no ability to drive, and if someone impacts the fluid sack bulging out of the front of me knee I get nauseous. This has forced me to thai box defensively working on my covers and counter punching, but I cannot leg check and if I knee someone I'd probably fall down. In grappling I play almost exclusively off my back, mostly half guard because this gets my "soft" spot mostly out of the fray, playing from the top has led to some new positions I like to call the elevated leg mount and the hip flop side mount which are suboptimal in their effectiveness. I can only train a limited amount before the microtrauma of training makes both knees more swollen and ache. That's right by favoring the new injury, I'm angering the old one.
Injury makes us introspective, imagine a career ending injury something that would close the door to the mats forever? It happens. Imagine an injury that paralyzes or kills you? This happens, too. I had to cancel a tournament and probably a run at the Pan Jiu-Jitsu because I cannot train at a level that I feel is sufficient for me to represent my team let alone place. It also makes me realize what I can and cannot do. I am a firm believer in high-yield, low risk, zero energy technique...not that I don't use brute force to make things work when I have to. This is what I call a progressive tight game. It is a series of simple, calculated steps for victory. No frills, simple, and algorithmic. It's the stuff that everyone can do, although it may be difficult to perform initially. By definition it is non-tasking. Unfortunately it works really well when you are winning. On the other hand a dynamic acrobatic game uses more energy but has greater variability and risk to reward ratio. It challenges the performer mentally and physically to practice, although it should still be maximally efficient in combat. This game can be more effective in the scramble and when you are losing, it also builds cardiovascular endurance and confidence in your less high-risk maneuvers. I think that these strategies exemplify the extremes of the spectrum of combat sports game plans. A progressive tight game is the core upon which more high risk acrobatic dynamic tactics can be played. We will need to interplay "crazy" attacks to obtain solid position from which to wear our opponent down just as a tight game will decrease the need for physically taxing, lower yield attacks.
In the meantime I will continue to wrap my knee, play to its limits, and eat apple strudel.