Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm born all over.

Monday I attended a beginner's class to 'wade in the water' a bit. Plenty of slow kick work and fundamentals.

That sucked!

Then I recovered and re-hydrated while watching sparring with a Cheshire Cat smile on my face, basking in the afterglow. It was tag-team drills, and an absolute riot to watch.

Tuesday was the intermediate belt core class.

The first half was open-hand form work, which came back to me quite well. However, while it looked good when I faced the mirror, somehow working form away from the mirror left me feeling unplugged, suddenly unsure of my moves. Strange.

The second half was spent working our Bo (staff) form. I had just begun this form when I was injured, but I still had fundamentals in place for holding the Bo, and remembering what each move was when it was called out by the instructor. By the end of class I could barely hold my Bo, and my shoulders were killing me.

That sucked--HARD!!!

But I got over that too and realized just how much I missed Karate.

How fun it is to push yourself, even with restrictions in place.

How nice my fundamentals still look.

How intensely focused I get while sensing all the feedback my body is giving me.

How priceless it is to come home dead tired and fall asleep with a grin so wide my cheeks hurt.




Thursday, March 19, 2009

Going Home...Again...and Lemonade

For the regular reader of this irregular poster, you'll notice the updated countdown clock.

After passing the mid-point of my 24 week rehab period, I made the decision to update the clock to reflect my return to Karate on Monday.

Am I crazy? No.
Just feeling fat, uninspired, and bored to tears.

The PT I currently do at home in many ways is more aggressive on my knee than perhaps 80% of my Karate activity. I may as well work out in the company of friends rather than in isolation!

Therefore I've decided to return--with certain restrictions until June 1st, the end of my 24-week "restricted" period.

Forms / Kata shouldn't be an issue, since they don't involve jumping or spinning kicks, and the few kicks that are present are with my non-operative leg.

I will make appropriate substitutions for the next 10 weeks:

- Instead of kicks with hard snaps, I do slow-count kicks, substituting a strength exercise for a power drill
- Kicks with my non-operative leg will be performed with the chamber action slowed down (which usually involves some degree of pivoting on the supporting leg)
- Spinning kicks? More slow-count kicks.
- Jumping kicks? More slow-count kicks.

So basically between now and June, I'll be doing a ton of strength work, deep stances, careful pivots, and drill on learning my new weapon form with the bo staff.

Come June 1st, I'll be more than ready to get back to sparring!

I want to thank Black Belt Mama for the "When Life Hands You Lemons" award:

Like any good blog award, there are some rules:
  • Post the logo on your blog.
  • Nominate blogs that show great attitude or gratitude
  • Link to the nominees within your blog post.
  • Notify the recipients of the award by commenting on their blog.
  • Share the love and link back to the person from whom you received your award.

Paying it forward, my nominee is a fellow Martial Artist, Bobspar.

Bob is a self-declared Middle-Aged Martial Artist, and the first blog I came across when seeking other Martial Artists with ACL tear stories. My own blog title is inspired from his attitude of not only embracing where he is in life, but also having begun his journey in the Martial Arts as a middle-aged person!

Bob found a particularly sour lemon to make lemonade--he was literally minutes away from completing his black belt exam when his knee decided to play a game of "Pop Goes The Weasel," tearing his ACL and delaying his black belt for over a year as a result. He is training hard for his test coming up this May, and I wish him the best of luck!

Friday, March 6, 2009

I've given up.

What??? Say it ain't so, Hack ol' buddy!
Big guy like you, strong like an ox, you say you've given up?

Yes, it's true. I'm done for a while, and giving up.

Giving up something for Lent, silly!

What, you read the title after hearing nothing from me for weeks and just assumed the worst? C'mon, gimme a bit of credit here!

As has often, but not always, been my practice in the past, I'm resisting nearly 7 weeks of temptation. This year I've given up alcohol (except Communion at church) and fried food--specifically hamburgers and anything deep-fried. Believe me, as casual as it sounds it truly is NOT an easy thing to do.

So why bother?

I don't consider myself a fundamentalist or terribly evangelical sort of person, but I do enjoy a good challenge. For those unfamiliar with the basic premise, before he faced his final series of challenges culminating in execution, Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert and facing temptation by Satan to give up his mission.

These 40 days are represented by the season of Lent, during which the Christian church asks its membership to sacrifice some practice from Ash Wednesday through Easter. Somehow giving up red meat and opting for Fillet-O-Fish for 6 or 7 Fridays in the Spring just doesn't resonate with me as true sacrifice.

Instead, I chose something I take for granted in my daily life, like the evening beer I drink while whipping up dinner, or the Wendy's I have after band practice on Wednesdays. Besides, I was putting on too much weight. Quoting Joni Mitchell, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone!"

Temptation? You bet. Worst temptation so far was Tuesday night. I cooked Beer Cheese Soup, where the recipe calls for one beer in the pot and one in the chef. Somehow it tasted different.

In conclusion of this topic I'd like to suggest to those of you who observe Lent to really think hard about what practice feels impossible to give up. Then DO IT. Believe me, after nearly 7 weeks, you will be a changed person.

This coming Monday the 9th marks my half-way point. 12 weeks since surgery, 12 more weeks until June 1st when (barring any complications) I will have no restrictions on activity.

I'm meeting with my Karate instructor Monday evening to review leg movements. I'm going to review the various stances and core movements with my PT next Friday.

I intend to return to Karate within a few weeks. There's no reason to do exercises in solitude at home when I can do them in the company of my peers! I'm running nearly 4 miles these days, and will add plyometric exercises shortly. Heck, some of those go beyond the boundaries of what we do at Karate!

My restrictions are fairly self-explanatory. Obviously I won't risk re-injury:
- No sparring (DUH!)
- No jumping kicks
- No turning kicks
- No snapping kicks (slow-count or slow-motion only)

But even with these restrictions, there's TONS that I can still accomplish.

I'm giving up on waiting.