Using Martial Arts Basics To Recover From an Injury

white belt uniform

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know how I feel about forms. I’ve written over two dozen blog posts about the mental and physical benefits (and inevitable life lessons) of practicing poomsae.

To my surprise, my physical therapist casually mentioned that I should start doing slow-motion forms to work on balance and transferring weight back and forth on my legs. I’m nearly three weeks post-op from ACL reconstructions surgery, and, if I’m careful, I can move around the house with just my leg brace. I was excited about the prospect.

I’ve done forms as mental therapy. I’ve never done them as physical therapy, so this will be a new recovery/martial arts adventure for me.

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Slow to Go Fast

Illustration of race between rabbit and turtle.
Eventually I’ll get there.

According to my mother, I began walking shortly before my first birthday.

Yesterday, about a month after my forty-first birthday, I learned how to walk again. 

I had a 9:00 am physical therapy appointment with Cody, my long-time therapist and injury wizard. He was expecting another patient in thirty minutes, so he decided we would work on walking since I could now put more weight on my right leg (not my full weight, but more than fifty percent), and then I could do the exercises I already knew on my own. 

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The Hard Truth of Getting Back Into Shape – Before and After

therapy clinic
My dojang for the next six months

According to WordPress, I started this draft at 12:16 PM on July 9, 2020. My original plan for this post was to recount how I was several weeks into longer, more intense taekwondo training back at the dojang after doing thirty-minute home workouts for two months in quarantine, the differences among the two types of training, and what it revealed to me about my stamina, strength, and skill. 

My original plan also included describing in detail the invigorating, intense, difficult class I took on my forty-first birthday. I was going to talk about how strong I felt and yet how far I had to go. I was going to say I wished I had the bikini body and sparring stamina I had in February and how I’d have to spend months getting it backHere’s a little excerpt:
“I was kicking so hard I swear my BLADDER hurt. I sucked in shaky, audible gasps. I was nearly in tears from the tax on my body, and I don’t cry in taekwondo.”

But this is 2020, and nothing this year is as it seems. The night of July 9, I tore my ACL.

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Is My Injury Bad For My Image?

model mirror
You can barely see her knee surgery scars from here.

The editing work for my upcoming memoir is finally done, and now I’m dipping my callused toes (from all the roundhouse kicks, of course) into publicity. I’m *thisclose* to selecting a publicist and very excited about the next step of my publishing journey.

The ACL injury and subsequent surgery seem like especially bad timing.
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Knee Surgery: Pre-Op Jokes and Dr. Pepper

syringe
God bless anesthesiologists.

As martial artists, we’ve heard those familiar mantras before: “Fall down seven times, get up eight”; “A black belt is a white belt who refused to give up“; perseverance, indomitable spirt, blah blah blah.

It turns out that martial arts spirit of perseverance and jocky stubbornness to give up has quite come in handy over the last few days. I am four days into recovery from ACL surgery, and recovery has been a full-time job. Let’s go back a few days…

In my last post, I described my worst taekwondo injury to date and following tests and decisions I made with my doctor. We agreed on an ACL repair slated for July 22 at 7 am.

…things didn’t quite go as planned.
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How I Got a Publishing Deal…a Story Told Backward

Publishing contract

Around this time a year ago I submitted draft pages for my memoir Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts to hybrid indie publisher She Writes Press. I was at the end of a two week “staycation” to celebrate turning forty. I cherished the time to work out, read, write, take care of my home, do a little shopping, eat, relax, and just enjoy all that time to myself.

At the end of those two weeks I came to two conclusions:
1. I am going to be a very busy retiree when that blessed day comes.
2. I was going to take my dream to publish my memoir in a different direction. More on that in a moment.

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Gordon Ramsay Is My Spiritual Writing Guide

Book_knife
This writer takes “kill your darlings” seriously.

After Americans united for the collective experience of watching “Tiger King,” we all  retreated to our own private means of surviving everything 2020 kept (and keeps) throwing at us.

My coping mechanism has been binge-watching “Kitchen Nightmares” and more recently “Hell’s Kitchen” with world-renowned chef and restauranteur Gordon Ramsay

I love Gordon Ramsay, and I am also terrified of him. For some strange reason, watching him scream at people over scallops, risotto, and raw chicken is so comforting and enjoyable in these dystopian times. 
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Are Your Beliefs Limiting You?

3d head and open door

I kind of have a crush on actor and martial artist Michael Jai White. Not in a romantic way, although he’s a handsome guy. It’s more of an admiration and respect for his technique. His side kicks and back kicks are such stuff as dreams are made on.

In the movie Never Back Down 2, White’s character tells his student, “An angry mind is a narrow mind.” Anger and frustration can cloud and distract a fighter’s thinking. Emotions take over their technique and logic, which can lead to a lot of costly mistakes.
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Guest Writer: Improve Your Fighting Technique During Quarantine

boxer-1923694_1920
Striking and social distancing

Guest writer Nick Blanchard from themmaguru.com shares some great tips for stepping up your game. Check out Nick’s site for all things martial arts and MMA.

If you would like to be a guest contributor for Little Black Belt, please review the guest writer guidelines here.

With martial arts academies across the country closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s never been tougher to keep your techniques sharp. In this article, I’m going to cover tips that will help you work on both striking and grappling while on quarantine. Then, we’ll take a look at the training the UFC’s pros are doing right now and how we can learn from them.

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