Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Jiu-Jitsu Saved My Life

... but running saved my jiu-jitsu.

I recently hit rock bottom with regard to the injury, the lack of exercise and the comorbid irritability, anxiety, lack of motivation, and general sulkiness.  I spent a lot of time hiding in the hot tub, and found myself trying not to cry at PT.  I'm not a person who cries.

I told my Assistant PT Person that I couldn't handle not training for much longer.  A former Hardcore Ballerina, she understood and encouraged me to be patient, said that waiting and doing it right will pay off, yada yada.  I told her that I had started running and it had felt good (although I was now dealing with the excruciating calf muscles that always come after I start back up).  She said we'd add running to my PT protocol, showed me the treadmill, and helped me stretch my calves.

So, starting with the 3 sessions I had last week, we changed things a bit.  PT now begins with heat and electric stim, 10 minutes on the "arm bicycle" and a 12 minute mile on the treadmill.  When I'm done with that, my endogenous opiates are flowing.  From there, I move on to about an hour of foam roller exercises on the table and standing exercises using the wall.  We finish with a (way too brief) session of deep tissue massage and they tape my shoulder in place so that it can't come forward.  My posture has never looked this good.

On the days I don't have PT, I run in the neighborhood.  I still run in Vibrams, as it's most like being barefoot at martial arts.  I don't think I own a pair of sneakers or running shoes, and that's fine with me.  My Vibrams have served me well.  I also have the same playlist on my iPod that I've used for years, carefully selected so that the cadence of the songs match my preferred footfalls. On the treadmill, I stick to the same pace for the same distance each time.  In the neighborhood, I pick one of 3 different routes: a 1.1, a 1.7, or a 2.1 mile loop. (Usually the 1.7) At the height of my running enthusiasm, I did take the 2.1 loop twice in a row, but that's pushing it for me.  I'm happy with 3 miles or less, in my same shoes, listening to my same music.  I'm not especially flexible when it comes to my running habits.

By the end of the week, I was starting to feel human again.  I showed up at a few JSD and BJJ classes, and watched and helped and taught.  Saturday was the color belt test at JSD and I participated in that, sparring my heart out and loving every second.  I still ran my 1.7 loop that evening.  Sunday, I took women's class at BJJ, then went back in to work with the Guru for another hour as he was home for the day.

Today, I went back to PT with renewed optimism and found that I was stronger, had less pain, and could do things I couldn't do last week.  This was the first glimmer of improvement I've felt since starting the process, and it motivated me to push myself for more.  Combined with the adjustments I got from the Guru yesterday, I have some goals for my next few weeks of BJJ, and I'm looking forward to getting back to JSD as well.

Speaking of JSD - in his post-test comments to the testing students and our school as a whole, the Master singled out for praise the students who were cross-training in fighting styles - there are two of us who also do BJJ now.  He said that training in a practical fighting style was making us better, more well-rounded martial artists.  It's a position I have long held, but it was so gratifying to hear it publicly acknowledged by the Master a year and half into my BJJ / Judo training.  Feeling like there is still a place for me at JSD and that my individual path is understood and supported has me looking forward to spending more time there, helping out where I can.

Today (and really, the whole weekend) has been, hopefully, a turning point.  I've got some good momentum finally going and I intend to build upon it.  Tomorrow will be full of opportunities - the plan is JSD in the morning, then PT, then teaching both kids and women's self-defense classes in the absence of my GirlCoach.  If I get a chance, I will try grab someone and try a few of my newly adjusted moves.

It's all good.

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