Monday, August 27, 2007

Comeback Time

My first martial arts class in six or seven months will be Tuesday, Sept. 4.

I got my carbon-composite-and-titanium knee brace on Saturday, and wore it for several hours that day to check the fit. It feels a bit odd, but I'm told that with time, use and adjustment, I won't even notice I'm wearing it. Now that I have the brace, I can start attending class--my last class was a month or two before my March 27 ACL surgery. But I'm going on vacation this week, to LA, so my comeback will have to wait until Tuesday evening, following Labor Day.

The core class doesn't involve contact, it focuses on learning the proper form for punches and kicks, putting them into combinations, and getting a good workout. We'll be hitting focus pads, kicking shields and Muay Thai pads, not each other. I'm eager and nervous about my return.

Yesterday, I looked at a DVD of my black belt test--actually made by Hulk's wife, but since we were testing in the same area, I'm in the video much of the time. I can see things I did well and poorly while kickboxing. One practical thing I need to address--my headgear shifts every time I get bonked on the head, and I have to take a moment to readjust it, which is not good--it makes counterpunching difficult. It's big, face-protecting headgear, because I have poor eyes and could be at risk of retina detachment. I also wear prescription goggles, to see and for protection. But they often fog up with the helmet on, and the fit under the helmet isn't great. One option might be to get less bulky headgear, but this would protect my eyes less well--and could leave quite a mark if my goggles get pushed into my face. I won't have to worry about this practically speaking until maybe January, but it's on my mind.

I'm looking forward to LA, but with one big regret--my disorganized son, in need of a new social security card for several months, put his license and birth certificate in the mail a week ago. It won't get back in time for the trip. I'm taking him to Social Security today in hopes we can intercept it, but I think the odds of recovering it today are slim. So he may have to stay in NY while we go, which would be a life lesson for him, but a great disappointment to all of us.


GC said...

Hi, I too am a middle-aged comeback martial artist. I live in New Zealand and have had a small problem for a while now. This is my second foray into the martial arts world (I have a black belt in Zen do Kai and am now doing Seishen Ryu with my kids - from scratch - OSU!). The issue for me is that I also wear glasses (but we do not use headgear etc, and we are full contact from 10th kyu upwards). As a result, I have to fight without my glasses - not good - or with them and place restrictions on my opponents to hit from the neck down - also not good.

Please tell me where you got your prescription goggles from. There is no-one in NZ or Australia that supplies these types of items. Any advice would be helpful.

kindest regards

GC from NZ

BobSpar said...



I got my prescription goggles at my optometrist's office. They're made by a company called Rec Specs, which you can find online at various retailers. The first set I got was too big and bulky. The second set fits much closer to my face--something I would strongly recommend.

One reason I use the goggles besides better vision is that it protects at least somewhat against the risk of a detached retina.

Let me know how your search goes.

GC said...

thanks heaps. I will check out Rec Specs today. Any chance you could post a picture of the ones you have (just so I dont get the "too bulky ones"). Thanks again. OSU!

fa4hire said...

I just came across your blog while I did a search for ACl surgery. I started to cry after reading about the pain you were in. I will have to have surgery too, and am dreading it. I have been undecided about whether or not to use my own graft or a cadaver (less pain and recovery time). How long did it take for you to recover? I really dread this...any suggestions? I can't believe they don't offer better pain management! I don't know what I'm gonna do....And I asked my Doc today at my appt., when will I be abel to put weight on it? He said right afterwards, is he blowing smoke or what? You apparently didn't..Maybe I should get another Doc's opinion.

BobSpar said...

Hi, fa4hire,

I don't want to discourage you from getting the operation you need. It IS painful but the pain goes away, and the vast, vast majority of people (who put a good effort into physical therapy) will fully recover.

Having gone through my own operation, and learning from others, I would say now that a graft from a cadaver might be a better option. I think it entails less pain, and it's one less incision to deal with. The theory behind your own graft is that your own graft can be stronger, but I don't know what scientific support there is for that theory.

I think the reason I couldn't put weight on my knee right away was that I ALSO got a meniscectomy--my meniscus was damaged, and so it got trimmed also during the operation. I was told if I didn't need meniscus work, I could put weight on my leg. But I don't think that means I could walk on it right away--I think it would mean putting some weight on it while using crutches.

I was back in my martial arts class in slightly more than five months. That's a very demanding level of punishment on a leg, so for ordinary uses I was back in shape much sooner. Some of the other blogs mentioned on my site were keeping track of their recovery from the beginning and you should check them out to see how soon they could walk, etc. It kind of blurs together in my middle-aged mind now ;-). I was back in the office, which entails a demanding 3-hour round-trip commute on trains and subways, in about four weeks, if I recall.

Good luck, fa4hire, let me know how it goes.