I had a great class Friday night because I learned something crucial.
It was my first sparring class since ACL surgery in which I wasn't just boxing, I was kickboxing. We only did a little kicking, we were mostly working on boxing and moving, and the kicking my partner Larry did was very gentle. But as he predicted, my knee was sore this morning.
As my sensei was watching my defense, he pointed out that I wasn't backing up by shuffling, leading with my rear foot. Instead, I was leading with my front foot--which meant I crossed my legs stepping backwards.
You don't want to cross your legs in stand-up fighting.
Suddenly I realized why I sometimes feel so awkward in retreating--and why, prior to ACL surgery, my leg once buckled when I was moving backward: I was unknowingly moving my front, left, leg and putting my weight on it.
By shuffling backwards, you are in a position to counterstrike, and you maintain your balance better.
It might seem incredible that I would be unaware of what my own legs were doing. But usually it's a very stressful moment when you have to move back, and I just didn't realize I was doing it wrong.
Today, despite being a bit tired and sore, I went to two classes--a core class (punches, kicks, movement but no contact), and then a grappling class. I was so tired after the core class that I almost didn't go to grappling, but I stayed and I was glad I did. A couple of times the front of my left knee (which is minus the middle third of my patellar tendon, and hence pretty tender still) hit the floor when I was rolling, and that wasn't fun. But I am gradually picking up the body knowledge of grappling again.
Oh, and I went without my knee brace in the core class, which is a big step. I figure the knee brace will protect me from a blow to the knee, but core class is non-contact. I'm still favoring that leg and being careful in round kicks, but I'm working on losing that self consciousness.