Sunday, June 28, 2009

Osu, Black Belt Mama

Congrats to Black Belt Mama, who now truly IS a black belt mama, having just gotten her belt after persisting through ACL surgery and recovery. She's an inspiration.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

I was going to run this AM but it's raining, and I don't want to hurt my knee slipping while sprinting.

So I had a leisurely morning. Slept until 8:30, which is really, really late for me. My 16-year-old daughter made a delicious breakfast of waffles with blueberries and egg-white omelets with chives. And my wife is holding her annual grill for the dads BBQ today.

I was able to sprint Saturday and Sunday last week without injury, and I feel my sprinting is helping my endurance and cutting my weight. This weekend I haven't sprinted, but I plan to on Tuesday, when I'm taking a day off to take care of some stressful personal business. Perhaps if the weather clears up today before it's too late I'll go to the track as well.

My right leg (the one with the original ACL) is a little sore today from grappling. I spent effectively two hours grappling yesterday. In the second hour I was paired up with Vinny, a teenaged black belt who's as tall as I am. I got him to tap out once from an arm triangle choke; he got me to tap out from a leg lock, hence the sore right leg.

We haven't been doing standup sparring for the past couple of weeks because we've been working on leg drills. Sensei doesn't think we move enough in standup (I know I don't).

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sprinting: Easy Does It

After my knee hurt following sprinting last week, I postponed my plans for sprints on Saturday and Sunday. That's still my goal, however.

This weekend, I only sprinted on Sunday. I jogged at the high school track a mile and a quarter to warm up, then I did 50-yard sprints--turning around and walking back to the starting line and immediately sprinting again.

This time, I was in a moderate sprint, rather than running like I was trying to win the Olympics. It seemed to be better on my knee; also, I didn't try to stop my self quickly after passing the 50-yard mark, figuring a quick stop puts stress on the knees as well.

My knee felt fine, but I started to feel a little pain in my left quad, where I think I had a small, small muscle tear last week. So I stopped after nine sprints, rather than going to all 10.

My hope is that 1) as the muscles build up, I won't get these pains as often, and I'll be able to start sprinting twice a week (Saturday and Sunday); 2) the sprinting will give me greater leg strength and endurance in sparring; 3) I'll be able to move constantly during sparring the way my sensei is urging us, making me competitive with the young black belts in class and leading me to become the world's greatest 53-year-old kickboxer.

Hey, a guy can dream, right? :-)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

How Nervous Was I?

A fellow student asked me how nervous I was when I tested and finally got my black belt in May. A little background is necessary, because this was my third test.

The first time I tested, I was so nervous that I went to the ATM the day before, and left the cash in the ATM machine. Fortunately the ATM sucked the money back before somebody else came along. However, a Joshu at our school heard about it, and at the test was telling me how he had a free trip to the test because he "went up to the ATM, and some idiot had left $100 in it." He was joking with me because he was trying to get me relaxed. I went to that test with my friend the Hulk, and we both had the classic signs of nervousness--cotton mouth, multiple trips to the bthroom, etc. I passed self defense moves at the test, but didn't get all the way to the kickboxing and grappling.

The next time I tested, in November 2007, I was definitely nervous, but doing much better than the previous time. Although, I think the day before, I went to the ATM, took the money...and left my card in the machine. It also got sucked back in, so nobody drained my bank account.

It was at that November test that my ACL got destroyed, and I had to quit with about three minutes left. The afore-metioned Joshu, who's a real card, was telling me he wasn't surprised I didn't pass, because my wife "told him" that I "never lasted four minutes between the legs with anybody." This time he was trying to cheer me up.

I was enjoying the test up until I got hurt--in particular, I enjoyed the stand-up kickboxing part of the test. I think because I had been to one tournament previously, I was less nervous about it.

When I went for my third time last month, I looked, on the surface, fairly calm, I think. But I was nervous underneath. The day before the test, I showed up to meet someone an hour earlier than I was supposed to and left in confusion.

On the day of the test, my knee was a bit sore, and I didn't really know whether it was because I hurt it a bit training for the test, or whether my knee was "nervous" about returning to the scene of its injury. The hardest part of the test was waiting while the other candidates went through all the parts I had previously passed. I definitely had "fight or flight" syndrome. Once I got on the mat for grappling, it was a relief--and at that point, I started having fun.

I guess the pattern is, the anticipation is terrifying, but the test itself is often fun.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

When I'm 53

I turned 53 today. I went to work, and came home to a tasty home-cooked meal of roast chicken and dressing by my wife and daughter. I celebrated my birthday by doing 53 push-ups and 53 sit-ups.

I'm taking the day off tomorrow to take care of some things I just can never get to while I'm at work. Tomorrow I'll make up the martial arts class I missed tonight.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


It's Tuesday, and I haven't called my doctor yet because my knee keeps feeling better.

There's a little discomfort when I bend my right knee a lot, but it has improved. I'm hoping, as blackbeltblues suggested, it's just tendonitis or something.

I do hope I will eventually be able to sprint regularly--it does seem like the best way for me to cross train for conditioning and leg strength. But it's good that for now it doesn't seem like a serious injury.