Sunday, March 27, 2011

Twisted Knee

I am thinking this blog should be perhaps renamed "The Middle-Aged Martial Artist's Knee."

On Friday evening, at my sparring class, I twisted my right knee (it's the left knee that got the ACL reconstruction). It was immediately and extremely painful; I dropped to the floor on my back and had to discontinue the class.

I was sparring with a young brown belt, and I used a punch-move-kick combination I'd been working on for a few weeks. At the end of the combination, I pivot and step slightly to my right and throw what, for me anyway, is a relatively high kick--into the opponent's midsection. My younger opponent grabbed my leg (I wasn't kicking very hard) and held it.

So my entire weight was on my right knee, while I was standing, rather like a Tyrannosaurus Rex, stretched out horizontally on top of it. Either through his torque or my falling or both, my right knee torqued/twisted, and down goes Bob.

I've been resting, elevating, icing the knee and taking anti-inflammatory painkillers since then, and the knee feels better. It's still tender, hurts when twisting at all, and hurts when I bend it a significant distance.

I don't think the ACL is torn. My biggest worry is that my restricted range of motion when bending the knee suggests I've got a meniscus tear.

Injuries are always frustrating.

Right now I feel I'm in my best shape in years. I've been supplementing my martial arts training with running two or three days a week on the treadmill at the gym at work (which doesn't cut into time at home). Lately I've been trying to do interval work on the treadmill--sprint, run, sprint, etc.

My weight is down to 185-187 pounds (about 84 kg); to put into context, I'm about 6'2" or 188 cm. While my grappling has been very frustratingly bad, I've been making real strides my sparring, which is my main interest, after being on a plateau for a long time. A new assistant instructor at my school has noted my eagerness to improve and has taken me under his wing with good results.

My hope is that I will be able to return soon to running and to my martial arts classes (though I shudder to think what kneeling for grappling would feel like). I'm hoping with time I'll have less restrictions on my range of motion; already it seems to be improving, though I did try squatting this morning and had to let out a gasp when it hurt to get low.

Right now I'd really prefer not to go the route of surgery.

If anybody has any experience that could shed light on what to expect, I'd love to hear about it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


A day off--truly off. Went to Philadelphia with wife and daughter (college break) and saw a terrific production of Swan Lake. I'm taking Monday and Tuesday off as well. Normally between the intense hours at work, the long commute (about 2:30 on a good day), training time, family time and chores, there's little time left.

I'm training three days a week, five hours; run at the office gym ontwo days I'm not training. My weight's steadily below 190 lbs. (I'm 6'2" tall) and my conditioning's good. My sparring and, even more so, grappling skills suffered when I took a couple months easy on contact due to a rib injury. Sparring is coming back; really trying to work on a strong guard, getting angles, moving. Grappling, which doesn't come as natural will take longer. I need more flexibility,especially in my hips.

Most of all, my instructors are telling me to RELAX. In grappling, it's easier to control a board than Jell-o. In sparring, relaxing will allow me to think, move and respond better.