Martial arts are not good for your health!
I’ve had stress fractures in both wrists from punching; I’ve torn my calf muscle, I’ve had multiple back and shoulder injuries; I’ve had both tennis elbow and golfers elbow on both elbows! I’ve had broken toes and fingers and a broken nose - my right hip and left shoulder have restricted movement and, in the past, when driving over half an hour, my back ached like hell! So, all said and done, would I do it all again? Yes 100% - and the answer for most martial artists will be the same – but, here’s the thing, if you ask me would I do anything differently - the answer would be: absolutely. I’ve been around a long time in martial arts and I have seen good people quit because they had an injury that they thought just couldn’t be worked round or fixed. They put it down to age and said they could do nothing about it. I was like that with my back injury - I broke my pelvis at the age of 12 and was resigned to back pain for life. I started Ju Jitsu at 19yrs and the back pain went. I took a two week holiday and it came back! There was no secret to why. I wasn’t moving, stretching or doing the mobility in the class. - but it was still sore when I drove. This remained the case for many years, I wrongly believed that it was just something I needed to put up with. I trained and I stretched and I lifted weights but didn’t pay it much attention as it wasn’t a major issue, just a little stiffness when I drove. It was only when I began to realise that everything is linked: that if your shoulder is injured it can cause hip issues or if your foot or knee was out a little it threw your hip out – that it began to click. I also learnt that while I was lifting weight I wasn’t doing some of the fundamentals – when I spoke to Marie Rosborough, a Chiropractor and Kinesiologist, and asked ‘how can I stop my back from being sore?’ – thinking she was going to say ‘come and see me every few weeks’ - but she said ‘do deadlifts’ which I did. I then built the supporting muscles on my back and the rest is history: no more back pain - no more stiffness.
I have invested both time and money in getting back into the shape I was in when I was 25yrs. I had put on 10kg - fooling myself it was both muscle and part of getting older. It was neither. It was lack of knowledge and lack of focus. I move better now than I have in years - all down to four people: Firstly John Rosborough- John is a close friend, student and neuromuscular therapist. He told me for years I needed to come and see him and I said I was too busy. Not true! - anyone can find the time if they really want to. Marie Rosborough (John’s wife) – who I mentioned above - a gifted Chiropractor - she saved me an invasive surgical procedure with one visit. Byron Clarke who rehabbed my shoulder injury and increased my functional movement and strength and, if truth be told, was of great counsel. And finally Steve Maxwell, out of all the mentors I have had he has without doubt had the most impact on my physicality and my mental health (they both go hand in hand) Folks - I’m sharing this for two reasons. 1. To give credit to those who have supported me, they deserve it 2. To tell you injury is part of the game we play as martial artists. We can’t avoid the odd knock but here is what you need to know - invest in yourself, don’t accept that you will put on weight; don’t think that because your hip is tight, or your shoulder aches that there is nothing you can do about it.
Your body lasts you a lifetime if you take care of it.
I was in Greece recently and got up early each morning to run with Shike Spartaco Bertoletti - at 77yrs, an inspirational man both on and off the mats. David Toney
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