Over the weekend, my dojo was rented by Jitsu Canada to run a local grading. I hold an intermediate rank in their style (Shorinji Kan Jiu jitsu) in addition to being a Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu 5th Dan. Helping out by being a partner/attacker for these gradings is a guilty pleasure. I like helping out by putting a little extra pressure on the candidates while using my skills to help keep them safe while doing so.
Early in the grading, they were doing a striking “V”, basically an intensity drill to test their ability to strike incoming attackers. The candidate was moving in aggressively as I stepped into attack, leading him to step into my foot, catching my big toe and injuring it. It hurt quite a lot at the time, but I tried to soldier on to keep helping out, insisting I was fine. It wasn’t very long afterwards that a white belt happened to innocently step into my foot and bump it slightly, causing me to step off the mats again. Chris Sensei (who is ranked Shodan in that style in addition to Can-ryu) told me I should get off the mats. As I started to protest that I was fine, he asked me would you let one of your own students continue in this situation. I opened my mouth, then closed it again and stepped down.
The longer I sat, the more I realized that my toe was more than just stubbed. The next day there was some visible bruising and it was sore to walk on it. I figured it’s probably a sprain so I’d just take it easy on it. A few people spoke up and said I should have it x-rayed because it could be a pressure fracture and I should make sure it’s being properly taken care of. At first, I didn’t want to, figured I knew my own body better, so why waste time in doctor’s offices? I eventually realized I was just being stubborn. I went in for an x-ray yesterday.
The Reward for Our Excuses
As a martial arts instructor, practitioner, as well as a stunt performer, my work depends on me being at the top of my game physically. A part of me doesn’t want to admit to having any injuries that may limit what I can do while I heal. I think many people who do physical work like me probably feel the same way. We tell ourselves we can work it off and that we can just be careful. And sometimes that’s true. But it is always safer to get injuries checked out by a doctor to be sure exactly what they are so they can be properly treated. As I say to my students all the time, it’s better to take proper care of injuries so you don’t make things worse and extend your healing times by trying to go back to normal activity too soon.
So I will sit and eat my humble pie… and replace my running with biking for my high intensity interval training workouts, be selective of what types of strength training I do, and, of course, minimize high impact activities like grappling, sparring, parkour, gymnastics, etc, until it’s healed. I was told that if I don’t hear back from the doctor, it’s not broken, only sprained. So far I haven’t heard back, so I am cautiously optimistic. Plus, it seems to be healing fairly quickly (thankfully!). If it’s only a level 1 sprain, I could be back to normal in a few days.
Do you have trouble letting injuries fully heal before going back to training? If so, how do you cope? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.