Broken

This is pretty much the theme of my life right now. I feel like my body is broken, my training is broken and thanks to an aggravating incident a couple of weeks ago, my car is also broken (see what I did there? I made you feel bad for me so that you wouldn’t hold it against me that I haven’t posted anything in a long time).

Since I’ve been MIA for a while, you might be wondering what I’ve been up to in the last 3 weeks or so. My life has continued much as it has for the last 6 months. I am embroiled in what feels like a never-ending battle with my knee. Sometimes I think the only thing that changes is that I get increasingly despondent about it.

I feel like I’ve tried everything I can to make the knee pain go away and nothing has worked. I have taken time off multiple times (the longest stretch for about 6 weeks), I did physical therapy, I have been to two orthopedists, had a couple of injections in my knee, ice, heat, elevation, compression, anit-inflammatories…nothing seems to be helping it get better!

It’s not even really the pain that I find to be the upsetting part (although I’m not gonna lie, I would like to arrive at work one of these days walking instead of limping), it’s the fact that I cannot train like I used to anymore. I feel the effects of my bad knee in all aspects of my training. Not only can I not attend class as much as I want to, I find it difficult to do cardio training that doesn’t aggravate my knee. As a result when I actually do get to train, I can tell that I am slow and I gas so much easier now. I also do not have the ability to be as quick because of my knee which means I am spending a lot of time getting smashed on bottom. I have had some great opportunities to train recently and every time I do, I end up feeling aggravated and depressed because I feel like I am functioning at about 50% of what I used to be capable of.

We hosted our monthly women’s open mat this weekend and I felt so terrible about my rolling afterwards that I stubbornly declared to myself that I was done working around this knee. If it was going to hurt no matter what I did then I was going to train as much as I want to! So of course I have spent the last two days in excruciating pain. It’s as if my knee heard me and decided to show me who was boss.

Most of the time I know that this is just something I have to learn to deal with to keep training. It’s one of those cases where jiu-jitsu imitates life and even though I have grand plans of the training I want to do, jiu-jitsu has other plans for me. But sometimes in my darker hours I wonder if life is trying to tell me that jiu-jitsu is not for me. I feel like part of my personal jiu-jitsu journey has been about proving that even though I am not the biggest, strongest person on the mat, I still belong there. I have always felt a certain pride that I am tough enough to go out and train with 20 or more guys, often being the only woman on the mat. Lately I feel like I have failed at this and I wonder if I will ever be able to be successful.

In the end, I can’t imagine a jiu-jitsuless existence but I am hoping something helps with my knee soon. I just want to train!

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3 responses to “Broken”

  1. AnthonyR says :

    I feel ya…

  2. tonydismukes says :

    That’s rough. I’ve dealt with a number of acute and chronic injuries over the years, but nothing as bad as long-term severe knee pain.

    Here’s what I would recommend, based on the time I have spent training with injuries. Don’t give up in jiu-jitsu. Do give up (for the time being) on being competitive and on being as athletic as you know you are normally capable of. Don’t try to just force your way through the pain – that way lies permanent damage.

    Stick to rolling with the calmest and safest training partners you can find. Your goal is not to get the tap or prevent the pass or escape the position. Your goal is to discover ways of movement that put as little stress as possible on your knee and then make those ways of movement habitual even under pressure. The good news is that these ways of movement are likely to be much more anatomically correct and less attribute dependent than what you have been doing. When your knee eventually heals, your technique will be that much sharper for the time you have spent learning to move safely.

    Good luck!

  3. jerzybd says :

    Great article. I’m digging the posts and stayed up longer than I planned tonight reading some of them. I’ve been battling an LCL injury for the past month. No fun. I’ve found that in a way it’s taught me to play an entire different type of game. I like some of the advice Tony gives in his last paragraph. Glad I stumbled across this blog tonight. Oss! Thanks for sharing and keep your head high. Jiu Jitsu is for everyone, sore knees or not.

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