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  • Any advice would be appreciated

    Ok, if I say I'm gonna keep this short then I'm just setting myself up to crash and burn, let's just see how it goes.

    Ever since I was about 7 years old I've had problems with injuries. I'd have pulled muscles and joint problems galore. Many different doctors gave my parents very different opinions - basically I think it boiled down to bad luck and bad genes!

    When I was 14/15 I was just recovering from a bad spinal injury (caused by that great british past-time Rugby). This injury had robbd me of all my confidence and had left me very weak. I'd alwaysa had an interest in MA and I figured that MA would be perfect for "rebuilding" my body and my confidence. So I joined a local Kung Fu club.

    I've been training for the last 6 1/2 years in a freestyle system of kung fu. This was one of the best desicions I have ever made with my life. I regained my fitness and my confidence. But the training quickly became something a lot more than just physical. To me it also became quite "spiritual" (sorry to use a cliche). And for the last 1 1/2 years I've also assisted my Sifu in the teaching of junior students, which has also been quite an amazing experience.

    The problem's always been that I've been plagued by injuries. All the usual little sprains and strains I can deal with, they've presented no problem. But I always seemed to pick up a fairly nasty injury somehow. It was my childhood all over again.

    Since last summer I began training STUK. Unfortunately I can only attend fortnightly at most if I wanna keep a realistic grasp on my finances. This didn't present a problem at first 'cos I practiced at home and thought I'd be able to make it into foundation in about 6 months.

    Problem is, I've had a nagging injuries that have prevented me from training properly. I mean my fitness is ok, but it's no way near what it was, or what it should be for me to progress.

    I just can't seem to make any progress with my original training or STUK cos of my damn body. It never seems to heal long enough for me to do any decent training.

    I'll go to STUK and do the Qigong and Taiji Prep, but very rarely now do I do a gongfu class cos my body's not up to it. It's the same where I live, I train what I can, and I teach what I can but it's really limiting not being to be able to do what I know I can.

    I really enjoy my training, especially at STUK, and I really want to progress, I'd especially like to learn more about buddhism, and need I say I have plans to go to Shaolin one day, but I don't think that my body will let me "fulfill" my aspirations. It's just messing up my head right now.

    Oh my god, I've just realised how long I've been ranting on. Any thoughts/questions/advice you guys have would really be appreciated. Especially if any of you guys from STUK read this.
    Don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.

  • #2
    Okay firstly, how often do you have a good workout [like in the temple] and how long do you give yourself time to heal? And what kind of injuries?

    I'm not sure if I can say anything too helpful since I really don't know much about your condition [and anyway I'm no medical student] - maybe Doc can help you out on that front. But if it turns out that this is some sort of permanent thing, maybe you'd consider a slight change in direction. Shit happens, sometimes you gotta roll with it. If your body is getting too messed up with the gong fu, perhaps directing your focus towards the internally based stuff would be a good idea. There are pros and cons for everything, Taichi may be a better option; if you really commited yourself to it, the potential for becoming good at Taichi learning from someone like Yan Jiang is incredible. I know the syllabus for Taichi in STUK is kinda limited now, but it should be growing in the future, especially when they get round to establishing this 'away students' curriculum they've promised.

    Number two, and don't underestimate this, speak to Yanzi and try to get him to hook you up for an afternoon with Yan Jiang [as he's the healer] one day when you both have time. You could go through the details; I reckon it'll be really helpful contextually since he'd know your injury details with relevance to your gong fu.

    But answer the questions and we might get a better idea what’s going on...

    Be Well

    P.S. Awesome job Doc. Truly.


    • #3
      When I'm fully fit. I do full training sessions (ala STUK,) every 3 days. In between I keep the stretching up to keep every thing mobile. Not necessarily full blown stretching but enough to keep progressing. I always do a full warmup and cool down when i train. On the days between my major workouts I keep one day as my recovery, the other day I kinda do whatever I'm in the mood for. If my legs feel good, then I'll focus on Mabu or go for a run. If my arms feel good then I'll focus on punching drills etc. I (nowadays through the experience of youth!!) always make sure I'm weel rested and healed 'cos I know what can happen if I don't.

      Last November I managed to slip on ice whils getting out of my car (what a dumbass ). This did something to my left knee. I think it's the ligament running down the outside back portion of the knee. I've been told that it lays on top of a nerve which is causing me a "pins & needles" sensation at times around the back of my knee and around the calf. God knows I've rested this injury, but it still likes to flare up now and again.

      ALSO!!!!! Last february i was sitting in a sauna when the bench i was sitting on collapsed due to rotten supports (and before you ask I aint fat - I'm just big boned!! ) This resulted in me jarring my spine quite severely. However my back is getting better, it's just taking time.

      It just a case of I get over one injury, and give it a couple of months and something else will happen. But I guess that's life. It's just been hard to make any real progression of late. Especially with my limited access to STUK.

      I'm planning to go this sunday. I think I'll try to speak to Yanzi then, although I've found it tricky in the past to catch up with him, but then he is a pretty busy guy.

      Cheers for your thought Lipster. Every bit helps.

      Oh and Doc - I like what you've done with the place
      Don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.


      • #4
        Thanks. It's been a hell of a lot of work. More to do. Still got lots of little issues to fix.

        As for your "spinal injury", I get the feeling we're not hearing everything, which, is your perogative. But I'm not really sure what the issue is here. We all get injuries, we all have limitations, we all reach "ceilings" to some degree. I suspect that there is more going on here that you haven't discussed here publicly, which is fine. As I've said before, I'm the only one here who needs to bare his soul to the world.

        Not sure what I can offer here, as I'm unclear as to what is going on.

        Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

        "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

        (more comments in my User Profile)


        • #5
          I think my spinal injury is just the muscle keeps going into spasm. I not painful that i can't train on it, but that would just be stupid. The origin of the pain seems to be located around the lumbar area and to the right, above the pelvis, that's where the pain seems to start. I've stopped training completely for a fortnight to see how it affects my back. At the moment it's going good and I'm feeling some improvement. I'm hoping to do the qigong lesson this weekend.

          The spinal injury that happened years ago was that i cracked one of my thoracic vertabre due to an impact from somebody's knee whilst playing rugby. But as far as i know, I feel that i got over that njury completely about 4 years ago. I've always regarded my back as being one of the stronger parts of my body as I've always paid special attention to it since then.

          I remember a doctor once saying to me that my joints were kinda loose (can't remeber the term he used). Not so lose that they will dislocate, but I think that they were saying that the extra movement in my joints put extra strain on my ligaments.

          I'm confident that I'll get over these injuries given time, but these injuries make it very hard to progress. I guess I'm having a "mid-training" crisis!!! I've always wanted to learn Shaolin gongfu from when i first started MA. Now that I've got the chance, my body wont let me. Man it's some head f***!! Patience is a virtue, i think I've still got some lying around somewhere - patience that is, not lost virtue's!
          Don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.


          • #6
            OK, when I hear spinal injuries, I think spinal cord injuries. Since that is not the issue, and you are many years post injury, further cord injuries should not be a problem, unless you have some pretty serious disc disease going on (and if you did, you'd have symptoms, which you don't seem to elaborate on). Even then, serious disc disease is usually not a harbinger of further spinal cord damage.

            You might have what we call "lumbar strain", or "chronic low back pain" syndrome. Muscles get torn in the lower back, possibly accompanied by disc herniation, which leads to a cycle of pain, spasm, pain, spasm, etc. The best way to treat this, if it's not a surgical issue (and even then, surgery can lead to more problems instead of curing them), is by rest and physical therapy. Gentle stretching, exercises, losing weight, losing more weight, walking (with well padded shoes), no more running, swimming, more swimming, hot tubs, good back support while resting, more swimming, sex, and more gentle stretching. And, time. Anti inflammatory agents as needed, and stay away from the narcotics. In some cases, steroid injections, pain blocks, surgery, etc are indicated, but, in my opinion, I think that they are not only the last resort, but the very last resort. The body has an incredible ability to heal itself with time, if given the chance and the right conditions.

            So, if you're "big boned", you've got to lose weight. Also, get into the damn water and paddle around in the puddle. Water has some sort of ability to make us heal, not sure why, but it's comforting, and highly reminiscent of being back in the womb.

            Which is where I've been trying to go for at least the past few years...

            Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

            "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

            (more comments in my User Profile)


            • #7
              ok, ok , I'm not that "big boned" , but it's not as if there's nothing to lose either.
              I like the swimming idea. I'll give that a go.

              In the case of gentle stretching, are there any particular types of stretch that you personally wouldn't recommend?

              As far as gongfu training goes : I know the back's kinda connected to everything, but Should I rest up for now and concentrate on my internal stuff, or is practicing basics such as Mabu a good idead.

              If I follow your "prescribed" rehab plan doc, when you say it'll take time to heal, I'm thinking in the region of 6 - 18 months. I'm just curious to know if my recovery time I've set myself is realistic or not, I just want to make sure I'm not setting myself up for a dissapointment.

              Oh, the gentle stretching, do you mean for the whole body, or do you think I'd be able to keep parts of my full stetching regime on the legs (ie box/side splits) or do they put too much strain on the back. It's just that I was starting to make some good progress and I'd have to hatte to loose it. Saying that I'd rather lose some of my stretching ability than aggravate my back.

              Cheers Doc. I like the back in the womb idea - no rent to pay, no heating bills............
              Don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.


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