Adapting to Injury
In talking with my nephew James I was impressed by how he had reacted to injury, not by sitting on the sidelines, but by adapting his technique and strategy. As a result, he was able to compete, and win, at a championship level.
1) He tears a ligament in his foot and wears an ankle brace. Because he can’t shoot (go for leg tackles) he worked throws and upper body techniques.
2) He breaks a bone in his foot, which requires a screw to fix. In his first tournament back, he breaks the screw. He faces similar problems as those above, so he works upper body technique.
3) He pulls a hamstring. He can shoot, but he can’t leg ride (wrap his leg around the opponent’s leg or body). So he does takedowns and lets opponents go because he can’t really pursue his end game technique.
As you know, I am a believer in the long stick wielded with two hands, but if I lost the use of one hand, I would have to adjust. I might even have to train in a different style completely.
How would you adjust if you temporarily (say, for a year)…
–lost the use of an arm?
–lost the use of a leg?
–lost your sight?
–lost your sense of balance?
What would you do if these changes were permanent?
This is a problem with the “perfect” style; people are not only different, but they change, whether due to injury, illness, or age. Suppose you are doing Tae Kwon Do, excelling at high kicks, but you injure your knees. Doing Tae Kwon Do as you knew it is no longer an option.
Nothing in life is permanent. The art that you do in your twenties may no longer be a good fit for you in your fifties.
James was smart enough and honest enough to realize that the techniques that had got him to where he was just weren’t going to work with his injuries, and so he changed. You should be prepared to do the same.