Toning down the training

I’ve had to tone down the training somewhat in the last couple of months. Life circumstances, health reasons, sobering choices: it’s all come to a bit of a head.

We start a hobby like Judo, we fall in love with it and we presume we’ll be able to do it indefinitely. It consumes us, we live and breathe it. Standing in the way of this beautiful thing are the simple facts that:

  • Your body has limitations which become more apparent with age
  • Life circumstances stand in the way.
  • Work becomes a limiting factor

I don’t mean this diatribe to sound like a form of complaint, I do however imagine for many this will resonate given few can take exception to these rules.

Work impacts

Since starting a new job at the beginning of the year I’ve had to commute twice a week to West London. I’ve rediscovered a love for working with colleagues in a shared space. What I’ve not missed is the 1.5 hour commute there and the 1.5 hour commute back. While this has given me ample opportunity to complete The Walking Dead box set (which I highly rate) it also has led to missing BJJ sessions.

My new job is far more intense and involved than anything I’ve had in the recent past. This means I’m more regularly in need of some quiet time where I can just zone out and recharge. Grappling activities don’t really do it for me here.

Injury episode re-runs

A couple of weeks back, after a fairly arduous few days (two intense Judo sessions, two BJJ sessions and two gym workouts) my left knee became inflamed and displayed similar symptoms as last year. Back in Feb 2023 a team mate attempted a tani otoshi not once but multiple times which bent my knee the wrong way. It’s been clicking since and this intense week made it worse.

I’m back visiting a physiotherapist, but it’s slow going. It’s not clear to me what’s really going on, however the physio-prescribed exercises have help alot. Sadly, my knee isn’t in the same shape it was before the tani otoshi incident. Although to be fair, I could apply this observation to my fingers, my toes, my ears etc.

Fortunately I’m only one month away from fulfilling the 2nd part of my black belt criteria: completing six months as a 1st kyu. Staying the course will happily secure for me that hurdle.

Temporarily quitting BJJ

Given my first love is Judo, I’ve made the hard decision to temporarily quit BJJ. All this training time has made me noticeably absent from the family home. With two young daughters and a partner at home while I spend countless hours each week training, it just wasn’t “right”, particularly with how young my girls are right now.

I tried to fit it into alternative hours like early mornings or late afternoons but the timetable just doesn’t work. This is a hard decision I’ve had to make but it made sense, additionally given the fact that I was completely knackered regularly after four grapple sessions each week.

On the up-side…

There’s always an up-side to everything. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that my uchikomi and general movement has improved. Given that I’m going light and moving in a fluid way to avoid hard impacts, it’s given me a chance to pay attention to more of what’s going on. I’ve spent many hours watching Judoka crank out uchikomi reps and after a little while you begin to use how a Judoka moves optimally. Purposeful and predefined movement has really helped with reducing some of the thinking time which reduces instant reaction.

My sessions involve going to training and working through the routines. When it’s randori time I find anyone who’s not sparring and get them to practice throws with me on the crash mat.

There’s an upside to everything, provided you look for it.

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