Archive for the ‘Injuries’ Category

I don’t like the other side of the fence.

October 23, 2011 Leave a comment

As I mentioned too many times before, sometimes I get hurt practicing judo. There are times when it hurts a lot and I have sit out for a couple practices, and there are other times when the pain is just a little annoying and I can push through. Really, I could care less about the pain. I only get upset when my injury means I have to step back from training. Otherwise, it’s just part of the game.

Today, however, I had the reverse, sucky experience of hurting someone else. And I know that you can argue that it’s not my fault. Accidents happen, especially in a sport like judo. I can’t remember getting angry with the person I was working with when I’ve gotten hurt during class. I know that person was not trying to hurt me.  And the girl I was working with was very cool about the whole thing. But still, I felt pretty terrible.

There’s not much else to say. It’s just another thing that I have to learn from and move on.

Categories: Injuries, Judo

All that hype.

October 4, 2011 4 comments

So, I did not perform my kata demonstration last night. I realized as I was warming up that my new injury really hurts. Not just in the nagging, inconvenient way. It hurts in the sense that on Sunday, I almost cried and last night, I almost cried. I almost went through with it anyway, but thankfully my training partner has considerably more sense than I do and pointed out that the demonstration did not have  to happen that night. What good could come of exacerbating my injury? I still have to do a couple more tournaments before I’m officially promoted, so changing the date of my kata demo is really OK.

Of course, logically, I understand all that. But my irrational side feels so dejected. I just wanted to get it over with and move on to the next thing. But now, I must be patient with myself. I genuinely suck at patience.

I’m back to the drawing board yet again with judo. I feel like I keep doing something wrong in terms of my training and its impact on my body. Times like last night make me wonder if I need to take off one whole month completely, but that doesn’t feel like the right answer. I keep telling myself that I need to slow down, but truthfully, I don’t even know what I mean by that. What I do know is that whatever happens, I have to remember that I’m grateful that judo is in my life, no matter what it throws at me. It teaches me more than I probably want to know. Most of lessons come from the tremendous people I train with who thankfully have sense. I don’t know how I’d get through times like these without them.

Everything is fine.

October 2, 2011 7 comments

Whenever I have a bad day, I really try not to complain. On days like today, however, where everything seems to be going wrong before noon, I do feel pretty irritated. Actually, it’s more like a confused, overwhelmed feeling of “What the f***?”

Last night, I had a debilitating headache which threw me off a little  this morning. I discovered my laptop will not turn on. I accidentally got on an express train while heading to judo practice so I missed kettlebells class. I realized that I only managed to put in one contact lens.  An injury I acquired on Friday became so painful that I had to stop what I was doing completely and I had to do my best to not cry or throw a complete fit.

Mornings like these, I try to keep things in perspective. Such little occurrences are by no means the worst things that have happened to me. Also, realistically, more terrible things will happen in my life and this morning will seem like joke. Clearly, the contact lens and missing KB class are not epic tragedies. Even my laptop not working is not the worse thing since I don’t have any major assignments on there right now, and I can use computers at school. My internet connection in my apartment is entirely unreliable anyway. The injury is pretty upsetting since I’m scheduled to perform my kata demonstration tomorrow and I prefer to be calm and clear-headed while I do it.

When a series of tiny things contribute to a “bad day”, I often go back to the phrase “everything happens for a reason.” Truthfully, I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason. I think all the things that happen in our lives and in this world occur at random and chaotic intervals. We simply don’t have control over them. It’s up to us to assign reason and meaning to our experiences and come out better for them.

Whatever. I only have to take 18 falls tomorrow night. No big deal when you really think about it.

For fans of Mr. Latimer.

September 29, 2011 Leave a comment

I saw Mr. Latimer for dinner last night, our first visit since the start of the school year. For his loyal fans, I want you to know that Mr. Latimer is doing quite well. He finished his physical therapy for his bum knee and has lost 15 pounds. He told me, “I’ll let you stay pretty until your cousin’s wedding; then I’ll come to judo and beat you up.” He gave me an phenomenal ice pack as a surprise gift, probably to aid in my recovery after he benevolently inflicts me with pain.

Is someone trying to tell me something?

August 16, 2011 1 comment

Since last Thursday evening, I’ve been in a wretched, wall-punching mood. During last Thursday’s training, I ended up overdoing things and my hip actually hurt-hurt for the first time in maybe two months. I was really pissed off at myself because I knew I was done for the night as I applied ice to my injury 45 minutes into judo class. The night went on to get pretty weird, with one of my teammates’ neck accidentally getting rolled by his partner during randori. (He was OK–it was just scary for a moment there.) Then as I went to leave for the night, I discovered someone must have worn my flip flops home by mistake. For some reason, the trivial act of someone accidentally taking my flip flops home put me over the edge.

Friday morning, I didn’t feel much better. Neither did I on Saturday. When Sunday rolled around, I begrudgingly skipped practice and did the same Monday night. I know my faulty brain: if I show up to practice, I’ll just keep going until it hurts enough that I think I might cry, and only the shame of crying in front of other people will make me stop. Staying away from the mat completely is really the only way I can protect myself from myself sometimes.

This brings me to today. I’m not sure if I’m sold on the concept of fate and that “everything happens for a reason”, mostly because I think it’s up to us as individuals to create our own reason and direction from chaos. Anyway, I had a good morning workout so I felt hopeful about having a good practice tonight. Not going to practice two days in a row put me in such a miserable, guilty frame of mind that I was looking forward to expelling that all away. However, a nice late lunch with a school buddy in the hot sun led to me puking my guts out from 4PM -5PM. Practice starts at 6PM. While I considered going anyway for about 20 seconds, I remembered that I was now pretty dehydrated and would probably go further down hill once I changed into my gear in my toasty dojo. So here I am, missing practice three days in a row and feeling like a degenerate playing hooky from school to smoke cigarettes and play pinball.

Considering that the hip is a pretty important body part which I will need for the rest of my life, perhaps it’s not the worse thing that I have to give my body another night of rest and recovery. Of course, I’m just trying to find the bright side to the puking + missing practice combo. Otherwise, I could end up putting my money where my mouth is on that whole wall-punching thing. Since I’m a renter, property damage is another thing that is not in my best interest.

Categories: Injuries, Judo, Life, philosophy

Terrible Tuesdays and Weary Wednesdays: When judo breaks your brain and (almost) breaks your spirit.

July 7, 2011 1 comment

Tuesday night Kata class is one of my favorite ways to torture test myself. My club has a Kata requirement for promotions to advanced belts, your browns and your blacks, but I began attending Kata class last summer when I was a mere orange belt because I thought it might improve my form and also make me a more balanced judoka. A big reason that I love judo is that I really love to smash people, so I thought Kata would make me slow down and learn to appreciate judo in its pure, technical form. And I didn’t want to have to cram for my promotional demonstration when it came time because it seems pretty stressful.  I figured if I become familiar with Kata, it won’t seem like a total enemy.

But slowing down is freaking hard. Kata is not aiming for speed and muscle memory. It’s timing, form, give and take, and a lot of ceremony. Since you work with a partner, it also demands that you and your partner develop a silent channel of communication.  I find Kata extremely difficult for a few reasons. Mostly, it’s the concentration that’s required–the balance of engaging your mind to follow each set correctly and demonstrate perfect form while remaining relaxed. Right now, that seems impossible for me. Sometimes, I let my inexperience get the better of me. I can’t stay relaxed enough as I learn new sets and then I have to fight frustration as I screw up the same technique three, four, five times in a row.  Occasionally, I have to leave the mat for a minute to pull myself together. It’s a pretty terrible feeling–going from the start of class, being ready to learn and feeling comfortable about things and then suddenly feeling like I’m either going to cry or punch a wall. Kata isn’t typically physically taxing, but the mental endurance is almost unbearable for me.

So this week, I went to Kata on Tuesday and had my typical night of mental exhaustion. Then on Wednesday, I went to a regular judo practice and went through almost the same thing all over again. This was extra frustrating because I expect leave Kata (and BJJ) feeling relatively terrible about myself, but I absolutely hate feeling that way during regular practice since it’s one of the things I love most in this world. And actually, it was a really good class. My assistant coach ran practice, and she drilled the hell out of us. There was no sitting around. We worked, and we worked hard. The intensity level was really high, and I always love that. However, my hip is not 100% recovered yet, and I was starting to feel it. I was, for the one billionth time, faced with the dilemma of wanting to push myself, because I should be pushing myself, and knowing that I should not exacerbate my injury. Because that is stupid. I can’t quite pinpoint what it was, but I did reach that point last night where I thought I was going to either cry or punch a wall. And judo is not my job, but I don’t consider that reaction very professional. I hate that I continue to struggle with being short-sighted when it comes to judo.

However, I know I will be at practice again tonight. As the big guy says, “It is not important to be better than someone else, but to be better than yesterday.”


Categories: Challenges, Injuries, Judo, Kata

Label-makers: White trash Ivy League athlete.

June 23, 2011 2 comments

Earlier this week, I used my one nugget of common sense to see a doctor about my hip flexor. During the course of the standard “get to know the patient and their ailment” chit chat, the doctor extracted three pieces of information from me: 1) I am from Upper Darby, 2) I attend UPenn, and 3) I practice judo.  The doctor wanted another doctor to examine me as well. As Doctor #1 introduced me to Doctor #2, he told Doctor #2 that I am an athlete who practices judo and is a “bad mofo” and that I go to Penn, so I obviously must be smart. Moreover, since I go to Penn, I am the only person from Upper Darby to ever make something of themselves. I believe he referred to Upper Darby as “The White Trash Capitol of the World”.

This introduction struck me as both strange and hilarious.  In terms of my hometown, I’ve lived in a couple different states and most people  I meet know nothing about Upper Darby. I just say, “It’s a suburb” and that seems to serve as a satisfactory description.  Conversely, since I moved back to the area, people around here definitely have their preconceived notions about Upper Darby and what goes on there. People from Philadelphia usually think of it as just another suburb, but people from other suburbs think Upper Darby is a gang-infested, crime-riddled hell hole filled with illiterates. Are there drugs and crime in Upper Darby? Yes. But the high school also has a swimming pool and golf team. I don’t think kids in desolate neighborhoods get to go swimming or play golf.  Also, I know that I grew up on a clean, quiet street, which remains clean and quiet, in a big house with a big backyard. And my friends from Upper Darby are all smart, accomplished, productive members of society. Some of them even went Penn.

I won’t lie to you; a big part of the reason I decided to go to Penn to get my MSW is because of the reputation that goes with the institution. However, as I trudged through this academic year, I did not feel very prestigious. If anything, I often felt like an impostor as I considered that I should shower more often and change my clothes with greater frequency as I ate fake food, like protein bars and scraps left over from meetings that I stole from the faculty fridge.  I thought going to an Ivy League school would be more tweed and free red wine and Gruyere cheese and less writing and editing in a windowless building wearing coffee stained sweatpants until 2 in the morning.

As for being called an athlete, this is the funniest to me.  If you asked anyone from my high school if they would consider Lori Latimer an athlete, their response would mostly likely be, “Who the hell is Lori Latimer?” (My high school had about 4,000 students in it so even within your own graduating class, you would probably only know about 0.03% of your  classmates.) The alternate response would be “Hahahahaha!” For all of my life, I have been a reader of books, a drawer of pictures, and player of Scrabble. I also have seasonal allergies, mild asthma, and wear glasses. Yes, from time to time I would engage in sports, but I typically performed at the low-end of mediocre.  And when I practiced judo as a kid, I think I was getting by on my feral sense of “fighting spirit” and not so much on my strength and endurance.  So I’ve never considered myself “athletic” let alone an “athlete”.  I guess that’s because I figure if I was an athlete, someone would be paying me for the work I do, or at least throw me a gold medal for doing well once in a while.  Those things are certainly not happening.  So being called an athlete multiple times in the span of a half-hour was infinitely amusing to me. I almost let the doctors in on the joke, but decided just to let them do their job instead.

It’s simply interesting to me how three little facts can lead someone to create an image of yourself that you’ve never pictured and leave you wondering just exactly how you fit that image.