A recent study has indicated that close to 8 million Americans are involved in some form of martial arts training. This shows that martial arts have attained significant global recognition and acceptance.
There are many different forms of martial arts such as Kung Fu, Karate, Jiu jitsu and Tae Kwon Do, all of which have a myriad of benefits to its participants. Participation in martial arts builds confidence and self-esteem and imparts combat skills to defend and empower against aggression. Other benefits include a total body workout and improved cardiovascular health. All of these benefits contribute to healthy living and prevention of degeneration and disease.
But, what if you are suffering the effects and symptoms of either acute or chronic injury?
How does someone train when they have a martial arts injury?
The following tips will help you continue training when injured in the safest way possible so as to avoid aggravating your injury any or prolonging your recovery process.
Here are our Top 10 Tips to help you train when you are injured:
- Learn everything you can about your injury. Psychological preparedness and proper information are keys to success when training with an injury. Gaining a complete understanding of your martial arts injury will help you to determine your physical limitations and how far you can safely push yourself as you train. Get to know which bones, muscles, or connective tissues were injured, which nerves are impinged, which vertebral discs are herniated and understand the systemic effects of this injury on other muscle groups, organs, or body parts, etc.
- Do NOT ignore the injury and just push on or "suck it up". The body is truly remarkable in its ability to heal itself when given what it needs to do so. REST, in the case of significant martial arts injury, IS one of the things it usually needs in order to properly heal damaged cells. (Most athletes don't like to hear this, but proper rest in the early stage can promote full healing, whereas training without proper rest when injured can set you up for chronic injury that won't heal -- or, worse, a cascade of injuries that develop from the weak link area that you never allowed enough rest to repair 100%). Listen to your pain. It is there as a messenger to tell you when enough is enough.
- Increase your nutrition and hydration. Sugar and excess carbs weaken the body's ability to repair itself and promote systemic inflammation that works against the healing processes and causes increased levels of pain. If you have experienced a significant injury, focus on eating nutrient dense foods that provide your body with the specific nutrition it needs to heal damaged cells. Bone broth is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, collagen, gelatin, fats and proteins for helping the body heal. Also consider adding bee pollen as well as Great Mender and Gecko Tonic teapills to speed your recovery. Increase your water intake. Properly hydrated cells can perform their healing work more than twice as fast as dehydrated ones.
- Talk to your physician regularly. Before you begin training when injured, be sure to get the go-ahead from your physician lest you injure yourself any further. Ask your doctor, chiropractor, or physical therapist to recommend safe exercises for every stage in your recovery. Ask these professionals to evaluate the martial arts activities you wish to participate in and help make modifications where necessary.
- Do not rely on advice from your martial arts instructor alone. You may have an incredibly knowledgeable martial arts instructor (we know many superb ones), but he or she is unlikely to fully understand the extent and the nature of your injury. However, if your martial arts instructor is willing to work along with your medical professional, the instructor may be able to provide helpful suggestions to accommodate your recovery and help you continue training when injured.
- Simplify your training regimen. When you are injured, putting unnecessary pressure and strain on injured areas and on the entire body in general can be detrimental to your recovery. You should therefore avoid any form of martial arts that entails a lot of jumps or extreme combat techniques that may cause undue strain on the injured area or possibly even re-injure the affected area. You should also cut back the overall intensity of all of your training so as not to over-fatigue your adrenals which are working hard already to help the body heal this injured area. Select a martial arts style that can accommodate your recovery and then moderate your training. Only increase the intensity when your body signals that it can handle the added stress. Again, listen to your pain.
- Prioritize techniques that incorporate proper breathing and meditation. Exercises and practices that emphasize proper breathing techniques and meditation are very calming to the nervous system and supportive of the adrenal system. These exercises also help to oxygenate the body and center the mind and thoughts to reduce stress.
- Learn multiple techniques simultaneously. This can be beneficial for some whose injuries will allow for it because training various muscle groups in a moderate way can increase your circulation throughout the body, and increase overall strength and endurance, which can help reduce recovery time.
- Learn techniques that are ideal for your body type. Your body features such as height, weight and extent of your martial arts injury will largely determine the type of exercises that you can engage in. Not all types of training will work for you, and it is up to you to find those that will.
- Use topical herbal liniments (Dit Da Jow) to heal your injury more rapidly. Shaolin monks and Samurai warriors have always known the key to rapid recovery from injury was found in the use of Chinese herbs. They have passed on to us this incredible centuries-old method of combining herbs with alcohol to make a POWERFUL, topically-applied, herbal formula called Dit Da Jow. It is truly amazing how well it works to eliminate pain and support the natural healing mechanisms of the body in addressing bruises, muscle injuries, sprains, strains, bone fractures and more. Learn more about Dit Da Jow - HERE - or go ahead and give it a try.
What Does the Champion Say About Training with Injuries?
We also asked Tomm Voss, the 2016 & 2017 World and European Escrima Champion (who also happens to be a passionate advocate for Plum Dragon's Dit Da Jow) for his top tip on Martial Arts training when injured.
Here are his thoughts: "Healing occurs when there is balance. Balance is everything. Like the string on a guitar, when it is too tight it snaps, and when it is too lose it doesn’t make music. The body is the same. Pushing yourself too hard can cause injury and not pushing yourself enough means stagnation or very limited results. It is balance not only physical, but also mental and emotional. A lack of mental and emotional balance in training as well as in life lead to injury and hardship. Learn to be be present in the now to deal effectively with what shows up.
Fighting in martial arts is very similar to life, you have to deal with what comes at you and be aware enough to hear, see and feel. The same goes for the body with healing and avoiding injury. Getting in tune with your body, your Chi Life-force will help you heal better and restore balance. An injury when approached in this way, can be a great teacher and an opportunity to restore balance where it is off, using the tools available, rest, herbs, nutrition and the healing arts such as Qigong for example."
Qigong is an excellent restorative art and Tomm has written a compelling story and comprehensive overview of how his Qigong practice helped him heal from a chronic condition in his own life.
With the above techniques, we hope you will be empowered to find a safe way to train with a martial arts injury. Try some of these suggestions today and kick start your journey back to total physical wellbeing.
It was helpful that you brought to light the fact that it is important to have a balance when training yourself, as working too hard can harm you and working too little will not be beneficial. I’ll be sure to keep this in mind when pursuing martial arts classes. I’m interested in learning how to protect myself, so I’m doing research into different varieties of classes. http://www.tanakas-martial-arts-academy.com/