Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sparring Advice Needed

I sparred for the first time without my knee brace. When it was time to pad-up, I put on my gear and did not even think of the brace. I was in the middle of a match when I remembered that I did not put my Breg ACL brace on. The truth is … I do not know where I put it. I have my functional knee brace tucked away nicely in its fancy bag. Where is my soft brace? It must be in a drawer somewhere.

Since my ACL injury, sparring has been tough mentally and physically. I began sparring seven months after my ACL surgery. I wore the functional brace and everything was slow. The brace was restricting and I was not moving as I did before the injury. To my surprise, I preferred kicking with my new ACL. I did not want to use my recovering leg as my support leg. I was afraid to pivot or lose my balance.

Sparring last week was different. My favorite stance is left foot forward, hips angled 45 degrees, and rear leg slightly bent using the ball of the foot to push forward. My right leg has the reconstructed ACL. I had regained enough strength in my right leg to use it as my support leg. I began to kick with my left leg and it felt good. However, when I tried to kick using my right leg it felt like it was moving in slow motion. My sparring partner commented on the difference in speed between my left and right leg.

I need advice.

How can I get my right leg moving again? My ACL is healed and my leg muscles are strong. Why is it so slow? Am I subconsciously “protecting” it? Maybe I do not want to put my leg in harms way. I have a vision of someone’s elbow striking my exposed knee while blocking a kick. Should I pull my Breg ACL brace out of the drawer and wear it when I spar? Do I need to spar more often? Kicking drills? Do I just need more time? A new sparring strategy?

What if this is as good as it gets?


John Vesia said...

My ACL is healed and my leg muscles are strong. Why is it so slow? Am I subconsciously “protecting” it?

Probably. I can't blame you for being gun-shy, though. Like you say, you just need time. You conveniently misplaced your ACL brace at the right time.

I would leave the brace off for now. I don't think extra sparring is really needed. See how it goes.

Michele said...

John: Thank you for your comment. I have to say that I was tempted to look for my ACL brace...but I resisted. The brace provides more mental reassurance than physical. It is time that it stays misplaced.