Thursday, February 21, 2008

Point Sparring

It was sparring night at the dojo and I must say that I enjoyed it very much. We started out working on hand techniques. Many of us found it difficult to only use our hands . We really, really wanted to kick. It allowed us to work on our distancing. After a few rounds we added kicking techniques. We ended the night with point sparring.

My knee held up great. I used the soft ACL brace and was able to move better. I prefer to spar left foot forward and at a 45 degree angle. I noticed that I still do not kick that much. If I am using right leg as the support leg, I know that I would easily be knocked off balance. If I kick with my right leg, I worry that it will be hit. There was one moment when my knee cracked but everything was fine.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

February Blues

It has been a very tough February and it is not over yet. Everything seems difficult. The weather has been cold and windy. Every member of the family had some sort of cold. Work has been very slow. I work for a company that distributes Halloween and Christmas merchandise. We are exceptionally busy from July to December and exceptionally slow from January to June. We just finished our Halloween catalog. Not many people think about Halloween in February. I was focused on hanging ghouls, pumpkin carvers and scarecrows instead of Valentines Day. By the time October arrives, Halloween seems over for me.

The bright side is that we are going to Washington DC for a few days. I have never been there and am looking forward to visiting. I want to see the National Air and Space Museum and the National Mall. My daughter wants to visit the Library of Congress. We were fortunate enough to schedule a White House tour. I did not realize that tours needed to be scheduled months in advance. Reservations are required and you must submit your name, birth date and SS number.

It has now been nine months since my ACL reconstruction. My knee feels very close to normal for daily activities. I am going to continue to use the soft ACL brace during karate classes. I wore it tonight and we worked on kata, bo, kicks and combinations. I can even kneel better with this brace. Kyu rank testing is next month and I had the students demonstrate their testing kata. I then asked them each to review their own kata. Unfortunately, my daughter wanted my attention and was misbehaving during the second class. It is hard to be a karate instructor and a mom at the same time.

I am going to go watch the lunar eclipse.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Trying Not to Think

I think too much. It has always been my nature. I am one of those people who over-analyze. I am definitely a planner and like to discuss options. This character trait may be hurting my ACL recovery. I think about my knee way too much. My knee has become its own entity and it has to stop.

Just the other day, I ran up a flight of steps. When I reached the top, I realized what I did. This is a big deal for anyone recovering from ACL reconstruction. Stairs are a pain for a long time after surgery. The point is that I did not think about it ... I just did it (and thought about it later).

Last night in class, I tried something different. I used a different knee brace. I did not ask my doctor or my PT so I did not have any official medical advice. I have read so many different theories regarding bracing after ACL surgery. Some doctors are for it and some doctors are against it. My doctor wants me to wear a functional brace until August. I have been diligently wearing the brace during every karate class. When I first returned to karate after surgery, I really needed the functional brace. It provided so much security and helped with pivoting. Now at 9 months post-op it feels restricting. I feel like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz. I am waiting for someone to bring an oil can to class.

The brace I wore in class last night was my second knee brace. I have had four since my injury last April: immobilizer, soft ACL brace, post-operative brace and the functional brace. This soft ACL brace is a Breg Short Runner. The down side is that it did not provide as much security as the functional brace. I know this because my leg muscles are a little sore today. The plus side is that I could move so much better. I am going to try this brace again tonight and I am not going to think about my knee.

Please note: I am not dispensing medical advice. This is only my personal experience regarding ACL recovery.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

In Search Of ...My Cat Stance

I have been complaining about my lack of a good cat stance for a while. I assumed, incorrectly I might add, that as my quad strength improved my cat stance would come back. In January, I worked very hard on improving my knee. I know that I have made some progress because I can stand up from a one knee kneeling position. It was just a month ago that I was unable to do this.

For the last month I have been watching my kata. I can not figure out where or why my stance feels so wrong. I am usually pretty good at watching kata and helping correct movement problems. Often students would ask me to watch their kata if they were having some trouble. I have been analyzing my stance and checking my alignment, the relationship from my hip to my knee, the distance of my left foot to my right, should my hip be more open or closed, the angle of my knee to my ankle, weight distribution, is my back straight and the amount of knee bend. The bottom line is that my stance is a mess and I want my old stance back.

Last night in the dojo I asked for some help with my dilemma. A few suggestions were made and the problem may lie in my hip position and the length of my stance. I even suggested that I should change my good stance to match the bad one. Perhaps it would not be so noticeable. I then decided that changing my good stance was a bad idea. So I decided that I would give myself one more month to reclaim my stance. If the stance does not improve by the beginning of March I am calling my PT to help me FIX IT!