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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury

Trying Times

Early in my training - literally within weeks of first picking up a stick - I suffered a very painful but relatively minor injury when I tore my right calf muscle.

This injury happened while I was training. It wasn't that we did anything wrong; it was a complete fluke that I had a muscle spasm in the leg just as I was pushing off with my right foot.

The pain was what I imagine it is like to be shot. A very sharp, searing, intense pain. I yelled a very bad word, fell to the floor, and I couldn't put any weight on it at all for about a month.

This was on a Wednesday. On Saturday, I attended my first Arnis seminar. Actually, it was my first martial arts seminar of any kind.

No way was I not going to go to that seminar. After that, I didn't miss a single martial arts class in the wake of the injury. Not a single class.

I had every excuse to skip training while I was hurt. Nobody would have blamed me for missing that seminar or not going to class until I could stand up again.

But no, I was very much in the early throes of excitement and passion, having just fallen in love with martial arts, and I was going to be damned if I was going to give that up.

I'd have to have been in a hospital to not go to class.

Training during this period required creativity, flexibility, and perseverance.

I sat in a chair and worked with partners when I could. I sat on the sidelines and observed class and asked questions (luckily we were a smaller, more flexible class so it wasn't to difficult for me to "participate" from the sidelines). When I absolutely couldn't do what they were doing - such as a period of drills - I would study from two books from Remy Presas on the sidelines.

I did not quit. I was in the early days of my love affair with martial arts, where it was still fresh and new and wonderous and I was trying to get in as much of the good stuff of training as I could.

Over time, I healed, and I was back on the mat, not very far behind my classmates at my level. Things returned to "normal".

Those were trying times.

Kinda like how things are right now in the martial arts industry.

It's really tough out there.

We're having to change and adapt and be flexible in order to survive as entities (I didn't say profitable, because it is the rare school that is these days). We're having to compromise on things we always believed to be true (like video training being completely worthless). We're having to discover new ways to get in the physicality of training but maintaining distance as best we can.

A lot of schools are gone. Some of these will be back in their original form eventually. Others are changing and becoming something different, out of necessity. And some won't be back again - they're gone forever.

Just like when I tore my calf muscle, nobody will blame folks if they close up or quit the martial arts altogether, as students and as teachers, until conditions change. It's completely understandable. Sad, frustrating, but understandable.

I'm hoping that most of us are like the newbie me. I hope you can't give it up because it'll hurt worse if you do, and you do adapt, somehow.

These trying times won't last. But we can use this time to discover new ways to do things and to unleash our creativity.

Maybe we'll come out of this better and stronger and more committed than we were. Just like I did, back in my time of injury.

How are you keeping engaged and training in these trying times? What have you given up and what do you think is going to go away permanently? What good things have you discovered because you had to? Let us know in the comments!

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