Today marks four weeks since I was side-kicked in the chest during routine sparring and ended up with bruised ribs. The injury happened right before Christmas, which was bad timing to start having chest pain – not that there really ever is good timing for chest pain – but bad timing because I had to visit the medical clinic on Christmas Eve. My doctor thought I had a case of costochondritis – otherwise known as “pulled muscles from coughing” – and this very well could have contributed to the excruciating pain in my chest whenever I coughed, laughed, sneezed or, God forbid, took a breath. However, I clearly remembered being kicked in the chest at karate, which is something I just sort of left out during the examination. I mean, really, either way the prognosis is the same (rest, rest, ibuprofen, rest, rest) and every doctor I have ever talked to about karate-related injuries has basically just looked at me with disbelief and then asked me why I couldn’t take up a more tame hobby, such as yoga or “jogging.” Don’t get me wrong, I love me some shavasana, and I do run for fitness, but there is no turning back for me. Even after a separated shoulder and a couple of concussions (one unrelated to martial arts), I never seem to learn and I often just jump back on the mat before I am fully healed.
What I have learned in the past four weeks, however, is that bruised or broken ribs seem pretty standard as you run up the ranks in martial arts training. It just so happens that my injury landed at about six weeks before my official black belt training is supposed to begin. I’ve said all along that this could either be perfect timing or bad luck, depending on my perspective. Now that I have entered the fourth week of healing and can take a deep breath without a searing pain through my side, I am going with the glass half-full approach.
What I do need to focus on this week is not being stupid. I have been watching karate class for the past two weeks and it has been brutal – just light stretching and walking through forms. I really want to jump right in tonight, but as one of the instructors already told me this afternoon, this is the exact time when I need to be more careful so that I do not re-injure and throw away my opportunity to start black belt training in two weeks. So, with that being said, my goal for this week is: Don’t be dumb.
Wish me luck!