Archive for the ‘Updates’ Category

Volte a Tatame

June 29, 2012


It has been a REALLY long time since I’ve posted.  I herniated my disc back in October and stopped training completely.  I did rehab for 2 months and was released.  However, my doctor told me that herniated discs can take between 6 and 8 months to heal so I did not return to training.  Instead I took my rehab exercises and performed them in a gym with free weights.  And I did that twice a week until the end of May.

Then, I returned to the mat the first weekend in June.  That’s why the title of this post translates to “I returned to the mat.”  The cool part is that it rhymes in Portuguese.  LOL!

Anyway, I am not training full out.  I am only working on the technical part of the class and that’s it.  If anything that we train looks like it’ll put strain on my neck like guard passing I don’t do it.  Partly because I still want some time to heal and partly because I’m scared.

I know, I know I sound like a wuss, but that’s OK.  One thing I always remember is that aging never stops.  And injuries that don’t heal properly always come back to bite you when you’re older.  I want to keep training until I’m in my late 90’s so taking the time to heal now will pay off in the end.  I’m just going to take things easy and slow for now.  Jiu-Jitsu isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon.  I’m in no hurry.

So far our classes have been focusing on real basic techniques like armbars from the guard and transitioning from an armbar to an omo plata, which is great.  One class involved escaping the mount and I did it for a bit and everything seemed OK.

I’ve felt a little sore all over afterwards, which is normal for not having trained for so long, but also my back has been fine.  It’s sensitive, but I haven’t had any issues.  This makes me happy because it tells me I’m doing things right.

Eventually I’ll get back to sparring, but not for a while and only with guys I trust.  I don’t need to get hurt again.

Any of you suffer any injuries recently?  How did you handle it?

Chau e bom dia!



February 19, 2012


Has it really been over a month since I posted last?  Wow that is really lame.  Sorry about that.

Let’s see, where to begin?  I continue to work out at the gym twice a week and on occasion three times when I can.  Things had been going well when I decided to see how it felt to get back on the mat.  So I scheduled a one-hour private with my instructor.  I figured that it would be safest that way as he’s a BlkB so he’s all technique and won’t go nuts.  Also, he dealt with 2 herniated discs in his neck so he knows what I’m going through.

I wanted to work on techniques from my back to test it so we worked on side mount and mount escapes.  For the most part it felt good. There was a little bit of soreness that occurred about half way through the private, but nothing that made me want to stop.  However, the next day I could feel that my back did not like what I did the day before.

The pain wasn’t at the level of my original injury, but it did scare me a little bit.  So I’ve decided that I need more time off the mats.  I was thinking of going back at the end of February, but maybe I need to wait until the end of April or something.  I’m going to continue working out, getting my back strong and have been talking to a few people about injury prevention and living with this issue.

I’m sure these friends of mine will give me good tips and things will be back to normal.  Wish me luck!

Chau e bom dia!


January 9, 2012


I haven’t been able to post because things have been a bit crazy with life and work (the holidays and travel for business).  I have made a lot of progress.  I was discharged from PT.  That was great.  I’m glad to have my week night time freed up.  However, I am still not back on the mats.

I decided to stay off the mats for another two months while I continue to strengthen my back.  I joined a local Planet Fitness and adapted the PT exercises using the equipment in the gym.  I also perform some basic exercises based on the book “Body by Science” by John Little and Doug McDuff.

It’s a great workout workout in that you put use a lot of weight and perform the exercise like a bench press or bicep curl very slowly.  I take between 7 and 10 seconds to extend and retract and work to failure.  Sometimes I only get 5 reps sometimes 7.  I usually aim for 6, but it depends on how quickly I get to muscle failure.  My left tricep is still a bit weak so any exercises involving that muscle usually involves a lower rep count then say a leg press.  I only do one set of each exercise and move on to the next one.

I feel great after the workout and look forward to the next one.  I hope to see continued improvement and will post more as things progress.

In the meantime…chau e bom dia!


December 1, 2011


So I went to my first post-hernia physical therapy session.  I got there early to get through all the paperwork so as to maximize my time with the PT.  I only waited a little bit before she called me back.  Her name is Janine and she looked about my age.  We went through the usual questions like “how did you get injured, what is the pain like, etc.  I did make it a point to tell her to treat me like an athlete.  Although I am not athletic, I am involved in a serious martial art so she should treat me like an athletic and work me good.  I want to get back on the mats and I’m not going to get back by doing baby therapy.

Then we went through the physical evaluation to determine just how much damage there is in terms of range of motion and pain.  She put this halo thing around my neck and asked me to bend my head toward each shoulder and noted how far I could go.  Then, took similar measurements when I brought my chin to my chest and brought my head all the way back (it didn’t go back very far because it hurt).

She also took measurements of my strength.  Unsurprisingly, I am weaker on my left side which is where the pain was radiating down and the tingling remains in my index finger.  She had to hold my arms out and try to keep her from pushing my arms down.  Right side held up fine, left side struggled…a lot.  I have to admit it’s a little scary knowing how weak you are not because you are physically weak, but because a nerve isn’t functioning correctly.

She also had me put my arms in a curl position (as if I’m doing dumbbell curves) and pulled at my wrists.  Right side held up no issue, left side gave way easily.  That’s a defense from an armbar.  If one of my training partners wanted to house me during sparing now is the time.  I would have no power to defend against it.

She also had me test my grip strength and told me that my grip was “hardcore.”  How awesome is that?   That was one of the best compliments I’ve ever received!  I couldn’t stop smiling about it.  After some poking and prodding to determine whether I was tender in any areas she determined that I’m in a good place from a recovery perspective.

She was going to start me off with traction just for my first day.  The traction was pretty cool.  She put my head in this apparatus that pulled on my neck on and off over 10 minutes.  At first it hurt in the area of the herniation, but I could feel it melt away.  I was surprised how good I felt when I got up.  Not that I think I’m healed, but it felt comfortable.

She gave me some homework to do.  I have to sit on a chair and pull my head back as if I’m trying to get my face away from something.  I have to do that every 3 hours.  I also have some neck stretches to do while sitting as well, but those are mainly turning my head to the side.  Nothing too serious.

Next week we are going to start with the traction again and then move on to the serious exercises.  I can’t wait!  I’ll report back next week after my next session.

Chau e bom dia!


November 27, 2011


The title of this post is a curse word.  The reason for it is out of frustration.  Frustration with my body.  What I thought was a pinched nerve turned out to be a herniated disc.  It’s moderate, but still there.  I am going to PT next week to see about dealing with it and go from there.  I am even going to give decompression therapy a try and go from there.

I’ll report on my progress, but I will not do any bjj for at least a month.  Hopefully, it’ll go by quick.  I’m dying from the knowledge of not training for a while.  I feel physical ill from the idea.  Maybe writing about it will be therapeutic.

Wish me luck!  Chau e bom dia!

Fez Uma Pausa

November 20, 2011


I haven’t posted in  a while because I haven’t  been training.  I haven’t been training because I’m dealing with a back injury.  I got dumped on my head during a sparring session (I didn’t tuck my chin in when I was going over) and I woke up the next day with pain in my back that radiated down my left arm.  My index finger on my left hand was all pins and needles too.  Not a very pleasant experience.

I have been on an anti-inflammatory drug, a muscle relaxant and a pain killer for a few weeks now.  I got an X-ray and fortunately nothing was broken.  I am trying to schedule an MRI to determine if I have a herniated disk.  My doctor thinks that I just have a severely pinched nerve due to how well I react to the medicine.  I hope she’s right.

Wish me luck.  I’ll post an update after my MRI.

Chau e bom dia!


July 2, 2011


It’s been QUITE a long time since I’ve posted.  I thought I would post every now and again regarding my physical therapy and then realized it would be really boring for everyone so I decided to just not post.  In hindsight I should have posted something like “taking a break while going through PT, will be back soon.”

So here is the update regarding my current situation.  My right knee has been responding well to PT, but still “pinches” every now again.  It’s very random.  There is no pattern or specific cause I can identify.  Once it happened right as I was leaving PT.  That’s how random it is.  After a few sessions I was finally able to schedule an MRI and get it analyzed.

Turns out that my knee is suffering from Chondromalacia, which is a condition of the tendons that results from the kneecap being “off track.”  The damage isn’t significant enough to require surgery, but over time, if I didn’t get it treated it would get worse.  Fortunately, the treatment is the physical therapy I’m currently doing, which is great.  My physical therapist added some exercises, discharged others, and added more weight and repetition of others.  I’ll do this for about another month and I should be good.  I am very happy that nothing is torn (at least at this point, it may still happen in the future).

Having discovered the true cause of my knee issue got me thinking and I decided to go back into training BJJ; however, with some stipulations.  I’m only training once a week until I’m discharged from PT.  I’m only going to participate in the technical training portion of class and will not do any drills that require a lot of work from the knees and I will definitely not spar.  That’s not great, but at least I’m back in training, which is way better than not training at all.  Everything has a consolation prize.

So today I got back to class for the first time and I tell you it felt AWESOME to be back.  Class ended about 2 hours ago and it’s hitting me now as to how much I missed it.  My instructor was glad to have me back, which was great.  He kept busting my stones about “taking an extended vacation” and working out at Brock Lesnar’s Deathclutch Gym.  He busts me on Brock Lesnar because once I said he was a great fighter (I said it as a joke, but he decided to take the entire conversation to the next level).

I put in a request to work on guard passing.  I wanted to test the knee and work on something really basic that I’m very familiar with so as to ease my way back in and get in a grove again.  I’m a broken record at this point, but it was great.  I didn’t feel like I lost any technique or had to be reminded of anything (granted I was only out for 3 months).  I think my sense of timing even improved.  Maybe it was a good thing I stepped away for a while.  Let the brain and body reset and grow.  Kind of like lifting weights.  You’re breaking down the muscle and it grows back stronger.

We worked on the two basic guard passes for pretty much the entire hour and I was done.  I have to think long-term here so I’m taking it easy.  Maybe I’m taking it too easy, but I still want to be able to perform BJJ when I’m 90 so I think I’m making the right decisions.  I’ll train once a week while I’m still doing PT and then will ease back into a twice a week schedule in mid-August/early September.

I wonder if any of you have suffered injuries and how you worked through them?  Were you careful getting back into the game or did you go full bore?  Did you take the entire doctor-recommended time to convalesce or did you wait a little bit and then jumped back in.

Chau e bom dia!