Second Chance to Live and the Embracing Life and Living Well After Brain Injury Conference May 2013 — A Lesson Learned — A Smoother Transition Part 2

If you have not already read Part 1 of this article, please take the time to do so now by clicking on this link. Thank you. Second Chance to Live and the Embracing Life and Living Well After Brain Injury Conference May 2013–A Lesson Learned Part 1

Here is the Back Story to provide a Smoother Transition

While I was training at a martial arts school, I achieved my brown belt. After achieving my brown belt and when my Sensei – instructor — decided that I was ready to prepare for my black belt, I entered an 8 hour physical and mental toughness test. To read more about this progress check test, please click on this link Traumatic / Acquired Brain Injury– Do Not Give Up on Your Dreams! Part 3 of 3. This test was to be among 7 other progress checks  over a 10 month period to qualify to be able to test for my black belt. Three weeks after completing the test, I met with my Sensei. I was told that I passed the progress check.

After Sensei told me that I had passed the 8 hour progress check, he told me that I would be invited to begin the 10 month long black belt cycle to quality at the end for a 2 day black belt exam to test for my black belt. As you might imagine, I was thrilled at the news to be able to enter the black belt cycle to test for my black belt after training at the martial arts school for 8 years. Two months into the 10 month long cycle — in early February — during one class my right knee started to lock up on me. To me this was not a good sign, after all my hard work and determination. To make a long story short, I had an MRI done of my right knee.

Although I was sad —  since I trained so very hard for many years to test for my black belt — I knew that for the long haul, bowing out of the 10 month long process was in my best interest.

The MRI showed that I had 2 meniscus tears –one medial and one anterior. As you might imagine the news was somewhat devastating to me. After much consultation, I decided that it would be prudent to bow out of the black belt cycle process to focus on rehabbing my knee. I attended physical therapy for approximately 2 months and then spent another 6 – 7 months working on rehabbing my knee with out surgery. After rehabbing my knee, I decided that returning to train at the martial arts school would place my knee in jeopardy through grappling and sparring. Although the decision was difficult, I knew that I could continue developing my skills. 

After making the decision to not return to the school, I decided to train on my own – at the Y – to develop my skills. During the course of the past 3 years I have worked diligently to develop and sharpen my skills in the following arts. western boxing — my jab, cross, hook, upper cut and overhand in both my dominant and non dominant hands, my muay Thai knees, elbows and Thai kicks– shin kicks, my Wing Chun — centerline strikes and my Jeet Kune Do – traps / strikes and through developing my fine motor skills in my dominant and non-dominant hands through Eskrima / Kali / Modern Arnis, by training and using single and double rattan sticks.

Benefits I find Training in Martial Arts

I train in the martial arts to develop excellence, not the combative component. I train in martial arts to increase my brains capacity through neuroplasticity. I train in martial arts to develop increased hand eye coordination, hand speed, fine motor skills, agility, accuracy, precision, foot movement / placement, reaction time, dexterity, flexibility and strength. My training in martial arts, during the course of the past 16 years has undoubtedly  enhanced my quality of life and well being. My training in the martial arts has and continues to help me to develop as a individual through my pursuit of excellence, as I learn how to be in life through my process. 

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