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And the Small Steps – Jiu-jitsu Comeback

February 5, 2010

my fitness chart - I lost weight but I'm still a fatty

When I first took a jiu-jitsu class, I realized there’s a ton of stuff I couldn’t do. Like shrimping, a simple upa, getting that sweet spot to choke ’em out, sparring more than once. Ah, the memories. I was coming from several years of training in Kaaawa, I thought I was pretty fit at the time. Jiu-jitsu proved me wrong.

I did that flop around like a fish out of water and, after the 10th tapout, that bewildered look of “what just happened here?”

I had that kind of day at my 6 months post-op check up yesterday. Wait, did I say 6 months? Yup. It’s been that long. Hard to believe huh? What were you doing 6 months ago? If you said jiu-jitsu, I envy you because my answer is surgery.

Aside from the usual rehab, body fitness check (I’m a galo now) and blue rocketship chair check, I got an X-ray and a MRI to look inside my knee.

The X-ray results were good. Looking at it I could hardly see the bone tunnels in my knee. That’s good because it shows that the bone has grown around my re-constructed ACL, locking it in place. And my anchors are still in the same place as they were right after surgery, which means they’re staying where they’re supposed to be. Aw yeah.

My MRI was a lot harder to figure out.

From left to right: post-op MRI 3 months vs 6 months - can you spot the difference?

The darker region inside my knee (compare left and right images) – that snakey like hssssss image – is my new ACL. According to Emoto-sensei, dark is good. Means the cocktail of goodness that’s inbetween the joint is turning my once limpy ACL toughening it into super ACL! Aw yeaaaaaah! Actually, it’s more technical than that. I got lost in the medical terminalogy.

Rehab went well. I lie, it never does. I secretly believe Physical Therapists are evil sadists inflicting pain in the guise of therapy. I am not alone in this belief. But just as I thought, although stronger than last month, my right leg isn’t ready for any kind of sports.

I didn’t need the blue chair to tell me that – I am hovering at or below 80%. Above 85% is the OK-to-go-sports goal. Aono-san had me do real world strength tests.

blue chair + muscle output in terms of speed = meh

One-legged Stand Up
I sat down on a box, pointed one leg out while attempting to stand with the other. If I could stand up and didn’t lose my balance I had to switch legs. Each time both legs cleared, the box would get smaller and smaller.

I made it to the last box and I was low enough to the ground that my position was like that of a deep knee-bend squat. Any lower and I’d be doing a leg pistol – and those are HARD to do.

My good left leg barely pulled it off. My right leg kinda looked up at me with the same ill-intent gaze a cat once gave me when I tried to pet it. U wanz to wat? Uh, NO. Fair enough.

One-legged Long Jump
This I had to do only once. I just had to jump as far forward as possible on one leg and not lose my balance.

Left leg, clear. Right leg, ugh… I only started jumping two days before. And not that very high I might add. But I decided to give it the old jiu-jitsu try and give it my all.

I kinda stood there at first, working through the motions in my head, seeing myself soaring through the air and landing perfectly. I crouched down, pushed my body off floor and did an incredible tip-toe.

Bewildered look number one.

Since I didn’t really jump it didn’t count so I reset. I steadied myself. Took a breath, exhaled and JUMPED…

straight up.

Bewildered look number dos.

Aono-san chuckled and gave me a second chance. And I lowered myself, swung my arms upwards, jumped into the air and landed EXACTLY in the same place.

Bewildered look 3 hit CO-CO-COMBO COMBO… combo…!

Aono-san smiled, slapped my shoulder and said cheerfully, “No pass.” Sigh. It’s that first day jiu-jitsu class all over again. I have a feeling that I’m going to be experiencing a lot of those before I get my groove back.

Oh well, given enough time even the little steps will cover great distances.

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