Rehabbing from Injuries while Traveling
8 weeks ago, I hyperextended my elbow in Serbia. 3 weeks later in Portugal, I jumped on the mat for the first time and something in my knee popped. I finally accepted that I had to stop rushing my recoveries and give my body some time to heal. Otherwise, I may not be able to train at all for the last six months of my world trip.
Pros and Cons of “Resting” While on the Road
After only one class at Gracie Barra Benfica-Lisboa, I was out of commission simply because I had bad footing and pressure was out on knee at just the wrong moment. I humbly sat on the sidelines during sparring, limped (ironically across a hospital campus) to the metro, got home and started to RICE. Now I had to figure out how I was going to rehab with my hectic schedule.
While you’re travelling, you want to see and do everything. There is no time to sit on a couch and lick your wounds. This has its benefits and curses.
When you’re at home and hurt, you have a huge chunk of your life and normal schedule thrown off when there’s no BJJ. You get restless at work and wish you could do more than patiently sit on a couch waiting for parts of your body to stop complaining about being bent the wrong way. The lack of schedule and constant new experiences associated with travelling totally negate this restlessness. I may have been slowly getting out of shape but at least I was having fun doing it.
All the fun does take a toll though. If you’ve ever been to Lisbon, you know that anywhere you want to go is at least a 20 minute walk uphill on cobblestone streets… and somehow it’s still uphill on the way back. Not an ideal situation for someone with a knee injury. Also, I couldn’t resist fulfilling a BJJ stereotype by learning to surf. (Now I get to say I learned to surf in the shadow of a castle on Portugal’s coast!) Side trips to Budapest and Vienna were also too good to turn down. The non-stop adventuring and partying definitely added some time to my recovery, but I wouldn’t do anything differently.
Learning how Out of Shape I Got in Prague.
After 5 weeks of “taking it easy” I was finally ready to get back in the gym. Penta Gym was recommended to me by Mark Magpusao, a fellow BJJ Globetrotter I met up with in Lisbon. It’s an MMA gym, and the only place to offer the afternoon classes my work schedule demands.
The first day back was amazing. Even though I had minimal MMA training, it felt great to throw a few guillotines and practice the boxing tricks I learned in Thailand. I felt a little ashamed to call it quits when it came to sparring, but they were focusing on kicks and I didn’t need sit out another 5 weeks because I wanted to look tough.
I’ve been to a few classes since and I’m ecstatic to be back. The only bad part is I’m learning how terribly my cardio is and my striking game is basically non-existent compared to my training partners. My plan is to keep at it and build my intensity and stamina so I can dominate some rolls next month in Bulgaria!