Karate

  • My First Month After Gilmore’s Groin Surgery July 9, 2011 misterjaytee

    Following on from my diary posts from my first 10 days after Gilmore’s Groin Surgery, here is an update on how things are going. As stated in previous posts, the main reason for laying this out so publicly is that there is too little information on what someone experiences post-op from this surgery, and if my experiences help take the worry out of it for just one person, then it will have been worth it.

    You can find the other two posts here – Days 1 to 5 and Days 6 to 10.

    Day 10 seems like a world away now – at that time I was in quite a bit of pain, having sleepless nights (having to sleep on the Sofa just to be comfortable) and gentle peddling on the exercise bike was freaking me out.

    In the next few days I managed to increase the amount of walking I could do and this was coupled with an increase in pain (albeit less of the sharp pains), an increase in mobility and a decrease in the dizzy spells I was having. I could decrease some of the pain by removing underwear at night. I suspect the dizzy spells were because of a lack of circulation with me being stationary for large parts of the day. That increase in mobility brought a new concern where I started to notice that one of my testicles was considerably larger than the other – although this was worrying, it was also on the same side as my operation so I tried to put this down to post-operative swelling.

    By the end of the second week I started doing some exercise bike work – the previous movements became less disconcerting and I could do 25-30 minutes without too much discomfort (any discomfort from this was abdominal rather than in the original hernia injury site). I’d also started doing my day job again, albeit working from home (this helped take my mind off any pain and kept me busy for large parts of the day – it also kept me in contact with my work colleagues so that my eventual return to work wouldn’t be half as bad!). The main issue with working at home is making sure you keep mobile.

    Also, at the end of week 2, I had my first post-op bath. I was a little bit concerned about getting in and out of the bath, but it was was worth it as it helped sooth away some of the aches and pains. I also managed to return to my bed at the end of week 2, and started having some better nights of sleep.

    Looking back, 2 weeks seems a very short time to have the main post-op pain, but while you’re in the moment it seems like forever. If you’re reading this and in the post-op situation yourself, just keep going, it definitely seems to get easier at the 2 week point.

    At the beginning of the third week, I had a minor (unrelated op) but because of issues with that op and the resulting pain, this put my progress back by a few days.

    However, I am now able to drive without too much discomfort which means I can go back to work properly – my first couple of days back were quite busy and uncomfortable so my employer let me work from home for a day (an understanding employer really helps take the worry out of recovery!).

    All through, I’ve found myself too busy to do some of the exercise I need to, so I’ve been stepping up the exercise bike work at weekends. I’ve been walking okay, albeit with slight discomfort and I’m able to drive for the 30mins or so it takes to get to work.
    The next big milestone is when I see the surgeon again to see if the operation has been successful – at the moment I don’t have any recurrence of the original pain, but there is still some numbness from the peration in that area which might be masking this.

    All-in-all, the recovery is going well and I hope to be back to full fitness in the next 4-8 weeks.

  • Gilmore’s Groin – Post Op – Days 6 to 10 June 18, 2011 misterjaytee

    A continuation of my post-op recovery from Gilmore’s Groin surgery – you can find the first in the series by clicking here. Remember, these are my experiences and you should seek medical advice if you have any problems – I Am Not A Doctor (IANAD).

    Day 6

    Another night on the Sofa – I feel I’m going to be here for a while. Another “motion” provides some relief and I also manage to walk one third of a mile – takes ages but the increase in distance is satisfying. My first post-op shower ensues (feels very much post-Glastonbury when you get your first real shower after 5 days), and although I am supervised, I manage to get in and out of the shower on my own (believe it or not, this is really important when you’re used to others relying on you instead of the other way around).

    After the shower, I remove my post-op dressing for the first time, and I’m surprised at the size of the wound (about 3½ inches) – it hasn’t healed yet and I feel that this is the source of a lot of the sharp pains I get when moving around. The wound also has some bruising, but it seems to be subsiding giving me a sign that the healing process is well under way (See below for Day 6 photo of the surgical wound).

    Day 7

    A poor night’s sleep – I coughed yesterday and it really hurt in the area of the surgery. Very sore for much of today and I don’t feel like going out to walk. I make the effort in the afternoon and increase my distance to  0.45 miles. Toilet functions are now more regular, but painful to push, so I find myself spending 20-30 minutes each time – a good job I’m reading a book I’m enjoying (Conn Iggulden’s marvellous series on Julius Caesar, “Emperor” – I’m on the last book Emperor: The Gods of War) 🙂
    Not sure if it’s anxiety setting in, but I have tingling lips today – quite worrying, but I suspect it’s more to do with being stationary for far too long. Too much pain today and an early night for me.

    Day 8

    Determined to post my Dad’s Father’s Day card myself, I take a walk to the post box – a 1 mile round-trip 😀

    Another nice shower and a slight revelation on the way up the stairs – I seem to be more comfortable if I lean backwards slightly while I am walking up stairs (if you have had the same surgery then YMMV, as the residents across the pond would say – remember IANAD!). I’m tired early and decide to try to sleep in my own bed again – this time learning some lessons from the sofa – it seems to be more comfortable with my head raised using two or three pillows (normally I’m a one-pillow person).

    Day 9

    Full of win today :-

    • For the first time since my Op, I managed to get my pants(underwear) on by myself – I still need help with socks though
    • I put my trainers on without help – they’re sort of slip-ons (Vivo Barefoot Ultra M)
    • Another 1 mile walk in the morning that was 8 minutes quicker than yesterday

    The soreness has eased today – don’t get me wrong, it’s still there and uncomfortable, but throughout the day it has felt like it is getting better.

    Day 10

    Another good nights sleep, helped, in part, by a couple of Rum and cokes.

    Progress continues by an attempt on the Exercise Bike – I can peddle, but it feels uncomfortable, strange even 😕 I’m not sure if it is the scar moving, or if it’s the mesh – it freaks me out, so I stop, but at least my legs are moving now.

    I go for another walk; another mile which I do 7 minutes quicker than yesterday – as good as full throttle for walking pace anyway (just over 3½ mph).

    The aim for the next 5-10 days is to be doing some gentle jogging and to be able to get over my fears for the bike work.


  • Gilmore’s Groin – Post Op – Days 1 to 5 June 13, 2011 misterjaytee

    When I was looking around the Internet for other people’s real-life experiences of Gilmore’s Groin (or Sports Hernia, or Inguinal Canal) surgery, I found that the actual experience amounted to the odd Forum post here and there, with very little detail about what to expect – in fact it worried me that people’s experiences were quite negative, and I wondered if those experiences were early post-surgery ones (and then they weren’t followed up to say what happened long-term).

    I did find one or two sites with Post-Op exercises, one such example is the Gilmore’s Groin page at the All Sports Injuries site, but even in the first few days, these exercises seem to be very ambitious.

    The following is a diarisation of my first few days Post-Op (I’ll make further posts as things progress, so that there’s a fuller history) – I hope this post (and any future ones) helps someone in the future to realise that what they are experiencing is not unusual Post-Op for Gilmore’s Groin.

    Disclaimer: However, please be mindful that these are my experiences and you should seek medical advice if you have any problems – I Am Not A Doctor (IANAD).

    Day 1 – The Gilmore’s Groin Operation

    So we arrive at the Hospital nice and early (7.30am), our lift gratefully received from our next-door neighbour – my daughter came along to look after me (and to go shopping while I had my Op 🙂 ). On the morning of the Op, I’m taken down to the Ward and shown to my bed for the day. I’m greeted by the nurse who will look after me until I go home. Next up, the anaesthetist talks me through a form I must sign (in case they screw up and kill me on the Operating table 😉 ) – she also explains that I’m second on the list, so she’ll see me at 10:30. Next up (@8.20am) is Mr. Tudor – he draws a black line on my leg pointing up to the place where they will operate, and tells me that they’ve changed the running order and I’m up first.  Thank goodness for that!

    I walk to the Operating Theatre next door at around 8.45am and get up onto the bed – with a slick distraction routine from the nurse and the anaesthetist, I have a needle placed in my hand. A short time later there’s some happy juice flowing in my veins, then the General Anaesthetic before I declare “So long, and thanks for all the fish…”

    I wake up very sore and no feeling in my left leg – my leg is completely numb (a bit like your gums feel after having local anaesthetic). A cup of tea, some toast and marmalade, another cup of tea. I realise that the pain is in my lower stomach area and not my leg/groin – it’s very difficult, almost impossible, to move. I’m asked if I can I lift my leg yet? – No!

    I sit there waiting for some feeling to return. A little while later we try to get mobile, but my knee has no feeling and we abort the attempt. Another 30 minutes, it’s about 11.30am and I can finally sit in the chair. My daughter rings up and she is told I should be ready by about 12.30pm.

    At about 12.20pm, I go white, my pulse drops to about 40bpm and I’m lifted back onto the bed – a problem associated with the Anaesthetics apparently. After getting an intravenous drip and finally stabilising, I’m visited by Mr. Tudor who declares the operation a success (and they found exactly what they expected to find – he’s done his standard repair with some Mesh). I am allowed to go home at about 3pm (again, our next-door neighbour is on-hand to do the honours – and watches on as the daughter tries to tip me over in the wheelchair :D).

    I go to bed and hope that the next day will bring me some comfort.

    Day 2

    After a night of soreness and lack of sleep, I spend Day 2 moving about gingerly and wishing I hadn’t had the Operation. It’s very painful and the prescribed medicines are not really hitting the spot. My leg is still numb, mostly in the thigh area – they must have pumped a lot of Local Anaesthetic in there. It’s almost impossible to get around on my own and I spend most of the day on the Sofa, where I eventually fall asleep.

    Day 3

    A better night’s sleep on the Sofa, and I’ve learned to move around with the help of the recliner, and various other surfaces to grab on to. I’m getting frustrated because I don’t like relying on other people, but I do need assistance getting up and down at times, as well as help getting my underwear on. Another night on the Sofa beckons and the pain continues.

    Day 4

    I finally get up for a walk around and, for the first time since surgery, manage to perform a very important function – it’s very difficult to push when you’ve had surgery on your stomach 🙁
    I feel like going for a short walk, but the weather dictates otherwise. I finally go off to bed – a mistake I later rectify by going downstairs onto the Sofa. The other mistake was that I didn’t take any pain relief before bed – codeine to the rescue!

    Day 5 – My first walk

    After moving downstairs at 3am, I have a good night’s sleep. I feel good enough to go for that long-overdue walk and successfully attempt my first ¼-mile. I manage another similar walk later on. Things are looking up and I hope to take some longer walks in the days ahead and continue my rehabilitation from this awkward injury.

    For anyone else who is suffering a similar injury, don’t be put off from any negativity above – I’m in pain, but I expect to recover. The other option is to do nothing – for me this wasn’t an option because I saw it affecting any physical activity that I tried, and it also gave me a mental block on pushing myself too hard (and sometimes getting started at all).

    A History of the Injury that led to me having surgery is outlined below (Click “Read the rest of this entry” if required). Continue reading →

  • Black Belt Update December 16, 2009 misterjaytee

    Just a quick update…

    …After the 6 hour gruelling, I was presented with my Black Belt at a presentation evening the following night. It was all a bit twee, but a proud moment for us all nonetheless. So it’s now official, I am now Black Belt 1st Dan.

    Since then I’ve done about 5 Black Belt lessons, including one where the local newspaper took some photos (and we ended up in the paper a couple of weeks later). The new lessons are like going from the beginners to advanced lessons all over again. Muscles ache that you forgot you had, you do twice as many push ups, crunches etc. than you did before, and the combos are getting more complicated. But it’s fun to do, and a good way of keeping fit.

    Next stop is Black Belt 2nd Dan, and also deciding what to compliment this with – I’m probably getting a bit old for XMA, but it would be funny to see me do a back-flip; other options at the same school are Wado Ryu (a more traditional style of Karate than the kick boxing style we have been doing), or starting off on doing some Instructor training so that there is a future option to teach other people. Alternatively, I might look at doing another Martial Art, such as Jujitsu or Judo. I’ll leave those decisions until the New Year though…

  • Black Belt Grading November 21, 2009 misterjaytee

    Today was Black Belt Grading day – a purported 6 hours of mental and physical exhaustion. And they weren’t wrong!

    We arrived at Gloucester University Oxtalls Campus far too early (about 1 hour early) – and as the time grew nearer the nerves were kicking in for most of us. As we lined up for our drills, it looked like we were in for a long day with 8 lines of people (meaning doing everything 8 times as we rotated the lines – as you get nearer the front, you need to show off your skills and determination more and more).

    First up was the warm-up – everything at twice the pace we do in training and out of breath in 5-10 minutes. Then onto drills – repeatedly doing moves that we’ve learned, in combinations (some combos we’re familiar with, and some were new and designed to confuse the best of us). As we get to the end of the first drill 10 people are called out to go to the back of the room – they’re being assessed individually while the rest of us continue our drills. The calling of names continues in blocks of 10 (with me in Group C – person number 9), until everyone has been assessed. Time is a bit of a blur, but I think this went on for about 2 hours.

    Next up, pad work – groups of four, one person holding focus pads, while the other 3 do the combos that are being shouted out by the instructors. Pad work is much more intense than the drill work, and we’re already quite knackered. Every minute or two we swap the person on the pads.

    Now my memory of what came next is not quite so good – it was one of two things, so I’ll explain what two things we did next, but the order may be wrong 🙂

    Next up we’re jogging and walking round the hall, and when a number is shouted out we do burpee jumps (squat down, touch the floor, jump up in the air while extending your arms upwards) – sounds easy, but try going from 1 to 20 and then back down to 1 (in case you’re wondering that’s 400 of them!).

    Next up, in groups of two, practising defence moves until you are called up in your pairs to demonstrate to the Master. As me and my partner are practising our defences, followed up by an offensive move (ridge hand, knee or kick to the stomach or a punch to the ribs), and landing a few sore ones too, one of the Instructors sees how much effort we’re putting in and how much we’re enjoying it, and he decides to give us a preview of some stuff that’s coming up next year – instead, or as an alternative to take-downs, the use of strangulation and pressure points. When I say a preview, I mean a demonstration – to say I yelped with pain is no understatement. Bizarrely I’m looking forward to this next year 😉
    Anyway, just before we’re getting called up, they switch my partner to someone from another school who looks confused and not sure what moves to do. We literally get about 1 minute to practise, and we seem to do okay with me taking the lead. As we’re called up, he’s asking the Master questions about what to do, which is met with almost silence. We crack on and get through the exercise with no problems.

    By this point I’d guess that we’re about 3½-4 hours in – next up there’s more pad work, and I’m about to faint. We’ve had no real breaks yet, and taken on no food. Just the odd 20-30 seconds to grab a drink and get back into line. I start on the pad work, and then have to leave the room to get some air – 2 minutes later I come bounding back into the hall and we’re off again. At some point an old injury gets the better of me – I damaged my Rectus Femoris about 2½ years ago, and it’s never been right since; the injury flairs up near the hip, basically tendon damage. So I switch legs on the roundhouse kicks and carry on. I also grab a bite of a banana to see if this will curb my feelings of being faint – it seems to do the trick eventually.

    Next up is “the challenge” – we’re doing roundhouse kicks left leg to the instructors count; we don’t know how far they’re going to go. We get to 100, but it’s not over yet. Another 100 on the right leg, then another 100 on the left. I can’t lift my left leg any more, the injury is preventing me from doing it. So I switch and do the right leg instead. Then another 100 on the right leg. We’re done! – But then again we’re not. Another 100 front kicks alternating legs – except I can’t alternate, so I front kick with the right leg. Switch stance, another 100. Then another 100. We think we’re on the last  100 when they get to 90 and stop. We’re told we’re coasting and that we’re going to start again and put some effort into it. We do another 100 kicks. How many is that? Not sure but somewhere over the 800 mark.

    Next up are more drills, more combos interspersed with switches in direction and press-ups. We also do a few press-up drills – keep doing press-ups until they say you can stop. As we’re doing the drills, parents and visitors arrive to see the last part of the grading (they haven’t been allowed to attend as it can be quite disturbing to see some of the younger ones going through the pain barrier). Just to see us off, we do a final round of burpee jumps – that’s another 400!

    We do a final few rounds of drills and then we’re done. Seriously, that’s it – they play some music, not sure what it is, but some words about being the greatest. They read out one of the essays which is a bit of a tearjerker. I rub my eyes because getting through this day is a major achievement. It’s all over, and I dash to my bag to get a drink and to finish off that banana, but not before disappearing my face under my towel for a few minutes to reflect and have a bit of a sob – it’s not the pain, but more the emotion of what we’ve just been through and achieved; and probably partly in relief.

    We’ll find out on Sunday if we actually passed, but I’d be seriously disappointed if I didn’t pass after I made it through the whole day. I never coasted at the beginning like some did, and that’s why I was in pain at the end. I put as much effort as I could all day – anything less is cheating yourself, and you’d never believe you deserved that Black Belt. Our school put in an amazing amount of effort and we supported each other throughout. Well done to everyone!

  • Karate – Pre-Dan Grading Seminar October 24, 2009 misterjaytee

    Now I’m on my last belt before going for Black Belt, after handing in my Black Belt Essay (500 words on what it would mean to be a Black Belt), I attended a seminar with other Black-Belt hopefuls. We now have four weeks to prepare for probably the longest 6-8 Hours of our lives.

    Black Belt grading day is on 21st November 2009, and will consist of a few hours of showing technique, both in lines and individually, a couple of hours of partner work (defence, pad work etc.) and finishing off with some kind of challenge for the last hour.

    In some ways I’m looking forward to this, as it’s a culmination of what I’ve been working towards for the last couple of years, but it is still a huge challenge for someone of my age and build. And somehow I’ve got to fit in extra training for the next four weeks along with starting a new job.

    Even if I pass my Black-Belt Grading, it’s akin to passing your driving test – you’ve spent years learning the basics and proved you’re worthy of gaining your license, but once you’ve passed the test, then the real fun starts and the learning curve increases very steeply.

    So, looking forward to the day, but also looking forward to starting training towards 2nd Dan which will take at least 2 years to get to!

  • Karate – another Belt September 5, 2009 misterjaytee

    This time it’s Brown Belt with White Stripe – essentially just a level of Brown Belt on the way to Black Belt. I’m quite chuffed about this one – you see Brown Belt is a target that a lot of people set themselves, me included, as it’s achievable and seen as only one step behind Black Belt. In progressing to the next Brown Belt grade, I’ve carried on where many have fallen by the wayside.

    I have my Black Belt grading at the end of November, and although it’s a 6 hour session, I am determined that I will get through it as long as I can stay injury free until then. I’m so determined that I’ve already committed to doing my 2nd Dan grading which could take another two years to get. But the way I see it is that Black Belt (1st Dan) is like learning to drive – you learn all the moves (manoeuvres), pass your test and then only when you’ve actually got your license do you start on the real path of learning.

  • Brown Belt July 6, 2009 misterjaytee

    Now on Brown Belt and heading towards Black Belt in November.

    Thinking about doing 2nd Dan next year, or may take up another MA – possibly another Karate discipline such as Wado Ryu, or may go for something different like XMA or Kick Boxing.

    The kids also got their Blue Belts while I was away last week. Well done!

  • Purple Belt April 25, 2009 misterjaytee

    Another graduation day today, and I’ve gone up to Purple Belt. The next one is a real milestone, Brown Belt.

    The kids have both graduated up to Green Belt, so they join me in the Advanced class next week – makes life a bit easier because it means that I don’t have to keep making separate journies to take them to classes; and also means I can watch them suffer 😀

    Oh! And Andrea actually volunteered to come to a graduation…I think she enjoyed it, but at least she showed some support for the kids 🙂

    Piccies in the Gallery later…

  • Haganah April 4, 2009 misterjaytee

    So today I went to a Haganah seminar at the Karate school I go to. This time I didn’t make the mistake of doing a Karate lesson first.

    Haganah is basically Israeli martial arts, but because of the issues faced in their country they are much more on the offence than some of the more traditional Martial Arts. It’s taught that you meet violence with better violence than your opponent – turning the situation round such that the aggressor becomes the victim instead of you.

    We started out how we meant to go on – part of the warm up involved punching your partner in the ribs and thighs to make sure that each of you knew how far you could take it; making sure that you hit hard enough that your partner could feel that it was going to do some real damage in the real world 🙂

    We covered quite a few moves, including head butting, elbow shots to the head and neck, roundhouse kicks to the thigh, elbow into the ribs from a clinch position, and a load of combo moves that were designed to floor your opponent so that you could finish them off.

    Unlike Karate lessons where the moves are sequenced, we got to do our own combos as quickly as we could to overwhelm the opponent, floor them and with knee on chest reign a flurry of punches into them. The last combo involved the opponent having their hands around our throat – bad move for them because it brings them in nice and close. So from hands around the neck, we loosen their grip, elbow to the neck, ear smash, bring their temple down on to the top of your head, eye gouge, pull their head into your shoulder, and then freeform from there (knees, punches etc.), before stamping on their foot and whilst still on their foot knocking them to the ground. We didn’t actual do the stand on foot bit as this would have broken their foot/leg as they went down, but you get the idea. Once they are down, it’s knee on the chest time and finish them off.

    The only non-contact part of all this was the final flurry of punches once they’re on the floor. As we were all taking in turns to be the attacker, I’m expecting a few bruises tomorrow.

    Haganah is good old rough and tumble stuff, great fun, and a real confidence booster. I’m looking forward to the next Haganah seminar in a couple of months time when we intend to step it up a bit 😀

Karate

As at March 2011, I’m in my 4th year of doing Karate and gained my Black Belt a little while ago.

Currently injured awaiting surgery, I hope to get back into action later on in the year.

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