Knock yourself out

Last night I decided to go to training, even though I was feeling a little under the weather and my head was hurting. Normally when I get into training, any ailments I’m experiencing are lost in the joy I have from training, but throughout the night my head kept throbbing. I kept sneaking drinks of water (I’m grateful that students are largely trusted to take care of themselves in whatever way they need to without asking for permission first), but I was quite grateful when the end of class came around. Rob approached me and asked if I had my gloves with me, which I did, and asked me if I wanted to practice randori (controlled sparring). I agreed to, though I was reluctant for a number of reasons. Firstly, the presence of gloves subconsciously reminds me of sports martial arts, and from previous experience I’ll abandon technique and revert to just hitting the other guy with the big padded things on my fists. The subtleties of techniques are lost, and the principles of unarmed fighting are changed. Secondly, Rob wanted light-medium contact, and I didn’t trust myself to consistently hit lightly- a single centimeter of depth can easily make a technique penetrate to a dangerous level. Thirdly, my head was still throbbing and I didn’t really want to get punched in the face more than I had to. But I agreed because I love randori and I enjoy training with Rob (though we both have our failings).


Long story short, the sparring went well in some parts and sloppy in others. Exhausted, I thought I’d be sneaky and throw a punch followed by a spinning backfist. At the moment I turned my back to Rob, he hit me quite solidly in the back of my head and I fell to the floor. I probably could have stayed on me feet if I wanted to, but I felt safe enough in a one-on-one dojo match to just lie down for a while. My head was throbbing madly as the adrenaline wore of, so we stopped training. I felt exhausted and sore and generally unwell, so I was keen to go home and rest. Mike asked for a lift to his house, but after driving for about a minute I felt intensely nauseous. He took over the driving (where we narrowly avoided death by falling spider as we swapped seats), and I controlled my nausea as best I could with mindfulness and acupressure. I dropped him off, we swapped seats, and I started driving home.

About 100m down the road, I started to throw up as I was driving. I pulled over as quickly as I could, grabbed a vomit bag (my Dad put them in all the cars after Mum vomited from carsickness one time) and assessed how I was feeling. It would have been a tremendous and dangerous struggle to drive home, so I sent Mike a text and he let me stay with him until I felt better. Thankfully I had reviewed my first aid before gashuku and I recognised the symptoms of a minor concussion. I didn’t eat or drink for a while, but after an hour of nausea and headache, took some painkillers which made a big difference. I was experiencing weakness, exhaustion and cold, which possibly indicated shock as well, so I rugged up, lay down and slept a while. Mum and Dad very kindly came to pick me up and drive my car home.


After a good (but brief) night’s sleep, I felt almost entirely better. I’m grateful I had such supportive friends and parents to help me through a very uncomfortable night. What did I learn from this? Well, among other things:

a) Don’t throw spinning back fists unless you have a damn good reason.
b) Learn control before you start hitting. I’m good, but I’m not nearly good enough to practice safely.
c) When you feel unwell, stop. It’s not worth it.

So that’s that! Day of rest and limping to heal from pushing myself so hard last night (and falling onto my coccyx). Hope your days are going well everyone <3


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