Sifu Mark Jolley, Waterloo Kung-Fu Academy

By Sifu Mark Jolley

Guest Column

Well it’s been awhile since I wrote a column for the newsletter. It was just over a year ago that I wrote my last Junior column article. I was looking to write something more towards the adult students, but was stumped on an idea. Then back in May, an idea snapped into my head (and foot!) Training through injury!

Now there are varying degrees of injuries, from minor strains to broken bones and concussions. Unfortunately my break was on the serious side. With a more serious injury, your availability to actively participate is diminished. This can cause you to feel depressed and down on yourself since you are restricted from certain activities. Stances, kicks, moving through the forms; all activities that I couldn’t do as I wanted. To counter this, I had to think through our curriculum, and figure out what I could do with limited mobility. The main thing I discovered is that you can adapt your training to utilize your available movements. In order to keep in the Kung-Fu mindset, going back to the basics was very helpful.

  1. Sitting in a chair working 3 level punches
  2. Basic sequence of blocks with/without punches
  3. Self defense
  4. Conditioning
  5. Strength training

This is just a sample of what I tried to do to keep training. Also stretching was a great addition to a training regime, even though this also had to be modified. Depending upon your injury, you can modify our curriculum to suit your needs. Kung Fu isn’t all about the high flying kicks. The definition is skill achieved through hard work and practice. It took me awhile at the start to appreciate this, and I am happy that I tried to breakdown the basics. Also for older students, our recuperation time increases. You need to take this into consideration, and adjust your pace accordingly. There is nothing gained by rushing back from an injury, as I can attest to. As stated many times, Kung Fu is a life long journey. Sometimes you need to step back in order to appreciate it.

In closing I want to post a paragraph from a previous FU for You newsletter. I thought it went well with my chosen topic. Can you guess the author and when the newsletter came out?

“You need to train smarter, not harder sometimes, until you are physically able to continue. As we advance in physical age, our technique changes again as we can no longer move as fast, dip as low, or move as smooth.”