Category Archives: injury

Dói, mas passa

Well I survived training which was in itself a thing of doubt and it was hard, even harder than I expected.

As ever the guys at the forge were brilliant and it was great to be back but when I was dying on my shield half way through the slow jog as part of the warm up I realised this might be a long and physically difficult night……….

………….and it was.

My fitness after so long away was just horrible and I struggled even when drilling but I got through it and after some light sparring with my good mates Gregg, Chris and Chaz everything held together and nothing popped, cracked or more importantly ruptured into my spinal column 🙂

I got home and after an hour sat in the chair I felt like I might not be able to get upstairs to bed as I ached, I then spent most of the night running in my sleep and aching, and mostly awake. But this is not much different to how it used to be and will get better as I put the hours back in and my body gets used to the knee/elbow in belly/sternum and the elbow in thigh among other fun things.

This morning I feel like I have fallen downstairs into a barrel of kendo sticks and rolled round for an hour but my back feels OK and that is the main thing.

So with all that in mind am I back or is it all too much for me, well I will be back again Thursday to do it all again as despite the aches pains and moans I loved being back. I still want to progress in this sport more than anything so what else can I do but keep pushing on smiling and aching all the way.


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Filed under BJJ, Blue Belt, forge, injury

Guess who’s (broken) back

Well 2014 rolls around and I am making my second attempt at a come back, the first attempt was just over a year from my surgery to take a disc out of my back and chuck a new one in and was too soon I was too injured after every small effort at training to keep it up and setting myself back.

I am back walking properly no sign of the permanent limp they said I might have and bar a few issues left over from damage to my spinal nerves I am healed and well.

So once again I am back to BJJ which I have sorely missed and have always had it in my mind that I wanted to come back and one day earn my way through the belts. Who knows it could happen I just have to re dedicate myself and start the path again.

It has now been 19 months with no exercise bar a couple of hours and as such it is hard to see how I will do as I am less fit now than I have ever ever been but that will all come back with training and work.

Since have been away my mate Gregg is a brown belt with a stripe and James is a brown belt, well done to you both it is an immense achievement and something to be very very proud of.

Steve W is a black belt and that is fantastic and something that I genuinely aspire too and cannot say well done enough or how deserved it is.

If I have missed anyone it is because I haven’t been around and don’t know so my apologies.

Lets see how tonight goes and how I feel tomorrow I can’t wait but am also a bit apprehensive as another break down would really annoy me but I feel very positive towards it all.

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Filed under BJJ, Black Belt, Blue Belt, forge, injury

BrokeBack BJJ

Well I nearly made it back almost for a bit and then I didn’t just as quickly again, its been a long and painful journey which is not finished yet but is a lot further down the line than it was.

Let me also just state that this injury was nothing to do with BJJ in any fashion.

To quickly recap I had a micro discectomy on my L4/L5 S1 vertebrae on June 2nd 2012 which involved the removal of a disc in my back, some spinal fusion and a great deal of messing about. I had severe nerve damage as well and at one point was told I would drag my leg for the rest of my life and possibly end up with many other awful side effects. I was also told that it would be 18 months before I could look at any kind of sport or real exercise.

Well only a year down the line I have had a few relatively gentle sessions of BJJ and also some really excellent and gentle Judo sessions taught by the patient, calm and skilled Ming Wong. This has me way ahead of schedule and that is a great, I am not dragging my leg and only suffering one fairly annoying and sizable side effect but with time that will go away.

Recently I have had to hold off training again as I have been suffering a good sized whack of pain probably due to the amount of walking I am now doing on a daily basis but also down to the fact that I have been pushing pretty hard. However the fact that I have got back at all has been a major benefit to me and has further re enforced my love of BJJ and also Judo I just love being back albeit having to sit out again at the moment for a bit.

The main point of this though has been to say that once again the forge and the guys there especially John, Gregg, Ming and Naz and also the ladies there on a Saturday morning who have laughed at my co ordination issues have been brilliant. It has been like going back to a second family and has really lifted me from what can be at times quite a low time as it is hard to go from competing in big competitions and even medalling at the Grace invitational in London to being barely able to walk onto the mat.

So while I am not there yet I am getting there and sooner rather than later my journey back towards blackbelt will continue and one day I will get there that is a promise.


Filed under BJJ, Blue Belt, forge, injury, John Goldson

Time Out

Now with title included 🙂

Sam well done on another win and Taff well done on that 4th stripe.

Fraid this is another one which is just the ramblings of a fairly fed up BJJ car wreck of a man 🙂

Well this last week or so has been too busy at work and to compound my injuries I have now come down with a fairly nasty chest infection which last time I had it at the back end of last year got a bit serious to say the least.  This all leads to a few things, the long work hours and extra days in work means I cannot meet up with the strongest little man I know my good mate Chaz, in a timely UFC manner which is the first one in some time, sorry bro.

It also means that I have to put training on the backburner for a few days if not longer, Wednesday was the last time I went.

Now previously I have written about the fact that time out may be a good thing as it will allow ouchy things to stop hurting and body to heal.  Looking at this I am not so sure really, I am never going to take enough time for everything to get better (lord knows that could be years :-)) so maybe it is actually a counter productive thing.

It is odd all in all as mentally a few things occur, I obviously miss training as it is my release from what is becoming an increasingly pressured job with longer and longer hours, secondly I hate to think I am missing out of new techniques and teachings from John and the rest, new things I could use, adapt and add to my limited arsenal.  Finally I miss my mates down there as the Forge and the people in it have become a big part of my life now.  So as odd as it sounds I miss seeing the likes of Gregg, James, Naz the Samurai, Chaz, Lazy lazy Steve, Taff, Hobo Rich, Hayden, my new mates Ross and Damien, Dunc, Fiddy, Antony the ninja and the rest.  Couple the fact that I am far more grumpy both at home and at work the picture is complete 🙂 yeah that is right even more grumpy than usual and man I am grumpy.

Physically it is also an odd one as I am (hopefully) not going to miss too much so the ouchy things will not get the full chance to heal.  Then when I return they will just feel that bit tighter due to the rest.  Also the things that you get used to such as the Goldson patent knee on belly which moved to knee then elbow in chest and finally the hideous knee in kidneys seem to hurt that much more.  Your receptors and threshold have in order sharpened again a little and dropped you are in effect reset no longer used to the punishment.  Thus on return it all feels new, painful and not something that is much fun, but as it is the nature of the BJJ best I will put up with it.

Also it seems that the tiny amounts of cardio I have built up vanish in a couple of days sat round coughing and wheezing.  Even the patented run round in a circle 1,2,3,4 drill for a warm up seems like an ultra marathon.  Well even more so than usual as I admit the whole running thing is not my bag any more.

So in conclusion as with a lot of things in BJJ I am left confused, time off is both great and awful, it both helps and hinders, you both heal and yet feel more pain, I sleep better but worse and finally you are fitter but much less fit, however one thing I do know is it makes me miss rolling, my mates and coach at the gym and BJJ in general.

I’ll be back……………….


Filed under BJJ, injury, John Goldson, struggling

The nature of a Team

After my last post and the response to it both on line and in person it got me to think about the nature of a team and the difference between one in name and in reality.

I have spent most of my life playing team sports with the main one which I was pretty decent at being Rugby League.  Now my main bulk of games over a number of seasons were for differing junior and academy level teams for the Sheffield Eagles RLFC.  I loved it absolutely loved it and when my knee injury came it was devastating both physically and mentally.  However now I look back on it and on my team mates who at the time I thought meant so much to me as we were such a tight team and I wonder.

At the end of the day I got a few messages and some folk stayed in touch, even to this day, some went on to become top flight international players almost all didn’t.  But even through my time playing I realise one thing now, yeah we wanted to win and to do well but most of all ‘I’ wanted to do well.  Not just me but every player in the team thought first of ‘I’, admittedly yes we were younger and there would only ever be so many contracts so we had to scrabble with our team mates to be top dog.  Scoring a team try was great, being the player to score it was amazing, note I played prop and only got 1 career try :-).

Now do not get me wrong we were a team as of course we always had a common enemy, the opposition were the number one focal point.  However tucked away was the fear that in defeat we would look bad or that someone else’s dropped ball may reflect on you as the man who passed it.  Also I was as guilty as any when players got hurt, they went to the back of my mind normally as that as just the way.

Now this was in a ‘team’ sport one where the value of team was pushed so hard every week, live as a team die as a team and all that, but it was not true I have seen man of the match go to someone on the losing side more that once.  It was just not as it seemed back then I guess and this has been brought home to me by GB Sheffield.

I am struggling at the moment that much is true both with injury and with my state of mind/focus/confidence/chi/force/wax on wax off call it what you will.  Yet as you will often read individuals state BJJ is at the end of the day a solo sport, you roll on your own in competition and you win or lose on your own.

From what I have found however this is just not true.

I have been to a couple comps and come back with (as they say up north) nowt, but never once did I feel like a failure or had let the team down and I was always in the team photo line up.  Of course personally it hurts but at the gym it does not matter you are applauded for going and representing with honour and pride and then helped with the areas that let you down.

Since I have been hurt I have been asked numerous times how I am and how I am getting on by a lot of folk (update elbow will not straighten, foot is limiting me to two sessions a week max, so about as fit as normal :-)).  Last Monday I went down to training after my last post and folk just wanted to help me, Fiddy gave me a clinic on starting from knees while not starting actually from knees, and yes bro I have been working in it.  Naz, Ross, Chaz, Yousef et al came to chat and see if they could help in any way on stuff I was struggling with and James ‘Spin’ Fairclough suggested that I was not going through anything no one else had been through.

The whole atmosphere was one of help assistance and understanding, one of a real team.  It made me think of the times that I have sat watching others at comps with GB guys sat round me competing or just watching and I was never thinking of anything other than they guy competing.  For them to do well for themselves and represent us with all their skill, win or lose does not matter as the fact that you are there under the banner and have put yourself in the spot light is what matters.  Your effort and the manner which you conduct yourself is applauded and that is what matters when you get back from the gym.

It is the same when it comes to belts and stripes, you can see in people’s faces that they are genuinely pleased for you when you achieve one as it is a boost to the team and to the gym.

What is this down to, is it the ethos of “Organised like a team…Fight like a family”?  Yes it probably has something to do with this, but more so I put it down to two things.  John our coach fosters the team thing, never pushing it but making it something we all understand, we need to be there for people as they will be for us.  Never do something to your team mate you would not have done to yourself and above all remember we all matter to each other, we are as strong as the weakest member (who at the moment is probably stronger than me, so I guess then it is me :-))

The other thing is the people, a genuine, decent, friendly and helpful bunch of folk who I would do all I could for, despite that maybe not being that much as my skills are fairly limited unless you need a database building :-).  These are the foundations of the team and of my progress so far in this sport that I only regret not finding earlier.

So two final things, good luck to Sam on Friday as he furthers his impressive fledgling MMA career.

Finally without the numerous guys I have mentioned so far in these posts and those who I have not mentioned because I am terrible with names you know who you all are and thank you.


Filed under BJJ, injury, John Goldson

Not that easy

First of all James, Naz, Karl, Jake, Yousef brilliant well done on your stripes and Rob fantastic stuff a well deserved purple belt, you are a machine mate, well done all.

Well I wrote a week or so ago about how I had conquered the fear which I knew was holding my game back and hey presto that was it all sorted all good onwards and upwards.

It would seem around 10 days later this is not the case and for some reason my crisis of confidence is worse than ever.  Yeah the poorly elbow and my lame foot have not helped but I just feel like every time I roll I am going to get beaten and I am not sure why.

It starts as we approach on knees, I am admittedly worried about going over my foot again but even for the time before that it seems that no matter the size and weight advantage I have I end up getting steamrolled and knocked to my back/side where I have to work back or often not manage too.

From that point on it just seems to go downhill and I will end up tapping to something I would have got out of a few months ago or just defending to a draw.  So it seems the resurgence that I hoped to have had has not actually come to fruition and I am not sure why.

One of my issues is that I do not feel like I have the attacks that many others seem to have or that I am too clumsy to pull them off.  Big Man Jitsu is great but when it does not work and I need to fall back on pure technique it seems that if Plan A does not work I end up reverting to back to the same Plan A.

Many of the chokes and certain movements just feel very laboured to carry out or that when I do try them my size counts against me and the movement is too slow with too many gaps.  Then I work on that and find that I bring the control and close the gaps but in doing so my own weight which is controlling my opponent counts against me and my ability to pull of what I want to do.  Couple that with the fact that it feels like everyone I roll with is getting better and better and my general malaise is intensified.

Now do not take this as a moan or a whimper or even a white flag as it is none of these things it is just a statement of where I feel I am.  I am well aware that I roll with an extremely talented team of individuals coached by a truly world class coach and that I will take some defeats, that however is not the issue.  I keep pushing myself as hard as ever maybe even harder and yesterday I struggled to get out of bed in the morning I ached so much sadly it just does not seem to be getting me anywhere.  The main problem is the fact that I feel I am not putting up as much of a fight or offering the threat that I used to be able too.  That I am not giving my best and not for the want of trying, if it was purely effort I could push myself through it but it isn’t.

Maybe I need to be more serious which is something I struggle with,  I enjoy rolling and I love the learning behind BJJ and the skill of the sport so I tend to approach things with fun at heart.  It is a relief from a stressful job full of long hours and I relax when I get there, maybe just too much  This could also be part of my downfall so I will make the effort to try and be more serious see if it focuses me better.

So what else am I going to do about it, well that is the thing I am not sure to be honest.  I have made a concerted decision as of today to really look at my diet and I am only going to have the odd drink at most once a week as both diet and booze have slowed my weight loss to zero.  I am sleeping very poorly after training and I need to work out what is causing this, apart from the usual aches and pains of course J.

As for rolling and the like I am not too sure, I think it may be a case of back to the drawing board to re learn some things and build up again talk to John and the more talented guys at class (most of them) who are always willing to help.  So I guess it is a case of watch this space…..


Filed under BJJ, injury, struggling

I would never do that for a hobby

“You are just going to get hurt and all beaten up why on earth would you want to do that?”

This is a certainty I have had TOLD to me by many people over the last couple of years.  Not folk who do train, or people who have been down, not even by folk who really know what BJJ is, just by folk who KNOW.

Well the simple answer to that is NO, you are not going to get hurt and beaten up if you go to the right club which will have the right people, the right setup, the right coach and the correct rules.

Now OK I admit I write this with a bit of a poorly elbow due to an expertly applied arm bar which I was fighting so hard that when it went on it went on.  Thus ignoring my own advice about slowing down. J

But let me talk about my tally, from a young age to 30 ish the PBJJ years (pre BJJ) I spent a lot of time, fighting with my brother, playing rugby at a good level, doing various sports, drinking and misbehaving.

I suffered 14 broken, fractured or dislocated bones, including a fractured skull (happened in the bath a story for my latter years J) and a knee injury.  The knee injury was skiing and comprised off, a fractured knee cap, torn interior and anterior cruciate and medial ligaments, a snapped patella tendon, a broken femur, a snapped kneecap, double dislocation and break of my ankle, my shin broken in 2 places and couple of operations, some metal, some fibre and 2 years physio.

From the age of 30 to where I am now 33 and a bit, my BJJ years, in BJJ class I have suffered a couple of black eyes, a couple of broken toes, a bloody nose and a few aching joints including my current poorly elbow, which is in all honestly just one of those things and not too bad in fact I trained last night.

So why do people have this perception that you are always injured or you will get hurt if you do BJJ.  Well I do have a theory and I think it is a mind set thing with the whole sport.  When I played rugby if I strained my groin muscle or broke a bone I took time off, no training and rested.  With BJJ a broken toe is just something to be taped to another toe, a strained muscle just means you take it easier when you roll.  This is where the issue lies, now I do BJJ it has become something more than a hobby it is really a passion I do not want to miss time.  So I could sit at home with my elbow all poorly and ice it some more and just take it easy, but that is never gonna happen.  So that night I iced my elbow, stuck some gel on it and last night taped it (for about 10 mins till it annoyed me) and just said “if you get an arm bar on that arm it is yours just take it do not put it on” my team mates were all cool with that and I rolled away merrily.

Thereby lies the problem, it is something I see night in night out and am guilty of it myself, a small injury which is not enough to stop you rolling is never given the chance to heal, so six months down the line the finger is still broken or the muscle still a bit sore.  Couple that with the fact that there are still more men than woman doing the sport and most men, myself included would rather wait for a dislocated shoulder/elbow/spine to “get better” than bother the doctor.

From the outside then all people see is the fact that you seem perpetually injured, and if you ever end up with a Gi burn or black eye well shock horror that is further validation of their fears.  They forget that unlike in boxing when the KO blow is thrown or in football when the chest high world cup kick comes, we can tap before it gets too painful before it delivers the coup de grace.  Also the fact that before we do a general mixed belt roll John reads “the rules” no neck cranks, nothing that goes against the neck, straight back foot locks only, no knee bars, no small joint manipulation take all the fingers or none, no slamming (which is my lament J) , try not to lift your opponent (a blow for BMJ) and remember we all are friends and all a team.

Now do not get me wrong serious injuries do occur of course they do and to anyone who does get hurt my sympathies as I lost a chance to take my rugby further because of my knee.  All I am saying is that the occurrence of these injuries and also the minor ones is not really any different and probably less than most sports or even accidents at home.

Put it like this I have never stood on a plug at training but I have at home, and my lord that smarts.


Filed under BJJ, injury