Instructors who don't understand injury

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Orion Nebula, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. Orion Nebula

    Orion Nebula Green Belt

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2019
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    113
    Trophy Points:
    183
    Location:
    Oregon
    Anyone ever have an injury and one of your instructors just didnt get it?

    A few months ago, I injured my knee doing a jump. It wasn't really bad, but my doc instructed me to lay off the kicks until the fluid and pain was gone from my knee and to avoid kneeling for a few months. Also, no jumps. I ended up developing patellar tendonitis as well, which is mostly better now, but I still have some pain with deep crouching and getting up off the floor.

    My head instructor has been awesome about it, and when I say something is hurting me, he understands and doesn't encourage me to push through the pain (although I am guilty of pushing through some pain). There have also been a variety of techniques that he told me to skip since they could twist my knee. He gets it.

    Our less experienced instructor has really never gotten it. I laid out the doctor's orders, and he immediately tried to have me do everything the doc said not to. He told me that kneeling only means the seiza position, not being on my hands and knees. He wanted me to do several kicks on my first day back when I was still a bit swollen. He asked me to do jumping jacks. I declined to do several things, and I could tell from his tone and comments that he thought I was being a wuss.

    When the tendonitis showed up and I had trouble with deep stances and couldn't squat, he told me that he used to be afraid to do squats, too. No! It feels like my knees are going to explode! I'm not afraid of squatting. Recently I was finally able to get down into a squat without pain, although I basically have to fall forward and get up a different way or it kills my knees. So once I'm in the squat, he tells us do this weird fall forward onto your knees and then roll back up into the squat thing. We've never done that before, it seems awkward for healthy knees, and it hurt. I don't get why you'd ask someone with bad knees to do that.

    I really like this instructor otherwise and we do a lot of great exercises in his class, but I just don't understand why he hasn't been able to grasp the gravity of my knee issues, particularly when he's been there when our head instructor tells me not to do this and that! I've politely explained my issues and why different things cause me pain, but everytime I think he finally understands, he asks me to do something bizarre with my knees.
     
  2. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    21,923
    Likes Received:
    6,426
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    I've always told the student to only do what they can, and to let me know if they can't do something, or don't think they should. I add my caution to theirs (I'll sometimes suggest they NOT do some things they think they are okay for), rather than using mine in place of theirs.

    Is this other instructor young? I've found that younger folks sometimes just don't get it, at all. And I include Younger Gerry in that. When you can do pretty much whatever you want, and seem to heal in about 3 hours, it's hard to understand someone with a real injury - even a minor one.

    You keep taking care of you, and don't worry too much about this instructor. It might be worth passing along some of this to the CI, as he can use it to help educate the other instructor.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,682
    Likes Received:
    924
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Lakewood, WA
    First off, that's one reason why your head instructor is your head instructor, and the other one isn't. If you don't like the way he's talking to you, talk to the head instructor about it.

    Speaking as an instructor, I've seen people on all sides of the spectrum. I've seen people who beg for "light contact" even if the other person is half their size (not ask, I mean they beg). I've seen people who get hit where they're not supposed to, (i.e. a leg kick) and immediately want to quit. Those people need the "toughen up" type of a coach to push them to pull through.

    I've also had students who could barely walk, and they argue with me when I tell them to sit down during jumping kick drills.

    Part of being an experienced instructor is being able to tell if an injury is legit or if you need to toughen up your student.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2015
    Messages:
    7,167
    Likes Received:
    2,125
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Older instructors tend to have the experience of being injured and have often learned the hard way not to push through. Most of us in Martial talk have stories about how we should have rested but didn't. We have first hand experience with what happens when we don't give our body time to heal.

    Most people like the instructor who thinks it's a good idea to train on an injury, probably have never been injured significantly.

    There have been a few people on MT who didn't listen to those with experience only to regret it later. For me, I've been ther, done it, regretted it. Heal first, train later.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Orion Nebula

    Orion Nebula Green Belt

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2019
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    113
    Trophy Points:
    183
    Location:
    Oregon
    It's definitely true that this instructor hasn't had any significant injuries, while our head instructor has pretty much done it all (hip replacement, torn ACL, bursitis, tendonitis, broken bones, etc.). So I'm sure that does play a role, along with being significantly younger than the head instructor (although still older than me and not what I'd call young).

    I just recalled another piece of bad advice... as my knee was healing, the swelling and pressure would go away, but then flare back up if I overdid it. One time in particular it really swelled a lot, so I didn't go to class. He basically told me that swelling happens to knees often and to not let it get in the way. This might have been an example of trying to "toughen me up" as skribs put it, because he backed off when I informed him that I could barely bend my knee on the night in question.

    It's not really an issue anymore, especially since I normally just don't do anything that causes knee pain. It's just frustrating that there keeps being this push to do non-knee friendly stuff.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,968
    Likes Received:
    1,388
    Trophy Points:
    303
    At the end of the day martial arts teachers aren't doctors (well some might be) and while they kmow their martial arts they're injury knowledge isn't the same as the doctors. If they want you to do something you don't think you can do then refuse simple as that. I've done it before I don't care I'm not going to hurt myself to prove anything to someone
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

    Top Poster Of Month

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    3,074
    Likes Received:
    936
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Location:
    Southeast U.S.
    My suggestion is to talk to the CI and see if he will tell the other instructor you will bow out of certain exercises. This should be a gauge for you and the other instructor. It the head instructor isn't warm to the idea maybe you need to hear that. If he is then be wise and don't abuse yourself either by over doing or under doing exercises.
     
  8. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2006
    Messages:
    29,841
    Likes Received:
    4,385
    Trophy Points:
    308
    Location:
    North American Tectonic Plate
    I was lucky with my Taijiquan shifu, he was trained in TCM and was a western doctor too. And my first shifu had a pretty good understanding of injury as well.

    However there have been those I trained with over the years, that from what I could see, were fairly clueless. Luckily I did not get injured while training with them
     
  9. Yokozuna514

    Yokozuna514 Purple Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2018
    Messages:
    375
    Likes Received:
    220
    Trophy Points:
    198
    One thing to consider is that his 'job' may very well be to push students past what they believe are their limits. Many dojo I have visited have an instructor who acts in this capacity. They are meant to be the 'drill sargent' of the dojo and are supposed to 'motivate' students to continue even when they feel like quitting an exercise.

    That being said, most dojos I've been too also train adults who have different abilities and restrictions. It's important as an adult student to listen to your body because in the end you are the only one that hast to live with the decisions you make when you decide to push past a barrier.

    If your knee is still not in a place where it can do what is being asked of it without further injury, then switch up the exercise for something it can do. The instructor may not like it and may think you are a 'wuss' but I've often found that the 'way' I train speaks for itself. If you have already spoke with the CI and he understands, I wouldn't worry about anyone else. If I need to change the exercise to accommodate an injury, I will do so and if anyone has a problem with it, we can discuss it on the tatami.......when my injury is healed of course ;).

    Good luck and try not to get caught up with this guy not accommodating your injury. His job may be to push you but your job is to take care of your body so you can continue to train long term.
     
    • Like Like x 3

Share This Page