I really enjoy Judo, but over the last ten months I've had a string of injuries. I'm 51 and have come to realize that perhaps constant injuries are really not a way of life for me. Kind of why I quit practicing last time, now that I think about it.
This time I realized that perhaps I was making a mistake when I was out with a bad cold, went back and injured my shoulder again and thought about what I was doing. Two months with a cracked rib. Three months with a cranked elbow. Six months of various shoulder injuries. I'm actually less flexible now than when I started, thanks to the arm and shoulder exercises.
I decided that the fun was probably not worth the reduction in health. Maybe if I were younger.
When I was younger, especially when I had arm and shoulder strength, anything was possible. Bengoshi Waza was written to explain to some friends how I schooled a rather arrogant black belt, night after night, in Wichita Falls. I threw him for eighteen ippons and never got thrown for even a Yuko in return. (As you might guess, I was showing off for my wife, but he was a national level competitor and just asked for it, if you know what I mean, and kept pushing, night after night).
But having to lay off any shoulder/arm exercises for three years with the rotator cuff problems I have (resolved, it was a simple inflammation that I eventually was able to fix with just losing some weight and fixing my posture) left me facing a completely different side of Judo, being weaker and stiffer than everyone else instead of much, much stronger. The injuries and the flexibility loss have changed things too.
Will I return? Who knows, though at fifty-one, I think I need to have second thoughts, though I am finally getting some arm and shoulder strength back.
I've had a lot of feelings this past week, it has been very rough, but now I'm doing much better and at rest. Some days are iron, some days are stone -- but often some days are just glorious, with stars falling from the sky (ok, I like snow fall).
Quick note, when I was showing off for my wife, I had qualified for nationals two years before. I was an inch or so shorter than the guy, but I was thirty pounds heavier. However, my first work out coming back I wasn't even to the sparring when I realized I didn't know Judo and decided I needed to relearn it from the beginning as if I had never had a class before. It was great, I learned a lot (which shows you how much of what I did before was just strength and speed and how little I really knew. Luckily the injuries are all to muscles, none to the joints, so they aren't permanent. Anyway, thought I owed an afterwards).