Banged Up

“Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.” – Mark Rippetoe

At this point it’s virtually impossible to find someone that hasn’t read or heard this quote from Rippetoe, and for good reason. There is a lot of truth found in those words. In a recent social media post Ryan of Full Contact Runner on the subject of injuries Ryan talked about the frustration experienced when folks act as if the cause of our injury or illness is related to, and made worse by this lifestyle. As if we are somehow more susceptible to injury, and illness than someone that spends those same hours sitting on a couch. While we are definitely more likely to be injured, (as this lifestyle is a contact sport), it is still preferable to any other way of life. Most importantly, and something these critics fail to realize, is the simple fact that this lifestyle sets us up to recover from any injury or illness much faster, and with less complications. Because of this lifestyle we are strong therefore we are harder to kill, harder to knock down, and when knocked down we’re harder to keep down.

  • Using myself as an example; in 2007 I shattered my kneecap on a gig. It took surgery, and 8 months of therapy to get back in the saddle. I was told there were things I wouldn’t be able to do again, to include key aspects of my profession. I proved that to be untrue.
  • In 2010 I injured my lower back doing extensive damage to the discs and vertebrae at S1, L5, L4, and L3. I was told I would need major surgery, and would have to medically retire from my profession. I proved that to be untrue.
  • In 2011 I was hit with intense abdominal pain that went on for months. I ultimately ended up in the hospital with acute pancreatitis. I was in a bad state, and it resulted in surgery to repair the damage. I was told this is probably going to be something I would live with for the rest of my life. I’m able to manage this because of my lifestyle.
  • 2014 I had a brain hemorrhage with intra-cranial pressure/swelling. It was awesome. Probably the most intense pain I’ve ever experienced. I should have died. I didn’t. I was told I would have permanently altered gait, and other issues. I don’t.
  • During training cycles I’ve broken ribs, hands, feet, fingers, toes, teeth, my jaw, nose, and a metric ton of soft tissue injuries.

You’re probably wondering what’s the point of listing injuries and illness? To make a point which is; the common theme in every injury or illness was at some point, often multiple times a Doctor or other medical professional would tell me that the reason it wasn’t worse, and my recovery was faster than expected was because I arrived at that crisis point strong, healthy, and in great condition. I’m not alone in this, every one of my friends that have gone through any type of injury or illness relate the same story. Doctors and medical professionals telling them they made it, or they will recover because their strength levels when it started were so high. That’s the other side of this injury/illness coin the couch surfers don’t understand. The injuries we suffer in this game aren’t as bad as they would be if we were weak. The illnesses we go through in life, (by the way, both of my health crisis were unrelated to my lifestyle), would be much worse, and maybe even unsurvivable if we didn’t have a reservoir of physical and mental strength going into the situation.

So remember that the next time a critic points out that you’re “always” hurt, or you seem to be more susceptible to injury or illness that “never” seems to affect them. First, their perception might be skewed, to say the least. Second, while the injury part might be true since if we never get punched in the face what are the odds that we’ll get concussed? However, illnesses which is to some degree genetic hit all of us regardless of whether we follow a healthy lifestyle or not. Folks that never smoke a day in their life are diagnosed with cancer, and folks that never drink a day in their life come down with liver disease. It’s just the cards we’re dealt. The difference is a strong body gives the physicians, and other medical professionals more to work with to fight the illness, or even a traumatic event that landed us on the hospital bed in front of them. Get strong, stay strong, and ignore the critics.

 

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A powerful depiction of our role in helping the doctors and medical staff help us. Give them something to fight with, get as strong and healthy as possible. Thanks to Ryan of Full Contact Runner for sharing this photo. If your not following Ryan on social media check out his Facebook page at Full Contact Runner as well as his excellent blog of the same name.

 

The (future) Multidisciplinary Practitioner

Sometimes I think about the future of this pursuit, and what the multidisciplinary practitioner will look like in 10-20 years. I’m predicting the future of this art will be filled with verbally agile, mentally, and physically indomitable, highly adaptable trainees.

We’ve been about as broad as we’ve needed to be for a very long time on the physical side of the house. We knew in the 90’s that Boxing, Wrestling, and Brazilian JiuJitsu would cover every base in the unarmed game. We knew we didn’t need to add anything except maybe some dirt if we’re dealing with a criminal attacker. Just put time in on the mat or in the ring, and develop a high degree of proficiency.

We also knew what works with edged, impact, and improvised weapons as wells as how to defend against those weapons. When it comes to firearms we’re good to go there as well whether we’re working with a pistol, revolver, shotgun, carbine or rifle from extremely close quarters work out to the effective range of the weapon.

We’ve taken the physical side of the house to a fairly high level. Where we were out of balance, and lacking was in the areas of verbal agility, and understanding the criminal mind. Fortunately for us Craig Douglas of Shivworks has spent the last fifteen years refining and codifying the verbal aspects of this endeavor. Craig has essentially done with the verbal game what we’ve done with the physical game, boiled it down to the fundamentals, and perfected the delivery of this material to such a degree that most folks can understand, and begin to apply the material within a few hours. The same thing can be said for William Aprill of Aprill Risk Consulting regarding the understanding of the criminal mind, and how criminal attacks occur. William’s work gives us an understanding, and knowledge gained from interviewing and working with violent criminal offenders for decades that we never had before. Our understanding of the concepts and principles of verbal, and non-verbal cues, the motivations of violent criminal offenders, takes our pre-assault game to a more sophisticated place then previously known or practiced. This closes the loop of soft and hard skills effectively checking all the boxes.

For these reasons I think we will see the next generation of multi-disciplinary practitioners performing in all areas at a level previously unseen simply because their starting point is so much higher than the trainees that came before. It’s an exciting time to be involved in this meritocracy that is the home of the multidisciplinary practitioner. This thought inspires me to work harder to stay on top of my game, while seeking to improve weak areas, and continue my search for the next thing because despite my supreme confidence that we have solved the puzzle there is still that little voice inside that says; what if I missed something?