With the holiday season upon us it is easy to fret over what to get for your loved ones, who seems to love nothing more than training. Below are some great ideas that will be sure to fill their birthday or any season worth celebrating, with joy...
For the Friend that's Always Broken
Gym Bag Accessories
All the gym necessities- keep your buds teeth straight, skin clear of infection, and body taped together.
Nail clippers, water bottles, hair ties, febreeze, and a book for class notes are also great bag additions.
For the BOOK WORM Buddy
Whether its a technique book, inspiration from Olympians, books about building a mental edge or books to share with your kiddos...lucky for you there are lots of wonderful options to inspire your favorite book worm martial artist.
You can also support your matrat by purchasing mats, pull up bars, stretch bands, and training dummies to support their training at home. Supplements like protein, BCAAs, and magnesium are also huge wins but only if you already know the brands that your buddy prefers to use!
What other ways do you recommend inspiring your training loved ones love when it comes to gift-giving times of year?
Viciously thrusting my hand forward, determined to get the grip that I need I find myself defeated frequently not by some magnificent attack from my opponent, but by their gi successfully jamming or breaking my finger. If you are new to the mat, the first time this happens can cause serious frustration and pain all at once. The immediate throbbing and nerve screaming makes you think that your fingers will never be useful again. Fear not newbies - you are now part of an elite club. Members wear “boxer’s breaks” with pride and understand that “judo fingers” require fattened joints that wedding rings don’t fit over (thank you silicone rings!).
The first rule of the ‘broken finger club’ is understanding that tape is your new best friend. Many people prefer to head to the doctor, supplied with an official stiff splint and an $80 ibuprofen, however those who have been around the block a bit know that with the right tape job you will be back to battling, looking like a true (taped up) badass, the very next day. Instead of wasting your time guessing how to tape your fingers, doing it in a manner that doesn’t properly support your fingers, awkwardly asking people at the gym and them all giving you different answers- check out the video & steps below.
Step 1 : Tear strips of tape that are the length of your injured finger (twice the lower knuckle to top of finger). You will need 2 strips of tape this length (for steps 2 & 3).
Step 2: Attach the strip of tape from the front side of your finger, over the top, to the backside of your finger. Do not apply it so tight that your finger can not bend - you want to be able to move your knuckles still. Be sure to press the tape flat against your skin.
Step 3: Attach the strip of tape from the left side of your finger, over the top, to the right side of your finger. Do not apply it so tight that your finger can not bend - you want to be able to move your knuckles still. Be sure to press the tape flat on top of the other tape.
Step 4: Tear strips of tape that will fit between your knuckles- wrap 3 strips around that finger, between each knuckle.
Step 6: Repeat steps 1 -4 on the finger next to your injured finger. Both should look like little mummy fingers now.
Step 7: Take 2 strips of tape that are the width between (1- your hand & lowest knuckle, 2- your lowest knuckle and highest knuckle). They should be long enough to wrap around both taped fingers, 2 times.
Step 8: Tape the injured and un-injured mummified fingers together between the hand and the lowest knuckle. You should still be able to bend them at the knuckle.
Step 9: Repeat step 8 for between the lowest & highest knuckle on those same 2 fingers.
Step 10 (optional): Many people mummify the other fingers to keep tape from the injured fingers from rubbing and irritating the skin but this is totally optional and doesn’t impact everyone.
*** Many people skip steps 1-3, which is fine, but the benefit of these steps is that it keeps the tape in steps 4+ on-wards from rubbing on your skin and tearing. Totally a personal preference. Elite players, or people who hope to go live lots of rounds find steps 1-3,& 10 critical during intense training.***
Let me caveat all of this by mentioning that if anything feels really off - or your bone breaks through the skin - or your coach tells you - GO TO THE DOCTOR & SEE A SPECIALIST. But for soreness or a run of the mill jam, following the tape job laid out above, is typically all you need.
If I have a really painful busted finger I will tape them together when at work or while sleeping as well. If taping them together isn’t an option at home (it can make typing hard), I also will use a home-made split with a clothespin & tape (if you insist on spending money, you can purchase “real ones” as well) to provide extra support, ensuring that I am not using the injured finger, and allowing for swelling to decrease during the day. Sure I may look a little crazy taped up in public, but I am a mat rat, so I am a little crazy. My healing pain-free is more important than a few stares at business meetings.
Be sure to keep a solid tape job even a few days after the finger feels 95% healed because those phalanges are delicate little soldiers. Better to keep them secure for a few extra days then feel unnecessarily un-comfy while they finish healing up.
So welcome to the club buttercup.
Sorry for the throbbing pain and immediate fear that you will never text again. But fear not, you will live to swipe another day.
Now grab some tape you former hand models and get back on the mat.
There were 12 seconds left in the round. I was dominating my opponent. And then the rip happened. The elbow tore in a way that it is never meant to bend. My knee popped but the adrenaline covered up that pain. Enter the inevitable deniability about the injuries.
I was back on the mat the next day, fully convinced that the icing did the trick and that the over-extension and knee pops had magically healed overnight. I had a tournament that next weekend. Already registered, I was convinced that with a little fortitude the injuries were just a blip in my week.
I adjusted my warm-up to incorporate one-armed push-ups, since I quickly learned that my arm would not extend. I did hands-free drills, so that the nerve flaring that occurred when I gripped on would simmer down. I only did throws that didn't involve rotating since my knee gave out when I turned.
I survived practice.
The next day my coach and I agreed to pull me out of the event and I immediately began to focus on healing.
Icing. Taping. Resting. Only once this occurred adequately, did we re-visit my training regimen.
No one likes to sit out. Being injured can be one of the most frustrating aspects of athletics. Being sidelined while watching others improve, able to fully partake in doing what you love, while you rehab is mentally exhausting. It is so easy to convince yourself that you should just fight through the discomfort in order to train but this is almost never the right plan.
If your body is injured - it is telling you to rest for a reason.
Too often athletes, desperate to not miss a practice, push through pain only to further exaggerate the injury. By doing this you tend to over use another body part, unintentionally causing pain and discomfort in other areas. Additionally, you are typically so distracted by the injury that you are not truly gaining from the training- incorrectly implementing techniques.
So what do you do?
The good news is that an injury usually does NOT limit you to a wall and corner of defeat and no training. Injury time can be the best time to build confidence and mental strength! When an injury occurs it is critical to work with your coaches and even doctor to determine when it is smart to get back to 100% participation. Until then- FIND OTHER WAYS TO WORK!
Additionally, injury time is the best time to refocus on self care. Get some time with a massage therapist, some acupuncture, strong pod-cast time, sauna visits, cryotherapy, and dry-needling can get you feeling better than ever. By the time that your injury has healed, you will likely be feeling healthier than ever!
It is easy to forget that you have these bodies for life. That healing them and loving them really does matter. If you want to be walking around without discomfort later in life - take the week to rehab NOW. It will elongate your competition years and your health in the long term.
The focus on now often keeps you from seeing the big picture. Not wanting to miss one event can reduce your time in the game. Obviously there are some once in a lifetime opportunities too big to miss out on...Worlds, Olympics...but it is RARE to truly be in these situations that are once in a lifetime.
I remember competing in Nationals with a freshly torn ACL one year. Sure I survived a few rounds with tape, a brace, and ice but was much happier with my performance the following year, healed up, on a solid two feet.
It is hard to let ego go. To accept that healing is a critical part of the game. To remember that our bodies are for life and that typically, what seems to matter most now, should never be overshadowed by our health.
Until you are in tune with your body be sure to work with your coach to know when to tape, when to sit, and when to push through the pain!
Judo had taught me that I am physically and mentally stronger than I ever imagined. That if I commit to something,work hard, and believe in myself - improvements and growth will never cease. It enabled me to push past limits that I didn't know I had and taught me that I can survive anything. These lessons have helped me off the mat to pull through tough times, knowing that I will come out stronger because of it. Knowing that I can always get up when I fall has built my confidence and ability to dream bigger.
This time, last year I was participating at the international training camp at the Olympic training center in Italy - where I got to work with the Olympic and World Champion from my division- a dream that 5 years ago would never have crossed my mind.
Commit to the process.
You are capable of anything.
Sensei Kristin M El Idrissi
Overseas judo player who we have had the pleasure to welcome at the Academy.
Alex Bazhenov 16 Year Old From Chelyabinsk, Russia.
I had the pleasure to be at the U.S Judo World team Camp in Colorado Springs this past week. The camp kicked off on August 14th and was completed August 19th. It was great to rumble with athletes that will be attending the Senior world championship in Budapest, Hungary (August 28 - September 3) and the junior world Championship in Zagreb, Croatia (October 12-22).
I arrived to the OTC on the first day of the camp, a little bit earlier than practice. It was good to rest before a grilling session. At my arrival I was provided with full access passes to the center. The center in Colorado Springs caters to a variety of sports: Boxing, Cycling, Figure-skating, Gymnastics, Judo, Shooting, Wrestling, Swimming, and Others..... As soon as I got my room keys I went to dropping my bags and rest for a little to get ready for the first session at 5 pm. When I got to my room, I found out that I am rooming with Alex Turner the world team member for the U73K division.
Alex was a good room mate, very respectful and a good guy.
Wishing him the best of luck at his upcoming Worlds.
After settling at my room and resting a bit, It was time for the first practice of the camp. Man those steps from my room to the Dojo felt heavy as I had a hard time breathing due to high altitude. When I arrived to the dojo I was so pumped to see my old team mates and coach from Mayo Quanchi in Rhode Island. As soon as I said hello and talked a bit, the head coach of the national team (Justin Flores) lined us up to announce the official start of the training camp.
The camp schedule was:
In the morning from ( 9-11 Am ) Judo Technical
In the afternoon from ( 5-7 Pm ) Judo Sparing
Nutrition Class from ( 1:30-2 Pm ) 2 Days This week
Psychology Class From ( 1:30- 2:30 Pm ) 1 Day This week for Non World Team members.
For me everyday was better than the day before. I really enjoyed my time and my training. At the OTC you really feel that you are a professional athlete. I just want to thank USA JUDO and The OTC Staff for the opportunity.
It was a great experience.
Thank you everyone for the support at our successful grand opening!!! Looking forward to growing the sport in Philadelphia. We had over 34 people show us love.
Thank you all again!
Come join us at Gracie Academy for our JUDO GRAND OPENING! On 16th of July 2017
Introducing: Alaa El Idrissi: Former Moroccan national champion, 2x World Team member, USA Judo National Coach, Continental Champion, and judo world traveler.
If you think your takedown game needs some work, look no further. From the best mat instruction to now the best stand up game, Gracie Philly wants you to become the best grappler that you can be. All level members and non-members can come-- EVERYONE WELCOME! No mat fee required for this one. See you at training.