Out of Commission

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Taken from the Karate Kid where Daniel gets the shot to his knee.

  • “Bobby, I want him out of commission.”
  • “But Sensei, I can beat this guy.”
  • “I don’t want him beat.”
  • “But I’ll be disqualified.”
  • “Out of Commission.”

Someday I should just try to relate events in my life just using pop culture references.  It would be like that Star Trek episode where they meet this alien culture that just uses metaphors.

OK, so let’s get to it.  I was in the middle of my lesson on Tuesday and we were practicing Cha-Cha and suddenly I get this sharp pain in my knee.  Wasn’t really doing anything I thought was too stressful but maybe I just move the wrong way and tweaked something.  I’ve read about osteoarthritis and flare ups are certainly possible and can happen for multiple reasons.  Not meaning to sound like a tough guy or anything but I basically live with a certain level of pain all the time.  This was much worse and I really couldn’t even put much weight on it.

I didn’t have a Mr Miyagi to do his special healing hands trick so the best they could do was a plastic baggie of ice and a chair to sit down.  I iced it for a bit and got to the point where I could function well enough to continue the lesson but we did Rumba and Bolero which were easier on things.  The problem was that I had a coaching lesson scheduled and we were supposed to be working on rise and fall in Bolero which is a challenge for me under normal circumstances.  JoNY and I both agreed that we’d do Bolero but change the focus to shaping.

It did mean that I had to miss the master class on Cha-Cha that the coach was teaching.  They gave me a new and bigger baggie of ice and I sat on the sidelines watching.  Which was the right thing to do because he was doing a lot of short, repetitive stuff and that’s caused me problems in other groups.  The other good news was that he was on a lesson when my knee gave out and he saw me sitting on the sidelines with ice during the master class so it was pretty obvious I wasn’t at 100%.

Was it a smart thing to continue?  Maybe not but other than the first burst of pain, I was back to being mostly functional so I figured why not give it a go.  The lesson was actually pretty great.  We start with a basic and he jumped in to show me just how much rotation he really wanted.  And it was a heck of a lot more than I was doing previously.  This guy was a hands on type so he was positioning me to show me just how far he wanted me to go.  But, like all dance stuff, there’s a lot of physics involved and the winding and twisting makes the second part of the basic much easier and you get a heck of lot more rotation because you are starting all twisted up and you have to unwind.

So the lesson was pretty much like that.  We’d do a part of the bolero and he’s stop us and show me where I needed to rotate more.  Or where there was something like a basic and that I should be rotating all of those.  And if my posture would slip, he’d make a note about that.  His style was really good though.  More of the gentle reminders.  That tends to work better for me because it makes me feel less stupid about screwing up.

Oh and he wanted me to change my grip in certain parts but I had to go against all my other training.  At every open house, the Famous Franchise demonstrates “the lobster” or the guy who clamps on the the lady and won’t let go.  They also tell you to not grip her hand like it is the TV remote.  This guy was essentially telling me to do that.  He said to get a grip up near the wrist because it would provide a stronger connection and make the leads more obvious.  He did it to me to demonstrate and it worked.  But while he had a grip by my wrist, it was secure without being like a vise if that makes any sense.  This may just be a personal preference of his and maybe he never got the “don’t be a lobster” lecture.  But you can strengthen the lead without clamping down on the hand although the difference is subtle that you probably can’t start out teaching that way.

At one point we do a turn as I walk around her and then lead her back three steps and into a contra check.  This is where I need the better lead and so he was also showing me how to maintain tension during the turn and then get to the hand hold he wanted on the back walks.  With the contra check, he also wanted me to rotate more and bring my right side into her so we practiced that a few times.  Another thing he wanted was for me to do more stuff with my free arm in a couple of places so we worked on that as well.

It makes things feel a heck of a lot different but a lot more dynamic because there is more motion and it sets things up much better.  It starts to feel more like a bolero so that’s a good thing.

I don’t have a lesson tonight because we are going to dinner with my wife’s work partner and another friend.  Which is good because the knee is still bugging me.  I did decide yesterday to not go over to the fitness center and do the treadmill or bike but we did go see some outdoor Christmas lights so I ended up doing a lot of walking anyway.  Funny thing is that the walking isn’t bad.  It is sitting that is harder – keeping my knee bent.  The worst thing is driving because I have to keep my leg in that bent position.

I’ve looked into a few things and most say give it a couple of days and see how things are trending before going in.  Lots of ice and other things to reduce the inflammation.  Things seems to be moving in the right direction.  I had a hard time sleeping on Tuesday because the pain was so bad but last night was better.  I’m still stiff when I get up after sitting for a bit (like writing this post) but it seems to loosen up after walking a bit.  I am going back to the ortho doc soon for another round of injections so, as long as the pain trajectory goes in the right way, I’ll just live with it until that next visit.


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