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Body Knowledge
Post-Fight Injury Assessments

I have suffered almost every injury common to boxing and stick-fighting, in most cases multiple repetitions. I believe I’m close to 30 concussions into the head trauma rabbit hole. When you get injured due to combat training or competition or in a repetitive stress job, such as electrical installation, stock clerking, meat cutting, sanding dry wall, etc., it is important to pay attention to how it feels and remember this as the doctor or therapist diagnosis and treats you. The resulting body knowledge has enabled me to dispense with most doctor visits over the past 15 years, primarily by determining the cause by walking myself back through my recent bio-mechanical history, as good doctors do, to determine ultimate cause and the immediate trigger that resulted in mechanical failure and or extreme levels of pain.

So, when you are injured in your youth or prime or decline, do not try and put the experience out of your mind, but leave the pain and doctor’s diagnosis etched there. For, if you pursue you masculine expression into your decline, all of these injuries will revisit you like old enemies in the night, unless you keep them at bay with the torchlight of your preventive action. More importantly is not falling prey to your own high level of pain tolerance developed over decades of high exertion and high impact. Ultimately, know that you will be reinjured, and when you get old enough the old wound will come back and revisit agony upon you. At this point you must have retained your body knowledge so that you can avoid exasperating the injury or condition and continue to function at a combative level.

I no longer fight at a competitive level. I spar, to help my fighters up their game and also to maintain a level of combat effectiveness that will enable me to fight off the hoodrats and urban hyenas that prowl Harm City looking for aging meat to feast upon.

11 days ago I was in a car accident in which the small sedan I was sitting in the front seat of slammed into a stationary object at 40 MPH. I was reading the 800 page hardback version of Moby Dick. When the immoveable object before me neared, I dropped the book and shielded my face with fingers pressed to forehead and forearms loose to absorb the impact. I was just recovering from the concussion Sea had given me and was still hallucinating whenever I stayed awake for more than 24 hours [something I typically do three times per week]. I had sparred with Mescaline two days earlier and had felt pretty good even though most of the bones in my left hand were still bruised and the connective tissue swollen. The happy result was that the jarring and concussion did not shock and drain me like it did the driver—whose design was not for combat, but for the satisfaction of combatants and the generation of replacement warriors and fresh breeders—who spent days in bed as I went about my shelf-stocking and training, sparring with Joey on Sunday and discovering that I could not fight effectively with my left lead, and that when I used it for checking, the peck attachment on my left felt like it was being threaded with a giant needle—back to Moby Dick.

Yes, when I raised my hands to shield my face and my fingers and forehead smacked against the inside rim of the windshield, the airbag that blew me back, also launched that five-pound book into my chest, with the corner [I think] striking me at the peck attachment on the breast bone. It felt like it was bleeding when we got out of the car, but never even bruised on the outside.

Three days after, as I walked up to spar with Joey at the gym, I discovered that the impact had brought back an old boxing injury, as my backpack tugged at my chest with agonizing pain. I was not able to fully inflate my left lung, just as when Dante had finished me with five consecutive right hands to the chest in 1994, which had compressed the cartilage and tore the peck attachment. Laughing and sneezing became debilitating spasms or pain. I had not done a proper evaluation of my chest and found myself sparring with stick and baton for an hour and a half, which was good training for fighting injured against predators, who only go after the weak and the lame and will surely only pounce on me when injured.

I began internal chest expansion exercises and did okay sparring with my boxing student this past Friday, conscious of the fact that I could not throw the left hand from a southpaw guard.

Then, on Saturday, nine days out from the accident, a date before sparring with Joey again, I decided belatedly to complete the injury check I should have done 8 days earlier. I attempted a push up, and knew immediately, that as I used my triceps to force my chest through the motion that I would hear that fried chicken being torn apart sound come from my chest. Having separated intercostals, peck attachments and cartilage in the past, by continuing to fight and train after injury, I knew that it felt like as my body screamed, “If you push through this pain threshold something is tearing from the bone!” and I eased myself back down on the floor, feeling that had I pushed this motion I would have heard something pop in my chest. Humiliated by my rather wise body, I got up out of a hip roll, a beached whale, thanks to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

I still spared with Joey yesterday, concentrating on footwork and remaining lazy with the left hand retained as a shield over the left breast rather than used as a checking hand. I also avoided holding the mitts for Craig and Joey, and had them practice their boxing sparring with each other. I found in 1999 that holding mitts with torn intercostals was pure agony.

There is usually a way to keep fit enough for survival combat. As I fade away and become a target for the unworthy enemies that used to give me a wide berth in my prime, it is my moral duty to remain effective enough to make them pay.

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