Sunday, March 26, 2006

Dojo of Sickness

The last two weeks have been a blur of fever and training...bad idea. There is an attitude and approach at the dojo that seems to think that you can (and will, damnit) train through anything including illness. As I've said before training with injury has become routine and while I did not see the importance of this initially, I can now appreciate this. It has taught me how to protect myself in different ways, different ukemi, different technique, it SUCKS but it has taught me to work through the pain (as stupid as that may sound) and continue learning. But in my humble opinion training while sick with a fever is another matter altogether.

Again the push to train here through anything is immense! Even sickness. If I've got it right the idea is to "sweat it out" which I can see working...maybe. But when I'm sick and feeling like utter crap I generally revert to what my mother taught me about these things. Sit, drink alot, eat soup (which I still hate), sleep, and watch TV until you feel better and only then will you start to feel better. An illness generally will run it's course through your body regardless of what you do but what you do can certainly affect the severity and longevity of that illness.

A few weeks ago I knew something was wrong. I was extremely low on energy (my energy levels are just barely high enough to move anyway but this was unusually low), I spoke to some of my sempei (superiors) and they gave me the army-esk pepp talk about training through it...and so I did, or tried to do rather. It was Wednesday as I remember and I had no beginners which means five classes of straight training, no breaks. By the end of the day my knees felt like jello and I thought I was "sweating it out." Thursday morning I felt like Death itself, but I got up at 6:00am did my chores and took class again trying to sweat it out. I made it through two classes that day before I simply refused to go any further (that one's for you Jess). The general rule is that if you are unable to take class for any reason you must sit and watch and so I fell asleep on the couch "watching" class.

Late thursday night my roommate, or as I am now calling him the Trojan Horse, came back to the dojo complaining of other symptoms. At exactly 5:14am I awoke to the sound of said Trojan Horse voiding the contents of his stomach onto our bedroom floor. That is possibly the worst way to wake up...EVER. I brought him some towels, water, and a wet washcloth and went out to do my chores for the morning, no way in hell I was going back to sleep. I evaded most of the classes that day and decided to take one of Yamada Sensei's classes on Saturday morning. Slept all day on Sunday and woke up early on Monday to get my chores done and proceeded to vomit all day long...lovely. Two days and several Deshi later the stomach virus seemed to dissipate and I was left once again to deal with the flu-like sickness I had initially. Finally a week and a half after it all started I was beginning to feel human again.

This string of sicknesses that worked it's way through the dojo was rather unfortunate. Shoko Ito was a woman from Japan who was visiting for all of two weeks and arrived just in time to catch the cold but was lucky enough to miss the stomach virus. The majority of her time here was spent on the couch watching class and clutching a cup of tea. Marcus was a visitor from Brazil who was also here for two weeks and was less fortunate than Shoko as far as the stomach virus went. Tim is a visitor from Germany who will be here for two or three months so these setbacks didn't take up too much of his time but it's still a chunk of time that he had to spend sick.

In short (now that I've rambled on for a bit) I can't help but wonder if I had spent the time to rest and take care of myself a little better and not try so hard to "sweat it out" if my sicknesses could have been shortened a bit...hmmm

I think in order to train and excersize the amount that we do we should spend more time focusing on taking care of ourselves and less time focusing on machismo bravado...but that's just me and that is slightly unpopular...more on that later.