What is 'too much' with training?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by IronMaiden1991, Jun 1, 2021.

  1. IronMaiden1991

    IronMaiden1991 Active Member

    So i've been at this one school for a while and loved my training, though not been able to for a while with covid. I'm starting to get a bit curious about something I've noticed a pattern of, and it's senior students are dropping off.

    My coach has said the people aren't sticking it out because 'they aren't tough enough.' It's mostly a Goju Ryu, Kickboxing and BJJ school. We've trained knockdown frequently as well. I'd have thought that it would be lower rank and people who only stay a few sessions and decide it's not for them would be the crowd to drop off, but it isn't. I've seen a few of them around as I work in a gym, but it's always the same thing from them when they tell me why they stopped going: expectations are too high, expected time commitments to train too high and injuries from requirements that seem quite a lot more than most neighboring schools, especially on the karate front: fitness tests using kettle bells and weights, bleep tests, into kata with many doing hojo undo as well, into kumite (sport, then full contact) then more fitness tests, then padwork, then push up tests that if you don't meet the number for the grading, you fail and have to repeat another time.
    These gradings can last hours, and I know because I've been to them and some of them can go for hours and hours, I've been at ones where they were six hours and longer.

    When I've spoken to people of other styles, I've been met with comments about how it's a lot. What we're doing is more than some schools ask of their black belts. My sensei admits he sets high requirements of his students compared to the tests you can fly out to japan for in dan grades. That makes me wonder why they're so high in the first place if it's not needed. Most of the people I know who dropped out after years have injuries to knees, feet etc. Some of these being younger students. While injuries do happen, the fact this keeps coming up makes me wonder if it's an attitude at the school of running oneself into the ground.

    I've even had a few horror stories from PT clients of his who didn't come back (such as agreeing to semi contact K-1 rules and then my coach throwing that aside for BJJ attacks on clients unfamiliar with grappling, starting light contact and then hitting full force). I wasn't there for these so I can't say if they are factual, but I've heard it more than once from at least two different people who as far as I know, haven't met. I've even done private gradings in the past when work wouldn't allow for regular group ones and I've been sick afterwards or thrown up during them. This can't be good for me, right?

    I do sometimes wonder if it's 'well, train hard, fight easier' but there's this nagging question in my mind, as I've become a personal trainer and I consider longevity of health a priority for my clients and myself, if my sensei just pushes hard for the sake of it, and this is where the injuries and drop off is coming from. I'm 29, I have my whole life ahead of me, I don't want a busted knee, especially as a yoga teacher. I don't want broken digits as that would ruin my art gigs. I want to be able to train for most of my life, and if I can, into my retirement. I don't want to fight at any competitive level, I just do it for me.

    I want some outsider perspectives on this if it's literally a case of is this too much or is this just anxiety talking?
  2. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    It's the teachers prerogative as to how hard he makes the gradings, but it's also a students prerogative if he feels the risk of injury and time commitment is too much for him.

    It's all about what you feel is an acceptable risk ,if you are looking to fight professionally then your level of acceptable risk will be higher than if you are training for recreational purposes.

    All I would say is if there's a repeatable pattern of heavy injuries amongst senior students then I'd personally seriously reconsider attending
    IronMaiden1991 likes this.
  3. IronMaiden1991

    IronMaiden1991 Active Member

    So far it's been mostly knee injuries, one of them was quite young too, late teens. I'm thinking of a way to balance my longevity of training if I can.
  4. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Are the injuries because of a specific reason, such as the way the classes are run, or the actual tests?

    because for me doing kettle bell, conditioning and heavy weights in a test which lasts several hours and includes sparring seems a recipe for injury due to fatigue leading to poor motor patterns

    likewise making people grapple hard with little or no experience is also an accident waiting to happen
    axelb likes this.
  5. IronMaiden1991

    IronMaiden1991 Active Member

    That's where my mind was going as a PT. The length of exertion and intensity of sparring, which is quite high, feels like it would contribute to an increased injury rate as motor control grows impaired from fatigue. Leg kicks could be landing at knees instead of thighs, knees already strained from extended bouts of shikodachi with kettlebells, squats, running and jumping. Even if there is no immediate injury, the wear and tear will build up over time till something does eventually give.

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