How to Deal with Injuries in Martial Arts and Sports

Hey. Ando here from and Happy Life
Martial Arts. You might have seen one of my videos three
months ago where I talked about waking up and not being able to move either one my shoulders. I have no idea what happened. Well, I finally went and got the X-rays, I
got the MRI, I just got out of the doctor’s office, and here are the results. There’s some fancy words on here like arthrosis,
tendinosis, and capsulitis, but basically what this says is, “Hey, man. You’re getting old. Suck it up.” That’s basically what this say. Now, I’m not telling you this so you say,
aw, poor baby. I’m telling you this you’re going to suffer
injuries as a martial artist. That’s just part of the game. But that is not an excuse to stop training. That’s right. Three months, I have had burning, aching shoulders. I haven’t been able to do a proper push-up,
I haven’t been able to throw a full power punch, even when I’m sleeping, I’m in
pain. But I’m still training. All I did was shift my attention to my legs. I’m working on my footwork, my kicking,
and on my stances. And I might be deluded, but I think I’ve
made improvements in al three areas. And if I can make improvements when I’m
injured, guess what–so can you. So, before I get out of here and go cry, do
some physical therapy, and maybe give myself a piece of pie, I wanted to give you three
principles to keep in mind in case you’re dealing with an injury. Okay. You’re injured. Principle number one—you can always train
something. I don’t care what your injury is, you can
still go to class, you can observe, you can take notes, organize your notebook, you can
ask questions, you can do research, you can meditate, you can visualize… and these are
examples of minimal effort training. I’ll bet you can do a lot more than that. If you don’t have your arms, use your legs. If you don’t have your legs, use your arms. There’s always something you can train. Just because you can’t train everything,
doesn’t mean you can’t do something. Now, there’s a key philosophy here that
you must have as a martial artist. Remember that if you focus on what you can’t
do, you won’t do anything. But if you focus on what you can do, then
you’ll always figure out something to do. The reason this is crucial as a martial artist
is, let’s say you get caught in a choke. If you think about what you can’t do, that’s
what you focus on, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! I can’t move my head!” well, then, my
friend, you’re going to die in that choke. But if you can train yourself to instantly
think about what you can do, “Can I move my arms? Can I move my legs? Can I shift my hips? Can I drive my head back? Can I get my chin down?” well, then you’ve got a chance at figuring
out how to escape that choke. So, please, never forget this—focus on what
you can do, not on what you can’t do. Principle number two—any training is better
than no training. If you can’t make it through a whole class,
do half a class. Do half an hour. Do five minutes. Do five seconds. Just do something! Look—any time you spend, no matter how small,
if your intention is to make an improvement, that’s worth it. It’s valuable time. It’s certainly a lot better than the time
you’re going to spend laying on the couch feeling sorry for yourself. Some people get this idea that injuries mean
“down time”, right? But that’s a huge mistake. There is no such thing as down time or up
time, good times, bad times… there is only time. The clock is ticking. This time is going to pass yo by whether you
choose to use it or not. So, I recommend you use it. Any training is better than no training. Principle number three— don’t think of
your pain as an injury, think of it as an opportunity. I know it sounds crazy, but I believe that
injuries are actually good for you. I’m not saying I want you to get hurt, but
if you do get hurt, and you will, then it can be a very positive experience. I actually recorded a whole podcast on this
topic a while ago. If you haven’t heard it, I’ll put the
link below. For right now, let me share one idea that
I shared in that show. Imagine this—you’re in class. You’re working out. And on the sideline, there’s a world-class
martial arts coach. After class, he or she walks over to you and
says, “You! Hey! I have plan for you.” Now, I don’t know why this coach has a Russian
accent—a bad Russian accent–but play along. He says, “I have plan for you. I’m going to give you world-class footwork. Footwork that blow everybody away. Here’s what you do. For six weeks, no punches, no sparring, no
bags, just footwork. In six weeks, you’ll be the best in the
world. Your whole life be better.” Wow. Right? You would be pumped if you heard that. You’d be excited. You have a plan. You have a purpose. You’ve got time. All you have to do is execute and there is
no question that when you come out of that six weeks, you’re going to be better than
ever. So, what’s the difference between the coach
coming over and giving you a six week plan to improve yourself or sitting down with your
doctor and hearing, “Hey, you’ve got to take off six weeks to let this heal.” There is no difference! The only difference is in your mindset. In one situation, you feel in control. You’re making deliberate decisions. You’re pumped. You’re excited. You’re going to make progress. You’re moving forward. In the other situation, you’re playing the
victim. You feel like you’re being forced to do
something that you didn’t plan on and you don’t want to do. Well, grow up. Injuries don’t make you special. Everybody gets injured. The difference between champs and chumps,
winners and whiners, is how you react to that injury. So, don’t make the mistake of feeling sorry
for yourself when you get hurt. Instead, think of your pain as an opportunity,
not an injury. All right. Okay, I’m done. I hope that little rant helped you out. To be honest, it was really for me. I get it. I’m a human being. I get depressed, too. Injuries can be a bummer. But like I said, the clock is ticking. It’s ticking whether you stay positive and
make a plan and focus on progress or if you say screw it and start sucking on a bottle
of Stolichnaya and wake up blacked out on the floor… in the mall. Whatever. Don’t give in to the darkness, my friend. Don’t let an injury beat you up. Think about it—if you let an injury beat
you up, you’re just making it that much easier for a bad guy to beat you up and I
don’t want to see that happen. If you liked this video, thanks for sharing
it with a friend who might need an encouraging word and thanks for subscribing to the channel. Until next time, keep moving forward, my friend,
and keep fighting for a happy life.

100 Replies to “How to Deal with Injuries in Martial Arts and Sports

  1. Awesome advice sensei Ando. I am 34 and of a heavy build I get injuries all the time even at this age. I try and train around my injuries rather than through it.

  2. I've been dealing with a knee injury for a year now (bruised bone and strained ligament). Kept taking class and doing what I can. One day I was feeling depressed and my Instructor said "Look how much more you can do now than before". Concentrating on the advances rather than the limits has kept me going.
    Good luck to you Sir..

  3. Before I started training in martial arts I was a competitive powerlifter. I still powerlift on a regular basis but I'm taking a break from competing. In 2012 I injured my hip so I couldn't squat any longer. I decided to focus my efforts on my bench press and entered the next few competitions as "bench only." I have 5 gold medals to prove that the only way an injury can stop you is if you let it. Great advise Sensei, thank you and take good care of those shoulders.

  4. Dear Ando. Thanks for this video. These are very good tips for sports and life en general. 👍All the best for you 🍀

  5. Been there with the shoulder injury and I feel your pain. Couldn't even move my arm to do some simple tai chi movements. Best advice the physio gave me was to visualise the movement, which sounds stupid but is apparently what a lot of gymnasts do if injured.

  6. "Pain is a great teacher", or something put there to toughen us up. Good video, and tips for everyone to remember. Attitude!!!

  7. I have a question about leg flexibility starting out in martial arts who are "cough cough" over 50. Any special advice in regards to stretching.

  8. This comment relates to an earlier video you did on stretching: where you explained that if you stretch to the point of discomfort, then relax, and then tense your muscles, you can then stretch further.

    In my experience, there is a pain threshold you have to go through in recovering from an injury. At the start, you'll be just doing as much as you can – and you should stop if the pain starts getting too much. But you need to keep working up to that pain level, because (provided you have paced yourself with care) you'll reach a stage where the pain reaches a peak and then starts to fall away – the pain may come back again later in-which case you have probably done enough then. But pain itself is not necessarily a reliable indicator of what you can and can't do without injury or further injury – often, people can still be in pain long after their injury has healed, and then it is a case of having to retrain their nervous system.. So things like "mindfulness" are important, otherwise you can get stuck with chronic pain for no reason (if you're injury has actually healed).

  9. I believe pain is a message that says: "Hey! Pay attention to here and take care, good care of it! So it is a trigger, not an inhibitor!

  10. I have actually met someone like that Russian voice impersonation you were doing. And yes, he was everything like you would expect him to be. I lived to tell.

  11. FYI Check this out ! One arm injured drummer playing ""The Trooper"!!!
    Avery only 9 years old!

  12. Ooh poor ba… no no no just kidding! Ando, you are a fantastic master, 'cause you teach and inspire at the same time, wonderfully. And what was that accent on 4:40? Omg I thought I'd laugh my liver off me lol 😂 Thanks for the lesson!

  13. Get well soon! I have some problems with my back and left shoulder now, but I will never stop training something. That's the great thing with martial arts. It's so much more than just body. It's mind and soul.

  14. Thank you sensei. I've dealing, or more like struggling, with an injury on my knee for over two year (horrible stuff), but these video has given me another perspective and open my eyes to other options.
    I'm really grateful, you are awesome.
    Thumb up!

  15. Thank you sir. This video is very inspiring & very practical.👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

  16. That is such an encouragement to hear and very applicable.

    Sometimes the sense in the world just needs to be tuned into and turned up instead of turned off.

    People today apparently learned their cage fighting in a void of traditional martial arts and all their injuries healed, at all, and quickly.

    But we know that's not possible.

    Even if you are a person that is not under every light in Hollywood and all your inuries don't heal you can still practice something probably everything but use the hurt parts less and the good parts most.

    I just like hearing sensible encouraging things that are not haughty hoity toity. There should be a bigger market for that.

  17. This is so good to listen to just to hear it, to hear those sweet words.

    I'm laughing because Ando is absolutely right about training I had never thought of it in a Russian accent that makes all the difference for positivity!

  18. I can't kick well any more, so I focused my energy on boxing I've learned a lot ever since and have become a decent puncher.

  19. Absolutely agree. I had a shoulder injury from an over-done shoulder lock demo (…I turned the wrong way when Sifu was demonstrating to the class…), but I still did cardio yesterday, I just did an altered routine and only punched with my left side.

  20. So – these really old guys you still see practising in the Dojo in Japan. What do you reckon? Are they working though the pain? I'm guessing they are. They will have spent a lifetime of punching and kicking the air – and as we know – this will only lead to trouble in the end.

  21. I've been kung fu fightin since I was 11 (now in 40s) I could fill a spiral notebook on the injuries I had. Broken nose, broken hand, torn Achilles, and that was just last week! JK on that…

  22. Yet another inspiring video with words of wisdom! Also what can I do to help my leg flexibility? I tried your other videos about it but they dont seem to work. Ive been practicing about everyday but i cant do it and my kicks always suck

  23. wow!!!!for most of the lesson I felt like hearing myself,what to do matching with what i like to do is a rare case,this is one of them…..OSU

  24. Dang. Should have watched this before I sprained my ankle. I did it all wrong – took a few weeks off and felt sorry for myself. Should have at least just gone to class and watched, did some light drills, something! Thanks for the inspiration.

  25. i still training after an knee acl full tear and know i am recovering from it. as i said i am still training what i can .the question is should i reconsider my trainig and take the sparing and the hard training out or get into full training after the recovery? waiting for your answer thanks! please push the like button so he can see this question!

  26. Thank you for this video. I recently tore my acl and it’s been two months since surgery. It’s a tough process, but I’m focussed on recovering well and quickly.

  27. Old Man Say, Knowledge Is Power, & I Personally Train / Workout / Do My Gentle Rehab, For Hours Daily & I'm Really Trying, To Learn How To Best Live With It All, To Keep The Faith Daily & Keep This Train Going, & How Best To Battle With Father Time Today, & I Know, Pain Is Part Of Me Now, So I Try To Better Understand Where It Hurts Me, & I Have Multi MRI List Of Woe's & I'm Kind Of A Stubborn Powerful Old Dude, Ha Ha, & I Continue To Roll Along On It, For Miles Daily, & I Believe In the Power Of Use It Or Lose It, So I Ice It Daily, & I Also Daily Use a Tens Unit for Treatments, & Basically I Try To Take a Easier Path Each Day & For Me It Is Slowly Working & Every Single Day, I Gain Ground, & I Can Always Make It Feel Better, & My Movement Continues To Come Back, & I Honestly Know That My Old Man Routine, Standing & Gently Stretching, Or On The Ground Working On Gently Finding My Comfort In Breath & Injured Joint Movement & By Slowing Myself Down Again Today & Not Pushing It Too Hard, But Finding How To Use It Again, & I Try To Learn To Live With It Now, The Best I Can, Kind Of Just Like, Mankind Has Always Had To Do…..Keep On Trucking Ando

  28. You know you are one of the wisest people I know. Your "rants" are always stating the things that most people don't think about. I experience a large amount of pain in my back everyday of my life (and I'm 15) but despite that I am not always in bed complaining and popping pain pills. I'm out there doing things others don't dare to do with or without pre existing pain. So I thank you for sharing this wisdom so others might learn the truth.

  29. Great advice! My entire approach to teaching self-defense for people with disabilities is based on these concepts. We assess: what CAN you do, not what can't you do. Then we focus on building capacity and skills and tactics based on STRENGTHS. When that gets to about 70% of goal, we begin working on strategies/tactics to avoid exposing the vulnerabilities.

  30. 4 months into my first school of Taekwondo and I am injured, popped a calf muscle last night doing wheeling round kicks At 50 years old ! Good words Ando, well said and heart felt!

  31. No wound battle … … no time to list all my injuries, I prefer to save my time to watch good videos that encourage me to workout! I NEED TO WATCH THAT VIDEO. … AGAIN AND AGAIN! AND THEN EXERCISE! Watching that video at least one time for each injury! THANKS, SENSEI ANDO!


  33. Dear send and, I was always taught that pain is just weakness leaving the body, ha ha! I am just joking around, I am an old Navy vet,

  34. Dear Sensei ando disregard Last message sir, I hate it when this phone substitutes word's for me, I am working on promotion to green belt tae kwon-do

  35. Hey Ando
    Straight to the point , I can't go all out in trainings and not the healthy way. I'm just to affraid of hurting my spar partners. I started a judo/grapling based self defense classes just a few weeks ago but I just can't overcome this mental blockade. Do you have any tpis for me?

  36. I sprain my big food finger something like 3 weeks ago in karate. Still not recover but still going to class… I really like the feeling that I can do more at every class because it hurt less. ^^

  37. If you've never tried dry needling I highly recommend it. I'm new to martial arts and I have a bunch of old injuries that I know are going to bother me but I'm not gonna quit because of it. Thanks for your pep talk.

  38. I have a friend who lives on a bad neighbourhood, on a street that it is quite lonely after dark. What do you recomend?

  39. Hi. Im new to martial arts and wanna know that I'm training for taekwondo as well as kung fu.
    So i just wanna know that should i just focus on one style or just keep on doing it.
    I haven't told my teachers that I'm doing so.
    Please help me out here.

  40. Well, time to make glucosamine supplements part of the daily diet i guess, maybe throw in some fish oil and other stuff like bone broth, so I mean home made stuff.
    Here are some words of encouragement from an old japanese maniac with crazy calloused hands(that sanchin stuff looks like one has a hairball stuck down his throat while the other is trying to perform the heimlich in all the wrong places and ways) ) :
    You may hail from a very different spiritual tradition from his, probably taoism, but you seem to be kindred spirits nonetheless, at least with regards to how a martial artist should deal with an injury.
    ps: Never tried Stolichnaya before, thanks for the tip, and I may be a bit disrespectful but if you told those two masters the hairball joke I am sure they would laugh their geriatric terminator asses off, maybe throw in some theatre ridiculing themselves too.
    pps: thank you for the time you took answering my messages, I really appreciate it, also enjoyed,,Company business'' a whole lot…I am old.

  41. Hey there Ando, do you have any advice on getting rid of bad habits/wrong technique? I had boxing as a class in drama school and since we had a rather big group and a teacher who didnt really speak our language we all developed some bad habits over time as he couldnt really explain or oversee what everyone was doing. Now that Im looking to start with Kali I feel like I should get rid of these habits before they have a bad impact on the new stuff Im learning

  42. Tore my L ACL as a purple belt. Got promoted to red belt on a Thursday, ACL replacement about 12 hours later. Two years later, graduated to black belt. I'm over 50. Keep on keepin' on. Would love to get stretchier, it would so help.

  43. i have 2 legs but the left leg is weaker than the righ leg what can i do to solve this proble (i got an injury in the left leg while doing the pistol squat )

  44. This is awesome and so true. I bruised my ribs a few weeks ago sparring and one of the black belts encouraged me to keep coming to training and just do what I could. I wasn't able to rotate my torso or do roundhouse kicks, but I'm so glad I still came and did what I could.

  45. I just fixed a nasty shoulder pain that I've had for the last 6-12 months or so. It turns out that all I had to do, was to use my bathrobe to stretch out in a certain way, and then there was suddenly two loud cracks in my shoulder blade, as the muscles snapped back into place. I wish I had known that.

  46. When I get sick or it's my healing day I just watch your videos and gain more knowledge or any videos that are beneficial to me good advice ando

  47. I have just discovered this video and channel at the right time. Earlier this week I broke my middle finger. It sounds small, but the pain is awful. I can’t even make a fist. I was worried about how long it would take to heal and what I would do….. so I guess I’ll go to class. Thanks for the motivation.

  48. I'm a black belt in Taekwondo…I'm just 18 now, And I'm suffering from slipped disc from 1.4 year…Sometimes i feel I'm fine now but when i try to attend the classes and train the injury comes back again…Like numbness or pain in hip area and sometimes it goes down towards feet…What I do now? Kindly advice me…Thnxx

  49. Its pretty hard. I'm also dealing with a nagging right knee. Pretty much graded while enduring the stinging pain last month. Probably may need to see a doc for it. All I do now is just the TKD forms (slowly lol) and minimal exercises as I don't want to exacerbate the knee

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