Last night I momentarily thought I'd dislocated/ broken/ sprained another finger during Krav training.
Last October I got booted in the left hand and my pinky went a bit banana shaped. I was out of training for more than 2 months and missed both P camp and my P5 grading as a result.
All for the least useful appendage on my body.
Yesterday we were doing knife threats and as I whirled to knock the hand of my partner away with my right arm, I somehow managed to jab my ring finger right into the bone on her forearm. Unlike the last time, this bloody hurt and in between cursing I frantically ripped off my MMA mitt in case I had another busted joint.
Could still flex and grip but it hurt like a bastard, so I stepped out for a minute to see how I felt and let the pain ebb. This was at 8.20, with the class wrapping up at half eight. We were about to move to a final pressure drill, something I nearly always enjoy.
I had a choice to make.
1). Go back in, "sucking up" my discomfort and pain and give it my all.
2). Take a back seat and miss the final drill, in case I tempt fate too far and end up really hurting myself.
Something I've realised in the 3+ years I've been doing Krav is that it is very easy to get hurt, either by mistake, misfortune or bad technique application. The human body is a delicate machine and toes & fingers are fragile little things. I've done gradings up to P5 with some severe fighting and an exhaustion factor that is hard to imagine...but ultimately we are padded up with shin guards, gum shields and 16oz gloves. There is a sense of caution present at all times.
Krav teaches us to be more than just people who fight. It talks about walking or running away if we can when faced with potential violence and above all putting your safety first. While I always imagined injuries sustained in training would be for reasons of macho sparring or taking on a bigger opponent, a wonky finger caused by a 16 year old girl wasn't on my list of heroic wounds. However, as I stood there with an ice pack clenched around my throbbing digit watching the others throwing punches for a tabata workout...I realised as my breathing returned to normal that I'd made the right decision
My body needs respect too and listening to it when it starts complaining is a discipline that I need to keep practicing. I've seen a G5 instructor get a cracked rib during a grading and simply carry on. While I have a lot of respect for him for that, part of me still wonders what would have happened if he'd got thumped in the same rib twice.
We've all seen boxing matches where one or both fighters are busted up, eyes like slits, faces purple and puffy but they keep going out of dogged determination.
I don't do Krav to prove I'm tough. I do it to keep fit and to give me an "edge" if I'm ever attacked on the street for real. I like the skills Krav gives me but as I've grown older I feel less and less like I need to prove I'm "hard" by going beyond my own pain threshold and then carrying on. And by that I mean pain from injury, not pain through exhaustion or fatigue.
Adrenalin is one thing but there's a time where I would rather feel embarrassed and disappointed but not carry on, than do something that might put me out of training for a lot longer.