I Really Can’t Work This Blog Post Out!?

I don’t actually know the conclusion of this blog post yet.

I’m hoping writing it will help me get there.

Quite the conundrum…as…it’s about young kids…fighting…for sport.

As a soft tissue specialist…movement analysts and performance coach…I run my own neuromuscular rehabilitation clinic…“Fixing”…“Broken people.”

I also work in numerous different capacities…with a vast demographic of the general public…all the way up to the highest levels of elite sport movement and performance.

Sales wise…tactically…naturally…I do have demographics/target audiences.

In the grand scheme of life though…I don’t.

If you move…if…you exist…think…breathe…then…I have something that will be of benefit to you…in some way shape or another.

For example…here is a break down of just yesterday.

Started out in the morning with a 70 year old retired lady.

She was getting pain in the neck and shoulders but couldn’t work out why…and it was the first time we had met.

Performed a postural and biomechanical analysis…started to palpate…assess…and treat the global structure…through many forms of physical therapy…building a picture…of what will allow us to identify…rectify…and move on from her issues.

Straight after…I had a teenage footballer who is coming back from a meniscus tear and surgery….so we are applying various forms of hands on physical therapy and corrective exercise…to have him ready and able for this up coming season.

Then to a 75 year old man with sciatica and lower back pain…with no knowledge of why…investigator mode again.

On to a 30 year old office worker…who regularly exercises…is in a high stress job…with no real issues…who just likes basic maintenance work to be done on the backline…chest…and shoulders…to keep him mobile and functional.

Then to finish…a group of 15 people…ranging from 19-50+ years old…male and female…going through mobility and functional strengthening drills for 45 mins.

You get to build a very different way of looking at the body compared to the general norm…because you are viewing….assessing…touching…manipulating…so many different types…for so many different reasons.

Everything I do and advise…has to be methodical…calculated…it has to make sense in the end.

I work and have worked with lots of individuals in combat sports.

Many in the industry have disregarded my views on fighting…as I’ve never stepped into a professional ring…which I respect.

I stand by this next statement though…honestly…truly…and I know it pisses a lot of people off…and makes them cry…but…it is what it is I’m afraid.

If you couldn’t take somebody with two broken legs…who can’t walk…and get them back on their feet…moving efficiently again…then you shouldn’t be teaching people how to kick or punch…or…you shouldn’t be teaching people without somebody being around that could deal with the two broken legs.

It’s the same thing.

Teaching people how to be a fighter…about the art of fighting…and teaching people about how they move…how they operate…think…and function…as unique…specific individuals…are two completely separate areas.

I’m sure there are those out there that have combined the two offering some amazing services…no doubting that.

A leg is still a leg and a hip is still a hip though…no matter if it’s shin boning somebody in the head…getting out of bed in the morning…or walking to the toilet.

I may not be a professional fighter…I may not be able to step in with the worlds best and take his title tomorrow…under sporting conditions…or be the most experienced…but I seriously…seriously…understand it all….which brings about the complexity to my thought processes below.

Science…physiology…and emotion…don’t mix well together…at all.

This is a topic I hold too much emotion in.

Ever since I was a little kid…I’ve been known to be obsessed with martial arts…and the movement of fighting.(The movement of anything)

Think it started with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles personally.

Names like Bruce Lee…Don The Dragon Wilson…Bolo Yeung…and Jackie Chan…were played over and over again on VHS in my house.

To this day I’m still sat up all night…every weekend…watching the UFC or some form of combat…live…for the love of the sport…and my passion for movement.

I got into Karate for a number of years when I was younger…got pretty far…did a few kiddy/teenage tournaments…but grew despondent…so…tried my hand at a bit of boxing here and there…but also saw it’s abundance of limitations on the street in defending myself.

Got into a few actual situations growing up where I realised that what I had learnt in those classes or from those people…meant…absolutely nothing.

When fight or flight kicks in…at the highest of stakes…everything…can…go out the window.

Remember being in a situation around 16…couldn’t really have done anything about it…and the people around me had chosen flight…so I did too…which…had me end up on the receiving end of a bad one.

Realised from that point…it wasn’t to do with being in a class…wasn’t about learning a particular style…or method…it was all about understanding the body and the world around it.

I saw firstly that it was about controlling the nervous system…your breathing…your thoughts…fears…anxieties.

Mental toughness…self sufficiency…stability.

From there it was about clarity…sharpness of the brain and the physiological being.

Body and mind in unison…acting together…as one…under pressure.

Moving better…quicker…sharper…being fitter…more explosive and mobile than the person or people standing in front of you.

Then finally…it was about how the bones…joints…muscles…ligaments…tendons and systems work…in relation to the real world…applying that methodology…to the practical application of attack and defence…if ever needed.

Could see the positive transferability to every area of living….so…I said to myself I was going to train to fight to live a better…more prosperous life…not to win a belt.

Decided to fight to truly be alive…instead of an opponent.

This exploration lead me on to Muay Thai and kick boxing.

I’m privileged enough to have had many people around in my life of a high standard…willing to teach me principles and guide me in the art.

Had the true honour…years back…before I do what I do now…of spending two years watching one of the greatest Muay Thai fighters of a generation…Ronnie Green…teach a small intimate group.

I used to look after the gym floor in this particular establishment…and he’d often spend 45 mins after his class talking to me and guiding me through things.

I took everything learnt from Karate…boxing…street fighting…Muay Thai…and kept it in the back of mind.

So instead of joining a club or a camp…I dedicated every single day to learning how the body moves…how it functions…performs…and why.

Soaked up information from as many people as I could…and still do…always willing to learn.

My training in my own life…is for performance…power…strength agility and mobility…but I still practice my kicks…punches…bobs…weaves…knees…and elbows every single day at some point.

I’m not trying to be the hard man…not trying to be the bad man…don’t want to be a tough guy…couldn’t care how tough you are…I’m…just making sure that if push ever came to shove…away from sport…in a real life or death situation…I’m going to be one of the fittest…quickest…trickiest sons of bitches…you ever tried tangling with…whether I win or not.

The ability to be fit and mobile in attack and defence is something that has got us this far.

A key skill needed if shit ever does hit the fan…which it most definitely can…at any time…out of nowhere!

Had to write all this spiel as it sets the actual post up…to make sense why it all perplexes me.

The video below was taken at Manchester Thai Festival…where they had a Muay Thai demo/tournament.

This is only a minute edit of the day…but there were a lot of kids fighting.

Boys and girls.

I’ve been around many different fighters and fighting events…but never a Muay Thai one with kids.

Surreal experience.

Granted they had head guards…shin guards…and torso guards…and didn’t use elbows…or head shots…but the video didn’t do how hard they were going justice.

Here’s my problem.

It’s normal to shout OHAY when significant strikes land…which I found myself naturally a part of.

On reflection though…I think I’m split between emotion and physiology.

50% of me loves the sport…loves fighting as an art form…as an expression…and thinks it is a great way to teach the kids discipline…respect…how to win and lose gracefully…and how to truly stand up for themselves.

This sport prepares for life in many ways.

It also keeps them mega fit and teaches how to truly fight.

For example the difference between these kids and kids in a more controlled karate class…is…these have felt what a real fight or a brawl feels like.

They’ve learnt how to deal with fight or flight…how to find the calm…and how to keep coming forward without backing down…even in the face of adversity.

I personally think any sport or sporting environment gives kids more than school does in regards to life and survival skills.

The other 50% of me though…the professional side…sees the problems caused from that type of competition…so young…on the body and mind.

I can’t figure out if the good outweighs the bad yet.

Perplexed.

The positives…are positive enough…for me to say…hey…I think you should get your kid into it tomorrow.

Great thing to have in their life…totally.

The negatives…are negative enough from a professional standpoint…for me to say…hey…don’t go anywhere near it.

Now if you happen to have a gifted kid…and you want him to be a world champion…or you personally want it to be their craft…or career…then…that’s a completely different story.

You aren’t in any high level sport for prosperity and longevity…you’re in it to win…which makes the positives and negatives irrelevant.

Choice is yours and not mine to judge.

Hmmmmm

This is where I’m at.

The emotion in me…wants to say yes…but if you walked in my clinic with your kid and asked me if I thought it was the best thing for them later in life…physically…I’d say no…not at all.

I’ll give you an easy example…something basic…simple.

I’ve had footballers who have picked up a grade 2 dead leg from a knee striking their thigh with force…one time in a match.

A grade 2 dead leg should be looked at and treated with the same protocol as a grade 2 tear/strain/sprain.

I’ve seen people need 4-6 weeks out with treatment after they’ve tried to run it off or stretch it out.

When you look at Muay Thai…there are repeated knees to the same areas over and over again.

I don’t know which rules these guys were going off but you’ll notice knees striking the legs.

Pads or no pads…shins and knees are going to produce dead legs.

You don’t want that type of trauma in developing tissues.

No emotion in the world can counteract that statement.

It’s just a passageway to injury…pain and dysfunction…at that intensity…that young.

The level of impact…force…contraction…acceleration…deceleration…at such a young developing age…isn’t going to bode well later in life on joints and soft tissue.

Pretty serious issues in more than not…my gut is telling me. (I’m talking about 30s-40s-50s-60s)

There are a million and one more positive and negative thoughts running round my head and now we are at the end…I still don’t know if it’s something I’d promote or not in young children looking at the full picture.

Still 50/50.

Perhaps I’ll think about taking the physiology and biomechanics of it all further…so my point is better understood…and allow you guys to answer my question for me in another post!

Anyway…enjoy these fearless young boys and girls and admire the guts they have to put it all out on the line.

Have the best day ever.

What A Day To Be Alive

Disturb the paradigm

Yesterday is irrelevant…tomorrow not guaranteed.

LEE CLEAVER

THE PIONEER OF MOVEMENT

Soft Tissue Specialist – Movement Analyst – Elite Performance Coach

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