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Time away from the mat - John Danaher

** from Danaher Instagram **

Lost time?

There are not many certainties in Jiu Jitsu but here is one - AT SOME POINTS YOU WILL HAVE TO TAKE TIME AWAY FROM THE MATS. It may be due to an injury, a personal crises, family problems, financial issue - or in this cases - unanticipated pandemic.

I am sure many of you are faced now with the prospect of time away from the dojo due to this problem. A natural question to ask is - is this going to ruin my hard won progress? The answer is - THAT DEPENDS ON YOU.

My crippled leg and resultant problems meant I often had to take periods of time off. One case that occurred when I was a white belt may be of some relevance to your situation now. I tore my knee meniscus practicing drop seoi nage (I always had a love/hate relationship with that throw - I love its effectiveness but it was hell on my crippled knee - if you have normal healthy knees it’s fine and a throw you all ought to study in depth). I tried to train through it but kept re- injuring it and so finally agreed to just take time off and let it rest. I took off two months. In that time I practiced whatever solo drills i could perform every day. As I performed them I visualized performing them on a sparring partner in live training. Then I performed callesthenic training to maintain strength and stretched. In free time I would watch video (video in those days was old VCR cassettes with terrible picture quality 😂😂) I tried to gain understanding of set ups, tricks and mechanics of the stand out athletes of that time. When my knee finally felt better I went back to the dojo with some trepidation - I think we all feel that we will get crushed by everyone as they have all been training hard in our absence. In my first returning class I was matched with a blue belt who always used to beat me and to my absolute shock I easily triangled him with a simple set up I had observed and practiced in my solo drills. I submitted him twice more that night despite never having done it before. I say this only to illustrate the point that TIME OFF DOES NOT HAVE TO BE TIME LOST. Keep your body in shape, your mind active, and use solo drills as a boxer uses shadow boxing and you can come back better than ever!

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