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Power and Age
Advice for the Older Fighter

A very good, very loyal and very powerful friend of mine has recently had an injury in a power lifting contest. It is a bicep tear for which the window of surgical opportunity unfortunately had to pass. Fortunately, as he soldiers on, he has a base to build on, already being three times as strong as this writer, for instance.

His injury is one which I have not experienced, so was unable to give any specific advice. Bicep tears seem to afflict the powerful man like back injuries afflict the narrow-assed among us. What I can offer is advice for weathering a serious performance-impinging injury while in the winter of your fighting life.

My own experience in this is with rupturing the flexor tendon on both forearms at the same time. This occurred because of three converging factors:

1. I had been stabbing hard men with blunt knives for 15 years. These stabs, often delivered with full bodyweight in a lunge, transferred stress to my flexor tendons when the dull blade failed to pierce the body.

2. I had hit age 50, solidly into middle-aged degradation of tendon elasticity.

3. I was pushing my power ceiling with hours of power-hitting on the bag per week, over working these tendons.

How did I remain active and able to defend myself and impose my will?

It was a matter of managing the converging factors. Now that I was injured, since connective tissue never returns to better than 80% after 10 months, any one of these converging factors can, by themselves, ruin me further.

1. I stopped stabbing with the knife in sparring and competition, except to the face mask.

2. There is nothing I can do about aging and must accept that this will eventually kill me, so must improve my methodology to be less reliant on strength and power.

3. I have to be content with maintaining the power which I have. I still hit harder than most competitive stick-fighters half my age. I do maintenance training, relying on surrounding muscles and tendons for support and refine my technique to further reduce stress on the injured part.

I don’t know anything about power lifting and what I suggested to my friend was that he maintain his existing strength by giving up competition [which I too have done] and focusing on technique, keeping our eye on the ultimate goal, to be able to defend our loved ones and our honor and in the end go down fighting.

Stay strong, BROTHER.

Twerps, Goons and Meatshields: The Basics of Full Contact Stick-Fighting

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