I’ve been slip-sliding away the last few weeks. Low on energy, low on creativity, low, low, low in mood. Didn’t feel like I had much to say so I didn’t say anything.

I thought I could handle the one-day-at-a-time thing, which then segued into can-I-make-it-through-the-next-15 minutes?? thing, and hit bottom with the stay-in-the-moment thing.

Then I twisted my knee again in tae kwon do class Monday night. I fled the class, limped home, and spent the next two days with my knee iced and elevated.

Dang! And I was just getting the hang of dealing with life in 60-second packages!

It’s mostly my fault. I was cajoled to “work a little harder”, and I should have said no. That’s my responsibility.

But practicing tae kwon do has become more and more about saying no, with less and less to say “yes” to.

I’ve tried to go back to the martial arts half a dozen times now. I just can’t figure out how to practice safely. Looks like I need to explore that tai chi thing again.

I’m feeling overwhelmed with sadness about leaving, but also relieved. I’m beginning to realize how much I’m dreading another major injury.

Most people don’t see what the big deal is. They have no idea how much I’ve enjoyed my practice, nor what I’ve gotten from it.

I’ve learned the very definition of “perseverance” from my studies. Leaving feels like giving up on a very profound level.

It’s taught me so much about life, and about myself. That will be difficult to walk away from.

But if I don’t, I’m afraid I’ll be walking “funny” the rest of my life.

I’ll share my thoughts as I work through this, and I’ll know more after I see my doc after Christmas.

If anyone would like to pass on words of wisdom, I could use them now! I know I have much to be grateful for, but it’s still hard.

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

14 thoughts on “STARTING OVER AGAIN”

  1. I attended Tae Kwon Do Class for 4 years and really enjoyed it. I took Tai Chi for two years and also greatly enjoyed the martial arts. Tai Chi was good exercise like Tae Kwon Do but the Tai Chi was much better at centering my mind which is what I need. Now I’m trying yoga. Give Tai Chi a try you might find you really enjoy it. Take care of yourself!


  2. Ah, watch TLC. Those shows with names like, “Girl without a face,” or “Born with half a body.” I wonder if they make those shows to make the rest of us appreciate our own lives.

    My suggestion would be to honor what you’ve been given in martial arts, and let it go. Time to move gracefully into whatever is coming next for you.

    It’s like you said yourself with the big clean up — make space and see what happens.


  3. It must be frustrating to not be able to resume this sport you’ve loved and gotten good at.

    I’ve done tai chi, and recommend it as designed to be gentle on one’s body while yet making you stronger and more flexible. It feels different from other exercise programs and uses beautiful imagery. Seems like it would keep you active and allow healing from your injuries.


  4. My mom is a second or third(forgive me mom, I forget) dan in traditional shotokan karate but the last 18 months she’s been off active training (she does some of the kata only classes and occasionally helps instructs the ‘light’ classes) because the injuries were not healing well enough anymore.

    These days she does mild weight training, no bounce arts like tai chi and some yoga and is happier with less pain but it took a good year to finish mourning the change.

    Sometimes life is subtle when you need to get creative about your direction. Sometimes you get hit with a bat – or a wrenched knee. Here’s hoping the new year brings you some peace and creativity in this area of your life as well.


  5. Ouch!! (figuratively and literally)

    It’s painful when you’ve worked hard, and are starting to see the fruits of your labors . . . and then have that taken away by a body that just doesn’t work (and heal) the way it used to.

    Is there really no way to take a half-step back in your studies, to accomodate the joints that have become prone to injury? To undertake a kata practice with no contact, to avoid certain forms that put your knee in jeopardy? Or is that too much like continuing to say “no” over and over?

    I feel for you. I can see things that I will HAVE to let go due to the constraints of aging flesh, and it ain’t pretty. But I will use every modification I can conceive of to allow me to reap the benefits of the activities I love.

    I trust that you, too, will find a way. Blessings on you.


  6. Not doing something which will injure you is a mature cecision. You are not done with such things; just need to modify your practice or find another enjoyable activity.


  7. My husband is a 6th degree black belt in Hap Ki Do. He owns his own martial arts studio. I was telling him about your blog and we both had the same conclusion. You don’t need to quit but you might look at finding a different instructor or school. One that wouldn’t push you to “work a little harder”. An instructor is there to protect their students and not push them to the point of injury. Hope your feeling better


  8. This is a purely practical suggestion, as I know next to nothing about martial arts: get yourself some arch supports (the hard kind, not the soft ones) and wear them in your shoes (“tie” shoes work best) at all times. I was having a hard time getting up and down stairs (my studio is up!) until a chiropractor told me about the supports. I have no pain at all now. He says that knee pain comes from our feet not landing correctly and that the next phase is hip pain/problems. It took about three weeks to get used to them, but they worked for me; maybe they would help your situation, too. Good luck with whatever you decide.


  9. My heart goes out to you! It’s like the wave of relief and wave of grief run on parallel tracks, and to move to relief is like leaping off the train–scary. The sadness around perseverance resonates with me–letting go of something often feels like failure in my life–like when I realized I didn’t want to write poetry any more, I wanted to make art. I was afraid I would dissolve, nothing of me left. I’ve read your blog for awile, and see your perseverance in following your artist’s heart.


  10. You know, they have all said it better than me. Letting go of something treasured is hard. Time spent looking for ways to adapt a practice to your needs is also hard. I hope something really clicks for you soon – either a new area, or a new way of accomplishing an older skill.


  11. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your suggestions and support.

    You’ve all touched on a different aspect of this difficult decision, and you all added something unique to the conversation.

    The martial arts were the first sport/activity I really sank into whole-heartedly. I’ve practiced ten out of the last 18 years. (My first debilitating injury, the torn ACL, kept me away for eight years…) I never missed a day of class (unless I was physically unable to get there).

    I gave it my all, and it took me to so many new places, mentally, physically, spiritually. Even artistically, as the lessons it taught me carried over into my life as an artist.

    Even coming back to it after injuries took a courage and determination I never knew I had.

    Walking away is incredibly hard.

    I think a combination of yoga, pilates, Tai Chi and the occasional bag work will tide me over for the next year or so. Until you’ve done it, you have no idea how satisfying slugging & kicking a bag can be!

    Barbara, thank you for your suggestions, and I’m way ahead of you–I’ve been relegated to orthotic inserts for the past year! Don’t leave home without ’em… :^)


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