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I’ve had knee issues in the past, but most of the time they didn’t keep me from fighting.
When I’ve won the backkick-destruction event at the open style TKD world championships in Birmingham, UK, back in 2007, I made my first attempt with my left (weaker) leg because I was suffering from a damaged meniscus in my right knee. I kicked right through those boards and on the second take I used my right leg – there was only me and one irish competitor left, so I was like „what the heck“ – and decided those championships. My knee wasn’t „ok“ then, but I was able to kick, and hard to that.

After that day, I took a break to spare my knee. According to the doctors, a couple of weeks rest and everything was going to be fine.
Well, it was.
For a while.

Last year, I’ve decided to participate in the WTKA world championships under K-1 rules in october 2008. Needless to say, my training was made up of loads of anaerobic exercise, coupled with muay-thai sparring and technique. All of this went well until august. Then, my knee called for attention again. Being determined to fight, I continued to train, working through the pain in every workout.

Well, I know I shouldn’t have, but I guess everyone of you guys knows what it’s like to really want something.

Needless to say, I didn’t fight. My knee troubles got worse, there were times when my girl had to half-carry me up the stairs because I was unable to do a single step with my right leg.

I’ve been through all the doctors and hospitals, did magnetic resonance analysis not once but three times and ended up with three different diagnoses. The mutual consent of all the doctors was quite simple – spare the knee, see if the pain goes away. (Do I have to mention it didn’t?)
If the pain wasn’t to magically disappear in a couple of months, I was to come back and have the knee examined again.

It’s not as if I try to find a solution myself.

I’ve tried to cure the knee with voltaren, an anti-inflammatory gel. Althought the swelling did actually go away, the pain remained.
After that, I’ve tried „Bowen“, an australian therapy aimed at acitivating the body’s immune system and accelerating the healing process. Didn’t do a thing.
Then, I tried shiatsu-therapy once a week. That actually did take some pain away from me, but that was only the regular, training-induced muscle pain that comes and goes, my knee remained problematic.

Due to the missing results from all other measures, the way I chose to go due to the is to simply train – I’ve spent the last 6 or 7 months doing specific rehab / prehab training, functional stength training and lots of proprioceptive exercise to work those muscles around the knee. Now, I can do pistol-squats (a.k.a unilateral squats) with around 20kg of additional weight without pain again, so I guess I’m going in the right direction.

Although hard kicking still leaves me uneasy (and sometimes in pain), I’ve decided to get in shape for the TAGB British Championships on November, 22nd.

If the situation gets out of the hand again, I’ll skip the championships (yeah, I’m actually capable of learning) and have the doctors check the knee with an arthroscopy to finally get an answer.

Until then, for approximately the next eight weeks, my training will be aimed at building a solid physical base and fine-tuning my technique (especially kicking and straight blasts, since that’s what really counts in open-style TKD fights).

Below, I’ll outline the basic structure of my training week. The program begins today (already started the day with my steady-state cardio) but will certainly be fine-tuned in the next weeks.

The program

Day Morning Noon Evening
Monday Steady state cardio
(Running, approx. 1 hour)
off Technique/Tactics
Tuesday off Technique / Tactics Lower-body power-work
Wednesday Steady state cardio
(Running, approx. 1 hour)
off Technique / Tactics
Thursday Kicking class Upper-body power-work off
Friday off off Boxing class
Saturday off off Hiit running
(60 sec jog, 30 sec sprint)
Sunday off off off

As mentioned before, this is a rough layout, I’m pretty sure I’ll fine-tune the program in the next week or two. Also, note that this is off-season training. I’ll use July and August to set up a solid base, after that I’ll reduce volume and increase intensity gradually until I peak on November 22nd.

I plan on using september for lots of max-effort strength training to boost my 1-rm max on the deadlift (currently ~140 kg / ~ 308lbs), the bench press (currently ~115 kg / ~253lbs) and the squat (haven’t tested for a long time due to beforementioned knee injury). Also, I’ll move my running to the track (whereas now I’m mostly running in the nature) and force 400m and 800m sprints.

Finally, I’ll use october to fine-tune my nervous system and reduce training to sparring and tactics.

November will mostly be made up up short, explosive training sessions and some sparring.

Anyways, I’ll keep you informed on my progress and go into more detail on what I do in which workout in my next posts.

Until then,
take care

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