A Black Belt at 50′s latest post got me to thinking about hip replacements and martial arts.
The doctor’s first reactions: “That looks like it hurts. And we’ve replaced hips that looked a lot better than that.”
Those of you hailing from the kicking arts may not know it but hip replacements are pretty common. Examples: Bill Wallace had both hips replaced whereas Chuck Norris replaced one. Both of these martial artists are famous for their high kicking ability. Even a quick search on Mr. Google reveals a variety of martial arts styles and martial artists who have gone through this procedure.
I know one prominent martial arts blogger and one taekwondo master from my old group of TKD schools that have both gone through hip replacements. Is the hip damage indicative of kicking arts or does it have something to do with hard arts and high impact activities? I’m thinking the latter but the kicking can’t help!
The only unfortunate part of training in hard systems so long is the toll it inevitably takes on your body. After two shoulder surgeries, one knee surgery and two hip replacements I feel fortunate to be living in a time when these parts can be fixed or replaced.
My wife has an uncle who is active in golf and tennis. At a family gathering a few years ago he and I chatted about hip replacements (lame topic). Many of his friends who bike, run, golf, and play tennis have gone through hip replacements. Apparently the peddlers of hip replacements get famous athletes to endorse their products. So, one of his pals has the “Arnold Palmer” while another has the “Jack Nicklaus”. Incidentally both Palmer and Nicklaus have had hip surgeries.
Why am I thinking about this? I’m 45 and, largely due to 18 years of running, in 2001 I had to have the “Peyton Manning” done to my neck. Also, five years ago during my black belt run in taekwondo, my right hip was giving me a lot of warning signs and pain. I’m sure all the prior years of running did not help, however, taekwondo’s high kicks only made things worse.
Since having retired from taekwondo the right hip has been eminently better. Preying Mantis kung fu bothered my hip half as much as taekwondo. This largely due to the fact that our kicking focus was waist or lower. During my brief time with that reality self-defense system group and cardio kick class we’d occasionally take the kicks higher. Naturally, when we did my hip would bother me more.
My at-home bag work and mook jong work is almost exclusively low kicks now. Occasionally I’ll throw a high crescent or front snap kick but that’s about it. For sure I’ve taken high round kicks off the table. Also, at best, I review these kicks bi-monthly which is far less than the ridiculous amount of kicking we did in taekwondo.
Where does that leave me? Most likely looking for a softer art. The only challenge here will be what this new city offers. If traditional tai chi, chin na or baguazang was offered in this region I’d be in like flint. Unfortunately the area is lousy with hard arts. While aikido is not without it risks, I do know from the dozen or so lessons I experienced that it did not bother my hip at all.
Regardless, this post is something for the under 30 hard arts crowd to consider.