Why I Trained through a Migraine

My migraines come in two varieties. The horrible Godzilla ones where I am so grumpy and in pain, I want to stomp on a city or two, and my debilitating Ghidorah ones where everything hurts so badly, I am suddenly cool with the alien hydra destroying the planet if it means some peace and quiet.

Today, it was a Godzilla one, a pain in my head that made every bit of light and sound feel like an attack against my nervous system. I was still mobile, but I was in pain and angry and really not in the mood to get out of bed, let alone take an online Krav Maga class.

So, why not go back under the covers and nap, instead of fighting my way through sensory overload that makes me even more clumsy and spatially challenged and confused than normal?

I asked myself the question the entire class, as I struggled through remembering combinations and trying to spar an imaginary partner, as every sound stabbed into my body.

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My training area, and my adorable bear for moral support and aiming

The answer is counter-intuitive. I might be in agony, but the movement really does help my pain overall. By exercising, I bring oxygen to the cells of my body, which helps my body heal itself. By trial and error, I’ve learned that pushing the misery through reduces the time overall.

Lying in bed is easier and less painful, but it also means my day is done. I’ll be lying under the covers for hours, a prisoner to my migraine. That’s not a life I can handle. Some migraines will be the big ones, and I will have to rest them out, but if I can offer my body a fighting chance, it’s so worth it.

Of course, it’s not fun while it happens. Going up and down made me dizzy, more than two steps to a technique lost me, and I really hate canoe pose when my head already aches. I was running on pure spite, stubbornness, and the promise of some mango if I finished the class.

Of course, Raz Chen chose today to bring out my worst nemesis, the Russian slide movement for striking. This requires coordination, something that has never been my strong point. As I stumbled about and mumbled some rather unladylike words, I am so grateful that I was muted. My frustration grew and my language got saltier, as I seemed to be unable to even remember what I should be doing.

Then Raz said the words that made tears come to my eyes. “I need to challenge the advanced students.” I am technically an advanced student, based on the fact that I’ve reached four digits in terms of my class count, but I was struggling through even the simplest combinations. I couldn’t be challenged further, because I still had so much to do where I was.

So now my body had a migraine and my ego was bruised. Just what I needed.

Still, I continued moving my body and got my blood pumping. I modify myself and just keep moving. I go through the same combination over and over, trying to force my body to start working semi-properly again.

By the end of class, I still hadn’t mastered the Russian slide, but the tightness around my brain had loosened up and I was actually feeling a lot better. It’s an incredible feeling to take steps to heal yourself.

Disabilities take my power from me, but persisting gives me the hope that step by step, I will overcome my challenges.

I think of what Raz says. “It’s about the practice itself. It’s not about where you are getting, but how and why.”

Why am I doing this? To be a safer, healthier, more confident person, to become more attuned with my body, and to stretch myself in ways I never thought possible.

How am I doing this? By working hard and putting in the time and being willing to persist in the face of adversity.

I fought a migraine and won. That is pretty awesome.

Maybe I really am an advanced student.

Writer, lawyer, Kravist, friend

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