How I hurt my knee. It is no secret that I have a ginky knee. Let me tell you the story. Back when I was still relatively new at taekwondo I took a university sports class with a fellow named Don Burns, at Indiana University, Bloomington Indiana. Mind you, I was fat and was badly out of shape. Burns was as well, although he had all sorts of important sounding rankings (turned out later these were awarded by his students and were essentially worthless). His idea of getting us to workout was to bark orders at us and really before I knew how to kick well, he was having us do flying side kicks. I landed with my left leg locked out and blew the knee out. He barked at me to get back in there and do it again, and I blew it out a second time. I was in university and the student health service misdiagnosed what was actually an anterior cruciate ligament ACL) tear with a medial collateral ligament strain. For your information, a torn ligament can be re-attached surgically only within the first 72 hours. After that it is not possible to fix it and the ligament dissolves.
It was only later that I had the great and good fortune to meet up with Dr. John McCarroll, a well repsected knee specialist. I got one of the earliest ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) rebuilds, in which the middle of the knee ligament is removed and threaded through a hole bored in the shin, replacing the missing ACL. The reconstruction was pretty successful, although since there was no real guideline for recovery, I was on crutches too long and ended up having to learn how to walk again. On the balance, this meant I made great and good headway when I got a new hip. I have restricted motion and if I don’t mind to avoid certain sorts of shearing actions it will swell impressively.
In my opinion, Mr. Burns teaching was flatly incompetent and he showed a criminal negligence for the welfare of his students. This is the origin of my realization that there are no standards in the martial arts, that rank has no real meaning of competence, and that any idiot can proclaim himself a master. I get to think of Mr. Burns everyday as a result of this and it serves as a reminder of exactly how I don’t want to train my own students.