Those of you who also read my print column in National Underwriter Life & Health will recall my mentioning that I’ve lost a lot of weight over the last year, in part thanks to a vegan diet, and in part due to an intense regiment of exercise, including regular martial arts training. I have dabbled in martial arts on and off in my lifetime, but this was the first time I ever trained seriously, and it’s been a hugely positive experience for me. My whole family is training, and we love it. We all work out at a terrific local dojo that historically had been a place to learn Taekwondo, but in recent years has become a mixed martial arts academy, teaching Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
I mention all of this because martial arts in general and mixed martial arts in particular have had an explosion in popularity in recent years, with the rise of pay-per-view events hosted by the Ultimate Fighting Championship. If you are unfamiliar with the UFC, all you really need to know are three things.
One, UFC bouts pit martial artists using a variety of different kinds of styles to punch, elbow, knee, kick and grapple each other. The fights are shorter and more intense than boxing, with a much higher chance of a bout ending ina knockout or a submission.
Two, the UFC has become so popular that in recent years, it has been the top-grossing pay-per-view enterprise in the world. Receipts for the upcoming UFC 129 on April 30 are at $11.1 million. Not bad for an outfit that runs about one event a month now, not to mention makes a fortune off of regular television programming and merchandising.
Three, as a result of the UFC’s popularity (not to mention its numerous competitors and amateur leagues) , mixed martial arts have also become highly popular, leading many new students to local schools in search of learning some combat skills. Which brings us to the subject of this particular blog post. As I searched through my daily intake of news items and press releases, I got an interesting bit from the American College of Emergency Physicians entitled, “Kung Fu Colitis: A Kick to the Gut Ends in the ER.”
The upshot of this medical journal entry, which went live today in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, is that a 21-year-old male went to the ER complaining of abdominal pain and blood in his stool after receiving a kick to the midsection during a jujitsu class. The guy completed the class, went home, but almost a day later was in so much pain he had to seek help. Ultimately, he was alright, though there is no mention of whether he ever returned to training. The most interesting point of the article was that it noted how ER visits thanks to martial arts injuries are not that unusual. Blunt force trauma injuries to the midsection, however, are. That might not remain the case as MMA gets ever more mainstream, and the article advises its readers to be on the lookout for ischemic colitis (swelling of the colon; what this patient had) as a possible condition when folks limp in from the workout floor.