View Full Version : Surgeons and Martial Arts
11-18-2008, 06:35 PM
Do any of you budding surgeons out there train in any martial arts?
This may or may not be a silly question, but I am an avid karateka and a person who is developing an interest in surgery. Does the potential for damaging your hands with this sort of activity give you any pause at all?
Thanks for your insight!
04-02-2009, 09:40 AM
this is probably the coolest post on premed101
04-02-2009, 09:58 AM
06-19-2009, 03:58 PM
Though someone appears to have brought this post back from the dead, I found it interesting and perhaps someone else might too.
Though I am realistic enough to know my interests might change before I actually match, I find myself attracted to surgery. I did a year-long elective in a surgical speciality during MedI, and another surgical elective during one of my summers. I also happen to train in martial arts. I have trained/instructed for about 18 years in Chito-Ryu Karate, and have held the rank of Shodan since 2001.
Your question isn't that silly at all. Well before I applied to medical school the thought did cross my mind about damaging my hands with some of the hardcore training some instructors seem to love. I remember many borderline insane drills, that some instructors felt would "toughen" up the hands, that often caused some skinned knuckles or sore hands.
However, I think it would take pretty severe damage to your hands to have an impact on your ability as a future surgeon. I don't think you need worry beyond that of any other person that participates in a relatively active sport. I have also encountered many successful surgeons that come from salt-of-the-earth background that definately gave their hands a beating, including work on a farm, as a stonemason, on an oilrig, heavy construction, or even pulling lobster traps.
That said, it can't hurt to steer clear of avoidable injury regardless of your career. Martial arts can be challenging training, but most people can draw the line when things get too dangerous (be it injury to your hands or your body or your noggin). If someone asks you to punch a brick wall 1,000 times then pound your hands into a bucket of glass shards.... that would be a time to steer your training in a slightly different direction.
On a somewhat funny note, I remember going to my MMI interview with my forearms completely covered with nasty looking bruises after a sparring session with a few friends. Thankfully I wore a suit and a shirt with long sleeves. Little did my interviewers know! Although I remember wincing a few times when I bumped my arm occasionally.
06-19-2009, 10:56 PM
I had really bad aches in my hands (radiating as far as my shoulders) during boxing, bruised some nerves, as well. But once a month passed, everything was back to normal. That said, I know at least one person who broke his hand boxing - doesn't have to be a brick wall with bare hands, he broke it on his opponent's face (and he wore gloves, too, altho only 8 oz). But like mentioned above...just use some discretion. Don't ever hit the heavy bag without gloves on - I recently went to a kickboxing class where I was expected to do that and I just walked out as soon as he said I couldn't wear gloves for that part.
06-21-2009, 07:28 PM
Thanks for all the replies!
BlackJack - hilarious! I wish I would have known about that years ago...
MSc-micro and Jochi - thanks for your insight! We actually do very little impact work in our training (something that I think we need more of, but that's a topic for another forum altogether), so injury from frequently smacking a heavy bag or makiwara isn't really a concern. I'm more likely to hurt myself (and have, in the past) clashing with a sparring partner. Thanks for sharing your experiences!
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