When I was in high school, I had a friend who began to take Muay Thai. He enjoyed the martial arts classes considerably, though I don’t know how long he continued to practice. I do remember that he told me once that hard-core Muay Thai practitioners would kick so that their shins would hit posts in order to break the shin bone minutely so that it might knit together stronger than before.

I thought that this was absolutely crazy.

I still think it’s going too far.

But my practice of box jumping has given me a new perspective on the concept of, “no pain, no gain.”

It’s funny that even though I was nervous the first time I did box jumps at CrossFit, I was able to do it. I did it, and I gained confidence right up to the point where I fell and scraped a layer of skin off my right shin. The bruise was a doozy, and I can actually still see the mark it left on my skin back in January.

Since the rec center installed platforms that I could use to practice, I’ve acquired three more bruises from missed jumps. They all hurt a lot at the time, and weren’t that big of a deal a couple hours later. Every time I missed a jump, I made sure to do another one right after, so I couldn’t make it a big deal in my mind again.

Still, I find myself starting to hyperventilate during the jumps, because I don’t like getting bruised, even if it is on my shin, and doesn’t interfere with functional movement much.

This morning, I asked one of the CrossFit trainers for advice about box jumping higher. She told me that it was mainly a mental thing, and showed me how her legs were marked up from missed attempts that had broken her skin down to the bone. Shin pads might help, but it was more about what I thought than a specific power movement or technique.

I’m not sure I agree. I feel like there has to be some component of fitness to it that influences the maximum height someone can jump, not to mention factors of weight and height. I’ll just have to accept that at my height and weight and muscle composition, I can’t jump higher than I’m already jumping.

If such things were ranked, then my mind would have a black belt in coming up with excuses for not doing things that scare me.

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