For most of the current year, I have had a problem with my right knee. Torn meniscus that caused a wonderful stabbed-in-the-knee-with-an-icepick pain with any torque. I had surgery, and in theory, once it heals, it'll be almost as good as new. Not quite, of course, but with luck, close enough so I won't notice it much.
If you are a martial artist, it is easy, I think, to feel confident if you are fit, strong, fast, and trained. Take away some of these things, and that changes.
In our art, my teacher has a saying, "Your silat is only as good as your legs." By which he means that we have to do a shitload of leg training ...
But -- if your legs aren't so good, then what? Does that mean what you have is no good?
Since I've been dealing with this -- to a relatively minor degree -- since the spring, my answer is, no, it doesn't mean that. It might mean it isn't as good as it could be. Or, maybe it doesn't. Because if if you need a crosspoint screwdriver and all you have is a regular flat-blade, you can sometimes make do.
Fortunately, in our version of silat, the art is positional -- i.e., it is based not on speed and power, but on position and timing. Being able to dart about hither and yon like a gazelle is useful, but not always necessary. If I can see you coming far enough away, I might be able to hobble into a place where I can be ready when you arrive.
What that means in practice is that I have to pay better attention, because I need more time than when I was Nijinsky and could leap about with nimble alacrity.
One learns to compensate for handicaps. It is good to know that you can, and the best way to find out is to have to do it.
I knew this in theory, of course, since compensation has been part and parcel of my entire life, but the actual doing of it the last few months was a good lesson. Even if my knee heals and lets me get back to where I was before, learning how to deal with a nagging injury has been most useful. There are enough tools in the box so that some things can be substituted if necessary.
I think the proper attitude is, "Yeah, I'm a crippled, slow, old man, but I can still take you out ..."