Has anyone ever had an umbilical hernia, had it repaired, and after the appropriate recovery time, returned to active sparring? I practice Taekwondo point sparring and wondered if that was going to be a possibility. I will be seeing a doctor and following their advice, but since sparring is not a common activity for adults where I live, I wanted to see if anyone here has had a similar issue and was able to return. I only do recreational point-sparring (harder at testing), but definitely not full contact. We do not wear hogus or chest protectors but that would not be an issue if that allowed me to spar. I was just interested if the scar area would be able to withstand direct contact. I’m female, early 40s— not sure if that matters on the injury or not. Thanks In advance.

  • 2
    I disagreed with the close vote; on the face of it, this is off-topic (health/medical advice). However, the question is asking if anyone has personal experience of returning to sparring after surgery. I don't believe that is off-topic.
    – Mike P
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 10:12
  • If I answer that I returned in n days, and OP uses that as an anchor and gets injured, then (at least in the USA) OP can sue me for giving medical advice. I would prefer to avoid questions that are lawsuit bait. While I agree with you that the question is on the right side of the law, the law is set up in the USA to make lawsuits a heckler's veto.
    – MCW
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 12:23

1 Answer 1


First and foremost listen to your doctor's advice; if they say don't spar, don't spar!

If you are unable to spar for medical reasons, it should be removed from your tests (with something else added in its place); there is plenty to do in Taekwondo (and almost every martial art) that does not require sparring and there are techniques and skills involved that you can still excel in!

Make sure you have an open discussion with your instructors about this; if they are unwilling to make allowances in their classes to suit your needs then perhaps finding a school that will is best.

If you are able to spar and are still worried about contact to that area, look at what additional protection is available. Your instructors may be able to help with this; a hogu might be a good place to start. I wear a full back protector in competition (and sparring training) to protect an old injury; other than declaring it when I enter tournaments (both to the chief umpire before the start and the referees on my ring before competing) it is never a problem.

  • Thank-you for your reply. I am not worried about my instructor- he is very accommodating about injuries and whatever physical he can come up with in place of sparring will be challenging. I would just like to spar.I’m also concerned about how long the recovery time will be before I am able to do forms and kick. Thank you for your answer and support. Hoping I won’t need surgery or that it can be delayed, but I will definitely follow my doctor’s directions.
    – ksp08
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 11:41
  • @ksp08 your health should be number 1. Take the recovery seriously - you may be able to do some therapies to speed it along, again consult your doctor - make sure you tell them your aims. Surgery these days is so much better than it used to be and the recovery times much more reasonable - if surgery means you have a few months out but come back without the risk of another hernia - the rest of your life is worth a few months out of training surely? As a side note - some of my students have gone away for a while for one reason or another - they are always welcomed back with more love than ever
    – Collett89
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 11:56
  • Yes, ma’am. Don’t worry— my husband is a surgeon. I won’t be cheating recovery time for kicking. :)
    – ksp08
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 12:55
  • 1
    One week out from surgery- walking a lot, doing some slow, low kicks (just in air), walking through forms. So far, so good.
    – ksp08
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 1:46
  • 1
    Follow up visit- healing nicely.
    – ksp08
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 14:01

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