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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 11:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 270 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 821,097

One of your Favorites! In General Kokyu Probs: from Curse to Blessing in Under 2 Hrs Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #199 New 02-23-2006 10:26 AM
So I have Asthma. Or so I've been diagnosed. Finally. You'd think the four doctors I've had over the past six years would have taken a hint from all the wheezing, deep chest congestion and shallow breathing I'd been doing. So much for Kokyu.

Nonetheless, I've been managing. The new Ventolin inhaler proved a Godsend over the past weekend. But as I've been finding out, it's not going to be a picnic in the least. Couple this with having to work on an infuriating test technique (Ushiro Ryokatadori Nikkyo, Ura) with a heavy uke (Garry) and you have the makings of what would have been a very frustrating evening --- at least it was initially.

By the time Randori practice rolled around near the end of class, I decided I was going to take it easy. I figured that if I were faced with a similar real-life situation and had an Asthma attack, I should learn to be able to deal --- surprise, surprise --- with as little effort as possible. So I worked on fluidity, reacting to my ukes as gently and slowly as possible though I kept moving continuously as always. Much to my pleasure, I experienced the best two rounds of Randori I'd had in a very long time. I was barely winded, and it all felt (even a little too) easy.

God really works in mysterious ways. My breathing problems have been a bane for far too long...yet if they had never existed, I might never have had to force myself to alter my practice in such a beneficial way. Now it just comes down to continuing to do so in reaction to overly-aggressive ukes...part of me (the continually self-doubting part) wonders if perhaps my ukes were just going easy on me because they knew I wasn't feeling well...but I'll have to save that for another entry --- it's a whole other can of worms that will take some time to relate, that's for sure.
Views: 2925 | Comments: 2

RSS Feed 2 Responses to "Kokyu Probs: from Curse to Blessing in Under 2 Hrs"
#2 03-18-2006 06:18 PM
jducusin Says:
Hi Steve, I totally relate to you about Asthma forcing you to pay attention to one's breathing...I had already got into the habit of breathing rhythmically both as Nage and as Uke, but this has had the added perk of forcing me to relax as well. I was prescribed a Peak Flow Meter initially to help the doctor diagnose me with Asthma but have been considering using it to monitor my breathing during an attack. I too find that taking my inhaler just before class on a day that I'm having even slight symptoms greatly alleviates them later on. Best of luck to you as well!
#1 03-02-2006 03:39 PM
Yup, I've go Asthma too. I was diagnosed over 25 years ago (and I'm 33 years old now). I have become an expert in managing MY Asthma through experience, and with time, you will become an expert in managing yours as well. Aikido and Asthma go nicely together for me because both force me to relax and pay attention to breath. It seems like you quickly picked up on this in your rondori practice. For me, this is easier as nage as opposed to being uke. As uke, I like to keep a rythmic pattern of breath going as I 'attack' my partner. In other words, controlled deep breathing at my own pace is the way I approach being uke. This also relates to efficiency of movement as well. If I'm having a particularly bad day in terms of tightness in lungs, shortness of breath, allergies, etc, I'll take my inhaler shortly before class, and then I usually don't need it at all during class. Recently my doctor prescribed a Peek Flow Meter. It's basically a $16 plastic device I breathe into that shows me the amount of air my lungs are holding at that moment. I record the data on a record sheet and will show it to my doctor in a few months for medication management. I think this will be a helpful tool for me, but we shall see. I've found that my 1-year plus in aikido has greatly enhanced my aerobic abilities. We do alot of breath excercises and instructors many times emphasize coordination of movement with breath. Here's my perception albeit a very optimistic one: Because I have asthma, I am more aware of my breath during aikido practice and therefore I have an advantage over others that occasionally are aware of their breath. I manage my breath (and my asthma) constantly where others may not. I guess above all, I think each individual's asthma is a bit different, so manage it in a way that works best for you. Good luck and hope you find this comment as interesting as I found your blog. -Steve Morabito

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