View Full Version : Training again

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03-06-2008, 08:26 PM
After two clavicle breaks in 2007, and a 6 month hiatus from training, I got back on the mat tonight. It felt really good. There are more weapons classes offered at my dojo these days and so I may make use of swinging the sword to get back in, well, the swing of things.

I would love to hear from others who have come back to training after a time away and how that went. Especially how you may have overcome fears of re-injury, etc.


Trish Greene
03-07-2008, 10:13 AM
Hi Jenny,

I took a five month break from my dojo last year.Luckily my break wasn't from injuries. I am a working mom with two teenagers and I just got swamped with trying to balance everything.

I've been back on the mat for about two months now and I feel like I am rushing to catch up with the rest of the class and that my moves have been really sloppy! I am struggling right now. I am training twice a week ( as my schedule is allowing me ) and trying to get in as much training at home as I can.

Every time I berate myself, I keep thinking "just shut up and train!"

Sensei laughs at me and reminds me that it will come back as second nature again.

Janet Rosen
03-07-2008, 01:51 PM
You may want to check this round robin discussion on the issue that was the very first The Mirror column

Trish Greene
03-07-2008, 02:05 PM
Thank You Janet,

That article hit home with me - the banging on the steering wheel part brought me to tears of kinship with you! Many times since coming back into the dojo I let my frustration level get to me emotionally!

03-07-2008, 08:30 PM
I can completely sympathize with all in that I've managed to blow out one knee (requiring surgery) and both shoulders (one cortisone shot and several weeks of PT...so far). The knee required an ACL reconstruction with a patellar tendon graft. The joint is pretty stable, and I wear a Don Joy Female Fource Point brace at all times (having tried both custom and off the shelf braces, that is the only one that doesn't migrate to my ankle during practice). However, the tendon beneath my kneecap where the graft was taken still has a lovely case of chronic tendonitis. Backrolls and knee walking really aggravate it but I'm currently playing with some padded tape to see if I can give it more cushion.

The shoulders are vexing though. I've been battling injuries to both of them on and off for the better part of 8 months now. It started with an imbalance in the muscle strength that was supposedly corrected with PT. However, if I'm just a smidgen off on a forward roll and make first contact just above my elbow..wham it's out again. I did it again last night to my left one in fact. The docs I saw today want me to take an 8 week hiatus, which of course will put me past the next test date (and we only test twice a year). I can do technique (and iaido) all day long with no pain (except for an odd little mentsuki iriminage omote variation that my Sensei is currently obsessed with..), but rolls are a serious issue. I could go ahead and come to class, but I feel really selfish (and like a whiny little princess) by practicing technique but not being able to take ukemi.

The article talked about the fear of re-injury. I think that is one of the reasons why I keep re-injuring myself. I mentally berate myself for being able to take decent koshinage air but not a silly little seated forward roll. That tension and anticipation of pain build up, and I enter the roll without relaxing. Last night I was already tense about another issue, and sure enough, first left side roll got me. My upper arm hit the Within 10 minutes it was swollen to the point where I couldn't raise my arm above my shoulder.

And so I'm off to iaido land for the next two months. Maybe I can finally perfect that silent nukitsuke....:rolleyes: Or maybe not!

cherif morsi
03-08-2008, 06:35 AM
Hello Jenny

Can fully understand your frustrations.
I was in the same situation till 6 weeks ago when I had restarted Aikido after a couple of months of rest due to a type 3 shoulder AC joint separation by taking ukemi from guess what...koshinage. It took me till last week or so to overcome that bloody fear of taking ukemi and relax again but was fine. Just relax! It will come to you again just like that I think. Your body and your brain just need the right span of time to re-adjust again and that span of time I think differs from one person to the other. Train very safely again even if that implies not taking ukemi at all (and that is not being selfish as it is also the duty of other aikidokas in your dojo to respect your physical condition and recovery period IMHO) till you regain confidence again. The key here is self confidence.
Actually now I have a tennis elbow but I am still continuing to train but I learned to safely practice with injuries (still injuries that can be dealt with i.e. injuries that should not be aggravated by training!). You just adapt.
Just train and take it easy for a while till you regain your self confidence. Please let me know about the outcomes! Good luck Jenny!

03-08-2008, 07:59 AM
thank you for that article, Janet. Thanks for all the responses so far. Absolutely, the thing I was disregarding when I reinjured myself was what I knew to be true: I'm really afraid this will happen again and that is making me tense and much more likely to reinjure.

Six months off is the best thing I could possibly have done in this situation; I can see it now. I'm about to turn 40 and a year ago, only six months into aikido for the first time, I was finding I could take ukemi like a 25 yo. I have a lifelong athletic background and it was good to feel so physical again. The rolls were coming. the breakfalls were coming, and due to yudansha being out of town I unexpectedly found myself ukeing for a 3rd kyu test because my ukemi was so solid. It only took one bad roll and pushing my limits on the wrong day (I was tired, not feeling well, but wanting to do what was asked of me) to change everything--and this would have happened eventually. it could have been a lot worse.

in exchange for these injuries I've received gifts and understanding that would never have come except under duress. I didn't plan to break bones on the mat but the gifts have been huge. I don't want to break any more! it is not a fun change to become a 40 yo woman who is going to be moving gingerly out there possibly always. I was very attached to being female, graying, getting wrinkles, raising two young boys, and cutting loose on the mat and learning quickly. Defying expectations. Enter physical limitation and rehab. Enter reality.

Ego is so deceptive and seductive. Personal limitations are so inconvenient and humbling. Humility has above all been the central lesson in all of this. If I can keep that lesson in the center of my practice this will become the guide rather than the consequence of improper--for me--practice, whatever that means on a given day.

thanks, Cherif for your wishes--I will keep you posted.