View Full Version : Poll: Have you ever been afraid of hurting someone unintentionally during aikido practice?

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AikiWeb System
02-17-2002, 12:11 PM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of February 17, 2002:

Have you ever been afraid of hurting someone unintentionally during aikido practice?

I don't do aikido

Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=100).

Brian H
02-17-2002, 01:08 PM
I accept the risk that martial arts are dangerous and the world as a whole is full of risk. I was reading some quotes from Teddy Roosevelt that maybe on point:

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

"We need the iron qualities that go with true manhood. We need the positive virtues of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will, of power to do without shrinking the rough work that must always be done." - Theodore Roosevelt

When you play, play hard; when you work, don't play at all.
Theodore Roosevelt

Nine-tenths of wisdom consists in being wise in time.

Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, "Certainly I can!" - and get busy and find out how to do it.

"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out where the strong man stumbled, or where a doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, and who comes up short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause. The man who at best knows the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly, so that his place will never be with those cold timid souls who never knew victory or defeat."
---Teddy Roosevelt

Last Quote from TR (who if I'm not mistaken was give afew Aiki-jutsu leasons):

Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.
Theodore Roosevelt

Quotes from:

Jim ashby
02-17-2002, 03:39 PM
No I'm not afraid of inadvertently hurting someone. If I spent all of my time worrying about all the possible consequences of training I'd never get on the mat. Another good quote (don't know who it's from) "doing a martial art and complaining about injuries is like p*ssing in your own bathwater and then complaining about the taste"
Have fun

02-17-2002, 04:28 PM
To me the question is like asking 'are you afraid of crashing your car when you drive (or your jet when you fly ;) )'. If I am working with someone whose ukemi ability I think might not be up to the technique, I modify it, slow down, or don't throw them. If it is my skill in the technique I question, I slow down. I think the only time I'd have to be afraid would be if I hadn't taken the responsible steps to mitigate risk.

02-17-2002, 04:28 PM

Jim - You drink your bathwater? :confused:

I could understand the qoute if it was p*ssing in your own beer and then complaining about the taste, but bathwater? Oh well, to each his own :rolleyes:

OK, now seriously. I'm with the rest of you fellows on this one. If you spend your time training worrying about injuring someone, you will inevitably, even though inadvertently, hurt someone. This is that whole self-fulfilled prophecy thing.

I train to learn not to hurt people, although occasionally a sore wrist occurs. Hmm, it's all in the name of progress. How does that saying go, "you've got to break a few eggs to make an omlet." Now don't misunderstand, I do not condone needless roughhousing or contests of strength that may lead to injury in the dojo. But the simple fact of the matter is, no matter how hard you try to prevent injury and no matter how much you worry about hurting someone, it will happen. When it does happen, learn from it, and don't do the same thing again.

p.s. Colleen - you posted while I was composing my message. Please disregard the "fellows" reference. Have a good day ma'am.

02-17-2002, 06:35 PM
I never had really worried about hurting someone during my time in Aikido until I did it Friday night in practice. Had someone (relatively inexperienced) in sankyo and that person thought they could get out. Bad move on Uke's part as they ended up with a VERY sore sprained wrist. I felt bad about it over the weekend, but have come to the realization that what we do has an inherent danger to it and sometimes people get hurt, especially when they should have taken ukemi. On the other side, it made me realize that I need to continue to make sure I take care of my partners as much as possible without worrying so much as to destroy my own practice.

02-17-2002, 06:42 PM
I guess that rather than being afraid that I would hurt someone, I've been afraid quite a bit when after a throw, uke is slow to get up that I have hurt someone (I haven't as of yet, though . . . yet evileyes :))

In Colleen's analogy with the car, I'm not afraid of crashing when I drive, but if I have a near miss, I am a lot more conscious of my ability to harm, and much more cautious and nervous for a while afterward. Similarly, if you throw someone, and s/he is possibly hurt, you have a slight fear of hurting anyone else afterward, and you may become more cautious (at least I do).

I answered "yes," even though I don't have a constant fear of hurting my uke. I like to throw hard (only when I know my uke can take it, of course :)) but even so, there is always a little twinge of worry in the back of my mind, but I accept that I may hurt someone, as I accept that I may get injured myself (though I try to avoid both). It's a part of the art, and it wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable without the pain. ;)


02-17-2002, 07:10 PM
Sure I worry - safety and control first.

Dean H.
02-17-2002, 08:24 PM
Originally posted by AikiWeb System
AikiWeb Poll for the week of February 17, 2002:

Have you ever been afraid of hurting someone unintentionally during aikido practice?

I don't do aikido

Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=100).

I always worry in randori, especially when I have very little preparation time before an attack. This is why I always go straight into the move, but then adjust to the situation as best as I can. :blush:

02-17-2002, 08:43 PM
Maybe I am thinking of fearing hurting someone differently than most...

To me, there is the knowledge that done incorrectly harm can be done (driving drunk is stupid, road rage is stupid) but with that the responsibility to drive correctly and sober. I have a lot more control on the mat than I do in my car (in some ways another good anology as I drive a sports car in an area filled with SUVs).

OTOH, I don't, to my knowledge, throw hard (to me different from 'train hard'), I try to give no 'added value' to the attacker's energy---my goal is to use their force, not mine. Luckily, many with ukemi that could be greatly improved are beginners, who either do not put a lot of energy into an attack, or at least keep in mind the warning I give them of 'don't attack harder or faster than you can fall'. There's one large senior kyu in this group--- she's to me the equivalent of a car dangerously out of control on the road, but on the mat I can limit her damage much more easily. I leave her to the big blackbelts, or work with her when I know it's an easy fall, or just let her throw me.

At my first dojo, if a collision occured sensei took to task the two most senior students in each pair, regardless of who threw whom. I think this was good in getting people to better watch their surroundings. If you were uke, you kept SA (situational awareness) and didn't let your kohai partner toss you into someone. If I am working with a beginner, especially on a crowded mat, I try to use a corner, and throw to the outside, since they can occasionally land in an unexpected place, and sometimes get up slowly and with poor SA.

I try to maintain awareness of my partner, and what his body is telling me, at all times. If I feel the slack is out of his joint and he's fighting the technique (beginners and sankyo are the only time this has happened with me), I let him go. I figure if I had it correctly, he'd get hurt. If I had it wrong, it wasn't going to work at that point and a different approach was needed anyway.

If he's a beginner and I think he just didn't know he was in danger from the joint lock, rather than do the technique I offer to show him how to avoid pain in that technique, put him gently into it, tell him how to get the pain off (eg, 'face your center to mine and get it lower and closer' nikkyo), put more on, have him readjust a few times, then start again and have him slowly move in the wrong direction (the one usually found so naturally by beginners). I count it as my four turns, and a great investment in a partner who won't do something dangerous the next time.

I do atemi slowly at beginners (and the occasional heavy footed senior). The kind of 'space saver' atemi, that just keeps uke from moving into me, I don't worry about with anyone. Only really big guys run their faces into my hand, and I figure it can't hurt or they wouldn't do it so often.:rolleyes:

So I just don't see how someone is going to get hurt at my hands. I've had large friends point out that big guys worry about it because of their size...maybe that is so, but I think if they keep in mind the little ukes are generally faster and more flexible, they'd realize how difficult it is to damage us. If I drove too fast, hogged the road, changed lanes erraticly, didn't pay attention...yes, I should be afraid of crashing my car. But if I go no faster than road conditions allow, allow for stupid moves on other drivers part, don't fight over the right of way, stay alert... well, many decades of driving and no crashes. I think my Aikido life will go about the same.

02-17-2002, 10:02 PM
It seems that most injuries in dojos are by far due to Uke crashing into eachother rather that nage inflicting injury on Uke.

My own injuries confirm the statistics as recently during a throw I landed on someone already on the mat, who received my heel directly on the face. On another occasion, while on the mat, someone just did tenkan into my left kidney and it was very painful and swollen for a few weeks.

So in this respect, it is nage's responsibility to make sure he throws Uke into a safe area, but more often than not, adrenaline rush takes control and Uke is thrown carelessly.


02-18-2002, 06:07 AM
The only time that I have feared injuring someone is when they come back to the mat after injury. if it has been a long period off the mat then they sometimes lose their timing or hold back when they shouldnt and can get injured again.

I have never been worried at any other time

02-18-2002, 06:46 AM
Supporting Edwards views, the worst injury I have caused is accidently throwing someone into a kneeling person on the mat. They were struck in the kidneys and went unconcious immediately (I think they may have stopped breathing as well as they vomitted when they came round - can't remember if there was resucitation, I think there was).

Also, I have dislocated someones shoulder due to the ukemi (they were quite experienced but it was quite a high throw and a bit awkward). Most injuries I have caused to myself (poor ukemi, stabbing myself with live blades, or not moving correctly during an attack).

I think injuries are part and parcel of everyday life. I've had as many injuuries out of the dojo as in it. You should only be afraid of injuring people if you apply technques without control. As Colleen says, with beginners you can't expect a beautiful ukemi, so you have to the technique appropriately. To me there should be a balance between realism and safety (after all its no point putting yourself out of action). Ideally no injuries are caused but if there is too much caution the aikido will suffer.


Randy Pertiet
02-18-2002, 08:05 AM
Originally posted by AikiWeb System
AikiWeb Poll for the week of February 17, 2002:

Have you ever been afraid of hurting someone unintentionally during aikido practice?

I don't do aikido

Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=100).

As for myself, I'm a newbe in Aikido (4 months) and being a "big guy" (6'4", 300lbs.), I think about an incorrect move, going too fast, etc. I know this will change in time as I gain more experience and time on the mat, but boy do I like Aikido!!!:D

02-18-2002, 02:26 PM
I'm afraid always at the end of long and crowded seminars. To hurt someone and to get hurt. After a week of training with a minimum of sleep (or none at all in some cases + party all night :freaky: ), the most injuries happen in the last two lessons because some people are barely able to stand and walk straight....But you know the worst cases after a while...


Pam Callea
02-21-2002, 05:41 PM
I’m new to Aikido (and posting on this site). I believe the word most are missing is “ever” in the poll question. I said “yes” remembering that with in my first few days of training I was going to throw someone but realized that he was going to land off the mat. I asked to stop and move from the edge so he would be safe to fall. He refused stating that I should determine where I am going to throw Uke and to make sure I don’t throw him off the edge of the mat. Was I afraid of unintentionally hurting him? You bet!! (I was able to keep him on the mat after all—lesson learned).

I remember lacking trust that my Uke would do his/her best to stay safe in spite of my poor execution of a technique. (New folks always get a Sr. Student for Uke in our dojo). Hence, there were times I was afraid of hurting Uke just do to my inexperience/lack of confidence. (Still have both problems but now I trust my Uke to stay safe, keep me safe and correct me immediately when I am not.)

Every one was new to Aikido at one time or another ..... “ever” been afraid of hurting Uke unintentionally? Not still afraid, not continuing to be afraid…. I can’t imagine anyone being able to answer “no” they have never been afraid.

My 2 cents from a new beginner’s perspective.

02-22-2002, 07:24 AM
There is one man in my dojo who has had some sort of injury. Every time someone does a technique, he grimaces and sighs in pain. He won't tell anyone what his injury is (I think it may be shoulder), but rather, will just shake his head, say it is nothing, and shoulder the pain (couldn't think of another expression :)). The thing is, he is also the one who resists technique most (not because of pain or fear, but to try to teach his partners), so no matter how slow you go with him, he ends up trying to make you force technique (which I don't). I am very afraid of hurting him, and try to avoid being partnered with him whenever I can. I take proper precautions to keep him from getting hurt--i.e. going slow, making sure that he's all right, not fighting his resistance--but I'm still afraid of hurting him.

Bruce Baker
03-17-2002, 01:42 PM
Yes, yes, and yes.

I have hurt some of my training partners, and it has taken many years to get the feel of not doing it any more.

Mostly, it was from not giving them any room to squirm, or keep up with the technique as they too slowly responded or tried to force their way around it? Not pretty, and heartbreaking ... because I have been the uke for many a demonstration being torqued to the max to make sensei's demonstation hit home to the onlookers. So, I do have a first hand knowledge of joints and muscles injured to black and blue.

Of course, there are different degrees of fear, so with that in mind, I train to feel the finer degrees of torque that may temporarily create pain, but do not move into injury. In fact, I went to train in a dojo up the road, because my teacher went to the seminar in Boston with Yamada Sensei, so I visited my friend Tim and his group.

Of course, there were beginners who wanted to show how if not properly directed they could get out of my very loose holds, never expecting I would change techniques? Resistence is futile, and very painful when the uke forces themselves into unnatural positions that are not in harmony with the nage? I heard, that's enough... that's enough as I flowed with the uke releasing slowly enough not to knot up the muscles, but not in a quick immediate let go that would Charley Horse the muscles? Been there, done that ... after years of injuries, you never want the muscles to snap back ... it causes worse injury.

Of course,this woman knew how to wiggle out of certain situations, and knew all about fixing injuries,( inject disgust and irony here, please) so I couldn't even offer advice about rubbing her arm, but there was no more than a minor pain that dissappeared after five minutes, or so she claimed at the end of class.

So, Yeah, I am afraid of hurting people ... especially those who always want to show how to slip out of techniques, be superior because they think minor leads are too little and major pain is too much for a technique, or just plain cop an attitude? I know we are not suppose to be like that, but some stranger comes into your dojo, white belt/ no hakama and throws you clumsily at first then across the room when you finally start to ride the wave of throw instead of resisting? You brain says,"Where the hell did that come from?"

Resistence leads to injury, unless you intend to turn the practice around and exchange rolls with uke? Then that is just plain learning to roll with the flow, isn't it?

Sometimes I consider myself the "Secret Shopper" who works for the home office, but really shopping for myself all the same. Practice seems like a distant memory with the ravages of short term memory loss from Meniere's disease, always depending upon long term memory of practices months past? My own problem ... never mind.

We all have our own agenda to practice Aikido, but injury to our partners, our friends ... should not be part of practice.

Fear of injury? Yep. Always there, but not as bad as it was in my youth, before Aikido.