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Dirk Hünniger
12-16-2009, 07:14 AM
In this little article I would like to discuss pain. Obviously pain is often experienced during an Aikido training. I will list different circumstances under which pain is inflicted by humans on other humans and the inflicters experience their actions as consciously willed. In the end I will try to look at the peculiarities of the situation during an Aikido training. I am a physicist, who read some introductory texts on behavior of humans, but I am definitely not an expert on the subject. By writing this text I hope to make you smile and possibly to make you rethink some generally accepted truths in a critical way, but I clearly have to leave the creation of scientific truth to others. I practice Aikido for a few month now. Since I am German I apologize for possible improper use of the English language. First of all I would like to note that pain is very often avoided in our society. You can go to pharmacy and will be offered a large variety of painkillers but people will look at you strangely when you ask for a pain enhancer. Pain is sometimes observed in medical settings consider a vaccination or a dentist. Usually people argue that they expect an improvement of health in future and experience the pain as unpleasant. So we find people accepting an unpleasant situation now, hoping for a more pleasant one in future. Pain was and sometimes unfortunately is still used in order to modify behavior. Corporal punishment for criminals has been banned in Europe, still other countries like Singapore still use it. Quite recently corporal punishment of children is being banned in Europe too. Although it still takes place, even if prohibited. We also cause a lot of pain to other humans in times of war. Here it is interesting that the inflicter of the pain will often not directly see the consequences of his/her action, such as a pilot launching a rocket. There is also violence between people without the blessing of the government, such as Hooliganism. Here the inflicters of the pain see the suffering of there victims in quite a direct manner and often become victims themselves. Furthermore we find torturing of prisoners, often with at least tacit approval of the government. It has been shown (by the Standford Experiment and the Milgram experiment as well as others) that torture was committed by sane and normal people and any of us is very likely to become a torturer himself/herself when exposed to similar circumstances. We also find pain inflicted during sadomasochistic activities. These are very often described as very pleasant for the sadistic as well as the masochistic partner. Although cases of rape do occur too. There is also prostitution on both sides, in these cases the joy maybe distributed unequally among the partners. We have seen many different situations in which physical pain is caused to us by other humans throughout our lives. There are also a large number of reasons that people give us to explain each of these behaviors. All that makes me think that our tendency to exchange pain with other humans is something deeply human and needs to be accepted as it is. One thing we can do about it is to use it in a way that is nice for each of us. And I think the situation during an Aikido training provides quite a nice lab to learn about that. There is no fighting against a particular group of people like in Hooliganism. The our partner tells us when stop by tapping out unlike in the Milgram experiment or in case of war where a social authority tells us to go on until our victim is dead. Unlike in other styles of martial arts tapping out in Aikido does not result in defeat and thus can be used without that bias on both sides. There is no money involved as in prostitution. There are many people around which makes non consensual activity very unlikely. We change roles and partners very quickly and all of us wear the same clothes. This is opposed to the situation in the Standford experiment as well as in torturing of prisoners, where prisoners were naked and guards were wearing uniforms and the rolls did not change at all. The people inflicting the pain do not carry authority over the people experiencing the pain as in corporal punishment of criminals or children. Finally there is the question if there is a good reason for inflicting this pain. You can argue that you need to learn about the defensive aspects of Aikido and thus need to learn about the pain you inflict on a possible attacker. And this is perfectly acceptable, and there will very likely much more of those good reasons. Still I also often observed people creating quite a strong pain on my body which I enjoyed. The inflicters told me that they liked inflicting this pain on me too. I also observed that I enjoyed creating pain for others and hearing them tell me that they enjoyed the experience too. I also have been told by people that I hurt them too much and shall try to be more careful, and I also have told other to be more careful with me. I also sometimes ask people if they are Ok with the level of pain I create for them and also hear others asking me if the pain they inflict on me is Ok for me.

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
The author is of this text is Dirk Huenniger born on 22nd October 1980 in Moers, Germany
This text was written on 16th December 2009 in Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany

Carsten Möllering
12-16-2009, 09:02 AM
... All that makes me think that our tendency to exchange pain with other humans is something deeply human and needs to be accepted as it is. One thing we can do about it is to use it in a way that is nice for each of us. And I think the situation during an Aikido training provides quite a nice lab to learn about that. ...
Hm, in our Aikido (Our shihan are Endo Seishiro and Christian Tissier) we try to improve our technique to a level where it is very effective, but doesn't use pain to control or move the partner.

So in our Aikido the dojo is al lab to learn not to inflict pain.

How does this affect your thoughts?

Dirk Hünniger
12-16-2009, 10:47 AM
Certainly you can try to avoid pain. And very likely you can do Aikido with almost no pain if you are practicing with people who trained it for a long time and had that goal in their training. But I often see very experienced participants pinning each other down and slowly twisting their joints until there is a painful expression on the face of the receiving partner becomes visible and s/he taps out. When asked s/he will report to have felt pain. The inflicting partner will report to have consciously willed to cause pain to the receiving partner. I remember similar events in differed Dojos across different styles. I tried to list situations were similar behavior can be observed in the course of our lives outside of Aikido and to see in which respects the situations differed from the one in an Aikido training.

Conrad Gus
12-16-2009, 06:08 PM
Just a friendly bit of constructive criticism: pain is reading a 1500 word essay with no paragraphs. Ouch.

RED
12-16-2009, 09:40 PM
I am the pain.

NagaBaba
12-16-2009, 10:34 PM
If you are over 40 years old, get up in the morning and feel no pain, it surly means you are cold dead.
In aikido pain is a learning tool, among other tools.

In your article you are taking pain out of context(outside of Budo training) - so all this rant is meaningless. Not good article. You need much more serious training.

Sonja2012
12-17-2009, 01:40 AM
But I often see very experienced participants pinning each other down and slowly twisting their joints until there is a painful expression on the face of the receiving partner becomes visible and s/he taps out.

all i can think of in this regard is the three-lettered word "why?!". sorry.

Nafis Zahir
12-17-2009, 01:42 AM
"No pain, no gain!"

Carsten Möllering
12-17-2009, 02:17 AM
Hi
If you are over 40 years old, get up in the morning and feel no pain, it surly means you are cold dead.
Hi, I'm 45 now. And there is nothing better than jumping out of the bed in the morning after a wonderfull night with a smile on the face and no pain nowhere.
Stepping right into the new day totaly free with no barriers or restrictions at all. Ready for whatever life brings up to you.

If you are 45 and get up in the morning with an aching body you did something wrong. Especially you practiced wrong.
That needn't be.

In aikido pain is a learning tool, among other tools.No, pain is a marker that your technique needs improvement and that you don't really control uke.

Uke can't help against good atari, good kuzushi, good control of his/her center.

Pain doesn't help nothing if uke has learned to resist or ignore pain. If uke is able to tolerate pain you gain nothing by using it.

You can try it out e.g. with yonkyo: It hurts a lot but doesn't injur uke. So he/she can try an learn to resist.
After short time of practice you will face an uke who maybe has got tears in his/her eyes. But stands upright with one free hand an two free legs ...

Greetings,
Carsten

Dirk Hünniger
12-17-2009, 03:06 AM
Sonja McGough wrote:
all i can think of in this regard is the three-lettered word "why?!". sorry.

Well I think I am just addicted to endorphine, and possibly some others are too.

Sonja McGough wrote:
Personally I quite like a bit of pain in practice.

Me too :p

Maarten De Queecker
12-17-2009, 04:34 AM
Hi

Hi, I'm 45 now. And there is nothing better than jumping out of the bed in the morning after a wonderfull night with a smile on the face and no pain nowhere.
Stepping right into the new day totaly free with no barriers or restrictions at all. Ready for whatever life brings up to you.

If you are 45 and get up in the morning with an aching body you did something wrong. Especially you practiced wrong.
That needn't be.

No, pain is a marker that your technique needs improvement and that you don't really control uke.

Uke can't help against good atari, good kuzushi, good control of his/her center.

Pain doesn't help nothing if uke has learned to resist or ignore pain. If uke is able to tolerate pain you gain nothing by using it.

You can try it out e.g. with yonkyo: It hurts a lot but doesn't injur uke. So he/she can try an learn to resist.
After short time of practice you will face an uke who maybe has got tears in his/her eyes. But stands upright with one free hand an two free legs ...

Greetings,
Carsten

You'll have an uke who stands upright with one free hand and two free legs, and a wrist that'll be sore for weeks to come because he/she let his stubbornness get in the way of his/her own health. I know noone who would go that far just to prove a point. It's just stupid, really.

You do know what pain signals mean, right? Pain signals mean that something in your body is being damaged. It's your body telling you to "get the fuck out" or "stop stop stop stop".

One of the principles I have been thought is: "listen to your body".

Joint locks are meant to hurt, even to break joints, hence the name "lock". You don't disarm somebody who's wielding a knife by "taking his centre", no, you disarm him by locking his joint so he either drops or lets go of the knife, or breaks his wrist (preferably the first of course). Taking uke's centre is meant to off-balance, so you can get to the lock/throw easier, it's useless as a finishing move.

Carsten Möllering
12-17-2009, 06:00 AM
Hi I know noone who would go that far just to prove a point. It's just stupid, really.
Grin:
Well, you at least know me, at least a little bit by writing here ...

I don't think it's stupid, to increase the tolerance of pain. You get a lot more freedom, if you don't have to follow "every little pain".

About yonkyo: It's a tsubo for accupuncture and it depends on your throat, lungs ... how an whether it hurts more or less. If you have to rely on pain to move your partner you won't move a lot of people.

You do know what pain signals mean, right? Pain signals mean that something in your body is being damaged. It's your body telling you to "get the fuck out" or "stop stop stop stop".Did you ever try to move a drunken person, a mentaly disabled person or someone else who doesn't recognize the "stop" -signals by pain? It simply doesn't work.

One of the principles I have been thought is: "listen to your body".Don't only listen: Communicate. His statements will change if you answer him.

You don't disarm somebody who's wielding a knife by "taking his centre", no, you disarm him by locking his joint so he either drops or lets go of the knife, If he drops it or let go, the uncontrolled knife may hurt you while falling.
Take his center, have atari, control him and take the weapon gently ouft of his hand. ...
No pain, just technique. It's more efficient. ;-)

greetings
Carsten

Maarten De Queecker
12-17-2009, 06:49 AM
Hi
Grin:
Well, you at least know me, at least a little bit by writing here ...

I don't think it's stupid, to increase the tolerance of pain. You get a lot more freedom, if you don't have to follow "every little pain".

About yonkyo: It's a tsubo for accupuncture and it depends on your throat, lungs ... how an whether it hurts more or less. If you have to rely on pain to move your partner you won't move a lot of people.

Did you ever try to move a drunken person, a mentaly disabled person or someone else who doesn't recognize the "stop" -signals by pain? It simply doesn't work.

Don't only listen: Communicate. His statements will change if you answer him.

If he drops it or let go, the uncontrolled knife may hurt you while falling.
Take his center, have atari, control him and take the weapon gently ouft of his hand. ...
No pain, just technique. It's more efficient. ;-)

greetings
Carsten

I have been moved around by pain, and I have moved people around by pain. Actually, I can be moved rather easily by pain. I have also experienced nikkyos that would have broken my wrist if I didn't move (my teacher is kind of good in all kind of joint locks -a side effect of also being a 6th or 7th dan in jiu-jitsu probably). Let's just agree to disagree, shall we? (Then again, you appear to be a masochist :D )

About the knife: the point is contolling (i.e. locking) the hand holding the knife so he does not let go. For instance: tsuki -with tanto- kote gaeshi: hold the hand with the knife with both your hand and point the weapon at uke (thus taking his balance). Then push his wrist down towards his centre. This hurts and can even break uke's wrist if uke decides to be uncooperative. It's not gentle (knife fights rarely are), but you're safe.

I still think it's impossible to do a painless nikkyo or kote gaeshi.

lbb
12-17-2009, 06:50 AM
If you are 45 and get up in the morning with an aching body you did something wrong. Especially you practiced wrong.
That needn't be.

I've got rheumatoid arthritis. Tell me what I'm "doing wrong".

People have pain for all kinds of reasons, and also, understand and deal with pain in all kinds of ways. It angers me greatly when ignorant people are judgmental about others' pain and how they deal with it.

Shadowfax
12-17-2009, 07:47 AM
Just a friendly bit of constructive criticism: pain is reading a 1500 word essay with no paragraphs. Ouch.

No kidding. :hypno:

Pain. I like pain. It lets you know you're still living, as my father used to say. He also said ,"what does not kill you, will only make you stronger."

I listen to what my body is telling me. Pain that says there is damage means I need to slow down and let things heal. Pain in technique that warns of impending injury I will take note of and either allow to go on a bit longer or put a stop to by tapping. Yes I like the endorphins but not enough to wish to be damaged to the point I won't be training for a while.

If I tap out as soon as there is pain I can't study the pain and see how I might counter someone who is applying it.

And as to the jumping out of bed in the morning and feeling no pain. Well if you do that's great. But not every one is so lucky. I've lived a busy life and my body reminds me of it every day. And I'm not even out of my 30's yet. Like I said. Pain just reminds us we're still living. Not always enjoyable but not necessarily unwelcome either.

Kevin Leavitt
12-17-2009, 08:26 AM
There are different kinds of pain, for different reasons and on different levels. The key is to understand it. Learning to recognize pain for what it is and then discovering the root cause of it.

Some pain we can eliminate, some we can manage, some we can't do a whole lot with except live with it (cope).

I see more people use pain as an excuse to not so something. Some people are looking for an excuse and pain gives them one.

I respect the hell out of people that in spite of pain can stand up and smile with a good attitude and not let it stand in their way!

To me this is core lesson in budo and a big part of what we do and why we do what we do in budo!

Ketsan
12-17-2009, 09:21 AM
Pain is weakness leaving the body.:D

lbb
12-17-2009, 09:36 AM
I see more people use pain as an excuse to not so something. Some people are looking for an excuse and pain gives them one.

I respect the hell out of people that in spite of pain can stand up and smile with a good attitude and not let it stand in their way!

I agree with the sentiment that I believe is behind your words, but the phrase "not let it stand in their way" makes me wince. I hear phrases like that a lot, and they always make me want to say, "But it's not like that!" People like expressions like that because they're stirring and inspiring, but they misrepresent a complex, and occasionally bleak, reality. Unfortunately, they've also been appropriated by marketing execs who use them as throwaway lines to sell sports drinks, and are swallowed and regurgitated whole by the masses who want to believe that you can do anything and overcome anything if you just, gosh, well, try real hard. It's not like that.

The reality is that sometimes, pain does stand in the way and won't be moved, and saying that someone "lets it" do so is just another form of blaming the victim. Sometimes, pain does stand between where you are and what you want to do, at least for the moment. Pain (some kinds of it) often says "not today" or "not like that", and won't take no for an answer. For some unlucky people, it says "not ever again". How cruel is it to tell them that they're "let[ting] pain stand in their way"? They fought, and they lost. Sometimes that's the way it goes.

That's not to say that people do not persevere through pain and achieve great things -- or at least, more than anyone would ever give them credit for. But they persevere in complex ways, not by the stereotypical "Just Do It" that people imagine. A belief in "Just Do It" is in fact a denial of reality, and people who live in that reality know it. And they also know that what they can do now, they may not be able to do tomorrow. We are all temporarily able-bodied -- it's just that only some of us understand this, while the rest are in denial.

It's also not to say that pain doesn't serve as an excuse when it need not -- although lately I've taken to using the word "discomfort", at least in my own mind, to refer to these situations. The problem is that most people don't have good judgment about where that line is -- at least, most people in industrialized countries, where not many people do physical labor every day. I have a feeling that our ditch-digging ancestors had a much better sense of when pain meant a real problem, and when it just meant that you'd overdone it a bit or been idle too long or were new to an activity. I think the truth is that sedentary people are never going to take up an activity like aikido without experiencing discomfort that they will label as "pain", and "pain", to them, means a problem that must be alleviated, not endured. We're lucky to have a lot of new orthopedic knowledge in the past few decades, but the downside seems to be a common belief that any activity that causes knee pain (for example) must be ceased immediately and never resumed, or you'll completely trash your knee for life. Orthopedic horror stories, unfortunately, furnish plenty of excuses for people not to do something -- never mind if they have no bearing on your situation -- and if you feel pain, well, that's an orthopedic horror story in the making.

Keith Larman
12-17-2009, 10:19 AM
Well... FWIW.

My father-in-law is suffering from a type of myalgia. He went from being a busy, robust, involved man into, well, an old man literally over the period of a few weeks. They still don't know exactly what happened and treatments have been sort of hit or miss. We helped, we tried to be supportive, and have done what we could. We truly felt for him and have been trying to help ever since.

Then a few months ago something happened to me. Here in the US the drug companies advertise relentlessly. Ever heard the lipitor commercials? Know the part where they say "If you experience muscle pain or weakness this may be a sign of a rare and serious side effect?" Well, that hit me about 2 weeks before thanksgiving. One day I woke up with what felt like a horrible pull in a small muscle in my right leg. Okay, I'm 46, it happens, so I take it easy. Two days later it starts in the other leg. Okay, problem... See the doctor. They take blood -- by now my legs and hips are hurting like hell. Constantly. And weak. Blood work comes in and the doctor says "Yes, the blood work confirms your muscles are hurting." Thank you Captain Obvious. We had changed the statin I was taking due to changes in insurance just a month before. Apparently my body wasn't happy with the new one.

I had trouble walking, standing, moving, sleeping, anything. One evening I got down on the floor with my daughter to watch a movie. It ended, she got up and went to bed. She said "come on, daddy, read me a story..." as she left the room. I started to get up and crumpled back on the floor -- my legs couldn't lift me from the ground. It was a combination of searing pain and simply that the muscles seemed to "not work" for lack of a better description. I end up crawling to a chair and lift myself into it. From there I could get up. As I sat there my appreciation of the condition of my father-in-law changed completely. I struggled into her bedroom and read her the story standing up. Because I didn't dare sit down on her bed out of fear I wouldn't be able to get up. I simply didn't want to scare her.

Fast forward to now. No training. Off the meds obviously. My work output plummeted (along with my income as I'm self-employed). No exercise apart from gentle walks. At this point the pain seems to be limited to what I think is the piriformis muscle (i.e., my right butt cheek is killing me). I still haven't stressed anything as it feels like anytime I do it takes forever for the muscle to recover. On bad days I'll take a pain pill or more. Sometimes at night it is a muscle relaxant and pain pill. But I just can't do aikido. Not yet at least.

For me the thing is that there is improvement and by most accounts I should continue to get better as the effects of the med clear my system. I will be back and that is an incredible motivating thing for me. That said I can't *even imagine* how people in constant pain deal with it, especially if the prognosis is more of the same or worse yet. It is a constant stress, constantly tearing you down, constantly with you, dulling everything you try. I see myself in a whole new light as well. I'm not as strong as I thought. Or maybe it is better to say I've learned how little I knew before.

Soooo... What's the point? No, I'm no looking for sympathy -- I'm blessed in that I'm getting better. But I am never saying a *thing* to anyone who experiences chronic pain other than "is there anything I can do to help". No judgement. If you want to talk about "it has to be felt", well, you really need to walk in their shoes for a while to truly appreciate the complexity (physically and emotionally) of these sorts of things.

Now I'm over checking up on my father-in-law a lot more often making sure we help out as much as we can. Even if it hurts me. Because he's hurting more.

I ain't complaining about every day stuff any more... How naive it all seems now.

Sorry for the tangent, but part of this has been really relevant to my life lately.

C. David Henderson
12-17-2009, 11:07 AM
I agree -- pain and suffering are complex and different for different people at different times in their lives. I also agree that pain and suffereing are pretty central parts of the human condition, witness its treatment by different religions. Its common for people to want to avoid pain. In some ways that's natural and healthy; in others, not so much.

One of the positive pain lessons of budo or athletics generally, and especially for the young, I've called in the past "learning how to suffer."

That's a different thing from an "I'm being injured" signal, although I'm not always successful in distinguishing between the two, and its hard sometimes, especially in the middle of rigorous practice, for me to tell the difference.

In the last few years, as I've grown older, I've accumulated some permanent damage to my body. If you want to suggest to me that damage reflects mistakes I've made, I'd readily agree. But it seems kind of irrelevant at this point, and, anyway, some of that damage is just the after-effect of what I consider a life well-lived. Trying to preserve a pain-free existence as you grow older seems frankly delusional and self-limiting. Cf. Buddhism generally.

In any event, lately I think I have begun to become acquainted with a different kind of pain, which I also think relates to what Mary was addressing.

I feel like for me to do what I still want to do -- say, participate fully in a multiple-day seminar, or mix my aikido practice with other activities that I love, there's a price to be paid. Not only that, I know it will take time to recover from the debt. It's just a question of whether I want to put up with the terms of the bargain I'm making with myself.

I'm coming to think of it as "old-guy endurance."

Choosing to endure this discomfort feels different. It requires me to struggle more with the psychological urge to just stop. As Paul Simon wrote in a song, I sometimes think "I don't find this stuff amusing anymore."

It also feels like a taste of what older people face every day doing even simple things, and it feels like it takes a different and deeper kind of courage to face. It's something, frankly, I still need to learn.

FWIW

cdh

Stormcrow34
12-17-2009, 11:19 AM
Well... FWIW.

I had trouble walking, standing, moving, sleeping, anything. One evening I got down on the floor with my daughter to watch a movie. It ended, she got up and went to bed. She said "come on, daddy, read me a story..." as she left the room. I started to get up and crumpled back on the floor -- my legs couldn't lift me from the ground. It was a combination of searing pain and simply that the muscles seemed to "not work" for lack of a better description. I end up crawling to a chair and lift myself into it. From there I could get up. As I sat there my appreciation of the condition of my father-in-law changed completely. I struggled into her bedroom and read her the story standing up. Because I didn't dare sit down on her bed out of fear I wouldn't be able to get up. I simply didn't want to scare her.

Fast forward to now. No training. Off the meds obviously. My work output plummeted (along with my income as I'm self-employed). No exercise apart from gentle walks. At this point the pain seems to be limited to what I think is the piriformis muscle (i.e., my right butt cheek is killing me). I still haven't stressed anything as it feels like anytime I do it takes forever for the muscle to recover. On bad days I'll take a pain pill or more. Sometimes at night it is a muscle relaxant and pain pill. But I just can't do aikido. Not yet at least.

For me the thing is that there is improvement and by most accounts I should continue to get better as the effects of the med clear my system. I will be back and that is an incredible motivating thing for me. That said I can't *even imagine* how people in constant pain deal with it, especially if the prognosis is more of the same or worse yet. It is a constant stress, constantly tearing you down, constantly with you, dulling everything you try. I see myself in a whole new light as well. I'm not as strong as I thought. Or maybe it is better to say I've learned how little I knew before.

Soooo... What's the point? No, I'm no looking for sympathy -- I'm blessed in that I'm getting better. But I am never saying a *thing* to anyone who experiences chronic pain other than "is there anything I can do to help". No judgement. If you want to talk about "it has to be felt", well, you really need to walk in their shoes for a while to truly appreciate the complexity (physically and emotionally) of these sorts of things.

Now I'm over checking up on my father-in-law a lot more often making sure we help out as much as we can. Even if it hurts me. Because he's hurting more.

I ain't complaining about every day stuff any more... How naive it all seems now.

Sorry for the tangent, but part of this has been really relevant to my life lately.

That sounds like a very difficult situation and I wish the best for you and your family.

By the way, I'm no Doctor so take this with a grain of salt.

Your symptoms sound similar to sciatica, mock sciatica or piriformis syndrome. The piriformis runs over the sciatic nerve bundles that run through the greater and lesser sciatic notch. Sometimes the piriformis reaches a state of hypertonicity and presses the sciatic nerve bundles into the bony notches, causing serious pain, tingling, burning sensations, numbness, etc. A good massage therapist may be able to help you, but I would clear it with your doctor first.

You probably know this already but I am just trying to be helpful. Hope you feel better soon.

Kevin Leavitt
12-17-2009, 11:31 AM
I agree Mary, and thanks for your thoughts. You are correct and you do a great job of further framing the issue.

"Not letting it" of course, is a very personal process I think. This is something I struggle with constantly as the aging process begins to take it grip on me!

I train in a very robust environment in BJJ and get on the mat with guys that are World Champions in the sport and it is very apparent that I cannot hang with them and that my Arthritis, degenerating spine are things that are limiting factors and they DO stand in my way.

That said, I try and be the best "ME" I can be and do what I can and try and come to grips with my limitations that are not mental, but physical...I simply cannot do things that others can do.

So, yes, these things DO stand in my way and eventually I know that I will not be able to even train at the level I am at today!

But I thik what is important is what you expressed above.

Keith Larman
12-17-2009, 11:36 AM
That sounds like a very difficult situation and I wish the best for you and your family.

By the way, I'm no Doctor so take this with a grain of salt.

Your symptoms sound similar to sciatica, mock sciatica or piriformis syndrome. The piriformis runs over the sciatic nerve bundles that run through the greater and lesser sciatic notch. Sometimes the piriformis reaches a state of hypertonicity and presses the sciatic nerve bundles into the bony notches, causing serious pain, tingling, burning sensations, numbness, etc. A good massage therapist may be able to help you, but I would clear it with your doctor first.

You probably know this already but I am just trying to be helpful. Hope you feel better soon.

Thanks, yeah, I'm aware of it. Right in the middle of all these problems my pre-existing back problem flared and that in turn also involves piriformis syndrome with me. The problem this raises with the issue I have now with the statin drugs is that the side effect affects muscular damage and healing. So although I was able to do what I could to get the back to "let go", the spasmed piriformis has been remarkably, um, hesitant to relax. I've had a couple sessions with the massage therapist, but for some reason it doesn't seem to help. Possibly due to the side effect of the statins. So... Slow but steady it is getting better. It is just taking its sweet time.

Told the wife that what I really need is a jacuzzi for the workshop... She's been a great support, but she wasn't exactly sympathetic to the "Keith needs a jacuzzi for his sore butt" idea.

Kevin Leavitt
12-17-2009, 11:46 AM
David Henderson wrote:

I feel like for me to do what I still want to do -- say, participate fully in a multiple-day seminar, or mix my aikido practice with other activities that I love, there's a price to be paid. Not only that, I know it will take time to recover from the debt. It's just a question of whether I want to put up with the terms of the bargain I'm making with myself.

I'm coming to think of it as "old-guy endurance."

Choosing to endure this discomfort feels different. It requires me to struggle more with the psychological urge to just stop.

Yea I talk about "Old Guy endurance" alot these days. Getting older has been a great learning experience. My BJJ dojo is full of young 20 year olds so I am definitely the old guy.

I suppose this was my perspective above in reference to dealing with pain. However, as Mary states, there is alot more to this.

From the "Old Guy Endurance" perspective that David describes so well...I see young guys stop coming to practice, not working hard, or sitting off the mat.

"Why"

"Well I pulled my X" "My shoulder hurts" etc....

It is a matter of perspective and perception alot of times for sure. I always ask them why they are not out there..."I want to give it time to heal". Of course in some cases this is true, but in many I think they simply are using it as an excuse. I have had guys not get on the mat because of a broken finger or toe!

Come on...it hurts, but you can simply limit what you do, tape down that part and drive on! There are ways to still train, and in fact that limitation will teach you alot.

Heck, if I didn't get on the mat because of injury pain, i'd be able to get on maybe twice a month! lol!

A few years ago I was in Airborne School at age 40. I had a bunch of new recruits 18 years old...fresh out of high school with me. We do alot of falling etc when we train, running, push ups etc....it just simply wears on you. After about 5 days you can't get out of bed due to the simple fact that you ache and hurt all over. I'd take some Ibuprofen, a 30 minute hot shower, and slowly make my way to formation.

One morning I get there and like 5 of my guys want to go to "Sick Call" to see the Doc. "Why" I ask...because the were hurt. I asked "Where". "All over, sir".

They were not looking for an excuse, they were geniunely concerned. I realized that they had never experienced this type of pain in their lives before and it worried them!

I assured them that they would be fine in a few days. Anyway, it was an eyeopener to me that there are people out there that did not grow up with physical work or athletics and have never experienced fatigue and pain!

Carsten Möllering
12-17-2009, 12:58 PM
I've got rheumatoid arthritis. Tell me what I'm "doing wrong".
I am very sorry for offending you!
I apoligize for being only focused on answering a certain statement and not discussing the issue in whole.

Well, first:
I myself suffer from rheumatism. Even if its not arthritis and can be helped and controlled medicinally by now, I know very well what you are talking about.

Second:
If you read my statement as an answer to Szczepan Janczuk you might get that neither he nor me talked about your or my illness: On the contrary I think, you would feel very alive even without pain, won't you?
In my case waking up and noting "no pain today" was a signal I wasn't "cold dead" but alive (And well: My illness began when I was 22, not 45.)

Third:
The pain we suffer because of illnesses like rheumathism are not what is suffered when doing budo an maybe applying nikyo.
It is a very different phenomenon: Practicing while suffering from certain injuries or illness teaches to differentiate between the pain given by my body, by myself and the pain inflicted by my partner.
aahhh I can't bring my thought into english ...

@ Maarten:
Don't know whether you know Christian Tissier, Frank Noel, Jean-Luc Subileau?
Those French teachers supposed pain to be a very usefull tool in "the old days". Aikido was considered to be good aikido, the more it did hurt. I myself was taught this way also and I practiced the first maybe 10 years or so like that.

If you listen to the same teachers by now, they tell you, that those days are gone and that they have gone one step further.

Both nikyo and kote gaeshi don't inflict pain the way they are done without inflicting pain. Hm, try videos of Endo Sensei on youtube to see how it works ...

Greetings,
Carsten

Carsten Möllering
12-17-2009, 02:07 PM
Both nikyo and kote gaeshi don't inflict pain the way they are done without inflicting pain.
... of course not. ;-) sorry

... don't inflict pain the way they are done and taught by now. ... try videos of Endo Sensei ...

Janet Rosen
12-17-2009, 02:37 PM
As noted by others, living with chronic pain is a whole other animal from treating and rehabbing an acute injury, or from learning to differentiate, on the mat, between essentially benign pain you can relax into (a good pin for example) and pain that signals imminent damage.
The person with chronic pain will likely have good and bad days or even hours, so may seem very inconsistent in the level of training he can tolerate. It does not mean he is lazy or not serious about training.
The person with chronic pain will likely have a highly developed sense of distinguishing between "benign pain" and pain that signals "stop" (my dojo mates know not to grab or hold my thumbs - but I know that if the grab or hold is momentary, while it will hurt like the dickens and I may screech, it is unlikely to actually do further damage).
The most important skill a person with chronic pain can cultivate, IMO, is to learn to accept and integrate the pain as an part of his life: if it is perceived as an entity separate from the person, something to be battled, it actually empowers the pain more than it merits and, paradoxically, can become self-defining. When it is an integral part of life, along with all the other quirks, traits, strength, weaknesses, preferences, etc that comprise a human being, it becomes simply another thing to factor into daily life.

piyush.kumar
12-17-2009, 03:20 PM
@Rosen san - Respect for the last lines. Very well put

Melchizedek
12-18-2009, 03:41 AM
hi, back in our high school we learn about beta-endorphins, enkephalins and dynorphins we have the neuroreceptors reacts to what we feel namely pain b`coz our body has a natural painkilling compounds that also bound`d to those receptors.

Choh Li, a chemist named it Endorphin

by jugging 3.2 kilometers a every day it will help your body to increase tolerance w/ pain.

In Aikido we learn from hard work and pain.

Cheers!

Dirk Hünniger
12-18-2009, 06:03 AM
It is interesting that the name "Endorphin" contains the letters "orphin" like in "Morphine". This was intended when creating the name "Endorphin" since it is somewhat similar to "Morphine" in both chemical and metabolic respects. Endorphin can be released in when pain is experienced. So possibly we are having a pleasant experience when relaxing into pain during a pin in Aikido that is similar to the one when smoking opium. Still the problems caused by addiction to opium seem not to be present when doing Aikido. And certainly many other facts are important. So saying we just are addicted to Endorphin is far too simple, but an effect one should consider too.

Melchizedek
12-18-2009, 07:30 AM
Biochemically speaking im not say`n that im good at it, its just in a manner of a pleasant discussion...... as i proceed Morphine and Heroin, worked really well against pain b`coz the body had receptors that were activated by such drugs.

relating to natural painkilling compounds that also bonded to those receptors, connected to euphoric feelings, exaggeration , appetite, modulation, and d` release of sex hormones.

well IMHO as individual we have difference in d` effect e.g. addiction.

Dirk Hünniger
12-18-2009, 09:07 AM
What leaves me puzzled is that I feel happy right from the first pin. So that is on the timescale of several seconds up two maybe one minute.
The high caused by Endorphin comes usually 20 minutes to one hour after exposure to pain or running. I think this is a strong counterargument against Endorphin. But maybe there is another chemical involved in this process.

Melchizedek
12-18-2009, 09:32 AM
Micronutrients, neurotransmitters, usually its how eat.

Biochemistry we can also inherit happiness.

lbb
12-18-2009, 10:12 AM
It is interesting that the name "Endorphin" contains the letters "orphin" like in "Morphine". This was intended when creating the name "Endorphin" since it is somewhat similar to "Morphine" in both chemical and metabolic respects. Endorphin can be released in when pain is experienced. So possibly we are having a pleasant experience when relaxing into pain during a pin in Aikido that is similar to the one when smoking opium. Still the problems caused by addiction to opium seem not to be present when doing Aikido. And certainly many other facts are important. So saying we just are addicted to Endorphin is far too simple, but an effect one should consider too.

I think it's also too simple because, if I understand correctly, exercise-related endorphin production doesn't just happen as soon as your body is under stress -- it's got to be strenuous and it's got to be prolonged. I suspect that for the large majority of people, the feeling of well-being that they come to experience during exercise, once they've been on an exercise program for a while, is mostly the body's becoming better conditioned and more comfortable with the stresses of exercise. That, plus the other general physical benefits that come from or often accompany an exercise program -- better sleep, improved circulation and respiration, better eating habits -- is more than sufficient to account for exercise starting to "feel better" after you've been doing it for a time.

OwlMatt
12-19-2009, 08:22 PM
I'm very much a novice, so I could be wrong, but it seems to me that pain is a necessary element of learning the martial arts. Don't get me wrong; I do think the martial arts in general and aikido in particular can- and should- make us more peaceful people, but this opportunity for peacefulness comes from an understanding of pain and a respect for the capacity to inflict pain. And it seems naive to me to beleve that we can learn these things painlessly.

Once we have these things, we have the unique opportunity to be actively peaceful; it is no act of peace for someone to disdain violence who fears pain and has no capacity to cause it.

Maarten De Queecker
12-20-2009, 02:18 AM
I'm very much a novice, so I could be wrong, but it seems to me that pain is a necessary element of learning the martial arts. Don't get me wrong; I do think the martial arts in general and aikido in particular can- and should- make us more peaceful people, but this opportunity for peacefulness comes from an understanding of pain and a respect for the capacity to inflict pain. And it seems naive to me to beleve that we can learn these things painlessly.

Once we have these things, we have the unique opportunity to be actively peaceful; it is no act of peace for someone to disdain violence who fears pain and has no capacity to cause it.

For a novice, you say incredibly smart things.

Carsten Möllering
12-20-2009, 05:24 AM
Hi
... it seems to me that pain is a necessary element of learning the martial arts ... it seems naive to me to beleve that we can learn these things painlessly.
Yes, sure that is true. Pain indeed is part of the way of learning.

But from a certain techniqual level on it's no longer a needed element of good technique. As long es aiki-techniques are concerned.

Learning to deal with pain sure is part of living budo.
But also to be able to deal with and to controll an attacker, whether he reacts to the pain you inflict to him or he ignores it.
To rely on pain is very treacherous.

Once we have these things, we have the unique opportunity to be actively peaceful; it is no act of peace for someone to disdain violence who fears pain and has no capacity to cause it.To rely on pain or not is not a question of being peaceful or not. It's a question of whether your technique works by itself or not (which means ~ has to rely on pain.)

In our dojo we some sayings like: "Well, your technique hurt's like hell. But it doesn't work." Or "I only had to move because of pain. It wasn't your technique that move me."

If you once have moved and controlled a drunken person or drug addicted person or even a mentally disabled person who all of them have a pain tolerance not comparable to what you experience in the dojo, you might understand, what I mean. No question of being peacefull. Just a question of what works and what does not.

Greetings,
Carsten

Carsten Möllering
12-20-2009, 05:42 AM
For a novice, you say incredibly smart things.
Please excuse me. I don't want to offend anyone. Really.

I think understanding (or in my eyes misinterpreting) pain as an element of aiki-technique is more something you do on a beginners level then on an advanced level.

Maarten De Queecker
12-20-2009, 07:24 AM
Please excuse me. I don't want to offend anyone. Really.

I think understanding (or in my eyes misinterpreting) pain as an element of aiki-technique is more something you do on a beginners level then on an advanced level.

You do not offend me (wouldn't know why? Opinions differ, but that's no reason for me to be insulted!)

Pain is an element of aikido. Aikido techniques can be incredibly destructive (ikkyo: breaks the arm, knee to the face; irimi nage: smash the skull on to the floor, elbow to the face; shiho nage: break someone's back etc etc). After all, these techniques used to be effective on a battle field.

I think it really depends on which style of aikido you train. Where I train, we don't go soft on eachother. If an execution of a technique doesn't feel right, we won't go down. Attacks are attacks, if they hit, it'll hurt. I've seen aikido video's on youtube where people seem to dance more than they are practicing a martial art. This can be very good if you want to do a harmonizing exercise, but the real-life applicability is zero.

I don't practice aikido to learn how to fight, mind you. I hate violence as much as the next guy. Still, I am studying a martial art, not fitness or yoga. Pain is a part of that, as is learning how to deal with it.

The reason I think like this about pain in aikido is probably due to the background of one of my teachers: one is a 7th dan in Jiu Jitsu (and 4th in aikido), and believe me, you do not want to try and resist his wrist locks.

OwlMatt
12-20-2009, 09:01 AM
So what you're saying is that, while pain is a necessary element of learning the martial arts, properly performed aikido techniques need not rely on pain to acheive their desired ends?

Assuming I am understanding you correctly, how do wrist locks fit into this view of aikido?

Shadowfax
12-20-2009, 09:12 AM
The way I have so far experienced and understand it. Wrist, and other joint, locks work just fine without pain having to be there. that's why they are called locks. Ideally the pin locks up the joints in such a way as to make it difficult if not impossible for Uke to move. If Uke does attempt to move and resist the pain is actually applied by him, to himself, and not by nage.

Carsten Möllering
12-20-2009, 01:41 PM
Hi
... Assuming I am understanding you correctly, how do wrist locks fit into this view of aikido?
The way we unsterstand and try to practice it, the wristlocks (as other locks and techniques) don't work only on the actual joint.
But through the joint, on the center of the partner.
This can be done using simple mechanics or in other words using the stucture of the human body.

@ Maarten:
I don't think that our different views depend on our teachers. My teacher of Aikido also practices yawara.
And you describe your practice exactly the way we also do it.

But well ok: If Tissiers Aikido in your eyes is only dancing it can't be helped. So be it.
Only important for me is, whether or not it works. ;)

Greetings,
Carsten

OwlMatt
12-20-2009, 03:18 PM
The way I have so far experienced and understand it. Wrist, and other joint, locks work just fine without pain having to be there. that's why they are called locks. Ideally the pin locks up the joints in such a way as to make it difficult if not impossible for Uke to move. If Uke does attempt to move and resist the pain is actually applied by him, to himself, and not by nage.

Then let me ammend my statement. The thinking is that properly performed aikido techniques need not be painful to be successful when performed in a dojo on a properly compliant uke?

Janet Rosen
12-20-2009, 04:02 PM
Assuming I am understanding you correctly, how do wrist locks fit into this view of aikido?

I think the key is the word itself: it is not wrist pain or wrist hurt, but wrist lock. If you very slowly apply and study the body mechanics, a properly applied wrist lock will progressively move up the body, locking the elbow, locking and raising the shoulder, and connecting to the person's center. It will only HURT if the person moves against it rather than with it.

Shadowfax
12-20-2009, 09:13 PM
Thank you Janet. Right... LOCK... need not mean pain must be there for it to be effective. Matt yes and to a properly compliant Uke outside the dojo as well. ;) Actually in the dojo I like for my partners to sometimes apply the lock tot he point of pain compliance so that I can fully experience the technique and so that they can be sure that if they were to need it they could get it.

What I'm saying is what others have said. Pain is in addition to an already effective technique, when it becomes necessary... with a non-compliant uke .

The technique should not rely on pain to be effective. For instance Yonkyo simply does not work well on me on my right side. I have a fellow student who it does not work on at all. And I've had locks put on me that totally dropped and/or immobilized me without me feeling the least bit of pain. And I am not always a "properly compliant" Uke. Since I am still learning, and since I have fellow students and a couple of senseis who like having me set up and give some resistance form time to time.

NagaBaba
12-21-2009, 07:40 AM
Please excuse me. I don't want to offend anyone. Really.

I think understanding (or in my eyes misinterpreting) pain as an element of aiki-technique is more something you do on a beginners level then on an advanced level.,
Hello Carsten,
This observation may be true, but have you ever asked yourself why? What is The Reason from bio-mechanical point of view?

I believe the best way to discover it by yourself is to go and practice aikido with different styles\federations. Then,suddenly you can discover that the usual way of executing techniques is not good anymore. Your techniques are not working anymore. AND - you can feel a good amount of pain when receiving techniques from advanced students.

My opinion is that more you practice, more perfectly you learn how to anticipate a technique as a Uke to avoid an injury and PAIN. In the other hand Nage is protecting you, and he does it much better when he is advanced student.
So in the end you get an illusion that pain is not needed. It is enough if some advanced student (6th dan and more) will 'play heavy Uke' - means he will stop to help you. I'm not talking here about resistance or counters - only being neutral. Try it, and you will discover whole new world, new aikido dimension, where all your present convictions about aikido are meaningless.You will have pain to apply technique and he will feel pain from your application.

dps
12-21-2009, 08:20 AM
My opinion is that more you practice, more perfectly you learn how to anticipate a technique as a Uke to avoid an injury and PAIN. In the other hand Nage is protecting you, and he does it much better when he is advanced student.


Excellent observation.

Aikido applied to some one who is not trained in ukemi is very painful.

David

Maarten De Queecker
12-21-2009, 08:39 AM
,
Hello Carsten,
This observation may be true, but have you ever asked yourself why? What is The Reason from bio-mechanical point of view?

I believe the best way to discover it by yourself is to go and practice aikido with different styles\federations. Then,suddenly you can discover that the usual way of executing techniques is not good anymore. Your techniques are not working anymore. AND - you can feel a good amount of pain when receiving techniques from advanced students.

My opinion is that more you practice, more perfectly you learn how to anticipate a technique as a Uke to avoid an injury and PAIN. In the other hand Nage is protecting you, and he does it much better when he is advanced student.
So in the end you get an illusion that pain is not needed. It is enough if some advanced student (6th dan and more) will 'play heavy Uke' - means he will stop to help you. I'm not talking here about resistance or counters - only being neutral. Try it, and you will discover whole new world, new aikido dimension, where all your present convictions about aikido are meaningless.You will have pain to apply technique and he will feel pain from your application.

This is what I meant.. I just couldn't find the right words for it. Thanks mr. Szczepan!

sorokod
12-21-2009, 09:05 AM
,
My opinion is that more you practice, more perfectly you learn how to anticipate a technique as a Uke to avoid an injury and PAIN. In the other hand Nage is protecting you, and he does it much better when he is advanced student.
So in the end you get an illusion that pain is not needed.

A very good point I think.
In training the nage drives the uke through a "path" in time and space from the initial attack to the final pin or projection. A good nage will be a skillful driver and a good uke will recognize the path that she needs to travel with the understanding that a world of pain awaits her outside of that path. That is the same sensitivity that will allow the uke to reverse the technique she recognize a "gap" in the path

C. David Henderson
12-21-2009, 11:13 AM
Nice series of posts. Thanks.

CarrieP
12-21-2009, 12:33 PM
A couple thoughts on pain** that may add to the conversation:

I believe that pain can be instructive on the mat.

Take an example from last week. My husband and I were doing a technique that involved atemi, and I (accidentally) punched him in the face.

"I think I jogged him a little too hard."

Thing is, it was actually a good learning experience for both of us.

Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

For me: I was giving a good atemi that had some energy to it. My attacks as Uke are halfway decent, but my atemi are anemic. I never feel comfortable with them and I'm worried about, well, hitting someone. In this case, I actually had some oomph to the atemi, which gave the training a bit more aliveness. I also got a lot less worried about hitting someone. No lasting harm done, the pain was temporary. He didn't even get a bloody nose.

For him: It gave him motivation to get out of the way. He and I are not as dynamic in our training as we could be, and it was a visceral reminder for him to look out!

On the other hand, to rely on pain to do a technique is, IMHO, missing the deeper understanding of the technique. A visiting Sensei did a great demo last week. He demonstrated nikkyo in several different ways. First, with a wrist pin, with the wrist braced on his shoulder (our "basic" nikkyo). second, with the wrist on his forehead. Third, with no wrist pin at all.

During that class, he also said to us, something along these lines:

Sure, using pain** helps with techniques. It gets a person to move where you want them to. Sometimes. Pain can work in taking someone down, but you will eventually run into a person on whom pain doesn't work. They just don't care. And in that case, being able to take the person's balance, with your center, and move them where you want to go, regardless of whether or not you are applying pain, is important.

**Pain in this case meaning the result of applied force to the body/joints, with the possibility of, but not the intent to, seriously injure someone. Not chronic pain, and not pain that is likely to cause serious injury (bone breakage, major muscle/ligament).

Carsten Möllering
12-21-2009, 04:46 PM
Hi
...have you ever asked yourself why? ...
I believe the best way to discover it by yourself is to go and practice aikido with different styles\federations.
How come you presume I wouldn't train with different styles of aikido???
Not only I do exactly what you would like me to do.
I even train with people not practicing aikido at all but other martial arts.

Then,suddenly you can discover that the usual way of executing techniques is not good anymore. Your techniques are not working anymore. On the contrary: I exerienced it works quite well.
Again: How come you presume, the techniques wouldn't work???

AND - you can feel a good amount of pain when receiving techniques from advanced students.Students of other styles? Sure!
Advanced students of our style just move me but don't hurt me.
;-) Most of the time ...

It is enough if some advanced student (6th dan and more) will 'play heavy Uke' - means he will stop to help you. I'm not talking here about resistance or counters - only being neutral. Try it, and you will discover whole new world, new aikido dimension, where all your present convictions about aikido are meaningless.You will have pain to apply technique and he will feel pain from your application.
Well there are not a lot of 6th dan to train with here in Germany. It's the last but one grading you can get in aikido aikikai as a non-Japanese.

So 6th dan are a little rare to practice with. I'm sorry.
But I know a lot of 5th dan to play around. One of them is my teacher.
Again: How come you presume I didn't experience heavy uke???
My teacher sometimes is singing "I am a rock, I am a mououountain..." when I try to move him. ;-)

you will discover whole new world, new aikido dimension, where all your present convictions about aikido are meaningless....
You seem to forget what I wrote somewhere above:
I know how to inflict pain. I know how to try to move uke by pain. I know this way of aikido very, very well and practiced it the first 10 to 12 years.
Then I discovered a whole new world, new aikido dimensions.

And I changed or try to change my aikido not because I have become a pacifist or something like that. But because I found technique that does truly work.
(Not only on peple of the same style ...)

Greetings,
Carsten

Maarten De Queecker
12-22-2009, 05:18 AM
Try practicing aikido with non-martial artists. I've done it at a demo for a school. Believe me, you will hurt them, whether you want it or not, because they don't know the right path to take in order to receive a technique painlessly. On the contrary, they will try to stay away from that path as much as possible, since the normal human reflex to pain is to resist.

Carsten Möllering
12-22-2009, 07:13 AM
Try practicing aikido with non-martial artists. I've done it at a demo for a school. Believe me, you will hurt them, whether you want it or not, because they don't know the right path to take in order to receive a technique painlessly. On the contrary, they will try to stay away from that path as much as possible, since the normal human reflex to pain is to resist.

I work on a regular base as an instuctor with non-martial artists.

The seminars don't show "normal" self-defense techniques but techniques to de-escalate a physical conflict if possible without hurting the aggressor.

The seminars are meant for staff members who work with mentally disabled persons or persons with psychiatrical disorders or aggressive teenagers ...
The attacks we have to deal with are not very "competent" but very strong and wild. And the people are often heavy.

And In every seminar there is at least one Person who needs to test whether what I teach really works.

I have never hurt anyone.

----------------------

... since the normal human reflex to pain is to resist.Exactly!
So if I know that pain causes resistance, why should I use it as a part of technique?

Although I expect you won't like or won't take it serious here is a short clip of Endo about nikyo ... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqgPoUf2Gkw)

Greetings,
Carsten

Maarten De Queecker
12-22-2009, 08:10 AM
I work on a regular base as an instuctor with non-martial artists.

The seminars don't show "normal" self-defense techniques but techniques to de-escalate a physical conflict if possible without hurting the aggressor.

The seminars are meant for staff members who work with mentally disabled persons or persons with psychiatrical disorders or aggressive teenagers ...
The attacks we have to deal with are not very "competent" but very strong and wild. And the people are often heavy.

And In every seminar there is at least one Person who needs to test whether what I teach really works.

I have never hurt anyone.

----------------------

Exactly!
So if I know that pain causes resistance, why should I use it as a part of technique?

Although I expect you won't like or won't take it serious here is a short clip of Endo about nikyo ... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqgPoUf2Gkw)

Greetings,
Carsten

Very instructive video, and I like Endo sensei's aikido a whole lot, to be honest. I went to a seminar of Dirk Müller in Hamburg a month and a half ago and it was an eye opener. I tried to apply some of the things I learned at that seminar at my regular class. They didn't work at all, mainly because we don't train aikido "with two", as Herr Müller does. In fact, control through pain is very much a part of our curriculum. With that I mean that if uke resists (which we all do) he will feel some degree of pain. The advantage of this is that I have learned (and am still learning) to work with heavily resisting people, or people who aren't naturally supple and subsequentially more prone to pain.

On the video: pulling someone against you when his hand is in nikkyo on your body is essentially controlling him through pain.

dps
12-22-2009, 12:10 PM
On the contrary, they will try to stay away from that path as much as possible, since the normal human reflex to pain is to resist.

The normal human reflex to pain is not to resist what is causing the pain but to get away from what is causing the pain.

When someone applies sankyo to you do you resist or move to avoid the pain? I avoid the pain.

David

Shadowfax
12-22-2009, 12:44 PM
The normal human reflex to pain is not to resist what is causing the pain but to get away from what is causing the pain.

When someone applies sankyo to you do you resist or move to avoid the pain? I avoid the pain.

David

I might not be normal..:p. but I actually had to be trained and often have to be reminded to move to avoid the pain in sankyo. Before I began to learn to move, I would not move even when a pin or lock hurt a great deal. In one instance when I was first learning someone was doing kotegaeshi and I would not go down. He said to me "I can make it hurt". And I looked up and said ,"you already are making it hurt.....You don't have my center." Now I know not too bright on my part but I was also not intentionally resisting I just felt no real reason to move, its just how my brain appears to be wired and I had not yet really come to understand how to be a good uke. But of someone gets my center and unbalances me right I'll go down like a sack of bricks. And generally get the "how the heck did I get down here?" feeling right before I start to laugh. When that happens I rarely feel a bit of pain or discomfort.

Maarten De Queecker
12-22-2009, 01:34 PM
The normal human reflex to pain is not to resist what is causing the pain but to get away from what is causing the pain.

When someone applies sankyo to you do you resist or move to avoid the pain? I avoid the pain.

David

Untrained people will stand their ground and do their utmost to resist, in my experience.

C. David Henderson
12-22-2009, 01:45 PM
Hi Maarten.

When you said earlier:

[They] don't know the right path to take in order to receive a technique painlessly. On the contrary, they will try to stay away from that path .....

I thought this could mean, alternatively, not moving or moving along a path that leads to more pain and discomfort (for example, from nikyo).

It also seemed to me one reason to move the wrong way might be, as you suggested, to resist.

I also think newer or untrained people sometimes move along the wrong ukemi path because they are trying to escape pain, but either don't know how or, in some cases, simply can't move in the way that minimizes pain (yet).

YMMV

cdh

lbb
12-22-2009, 02:10 PM
I also think newer or untrained people sometimes move along the wrong ukemi path because they are trying to escape pain, but either don't know how or, in some cases, simply can't move in the way that minimizes pain (yet).

Hi David,

Not to disparage anything you're saying, but (and this is really addressed to the conversation as a whole) isn't this fairly obvious? Ukemi is a learned skill, it's not something everybody does automatically. Why would we expect J. Random Person to go with the technique? They don't know how.

dps
12-22-2009, 02:40 PM
Untrained people will stand their ground and do their utmost to resist, in my experience.

In the few times I have had to use Aikido outside of the dojo against an untrained foe, when the technique was applied they moved away from the pain real fast.

David

Maarten De Queecker
12-22-2009, 02:43 PM
In the few times I have had to use Aikido outside of the dojo against an untrained foe, when the technique was applied they moved away from the pain real fast.

David

Oh well, there's so many people around, some are bound to act differently :) It is rather hard to escape a nikkyo other than going down or staying up and resisting real hard..

Then again, I'm not the most proficient at sankyo.

Maarten De Queecker
12-22-2009, 02:45 PM
Hi David,

Not to disparage anything you're saying, but (and this is really addressed to the conversation as a whole) isn't this fairly obvious? Ukemi is a learned skill, it's not something everybody does automatically. Why would we expect J. Random Person to go with the technique? They don't know how.

I beg to differ. Everybody knows (or should know) that Chuck Norris can walk that path automatically, while repeatedly roundhousekicking you in the face.

dps
12-22-2009, 02:50 PM
I beg to differ. Everybody knows (or should know) that Chuck Norris can walk that path automatically, while repeatedly roundhousekicking you in the face.

....while juggling coconuts dropped by migrating African Sparrows.

David :)

Maarten De Queecker
12-22-2009, 03:29 PM
....while juggling coconuts dropped by migrating African Sparrows.

David :)

No, african swallows can actually carry coconuts, but there need be two swallows for each coconut.

Janet Rosen
12-22-2009, 06:09 PM
I might not be normal..:p. but I actually had to be trained and often have to be reminded to move to avoid the pain in sankyo. Before I began to learn to move, I would not move even when a pin or lock hurt a great deal.
I was the same way as a newbie.

C. David Henderson
12-23-2009, 09:18 AM
Hi David,

Not to disparage anything you're saying, but (and this is really addressed to the conversation as a whole) isn't this fairly obvious? Ukemi is a learned skill, it's not something everybody does automatically. Why would we expect J. Random Person to go with the technique? They don't know how.

Hi Mary,

I'm glad it sounded obvious, actually. The reason I said anything is because it appeared the discussion centered on whether "uke" (if one could use that term loosely) either "resists" (not moving) or "moves" to avoid the pain (not resisting), leaving out what I would guess most of us recall from our own experiences -- moving in the wrong direction (e.g., withdrawing) reflexively.

To me, one of the early interesting lessons from training was learning to act in ways that weren't intuitive and sometimes were physically difficult but had better -- less painful -- outcomes.

Regards,

cdh

lbb
12-23-2009, 10:50 AM
To me, one of the early interesting lessons from training was learning to act in ways that weren't intuitive and sometimes were physically difficult but had better -- less painful -- outcomes.

Same here -- and I think this kind of connects back to the "old guy endurance" that you mentioned a couple of pages back (I really liked that post btw...in fact, it was one of those posts where I found so much in it that I didn't know where to begin commenting!). Learning how your body works, how it responds, how to differentiate between different signals and form your own set of useful labels for them, all that forms the body of knowledge that makes the "old guy endurance" possible. I haven't yet met anybody who didn't do some of that learning the hard way, as the best move wasn't always the intuitive move.

C. David Henderson
12-24-2009, 01:42 PM
Learning how your body works, how it responds, how to differentiate between different signals and form your own set of useful labels for them, all that forms the body of knowledge that makes the "old guy endurance" possible. I haven't yet met anybody who didn't do some of that learning the hard way, as the best move wasn't always the intuitive move.

Hi Mary,

I agree with both your points.

I don't know if I've written about this before here -- if so, forgive my repetition.

The winter after I graduated from college, I hiked the Napali Coast of Kaua'i. Eleven miles in, at Kalalau beach, there's a waterfall a couple of hundred meters inland. It's the best place to get fresh water, and the only place nearby to take a shower.

Kalalau, by the way, may be one of the most hauntingly beautiful places on Earth. I ended up staying several days after my food ran out, and, like two close friends I first met years afterwards, I had a freak accident while I was there that could have ended up killing me. I'd go back in a heart-beat; so, I suspect, would they.

One morning as I walked up the canyon leading to the falls, a herd of wild goats happened to be grazing in front of me. As I moved forward along the trail, they moved back, towards the cliff face at the head of the canyon.

This will be interesting, I thought.

When we got to the falls, I was amazed to watch the herd scramble up the sheer cliff walls. Then, as I watched, open-mouthed, one-by-one the goats lept across the face of the falls, unerringly finding a foothold on the opposite side. The athleticism and grace of their leaps took my breath away.

The last goat appeared to be old, or perhaps injured, as it was moving more stiffly that the others. As I watched, it reached the spot where the others had leapt, and it paused. It looked carefully at the narrow, thundering column of water in front of it. And then, very carefully, it stepped where the others had lept, unerringly finding a foothold on the opposite side.

That old goat knew it's stuff.

Before reading your comment, I hadn't occasion to remember that for some time. Mahalo.

cdh

RED
12-24-2009, 05:55 PM
Untrained people will stand their ground and do their utmost to resist, in my experience.

I've actually seen this before... in myself. lol I'm a little:freaky: though.
When I started I stood my ground into the pain. I even went against the force at times. I thought I could find a way out by going towards and over it.....nope, had to go away from it.

Then again I am :freaky:

Alec Corper
12-25-2009, 10:26 AM
Nice discussion. No absolutes in the field of combat, dojo or street.
Yes, some people will try to resist pain and get harder and tougher, specially on drugs and/or booze. Pain compliance just won't work on these people.
Yes, some peoples response to pain is to try to jump away from it, better to have "sticky hands" like Endo sensei than steel clamps which lose their grip.
Yes katame waza can and will hurt, and if necessary disable, but not everyone all of the time.
Yes Aikido works on so disturbing your opponent's (sorry, partner) balance that resistance is not possible, but some people's center is hard to find.
Yes Aikido is easier on the internet than anywhere else ;-)

fast-edge
12-27-2009, 04:24 PM
In this little article I would like to discuss pain. Obviously pain is often experienced during an Aikido training. I will list different circumstances under which pain is inflicted by humans on other humans and the inflicters experience their actions as consciously willed. In the end I will try to look at the peculiarities of the situation during an Aikido training. I am a physicist, who read some introductory texts on behavior of humans, but I am definitely not an expert on the subject. By writing this text I hope to make you smile and possibly to make you rethink some generally accepted truths in a critical way, but I clearly have to leave the creation of scientific truth to others. I practice Aikido for a few month now. Since I am German I apologize for possible improper use of the English language. First of all I would like to note that pain is very often avoided in our society. You can go to pharmacy and will be offered a large variety of painkillers but people will look at you strangely when you ask for a pain enhancer. Pain is sometimes observed in medical settings consider a vaccination or a dentist. Usually people argue that they expect an improvement of health in future and experience the pain as unpleasant. So we find people accepting an unpleasant situation now, hoping for a more pleasant one in future. Pain was and sometimes unfortunately is still used in order to modify behavior. Corporal punishment for criminals has been banned in Europe, still other countries like Singapore still use it. Quite recently corporal punishment of children is being banned in Europe too. Although it still takes place, even if prohibited. We also cause a lot of pain to other humans in times of war. Here it is interesting that the inflicter of the pain will often not directly see the consequences of his/her action, such as a pilot launching a rocket. There is also violence between people without the blessing of the government, such as Hooliganism. Here the inflicters of the pain see the suffering of there victims in quite a direct manner and often become victims themselves. Furthermore we find torturing of prisoners, often with at least tacit approval of the government. It has been shown (by the Standford Experiment and the Milgram experiment as well as others) that torture was committed by sane and normal people and any of us is very likely to become a torturer himself/herself when exposed to similar circumstances. We also find pain inflicted during sadomasochistic activities. These are very often described as very pleasant for the sadistic as well as the masochistic partner. Although cases of rape do occur too. There is also prostitution on both sides, in these cases the joy maybe distributed unequally among the partners. We have seen many different situations in which physical pain is caused to us by other humans throughout our lives. There are also a large number of reasons that people give us to explain each of these behaviors. All that makes me think that our tendency to exchange pain with other humans is something deeply human and needs to be accepted as it is. One thing we can do about it is to use it in a way that is nice for each of us. And I think the situation during an Aikido training provides quite a nice lab to learn about that. There is no fighting against a particular group of people like in Hooliganism. The our partner tells us when stop by tapping out unlike in the Milgram experiment or in case of war where a social authority tells us to go on until our victim is dead. Unlike in other styles of martial arts tapping out in Aikido does not result in defeat and thus can be used without that bias on both sides. There is no money involved as in prostitution. There are many people around which makes non consensual activity very unlikely. We change roles and partners very quickly and all of us wear the same clothes. This is opposed to the situation in the Standford experiment as well as in torturing of prisoners, where prisoners were naked and guards were wearing uniforms and the rolls did not change at all. The people inflicting the pain do not carry authority over the people experiencing the pain as in corporal punishment of criminals or children. Finally there is the question if there is a good reason for inflicting this pain. You can argue that you need to learn about the defensive aspects of Aikido and thus need to learn about the pain you inflict on a possible attacker. And this is perfectly acceptable, and there will very likely much more of those good reasons. Still I also often observed people creating quite a strong pain on my body which I enjoyed. The inflicters told me that they liked inflicting this pain on me too. I also observed that I enjoyed creating pain for others and hearing them tell me that they enjoyed the experience too. I also have been told by people that I hurt them too much and shall try to be more careful, and I also have told other to be more careful with me. I also sometimes ask people if they are Ok with the level of pain I create for them and also hear others asking me if the pain they inflict on me is Ok for me.

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
The author is of this text is Dirk Huenniger born on 22nd October 1980 in Moers, Germany
This text was written on 16th December 2009 in Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany

ok

fast-edge
12-27-2009, 04:31 PM
ok

There is a old Japanese quote that say " Cry in the dojo, laugh on the battlefield"

Yes , pain will occured as any training will inflict , to have a good balance in the knowlege of your own limit and capability will ease
and reduce the pain/injuries you may experience during training.
Pat

Maarten De Queecker
12-27-2009, 04:33 PM
And on the 8th day God invented paragraphs...

Shadowfax
12-28-2009, 09:44 AM
And on the 8th day God invented paragraphs..:D

I am such a huge fan of paragraphs....more people should really try using them if they would like other people to actually read their posts. ;)

Back to pain.

Last week I had a fellow student trying to learn the pin for Nikkyo. So I spent a good bit of time patiently lying on the mat while he and sensei played with my arm. Sometimes it hurt quite a lot, but he didn't have the pin. Decided that as long as there was no actual injury occurring that it would be better to allow him try until he found it than to tap out before he did. Needless to say I had a sore arm for a few days. No regrets. Hopefully he was able to benefit. :)

carlo pagal
12-30-2009, 04:31 AM
IMO no pain, no gain.:)

tarik
01-01-2010, 01:11 PM
I've actually seen this before... in myself. lol I'm a little:freaky: though.
When I started I stood my ground into the pain. I even went against the force at times. I thought I could find a way out by going towards and over it.....nope, had to go away from it.

Then again I am :freaky:

Actually, you can find a way out by going towards it.. but usually when people try, they are pushing with their upper body, which increases the pain and accelerates tori's lock.

If you move your feet instead, you can get different results. Difficult to describe, but easy to show and reasonably easy to teach depending on the student.

FWIW.

Best,

tarik
01-01-2010, 01:57 PM
This has been an interesting thread to read. For some people, it really does hurt just to get on the mat. I think pain can be used as a learning tool, an obstacle, and as information.

In my training, we never rely on pain and we never deliberately inflict it. While resisting technique can be painful, pain is never the allowed to be the motivating factor for uke's movement, in part because how people react to pain is unpredictable, and in part because there simply are better ways.

I might not be normal..:p. but I actually had to be trained and often have to be reminded to move to avoid the pain in sankyo. Before I began to learn to move, I would not move even when a pin or lock hurt a great deal. In one instance when I was first learning someone was doing kotegaeshi and I would not go down. He said to me "I can make it hurt". And I looked up and said ,"you already are making it hurt.....You don't have my center." Now I know not too bright on my part but I was also not intentionally resisting I just felt no real reason to move, its just how my brain appears to be wired and I had not yet really come to understand how to be a good uke. But of someone gets my center and unbalances me right I'll go down like a sack of bricks. And generally get the "how the heck did I get down here?" feeling right before I start to laugh. When that happens I rarely feel a bit of pain or discomfort.

IMO, your response WAS good ukemi and your partner needed that feedback. In fact, I would bet that when he told you that he could make it hurt, you could have, without moving your feet, reached up with your other arm and poked his eyes out or crushed his throat. That's important feedback, because it means you could have hurt him also. If your life was on the line, would you trade your wrist for his eyes or throat? I would and he should presume that in a worst case scenario, some crazy, angry person might be so inclined.

Rather than correcting your ukemi, he should have been looking into what he was doing wrong so that he could 'take' your center and control you without reliance on the pain to get you to move.

Reliance on pain is.. well.. unreliable and unnecessary, which doesn't mean that there should be no pain or discomfort, just that it should be a side effect rather than 'how it works'.

You already described what it should feel like. Unfortunately, your partner (and maybe his teachers) blamed that on your lack of ukemi training rather than looking to their own inability to capture or steal your balance. It's an easy trap to fall into. In our training, we are constantly re-examining and re-avaluate technique, movement, and ukemi to check for inappropriate responses as compared to how trained and untrained people might react in 'real life', so to speak. We end up making a real study of how people move and react. I am always examining and evaluating this when I walk around.

Teaching you to 'go with the technique' is appropriate in that resistance is not the 'way out', but if not done with an awareness of when uke is really compelled to move or not. Moving with the technique simply to avoid pain rather than because your balance has been stolen (and you have no choice but to move or fall) can create an unfortunate model that, I think, makes it more difficult to learn to deal with people who haven't been taught to 'go with it'. To me, that's more akin to learning dance or cooperative gymnastics than a martial art, which is ok if that's what one wishes to learn.

Untrained people will stand their ground and do their utmost to resist, in my experience.

IME, untrained people do one of three things. They resist, they move away, or they stand their ground and wonder why you're trying to inflict pain.

Good technique uses all three of these responses as appropriate rather than trying to force something specific (like a specific technique) upon such an uke, After all, technique is done WITH your partner, even if they choose not to cooperate with you, you should be choosing to cooperate and use their native responses instead of asking them to respond in a certain way.

Personally, I enjoy training with untrained people because their reactions are so honest and learning to deal with that without inflicting pain while still getting results is so educational. The most difficult thing about teaching new people is trying to help them retain those honest responses while adding some skill to their movement.

Regards,