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04-28-2002, 01:01 AM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of April 28, 2002:

Are chronic injuries a necessary part of aikido training?

I don't do aikido
Yes
No


Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=111).

Edward
04-28-2002, 04:24 AM
Chronic, no, but specific or typical, yes.

Like in tennis, getting a tennis elbow does not happen every day. But if you're a regular tennis player, you will get an injured elbow every now and then. In aikido, you will always feel some discomfort in one joint or another. We do use more joints than in tennis.

But it depends on how honest you practice aikido.

erikmenzel
04-28-2002, 08:12 AM
Chronic mental injuries?? Yes, they are a necessary part of aikido. (Ouch, those ego-bruises keep on hurting :D )

Physical chronic injuries?? No way with proper and correct training.

guest1234
04-28-2002, 02:58 PM
Originally posted by Edward
Chronic, no, but specific or typical, yes.

Like in tennis, getting a tennis elbow does not happen every day. But if you're a regular tennis player, you will get an injured elbow every now and then. In aikido, you will always feel some discomfort in one joint or another. We do use more joints than in tennis.

But it depends on how honest you practice aikido.

Honesty has nothing to do with it.

Tennis elbow is no more a sign of a good or frequent tennis player than a 'boxer's fracture' is of a good or frequent boxer (for those of you who don't know, when we see a boxer's fracture-- a break in the fifth metacarpal-- we know it was from a stupid drunk trick, as a real boxer strikes with the second and third metacarpals lined up straight with the bones of the arm). Anyway, these things are signs of incorrect use of your body, which are avoidable through good ukemi.

Oh yeah, also, avoidable by good ukemi AND proper movement...those pesky knee problems are often from trying to turn on a planted foot :eek:, incorrect weight distribution in shikko, leaning or other poor posture, etc etc...

justinm
04-29-2002, 04:12 AM
My long term injuries are a result of my partner doing something that I could not avoid. My elbows are permanently painful. Both elbow problems were caused by my partner's lack of sensitivity when I was pinned, causing overextension of the elbow joint.

Both original injuries were caused by experienced aikidoka and by that I mean at least 4th Dan but has happened so many times since that I have to stop training on elbow techniques after just a few (for instance hijiate & hijishime).

Two weeks ago it was a 1st kyu. I was pinned on the floor and he messed up my elbow again.

Other than not training, I can't see how I will stop this happening other than never train with someone I don't know very very well.

shihonage
04-29-2002, 05:11 AM
Originally posted by justinm

Other than not training, I can't see how I will stop this happening other than never train with someone I don't know very very well.

Tell your partner that they're hurting you.

guest1234
04-29-2002, 05:52 AM
Originally posted by justinm
My long term injuries are a result of my partner doing something that I could not avoid. My elbows are permanently painful. Both elbow problems were caused by my partner's lack of sensitivity when I was pinned, causing overextension of the elbow joint.
<snip>

Other than not training, I can't see how I will stop this happening other than never train with someone I don't know very very well.

I would say these were avoidable, but it is hard to say without knowing if you have a deformity of the elbows (we have a couple of folks in my dojo whose elbows since birth have less than full extension) or a sadist in your dojo. If you know your elbows won't extend without injury, or are loose, or already injured...tell your partner before training, and mark your gi (I like red tape) and tap early. One can always tap if all else fails, but a serious effort should be made to verbally and visually warn a partner. Also, while this does not apply to you, as you had already submitted to your partner (in the pin already), I get annoyed by those who do tell their partners to go easy on them to to an injury or infirmity, and then RESIST the technique (often seen in one particular person in my dojo). This is rude and stupid, no gentle way to say that. Most important in the pin, TAP. TAP EARLY. TAP. Sometimes people wait too long in the pin to tap. There is a short time between slack taken out of a joint and pain. Use it. Pain is bad, enjoy the stretch but tap as soon as it hurts, and this often means getting ready to tap as soon as he starts to pin.

If this particular partner (or partners) does this on purpose :eek: (ie, you warned them, marked your gi, did not overly resist technique/weren't heavy footed, took appropiate ukemi and tapped as you felt the stretch, not until the pain was unbearable, and he continued the pin after you tapped), then he should be reported to your sensei. There should be no room on the mat for sadistic partners who purposely injure; and those who are injuring through inept performace need special attention from the sensei, it is his responsibilty for basic safety in the dojo.

Krzysiek
04-29-2002, 08:48 AM
Justin,
I agree with the others who posted about how to avoid this sort of thing in the first plce... in addition to that you (and anyone in your situation) might want to think about:

1) Be very carful about practice for a while... I know it's not as much fun as going all-out but if you make clear to your sensei and others that you need to take care of your body they'll usually understand.

2) See a good physical therapist (or any of a whole range of practitioners who take care of things like this...) and put some work into making it better.

If you have done the above already I'm sorry for being preachy but I've found that even though I usually know when I need to chill and take care of myself, it's hard to listen to one's own advice.

--Krzysiek

Jappzz
04-29-2002, 11:48 AM
Uh

Am i the only one that fids the original question quite strange?
I mean isn't the sole purpose of doing aikido to gain knowledge about how to NOT hurt poeople seriously while defending against them? Maybe i'm naive but isn't the the mere fact that this question COULD BE justified proof enough that Aikido isn't performed in the way is was meant to be done?

Peace, love and MA

Jesper

Edward
04-29-2002, 12:17 PM
Jasper, I think the question is about hurting yourself not others. I think it's about unintentional damage.

Jonathan
04-29-2002, 01:27 PM
I don't know how many stories I've heard about how injurious aikido training was in the days of the "hell dojo". I've heard of high-ranking teachers, shihan, and O sensei himself breaking people's arms, wrists, or back, dislocating shoulders, etc. My own shihan will give you a good stretching (yudansha only) -- to the point of intense pain -- if he thinks you aren't flexible enough. Once I was left with torn tendons from a nikyo he put on me. Are all these people doing aikido wrong or carelessly? No. Sometimes training hurts.

I'm not proponing intentionally injuring someone, but I'm definitely not in favor of training that is so mild, so fearful of injury, that training never comes anywhere near approximating the reality of genuine conflict.

Is chronic injury necessary to aikido training? No, but some injury is inevitable.

Jim ashby
04-30-2002, 05:43 AM
No injury is "necessary". There are chronic injuries that seem to be specific to Aikido, however not everyone that I have trained with has the same set. I agree with Colleen, identify yourself to your partners/Sensei if you are carrying an injury and tap when YOU feel you should. If someone ignores the fact that you are injured and still cranks it on, bow, leave them and go train with someone else.
Have fun.

justinm
04-30-2002, 11:53 AM
I read all the feedback with interest, but couldn't relate most of it to my injuries, other than Krzysiek's suggestion on getting medical help - you are right, I've put it off after this injury. Thanks for the prompt! Most of the time it's just a minor inconvenience and I ignore it but sometimes it gets re-aggrevateed by someone.

Colleen - I'm right with you on your point about resisting after informing someone of an injury - rude and stupid. Not relevant in this situation.

Don't agree that tapping fast is the answer. I'm not couch potato when it comes to moving fast if I need to, but some pins come on faster than I can move my hand. There is no slack on the elbow when the elbow is locked out. Some simple examples? ikkajo, hijishime, hijiate. They can move 1/2 on a locked elbow far faster than I can move my body to absorb it. These are elbow breaking techniques designed exactly for that reason. It doesn't take a lot for someone to get it wrong - too enthusiastic, excited, whatever.

So what do I do - never do any technique where an elbow is involved? Only train in slow motion? That's the same as giving up training as far as I am concerned!

So I accept that injuries occur. I try to minimise them. Protect and rest weaknesses. But at the end of the day, it's a martial art.

I guess I could always take up golf instead!

Justin

Lyle Bogin
04-30-2002, 12:43 PM
I aquired a chronic knee injury while kickboxing, and it has healed nicely since I began aikido. I took about a year and a half for the pain to vanish and never return.

Of all of the marital arts I've tried, aikido is the easiest on the body. Or should I say, it provides the best opportuinity for self protection during training.

jimvance
04-30-2002, 01:50 PM
Originally posted by Jonathan
I don't know how many stories I've heard about how injurious aikido training was in the days of the "hell dojo". I've heard of high-ranking teachers, shihan, and O sensei himself breaking people's arms, wrists, or back, dislocating shoulders, etc. My own shihan will give you a good stretching (yudansha only) -- to the point of intense pain -- if he thinks you aren't flexible enough. Once I was left with torn tendons from a nikyo he put on me. Are all these people doing aikido wrong or carelessly? No. Sometimes training hurts.Please excuse me if you find this offensive, but the description given above is just plain ABUSE. I used to subscribe to this theory until I was taught better. People do this because they know they can get away with it; in other words, they have a willing (and stupid, in my own experience) participant. My teacher likes to say that if you can hurt someone, then they can hurt you. Sometimes training does hurt, but someone else should not decide whether you can "take the pain". Torn tendons could be looked at as a badge of honor, signifying undergoing "hard training" or "ascetic discipline". I tend to look at them in this context as proof of rape.

Jim Vance

Jonathan
04-30-2002, 02:26 PM
Well, Jim, thanks for your opinion. While I can see your point of view, it doesn't gain greater credence by being expressed in an obnoxious way.

:mad:

Lyle Bogin
04-30-2002, 02:30 PM
I agree with Jim, and do not think he was being obnoxious, but rather emphatic.

Edward
04-30-2002, 09:48 PM
Originally posted by jimvance
Please excuse me if you find this offensive, but the description given above is just plain ABUSE. I used to subscribe to this theory until I was taught better. People do this because they know they can get away with it; in other words, they have a willing (and stupid, in my own experience) participant. My teacher likes to say that if you can hurt someone, then they can hurt you. Sometimes training does hurt, but someone else should not decide whether you can "take the pain". Torn tendons could be looked at as a badge of honor, signifying undergoing "hard training" or "ascetic discipline". I tend to look at them in this context as proof of rape.

Jim Vance

Sometimes I do wonder if the decision to teach aikido to Westerners was not O sensei's biggest mistake. Look what they did to judo and karate, and now to aikido. Of course, money was and still is an important factor in prostituting aikido and other martial arts, but at a price of loosing aikido's inherent Japanese values.

PeterR
04-30-2002, 10:08 PM
Hi Edward;

Brutal training, what Jim is talking about, is found in Japan as anywhere else. Aikido has it's share of bullies here too and I would even go so far as to say that in Japan bullying is elevated to an art form. I wonder what inherent Japanese values you are referring to.

I am a fan of good Japanese budo training - it's one of the reasons I'm back here. That said I've seen and heard of some unhealthy stuff practiced in the name of Budo.

Same I suspect for Judo and Karate - the Japanese are into sport Judo as much or more so as any other country - they afterall introduced it. I also don't consider Olympic Judo evil (I suppose that is what you are referring to).

Originally posted by Edward
Sometimes I do wonder if the decision to teach aikido to Westerners was not O sensei's biggest mistake. Look what they did to judo and karate, and now to aikido. Of course, money was and still is an important factor in prostituting aikido and other martial arts, but at a price of loosing aikido's inherent Japanese values.

Edward
04-30-2002, 10:31 PM
Hi Peter,

I hate bullying and I don't want it to be in any way part of aikido. But I do recognize the teacher's authority, in the teaching process, to cause pain to the student. Pain is a part of budo training, and learning to live with pain and accepting it, not making a big issue of it, is fundamental in budo, I think.

Brutal is not good either, but intentful and honest is.

I unfortunately find aikido practitioners too concerned by avoiding pain to do an honest practice.

Injury is unavoidable from time to time but not necessary.

As for judo, I am not referring to the Olympic Judo since it was created by Professor Kano himself. I have nothing against it. I myself am an ex-judoka and I have done training camps with European instructors and I saw how they transformed the sport of judo to mere wrestling skills, killed the personality building element and the developing of ki against pure muscle power, and eliminated the privileged teacher-student relationship for a contractual relationship favoring the student over the teacher. This is what I meant by Japanese values.

By the way, good luck for your Japan stay and train hard!


Originally posted by PeterR
Hi Edward;

Brutal training, what Jim is talking about, is found in Japan as anywhere else. Aikido has it's share of bullies here too and I would even go so far as to say that in Japan bullying is elevated to an art form. I wonder what inherent Japanese values you are referring to.

I am a fan of good Japanese budo training - it's one of the reasons I'm back here. That said I've seen and heard of some unhealthy stuff practiced in the name of Budo.

Same I suspect for Judo and Karate - the Japanese are into sport Judo as much or more so as any other country - they afterall introduced it. I also don't consider Olympic Judo evil (I suppose that is what you are referring to).

PeterR
04-30-2002, 11:00 PM
Hi Edward me again

Originally posted by Edward
Pain is a part of budo training, and learning to live with pain and accepting it, not making a big issue of it, is fundamental in budo, I think.

I unfortunately find aikido practitioners too concerned by avoiding pain to do an honest practice.

Injury is unavoidable from time to time but not necessary.


I appologise, apparently I misread your post and understood the exact opposite.

I agree completely with the above three statements.

I also must say that causing injury on purpose is as Jim pointed out a violation. Pain, even that which last's a few days, is not what he, I or I suppose you are talking about. Accidents do happen and unfortunately some injuries become chronic. Managed to avoid those so far, although two bothered me for more than a year and age being what it is - may bother me again.

Originally posted by Jonathan
Well, Jim, thanks for your opinion. While I can see your point of view, it doesn't gain greater credence by being expressed in an obnoxious way.

What????? Basically what Jim is talking about is completely right - if serious injury is caused on purpose it is ABUSE.

Edward
04-30-2002, 11:50 PM
Originally posted by PeterR

Basically what Jim is talking about is completely right - if serious injury is caused on purpose it is ABUSE.

Hi again, Peter,

Well since I'm home today as it is a public holiday on May Day, I have time to write many posts :)

Just to look at it objectively, I have not seen myself any such thing so far in aikido, fortunately. But I do know that all the UchiDeshi of Osensei, who later went abroad to spread aikido in Europe and America did cause such injury frequently in demonstrations or in class, mostly on Nikkyo and Sankyo. They have all mellowed-down (with age probably). But one has to understand that they were just repeating what has been done to them during their own learning. In the old school, tearing a student's wrist ligaments with Nikkyo was almost a yearly ritual to toughen him up. It used to be considered a mark of love and affection from the sensei. And believe it or not, it used to be done affectionately by the sensei. I know this sounds shocking for us, and in no way I would like this to be done on me. But this is the real Budo training, and I cannot but admire these people.

Now to call it abuse, well Yes, it is, in our western point of view. I would say also, No, if you believe in cultural differences.

Cheers,
Edward

PeterR
05-01-2002, 12:18 AM
Well I consider it my duty to keep you busy. Read I'm collecting data and have ten minutes here and ten minutes there.

I've been Nikkyo'd myself with a smile on Shihan's face. Like to think it was not sadistic pleasure.

I did say serious injury when I talked about abuse and stretched tendons isn't serious. I agree though that the old school was pretty tough and I, although like you admire the resiliance, would probably have whimped out.

Thing is though time and circumstance change. In todays context breaking someones bone on purpose is abuse and not acceptable. Even in the old days, such a thing even as accident would have required the offender to visit the victim every day in hospital and to offer numerous heart-felt appologies whether it was totally your fault or no.

Originally posted by Edward


Hi again, Peter,

Well since I'm home today as it is a public holiday on May Day, I have time to write many posts :)

Just to look at it objectively, I have not seen myself any such thing so far in aikido, fortunately. But I do know that all the UchiDeshi of Osensei, who later went abroad to spread aikido in Europe and America did cause such injury frequently in demonstrations or in class, mostly on Nikkyo and Sankyo. They have all mellowed-down (with age probably). But one has to understand that they were just repeating what has been done to them during their own learning. In the old school, tearing a student's wrist ligaments with Nikkyo was almost a yearly ritual to toughen him up. It used to be considered a mark of love and affection from the sensei. And believe it or not, it used to be done affectionately by the sensei. I know this sounds shocking for us, and in no way I would like this to be done on me. But this is the real Budo training, and I cannot but admire these people.

Now to call it abuse, well Yes, it is, in our western point of view. I would say also, No, if you believe in cultural differences.

Cheers,
Edward

Deb Fisher
05-01-2002, 01:46 AM
This thread is getting really interesting... I am interested in the conflict developing between what I can only describe as Budo Toughness and Aikido Softness...?

As a real beginner, I have little to add to the discussion except a couple of observations.

*Breaking someone's arm or tearing ligaments on purpose does feel like abuse to me. I don't see why this is an act of love or respect, and I think that the way in which abusive behavior "toughens people up" is really counterproductive in a dojo setting, which seems to require a lot of comfort and honesty.

*That aside, I do feel as if I am developing a new and tougher way of handling pain, and I think that's really positive - especially since our (American) culture is so pain-intolerant. Let me put it this way; I walk into the dojo and understand that I am in a safe environment where no one will maim me, however lovingly. I am also responsible for slapping out and generally working within my limits. Once I have defined unacceptable pain, I have the capacity to stoically handle the sting of a bad fall or even a repeated arm in the nose.

I guess my limited knowledge could be summed up thusly: The bruises I got learning to do breakfalls are badges of honor because I am in control and the pain was not inflicted as a show of power.

Yeah, great thread.
Deb

Erik
05-01-2002, 02:36 AM
I read an interview many years ago about a sensei and concussions. "Gee, we went to the demo and woke up in the hospital. Ha! Ha!", said the student. Flat out amazes me to even think about it. Funny how things change. Concussions used to be ha, ha, in sports too, until the doctors figured out just how much damage they do.

But I do know that all the UchiDeshi of Osensei, who later went abroad to spread aikido in Europe and America did cause such injury frequently in demonstrations or in class, mostly on Nikkyo and Sankyo. They have all mellowed-down (with age probably). But one has to understand that they were just repeating what has been done to them during their own learning.

I might debate the words all and frequently but it probably did happen some. This is a classic example of abuse. Dad hits the kid who grows up to be just like Dad hitting his kids. You only hurt the one's you love right?

PeterR
05-01-2002, 03:04 AM
Originally posted by Erik
I might debate the words all and frequently but it probably did happen some.
I caught that too but either I have got used to Edwards absolutes or have become more forgiving with familiarity. ;)

We have an idea what he meant and they crop up far less than they used. I look forward to his posts.

Deb: I am not an Aiki-brute and not really that tough its just that I see Aikido primarily as Budo, secondarily as a philosophy. The path to self awareness comes from training on the mat and is not meant to be easy. Softness - that is exactly the thrust of my current practice.

Edward
05-01-2002, 03:14 AM
Well, you know Guys, we Mediterranean people tend to add a little spice to our words sometimes ;) you would however be surprised how often such things did happen.

I agree with both of you, Peter and Erik. I would like just to give some other example of situations where Uke could be hurt by Sensei.

I have occasionally seen some Yudansha challenge their Sensei when they are called to demonstrate a technique: They might resist the technique, be uncooperative, or respond in a non conventional way. In such cases, I have seen the Sensei rightfully put some extra pressure on a Nikkyo, or throw a little harder than usual, in a kind of punishment, or reward, for the challenge. But things can go wrong, and a little extra pressure can be enough to brake a wrist or a forearm.

I believe it is the Yudansha duty to keep their Sensei's technique sharp and effective, despite the promise of a painful but instructive outcome.

Cheers,
Edward

justinm
05-01-2002, 04:17 AM
There is an excellent article on this 'abuse' thing written by Ellis Amdur, in his book Duelling with O Sensei. He talks about being treated very badly by a senior aikidoka, within the ear and eyesight of the instructor (who I seem to recall was K. Ueshiba) and it was allowed to happen. He explains a lot about the difference in culture between Japan and the US and how this influences this type of behaviour.

I took away the impression from his writtings that the kind of behaviour being discussed here is considered more acceptable/the norm in the Japanese culture and is present throught the school system, with society handling it in a very different way to how a westerner would expect.

Very interesting stuff. Get the book - you won't be disappointed.

JW
05-01-2002, 04:19 AM
Edward, how do you know all that stuff about how often injuries happened, and about how nikkyo tendon damage is like a yearly event and expression of love? I'd love to read about this kind of stuff.
I am very curious about these cultural differences you mentioned, because I've always wondered how training back then could have been so shamelessly injurous while being called the "martial art of love." Well, this thread presents a great answer: the injuries themselves were an expression of love in O-sensei's culture, so there is no discrepancy at all!
However this presents a horrible dilemma:
If the cultural differences between O-sensei's Japan and our modern countries are so large, are we really sure that we can understand the genius of what O-sensei tried to explain?

Originally posted by Edward


Sometimes I do wonder if the decision to teach aikido to Westerners was not O sensei's biggest mistake. ..

These are very sad words. If there is no way to reconcile the differences of the cultures involved, can we still follow a path that we all so dearly want to believe is a path towards something great?
In other words, yes we happen to believe things in our culture, like that intentional hurting of a child by a parent or student by a teacher is abuse. Or that it is possible to become strong and able and wise by practice and learning that does not openly endorse injury to others. Maybe in O-sensei's culture that would make us wimpy. In our culture that makes us normal. So, does that mean our budo practice (and our budo) is wimpy? Or is it normal? If our cultural values are applied to this martial art , will we still have something valuable, or is it possible for changing cultural values to strip a budo of its value as an art and a way?
Am I just rambling, or do I have a point??
Oh yes and the original issue.. the thread has drifted from chronic to accute injuries. I (idealistically?) agree with Colleen and others that chronic injuries are not necessarily tied to Aikido practice, rather that their occurances are errors (not just one person's errors, but they are mistakes in the practice nonetheless). As for acute injuries.. it's like I said before. Culturally, there is no love or respect tied to the giving of an injury in my culture, and consequently their occurance is entirely a negative one, to be avoided by everyone. As for challenging the sensei in front of the class.. well, let's face it, he's better than you, and you get what you ask for (an energetic throw, not necessarily a broken limb).
Thanks for reading, and thanks for your posts.
Oh yeah, and Deb: hi, it's so weird to see someone I know here. You can do breakfalls?? I guess I should be training harder with you!! heh heh heh!!!
--Jonathan Wong

JW
05-01-2002, 04:22 AM
Well Justin, I guess in the time it took for me to finish rambling you have answered my question.. I'll try to check that book out for sure.
--JW

Edward
05-01-2002, 05:07 AM
Jonathan, I will only answer your first question since I consider that the rest is about stating your opinion about the subject.

I have had the great privilege to personally meet with 2 of the Uchi Deshi of Osensei and listen to their stories, as well as many first hand information from direct students of the above shihans. Moreover, our dojo receives the visit of high ranking teachers quite often and I also like to listen to what they say. That's all.

The ritual Nikkyo has been related to me by one of the victims, so to speak (a 4th dan aikikai). He holds no grudge against his teacher, in the countrary, he's very proud of the enormous wrists he developed from this punishment.(There is no way you can have a grip at this guy wrist in katatetori!)

I would like to add something quite important: Probably you wonder how come this generation of shihans is so gifted and powerful in aikido, and you wonder how come the younger generation of teachers does not show the same genius. The answer is that the formidable training these guys received under Osensei and others is no more acceptable nowadays and is called abusive, illegal, criminal...etc. Yes, I do think the new generation is wimpy, to use your words. Myself included, of course...

JW
05-01-2002, 05:25 AM
Thanks for the reply Edward, it's definitely good stuff.

Originally posted by Edward

I would like to add something quite important: Probably you wonder how come this generation of shihans is so gifted and powerful in aikido, and you wonder how come the younger generation of teachers does not show the same genius. The answer is that the formidable training these guys received under Osensei and others is no more acceptable nowadays and is called abusive, illegal, criminal...etc. Yes, I do think the new generation is wimpy, to use your words. Myself included, of course...

How thoroughly depressing for us, for the future of Aikido, and well, for humanity in general.
Can't someone come to our rescue? Surely someone has stories of how they have seen that the newer generations are as impressive as the old! Let's here them! Personally I like the few young shihans I have seen, but then again I realize I have NEVER seen any of O-sensei's uchideshi!
--JW

PeterR
05-01-2002, 05:33 AM
Originally posted by JW
Can't someone come to our rescue? Surely someone has stories of how they have seen that the newer generations are as impressive as the old! Let's here them!
They are out there - I personally know some top rate yondans that will mature well. Seriously good foundation.

Why just this week-end I was choked out by one such .... this guy was deshi to Nariyama and has now started teaching Aikido professionally. There was one guy better at the same age but he's become a priest - sad when you think about it. Not that he doesn't do great Aikido but he just doesn't have the time to get really good at it.

guest1234
05-01-2002, 06:48 AM
Originally posted by Edward
Well, you know Guys, we Mediterranean people tend to add a little spice to our words sometimes ;) you would however be surprised how often such things did happen.

I agree with both of you, Peter and Erik. I would like just to give some other example of situations where Uke could be hurt by Sensei.

I have occasionally seen some Yudansha challenge their Sensei when they are called to demonstrate a technique: They might resist the technique, be uncooperative, or respond in a non conventional way. In such cases, I have seen the Sensei rightfully put some extra pressure on a Nikkyo, or throw a little harder than usual, in a kind of punishment, or reward, for the challenge. But things can go wrong, and a little extra pressure can be enough to brake a wrist or a forearm.

I believe it is the Yudansha duty to keep their Sensei's technique sharp and effective, despite the promise of a painful but instructive outcome.

Cheers,
Edward

Again, Edward, uke in these cases got hurt because of their bad ukemi---resisting past the point of stupidity, not moving or tapping when a joint was locked, etc--- I doubt the senseis were smiling because they were benevolently thinking 'oh, what a fine young man this is' but because they were wondering why he was such an fool, and how he could 'raise' one like that.

When i read people's posts who think broken bones, torn or strained/sprained tendons/ligaments are signs of progress and honor, required for honest and true practice, I wonder a) what their sensei is like as a man and a father and b) what the individual is like as a man and a father. Serious injuries (ie, sprains/torn things/breaks) should be looked at as unfortunate and RARE occurances as they are results of mistakes. If they occur, one or both partners DID SOMETHING WRONG. If one of them did it wrong on purpose, it is abuse. Now, if instead, you are calling serious injuries (which is what we are talking about) bruises, then you did not understand what we were refering to.

In the AF, we train very hard. We train very seriously. I'd be amused to see you walk into any fighter squadron bar in the afternoon and call them weak. But in that training, we work with a set of rules which recognises at the end of the fight, both pilots and planes come home. We have ROE to ensure that, and we follow the ROE or face serious consequences. Occasionally a plane or pilot is lost in training. But it is VERY RARE, it is a BIG MISTAKE, it is MOURNED beyond words, and it is published worldwide so no one else repeats that same stupid mistake. I look at Aikido practice that does not seriously injure anyone in the same light.

Krzysiek
05-01-2002, 09:55 AM
I would like to say that I don't know what cultural differences you're talking about. Bullying is currently alive and well as an American tradition. It happends with teachers watching from the time kids are in grade school until well past college. Often it's the primary mode of organization. Only the most formidable teachers I've ever seen are capable of making their students see past this.
This extends throughout the political, academic, intimate, and Aikido world as well as many others. I have ugly example from each one. Let's not forget why there are so many of us (west and east and north and south) who believe that bullying is wrong.
I have no problem with pain itself, it's a signal, I can read it. My practice is perfectly honest. I can elaborate, but that's not my point in this post. :)

Sylvayikum
05-01-2002, 10:54 AM
If the uke got an injurie, it's probably because the first aikido's idea is not followed. Always use the energy of the uke, no more.

:do:

Erik
05-01-2002, 12:31 PM
Originally posted by Edward
I would like to add something quite important: Probably you wonder how come this generation of shihans is so gifted and powerful in aikido, and you wonder how come the younger generation of teachers does not show the same genius. The answer is that the formidable training these guys received under Osensei and others is no more acceptable nowadays and is called abusive, illegal, criminal...etc. Yes, I do think the new generation is wimpy, to use your words. Myself included, of course...

This went slightly OT but it seemed appropriate.

I can't think of a single sport where the athletes are not significantly better today than they were 20 or 30 years ago. In some cases the skill levels aren't even really close and you have college athletes who are better than what you had professionally or at the world class level 40 years ago.

Professional football players (the US kind) are one of the best examples. Athletes today are far, far better conditioned, they have far more information to learn from (multiple cameras, video, etc), have better drugs than their predecessors and the sport is much more complex than what it was for their predecessors. One of the significant changes in this sport is that training camp and practice is toned way down from what it used to be. Training camp is no longer the ordeal from hell and there are many people arguing that they should be shortened even more.

Training camp changed for a few reasons. First, you don't want your very highly paid athletes getting hurt on the practice field. Second, it's a long season and you need your athletes functional at the end of the season and too much training camp can burn them out. Third, they come into camp at a physical level that would have been unimaginable to athletes 30 years ago.

Why then have professional athletes advanced so rapidly? Certainly their training methods have significantly improved. In Aikido most of us are still operating almost exactly the way we did 40 years ago despite advances in training methods. Secondly, high level athletes, in the US at least, can make a profession of their sport or find a sponsor in the case of non-professionals.

Today, Aikidoists are lucky if they can make a few bucks off their school, if they have one, and I don't know of a single place in the Aikido world that provides a real solid climate for professional development. Some places have live in student programs but is there anyplace able to pay assistant instructors a living wage? Even $30,000/yr, which is barely a living wage in these parts, would be a big step up. The live in student gig only goes so far. Professional opportunities and development would do a world of good for advancing the skill levels because it would allow people to practice Aikido as a profession, which is what that first generation was able to do in a certain sense. It's certainly what has significantly changed the professional athlete.

Anyways, I don't think we've degenerated (I'm not certain how much we've advanced either) and if we have degenerated, in my opinion it's not our wimpy nature and refusal to accept injury which is hindering us.

jimvance
05-01-2002, 12:42 PM
Man, I knew saying that would raise hell...

I am glad that we have so much to talk about. To reiterate what Colleen and others have said: Please don't think that training is not without pain or any injury, but pain and injury is not part of the repertoire we rely on.
I find it humorous that by championing the idea that "purposefully inflicted pain is abuse", that myself, my teachers, and my culture have been judged as wimpy without having a clue to our principles, methods, or ability.

Jim Vance

akiy
05-01-2002, 12:51 PM
Originally posted by jimvance

I find it humorous that by championing the idea that "purposefully inflicted pain is abuse", that myself, my teachers, and my culture have been judged as wimpy without having a clue to our principles, methods, or ability.
Having trained, albeit oh-so-briefly, with Jim and his current teachers and training partners, I have to say that there's nothing wimpy about their aikido. I sometimes "sneak" in the principles I learned through training with them during my own regular training and have gotten some responses of "How the heck did you do that?" after they got back up.

Looking forward to seeing you, Jim, as well as the rest of the folks attending from your dojo at the Aiki Expo!

-- Jun

Jonathan
05-01-2002, 02:35 PM
Peter R and others who think I have over-reacted to Jim V:

I have no problem with an emphatic statement -- exclamation points don't trouble me. What does bother me is being called stupid, however obliquely, by someone who has an opposing point of view. If Jim V. favors a less rigorous style of training than I, great. There is no need, though, for him to express his opinion in a way that denigrates me personally.

By the way, my shihan is not a "rapist", nor is he a bully. He is, IMO, a truly excellent aikidoka and a very likeable person. While his teaching is sometimes a little medieval, I accept it because I believe his intentions are to toughen and develop a fighting spirit within his students.

Lyle Bogin
05-01-2002, 02:56 PM
Pain is a permission slip. You hurt me, I have permission to hurt you. You attack me vigourously, I throw you vigourously.

Of all of the rules that I have followed, or cast aside, this one seems the most universal.

So, when said sensei is snapping on painful techniques, is the student mildly approaching, leaving themselves open to what the sensei choses to do? Or is the student attacking with real intent...trying to cut down the sensei?

Krzysiek
05-01-2002, 03:30 PM
Pain is a permission slip. You hurt me, I have permission to hurt you

I believe that pain is a message that your body is in danger or being damaged. I don't think one should attach any more philosophical meaning to it.

Ethically I don't think that being attacked (even in a painful way) changes the situation any. Either way you need to defend yourself (so I'm not advocating letting somebody beat you while you stand there). Responding to hurt with hurt only perpetuates the situtation.

Just so somebody doesn't jump on me for promoting Aiki-dance instead of 'do' I think that if you're in a dojo and you're attacking your partner so they can learn a technique, an attack which matches their level of experience is very appropriate (and even white belts should see full attacks so they learn not to freeze when it happens.

That's my $0.02 for the moment... back to the thesis...:D

jimvance
05-01-2002, 04:01 PM
Originally posted by Jonathan
...What does bother me is being called stupid, however obliquely, by someone who has an opposing point of view.After re-reading my initial post, I see where you could think I was calling you stupid. Without having any idea who you or your teacher are, I was referring to myself from my own experience. I apologize.

Jim Vance

cdwright
05-01-2002, 07:17 PM
Originally posted by erikknoops
Chronic mental injuries?? Yes, they are a necessary part of aikido. (Ouch, those ego-bruises keep on hurting :D )

Physical chronic injuries?? No way with proper and correct training.

All too ofter people think that training ends on the mat. A person should do exercises everyday that strengthen their muscles, joints and bones. Doing this will protect your joints and make them less prone to injury.

If all else fails, JUMP into that ukemi.

janet
05-01-2002, 08:55 PM
Hmmm....coming in late so I'm addressing the original question:
it is clear that accidents and injuries WILL happen.
A certain percentage of acute inuries are serious enough that, in and of themselves, they will result in some form of ongoing disability or chronic ailment/injury.
HOWEVER, I do believe, as somebody who trains in aikido, and has been a RN over 20 yrs, that many many chronic injuries in aikido and in life itself were preventable were they appropriately treated when they were acute injuries.
In aikido we see this a lot with soft tissue injuries, esp tendons, that sustain a minor insult. But nobody wants to stop training. So put on some tape or a splint instead. Ice and elevation is all very good. But I work full time and its too much bother to figure out where to store a cold pack on the job, so I'll just ice it after work, before I head to the dojo.
Yeah, I twisted my neck, but....
Yeah, my pinkie is broken, but....
yeah...
well we each have one body. There is enough stuff we have no control over. We DO have control over how we treat our acute injuries.
rant mode off :-)
janet

Edward
05-01-2002, 09:48 PM
Originally posted by jimvance
I find it humorous that by championing the idea that "purposefully inflicted pain is abuse", that myself, my teachers, and my culture have been judged as wimpy without having a clue to our principles, methods, or ability.

Jim Vance

I am not sure where did Jim find any allusion that him, his teachers, or his culture are being judged as wimpy. I can see here mostly interpreting others' posts too liberally and also trying to play the victim.

I don't know Jim nor his teachers, but having seen his website, I have no doubt that they belong to the hard side of aikido since they are originated in Tomiki style. But again, this is only an impression, and I could be wrong.

I myself said that the new generation in aikido is wimpy because it lost the meaning and value of hard training, and the pain which is inevitably associated with it. I have seen this so often and believe it applies to the majority of aikidoists. Fortunately, not all, otherwise I won't stay in aikido. In my dojo, less than 50% could be described as wimpy, maybe due to the fact that we have a high percentage of young highschool and university students who really want to practice hard. But I have seen other dojos where the entire class is like that, and you can imagine the frustration of the teacher.

Chuck Clark
05-02-2002, 12:00 AM
Originally posted by Edward
I don't know Jim nor his teachers, but having seen his website, I have no doubt that they belong to the hard side of aikido since they are originated in Tomiki style. But again, this is only an impression, and I could be wrong.


In my experience, aikido practitioners that have reached a relatively high level of practice (yondan sometimes but more often higher grades) often have access to the full range of the paradoxical qualities known as "hard" and "soft."

Proper posture and movement along with a high degree of sensitivity for distance, timing, and connection give these senior people the ability to produce technique that is soft and hard at the same time.

Soft touch with energy flowing like water coupled with the correct distance can make the energy felt by the uke to be also soft ... or hard like running full tilt into a rock wall.

Uke can feel like a cloud just surrounded and "seduced" him into falling down gently. Or...the uke may feel like thunder and lightning just exploded inside them and the world they trust tilts away and then they feel like celebrating still being alive as they get up.

None of this needs to rely on pain to cause it to happen. Pain and injuries can and may result over the course of time in anyone's practice. However, as I understand aikido, pain isn't necessary to cause uke to lose control of their center and intent. It can be an option (anywhere along the entire scale of lethal force) depending on the need in a practical defensive situation.

You don't have to hurt uke to control them. Lock their system up so that they instantly understand that if they even think about moving, they'll hurt themselves. As stated above, if necessary you can always go further along the scale of lethal force.

Part of our technical "signature" within Jiyushinkai is trying to give as little information (feedback) to the uke as possible while having total control over the uke's structure through proper engineering, not pain control.

Sorry for the length of this post, but some may find it interesting. Part of our lineage is from Tomiki Sensei's system. There are also large influences from other teachers.

Regards,

Edward
05-02-2002, 04:04 AM
Clark Sensei,

Thanks very much for the very interesting information about your system.

I think I know what you mean about soft-hard in the same time, because when I took Ukemi to some visitor Shihan, I was aspirated into his circle irresistably but with an incredible softness, and I was led to the Ukemi in the same soft but irresistable, almost magnetic way. The Ukemi itself was very relaxed yet very powerful. It was not painful at all, but the power was quite shocking and impactful, and as you said, I was surprised to be alive as I was getting up.

The concept of giving as little information to Uke as possible is very interesting. I hope that I could practice some day at your dojo and learn more about it.

Best regards,
Edward

PJ Royer
05-02-2002, 10:16 AM
I don't know how a person could possibly learn anything about aikido with out regular bumps,bruises and strains! How can progression be possible without pushing your personal boundaries to the limit and knowing what your body, spirit and mind are capable of dealing with? Learning to accept resposibility for these injuries and how to protect yourself from serious problems as well as learning to protect a partner is an integrel part of aikido! Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven. Injuries have taught me more, quicker, than any other experience I've probably had. Even tho I will probably go to my grave with worn joints and stiff mornings, I am glad for what I've learned about myself through them. It is worth it to me!