View Full Version : Kane's question on training/ukemi
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01-10-2011, 11:38 PM
I'm not sure this is the proper place to inquire but I have similar questions. Five years ago my wife gifted me a three month intro to the local dojo and I went. I really enjoy it. Maybe informally I "picked up" much about aikido. I tested to 3rd kyu and since some injuries have cleared up, I continue. I need to figure out how to plan my training as I feel I'm being urged to "move up" with my practice. I'm 52 and I need to know if my body will be able to support my advancement. Especially Ukemi. I feel the responsibility to provide others with comparable ukemi to allow them to practice effectively. I have the highest respect for my sensei and the other dan students and feel I would like to talk about this plan aside from the 10 minutes between classes. So how do I aproach this situation so that I don't feel like some suburban slob with nothing better to do evenings?
I am headed off to bed soon but wanted to start a new thread because it merits it... I'll post a reply tomorrow....
01-11-2011, 06:21 AM
Keep it simple - go to the Sensei - tell him you would like to talk with him one on one for some counseling.
Then, just ask him about it. Teachers are also human, and you should not fear such a discussion with a good teacher.
01-11-2011, 08:21 AM
I am just recovering form a knee injury and have had on going knee problems that will always be with me. Sometimes I just don't take ukemi. I don't think it is a big issue for the people I train with since they partner other people throughout the class who are able to take full ukemi on those days. So when they work with me they just focus on a different aspect of the technique while I focus on ways that my body can more safely respond ukemi wise. I am never under the impression that I am holding anyone back. I may not be as capable of taking a fall on a given day but I have other valuable ukemi aspects that my fellow students and teachers find very useful.
Looking over the next test I will be taking I saw that swari waza features prominently. I just had a long talk with one of my teachers after class one night and addressed my concerns and we worked out a plan of training that should allow me to do at least a small amount on my test if on the day my knees feel ok for it. Otherwise his thoughts were... if you can do it I want to see it but if it is going to mean potentially stopping your training because of an injury then we will skip it and adjust the test accordingly. Not really a big deal.
01-11-2011, 10:28 AM
On the simplest level, reading nothing "between the lines," since you have not mentioned disability, only being in the general range we'd call "middle aged" I'd say there is nothing to worry about.
You probably can't do aikido that looks like what athletic 22 year olds do, at least not on a sustained basis.... but in many of the dojo in which I've trained, visited, etc, that is also not really the norm. I know of several folks who have earned - and truly "earned", not just "been awarded" - shodan ranking in their 60s and above. Suggest you google George Leonard for one of the stand-outs.
I don't know what you mean by "comparable ukemi." To me, being a good uke means making a committed attack that seeks to connect to nage's center - it does not have to be delivered any faster than I am comfortable taking the fall for, and it should not require high or fancy rolls, just any fall or roll you can take safely, whether it's pretty or not.
If you actually have an injury or chronic pain that prevents you from falling or rolling more than "x" number of times per class, chat w/ your instructor about how to train well within your limits. If I'm having a bad night, I might be part of a group of three so that I can get a break but still come in and train to the best of my ability.
C. David Henderson
01-11-2011, 11:01 AM
****[S]ince some injuries have cleared up, I continue.
OK, we're relatively the same age. When I say some injuries have cleared up, I tend to mean they've progressed to the point of being asymptomatic. So, when you say they've cleared up, do you still have some concern about reinjury to any of these old injuries?
If it were me, this information is important in assessing what a realistic training program would look like.
So how do I aproach this situation so that I don't feel like some suburban slob with nothing better to do evenings?
I think the following is a great place to strart, as you don't come across that way at all:
I need to figure out how to plan my training as I feel I'm being urged to "move up" with my practice.
I'm 52 and I need to know if my body will be able to support my advancement.
Especially Ukemi. I feel the responsibility to provide others with comparable ukemi to allow them to practice effectively.
I have the highest respect for my sensei and the other dan students and feel I would like to talk about this plan aside from the 10 minutes between classes.
I think your concerns are perfectly legitimate, and the way you are thinking about addressing them seems sound, FWIW.
Also in the realm of "FWIW," your ukemi skills probably will continue to get better with time, so you can take better ukemi with less effort as you get older.
At the same time, maybe think about what kinds of other training might help your conditioning for ukemi as your dojo practices it, as that also helps you use less effort.
That could include training ukemi skills, of course. But, some people as they grow older do more weapons work.
If the choice came down to doing another body-arts class when I already feel beat up, or doing a weapons class instead, I'm probably better off in the long run, and in terms of my body-arts' training, to do the weapons class.
Hope that's of some use.
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