View Full Version : Leaving Dojo after Injury

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10-17-2003, 12:39 PM
Recently I've read some threads about injuries that have occured in the dojo. These injuries have led the trainee to sit out for a while. Often these injuries are a result of an over-eager nage who outranks the uke by several levels and throws too hard causing injury to the uke. (Whether intentional or not.)

Some of the knee-jerk replies that have been posted are of some concern to me. They come in the format of "Leave the dojo/Find another place to train." For some people that is next to impossible to find another place to train (the nearest is an hour and a half drive for me).

Are there any other solutions? What are your opinions on this? How can we apply Aikido to situations like these?

I'm just looking for a good discussion on this subject, and want to know what everyone else thinks.

Chris Linneman
10-17-2003, 01:04 PM
I'm afraid I'd have to answer with a ubiquitous "it depends".

I've been injured a couple dozen times ranging from cracked ribs to bloodied noses, and a couple of sprains, and all of these were either honest accidents or my fault.

When training in a martial art, I think we all need to keep in mind the inherent risk of injury. Ultimately, you are simulating a combat situation.

When an injury occurs, I tend to look back and figure out why it occured - If there was some element of spite or deliberate action, I would generally try not to train with that person (and possibly bring it to sensi's attention).

I think I'd only consider leaving the school if it was done with the tacit approval of the school (assuming that no school/sensi would activally approve this kind of behavior).

Everyone can have a bad day.

10-17-2003, 01:07 PM

I agree with you. There are many reasons to leave a dojo or stop training. And those reasons are far more immediate than the far away, long-term benefits from sticking it out.

The real question when it comes to people being injured by a more senior student or the instructor is whether the injury was the result of an accident (or miscalculation), the result of negligence, or was deliberate.

I, like you, have only one dojo nearby, at that one is a forty minute drive as it is. My approach, here in the U.S., is to privately confront my instructor when I have a problem with him. It seems to have worked out pretty dang well so far on the two or three occasions I've needed to work out a problem with him.

In the thread, "Dealing with an injury," the student is in Japan at the (I presume) Aikikai hombu dojo. A whole other set of cultural issues surround that situation, and I wouldn't presume to give advice in that case; I don't know much about the hombu dojo, the instructors there, or what the appropriate behavior would be in that situation.

Just some thoughts,


10-17-2003, 01:16 PM
I would first let your sensei know what happened.

I would also try to flush out the problem by talking to to other students to determine whether this is a problem issue for this particular student. Are they being a jerk or are they just at that point in their aikido training where they finally get the priniples but still muscle techniques like they used to when they first started? If it's the former they need a good talking, but the second can be worked out more easily and the sensei can watch out for their juniors to make sure they don't get injured.

I don't know how much higher ranking this student was, but I do know that sometimes when people start to get the feel for aikido it gets combined with their old way of doing things like muscling a technique. This can easily led to injury if the person is not aware of what they are doing. Some people call this "brown belt syndrome", but it's not necessarily peculiar to brown belts. This is a scary transition period for their ukes, like training with total newbies can be scary.

Also, you need to tell that person yourself what they did to you. In an appropriate manner of course. It's best to say something than to let it degrade into an ego war. I don't care how "senior" a person is. I'll tell them what they did was unnecessarily painful. I won't apologize for telling the senior student to back off, but I will apologize for my over-reaction if I over-react.

Also was the person stronger and bigger than the uke? If the uke is a lot smaller, and if the nage does not connect and blend with the smaller uke's energy, the uke gets plowed over. The nage, unfortunately, ends up thinking they did the technique. Well sure, they got the person to the mat, but their technique wouldn't have worked if performed the same way on someone bigger and stronger.

I don't agree that as soon as we face a problem in a dojo that we should leave right away. If you have a sensei, dojo cho, or senior student who you can talk to who can address the problem for you, then doing your best to resolve and address the situation is better than avoiding it.

If you're in an abusive situation caused by the CI then that's a whole other situation.

John Boswell
10-17-2003, 02:24 PM
Anne is right.

Why so many people come to Aiki Web to ask questions that should FIRST go to their Sensei is beyond me.

Aikido is a Martial Art... of or relating to war or warriors. Injuries WILL HAPPEN. Its not that we want them too, but mearly a fact that the odds are in favor of that.

If you practice Aikido and you have a problem, get injured, are confused or you just plain need to vent... take it up with your Sensei! Any valid instructor will have YEARS of experience to draw from with which to give you advice. If they don't know, you can always ask others... but you should start with the person in front of you: your Sensei.

Don't think of your 'Sensei' as all powerful, super wise and all knowing, otherworldly being that is unapproachable. They have to put that hakama on one leg at a time just like everyone else... except for me. ;) HA! (*just kidding*)

Ask your Sensei first... then come bug the board!!

As for the injuries driving you away, really evaluate how/why you got hurt. Either you A) didn't know what you were doing B) Had a Nage that didn't know what they were doing C)Had a Nage that didn't know what You were capable of or D) You didn't know what you were not capable of.

Confusing? Good! ;)

Seriously though... anyone with problems needs to talk to their Sensei before doing anything else.

10-17-2003, 02:41 PM
Seriously though... anyone with problems needs to talk to their Sensei before doing anything else.

Not to disagree with this, because I do believe it is the proper course of action. However, it is clear that there is a number of people --- as evidenced by the reoccuring nature of these posts --- that do not feel they can speak with their instructor.

Why might that be?



John Boswell
10-17-2003, 02:48 PM
I touched on this, and I welcome others to join in as this is a good point, but I seriously think some of the more NEW aikidoka hold their sensei on a pedastal... not to be distrubed.

Have you ever been to a seminar or camp or something where you had the opportunity to meet a HIGH RANKING aikido instructor? Did you get the feeling that you shouldn't be bothering that person? Its that "back-off" that new comers feel that keep them from talking to their instructors.

I know it sounds funny, but it happens. I remember being the same way when I first joined up: I'm new, everyone else knew the Sensei on a personal basis. Anything I could say would just be a bother! Besides... he's a black belt! He doesn't have time to mess with me! Right?


Some people get all caught up in the ceremony and "honor" and "respect" of martial arts and feel they are intruding if they approach their Sensei. Can't do that.... ya gotta get in there and ask questions. Let the instructor correct any mistakes later... but we won't learn until we ask.

Some people are intimidated. What better way to get over it than to open up the communication lines?

2 cents