View Full Version : Poll: Did you get injured while first learning ukemi in your aikido training?

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AikiWeb System
10-26-2003, 12:01 AM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of October 26, 2003:

Did you get injured while first learning ukemi in your aikido training?

I don't do aikido
I already had ukemi experience
Yes, and I'm male
Yes, and I'm female
No, and I'm male
No, and I'm female

Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=189).

colin slider
10-26-2003, 08:52 AM
the figures so far show 25% of people got injured while first learning ukemi - does that seem a very high percentage to anyone else ? any of those who did get inured care to elaborate on what the injuries were ?

regards, colin

Robyn Johnson
10-26-2003, 10:08 AM
My mom and I got injured while first learning the forward rolls mostly by bumping our heads, crashing, arms colapsing, and we'd get really sore and horrible bruises on our shoulders from rolling incorrectly. Thankfully, we've never sprained or broken anything so far.

Robyn :)

Karen Wolek
10-26-2003, 05:47 PM
I have been doing Aikido for a year. So far I've sprained my knee (ukemi for iriminage), sprained my toe (ukemi), and recently sprained my elbow (ukemi for nikkyo).

I'd say that I'm still beginning to learn ukemi, so I voted yes.

Brehan Crawford
10-26-2003, 08:42 PM
Yes, I got a NASTY bruise about 7 inches in diameter on my left hip learning forward rolls.

The darn thing took 3 weeks to fade away, taking extra vitamin C and rubbing arnica cream on it all the time.

Not to mention my knees :( They've always had problems and seiza isn't helping a lot. Hopefully they'll limber up soon or I'm going to be one sore monkey.

Usagi Yojimbo
10-26-2003, 09:21 PM
Only thing I've gotten is sore parts from bad rolls, like the first time I learned to extend my arm on a foreward roll... Wow my neck was sore for a while... And there was the time I rolled across a spare bokken that was still on the mat...

10-27-2003, 12:39 AM
I did fine LEARNING ukemi, and I love it. But I seem to have some remarkably weak intercostal muscles, and three months into my aikido training I pulled some other back muscles during a jujitsu/grappling class and that yanked some floating ribs out of place (I didn't know that at the time). A few days later, even though I was doing fine ukemi, on about my 30th roll out of a technique one out-of-place rib whacked another and I wound up with a cracked floating rib.

Bizarre? You bet! But I learned a lot, and met an excellent chiropractor.

We start each class with a series of ukemi rolls, first forward then back.

Now I know that if my ukemi feels odd and my back hurts, it's time for a trip to my osteopath to get some ribs popped back in place. Meanwhile, I'm working on building up the appropriate muscles to hold my ribs where they belong.

It's been three months since then, and so far so good. And no, I don't have osteoporosis; it's usually my connective tissue that gets yanked apart rather than my bones that break, I'm very flexible. And I haven't needed to stop training while recuperating from anything, although there have been days when I had to sit out some things for part of class (or fall on only one side if the other was sore).

10-27-2003, 12:44 AM
When I first started learning ukemi I was a night janitor at a movie theater. I had been taking aikido about a month (8 classes) and thought my rolls were good enough to try on the movie theater lobby floor which was a thin carpet over concrete. I was wrong and slammed my shoulder into the floor seperating my AC joint...this was from a kneeling roll. Dealt with the pain for 2-3 months until it finally got too bad and I saw a doctor. He immobilized it for a week and it's been fine ever since.


Tim Griffiths
10-27-2003, 04:04 AM
Is it just me, or do bumped heads and bruises not really count as 'injuries'?

Semantics aside, isn't an injury something that keeps you off the mat (or limits your practice to one side ukemi, one arm only etc), rather than something which makes it a little uncomfortable to practice for a week or two, like a butt or arm bruise?

Or do I just get beaten up so much I've started thinking its normal?


10-27-2003, 04:41 AM

I'd count bad bruises as "really minor injuries" -- but I didn't count the

minor bruises I got while first learning ukemi as injuries in the poll, I said I was uninjured.

But I've gotten some pretty painful bruises and tendonitis etc that have kept me from using one side for a few days, so I can certainly see why people would count those as injuries.

I suppose this is why the other poll asked who had been "seriously injured," since that would weed out all bruises except ones like Suzanne got recently (I hope you're OK, Suzanne!)

Jim Simons
10-27-2003, 08:18 AM
As Tim mentioned, I wonder what we're considering an "injury." I'm very much in the still learning ukemi phase, being only three months into my training, and I've certainly woken up sore the next day a few times from ukemi: neck/shoulder stiffness from snapping my head back on tenchinage, sore shoulders from standing rolls.

I'm just not sure those count, as they clear up after a few days off the mat. That's pretty much what I was advised to expect at first, until I get more rounded. I'll just keep working on my beer waza, that'll make me more round, right?


10-27-2003, 08:48 AM
Injury to me is pretty common sense. It's damage to the body caused by some kind of impact no matter how minor or severe. The term injury does not denote a certain degree of injury. It can be a minor bruise that doesn't really disable you to the level of death.

A bad bruise, in my opinion, is not minor. A bruise from someone holding on too tight is a minor bruise -- they look like little finger tips. The impact that caused Suzanne's bruise could have killed her if it was to her head. (Don't mean to freak you out Suzanne) I wouldn't call that minor.

When learning rolls, I would crash on my shoulders, a lot. Not once or twice mind you. Anyhow, it was an injury not just muscle soreness. It was minor and no need for a doctor, but still an injury nonetheless.

I've had other injuries in aikido, but not really from learning ukemi. Just practicing it in general. Your typcial tweaks and torques. Nothing to keep me away for too long.

10-27-2003, 09:27 AM
Yeah, I injured my right shoulder while trying to learn forward rolls. I with I could remember the nature of the injury, but it was four years ago now and I frankly forget exactly how it happened.

I do remember staying off that side for a couple of months and it got better. I'm now dealing with some tendonitus in that shoulder from using a computer too dang much. :(



Tim Griffiths
10-28-2003, 01:02 AM
OK - yes, technically an injury is any physical damage to the body, although I'm not sure about just impact, isn't a twisted knee also an injury?

Also, the impact on the bottom of your feet when you jump two foot in the air would also kill you if applied to the ase of the skull or neck. It doesn't seem an apropriate comparison.

As usual, the discussion over the poll question turns into a question of definition (which is good, as it means usually we all agree with each other). As almost everyone get a few bruises when they learn to roll, I didn't count this level of damage as an 'injury' in the context of the poll question (a 99% yes answer isn't so useful).

Don't forget, by your definition EVERY roll causes an injury. We're not usually aware of it, until we've done 50 or so, but its there. Ukemi is just intrinsicaly not a healthy activity.


10-28-2003, 06:40 AM
Don't forget that I mentioned that the impact causes damage, not that an injury is any kind of impact. (you do raise a good point about twists of joints not and impact, but there is usually some kind of force making the knee, wrist, ankle turn). All impacts obviously don't cause damage to the body. I've taken probably a few thousand rolls by now and I haven't been "damaged" by all of them, just those really painful ones in the beginning where your shoulder hurts so bad you don't want to do another roll. I have also been accidently hit in the face and had no resulting bruise or damage -- that's not an injury. If I had a bruise/ black eye, then it's an injury. I get grabbed all the time in class, but when my stronger partners really bear down on my wrists they sometimes leave bruises. If no bruise, then no injury.

My point is that just because something is relatively minor doesn't discount that fact that it is an injury. Jun didn't ask about bad injuries, injuries that kept us off the mat, injuries that disabled us seriously. He just asked if we were injured. I'd assume that most people have common sense to know what an injury is and we wouldn't have to play semantics games to answer the poll. (Although it does make it a little more fun in discussing the poll. ;) )

I also have the suspicion that some martial arts folks don't want to admit that minor injuries are injuries because some martial artists like to be stoic and "work through" an injury or even train when they have a cold.

I assure you, I'm smart enough to know the difference between and injury and no injury and that my vote was appropriate. I'm sure everyone else is smart enough, too.

10-29-2003, 12:29 PM
Well, you can add my girlfriend to the list. She's in a sling with ice on her shoulder right now after a visit to the emergency room at freakin'-o-clock this morning.

She's got the same injury I had (detailed above) but to a lesser degree that I had it. She actually did hers in the dojo however, not dinking around on hard floors.

She's pretty new and got confused about hand/foot placement in the ukemi and tried to roll over the arm that nage was holding. Buried her shoulder into the mat and seperated the AC joint (the spot were the collarbones and shoulder meet...I think)

She toughed it out for most of class because she was embarrased about it and then went home to bed hoping it would be better in the morning. It wasn't. I got the call at 4:00 this morning when she couldn't get out of bed due to the pain.

So a trip to hospital, a sling, some Vicodin and Motrin, and some sleep later she's up and dealing with it.

Now onto my soapbox.


I speak from personal experience on this also because that was one of the very stupid reasons why I didn't get my injury looked at sooner (although no insurance was a bigger one). The potential long term effects of these soft tissue injuries healing improperly are not worth the imaginged ding to your imagined pride. Suck it up and get yourself well.

I'm off the soapbox now. Thanks for letting me vent :D


10-29-2003, 05:33 PM
Yep, held my breath and separated my ribs.

Amelia Smith
10-31-2003, 06:28 AM
I don't think that the definition of injury is at all obvious. Most people probably feel a little sore when they're first learning ukemi, if only because they're using their muscles in a new way. Technically, when a muscle is sore, that's because the tissue is damaged, but does that count as an injury in aikido terms?

I didn't have any injuries that kept me off the mat in my first year or so of training, but I had a few dings and bruises which might have healed better if I'd taken a rest. Anyway, I didn't answer the poll, because I couldn't figure out what counted as an injury.