View Full Version : Safety amongs beginners

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01-28-2005, 10:39 AM
I am new to aikido and have yet to test for my yellow belt. I have trained at other martial arts and know that the beginners are usually the most dangerous people on the mat.

One of the other beginners where I train really is a danger. I am frequently paired with hime while we practise our grading moves, I try to avoid practising with him at other times because I am worried that I am going to be seriously hurt. He does not seem to know his own strength despite me telling him several times a session and usually leaves marks from a wrist grab. More than once he had chopped off my circulation. He also seems to have no sense of balance and often finishes a throw by falling on me. I must point out he a a lot larger and heavier than I. Sensei is aware of the problem but there isn't a lot he can do beyond warning him to do things slowly and carefully.

I know this guy can't be the only person in the world like this and I'd like come advise. I don't want to stop him training or cause a scene but nor do I want to see someone get hurt

Pauliina Lievonen
01-28-2005, 01:22 PM
Hi anonymous

I think it's good that you've talked with your sensei about this, it's the first thing I would have suggested. If you are seriously worried of getting injured I think it would completely ok to not train with this person until you're a bit more experienced, let the advanced students work with him who can handle it. As to other people getting injured, I think that's your sensei's responsibility. As long as he is aware of the situation.

I hope your aikido experience so far has otherwise been an enjoyable and positive one!


Janet Rosen
01-28-2005, 01:56 PM
I also feel that it is completely ok to refuse to train with somebody who, even if it is not malicious, has such little body control that you fear injury.
I know "how to do so" nicely can be a challenge. On the rare ocasion this has come up for me, I smile regretfully, shake my head, and if necessary sit down as if sitting out the technique, then find another partner or work into another pair. If I have to say something, it takes the form of blaming myself: I'm afraid I just can't keep up with your strength/energy.

01-28-2005, 06:00 PM
I, too, have been in the same situation on many occasions, and I've learned the painful way to respectfully refuse to train with individuals who, for lack of better words, are strangers to self-control and balance. There are two sides to this problem, though - the risk of injury to the individual him/herself, and risk of injury to training partners. I was unfortunate to be put in the position of teaching Aikido (as an assistant instructor at my local club in England) to my younger brother, who has the coordination of a stunned cow, and I still, to this day, do not know how either of us survived it! He quit after 6 months because he managed to break his ankle, and was never able to perform a safe, simple mae ukemi from seiza (he would try to do mae ukemi from standing by sticking his arm in the air, then throwing it at the ground, hoping his body would follow - several times, he would cross his legs as he went over, causing his thighs to act as nutcrackers on a certain part of his anatomy - I still have sympathy pains when I think about it). He was very dangerous to himself and everyone on the mat, and we had to make sure that he practiced with the more experienced students who could look after themselves (and him!)

It is good that your sensei is keeping a very close eye on this student, for the student's sake and those around him/her, as this can detrimentally affect everyone on the mat.

Good luck when you test for yellow belt!

01-28-2005, 08:24 PM
I'd say you shouldn't be in the position of telling someone that he's hurting you several times a session. The second time you'd think of saying it, bow out and refrain from training with him instead. It's harsh, but so is getting hurt.

With some people, repeated warnings are just noise--nothing bad is happening, so they don't really need to change what they're doing.

Mary Kaye

Larry Feldman
01-29-2005, 09:34 AM
It is a good reason NOT to have beginners practice with each other, one doesn't know what he is doing, and the other can't compensate.

Protect yourself, this is your obligation.
Stay away from him until your ukemi improves. All of the advice above is good.

01-30-2005, 07:53 PM
You know, this stuff is dangerous...Aikido being a martial art and all.

I think it is very important for the instructor to emphasize how dangerous it can be and to make sure that all students realize this. As Kat said, being told to tap out and to listen for the tap is very important. If you feel that you are in danger with your partner then having a 3-way discussion with your instructor on how to be safer is probably a good idea.

In my opinion the most dangerous student on the mat is probably a 3rd or 4th kyu since they have the skill to apply a technique, but maybe not the sense of how much "application" is appropriate.

01-31-2005, 06:20 PM
Maybe they could have the klutzy beginner practice with senior students until s/he learns not to fall on people?