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08-11-2005, 12:15 PM
Discuss the article, "...With the Body You Have" by "The Mirror" here.

Article URL: http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2005_08.html

08-13-2005, 06:05 AM
Thanks for a great article and for being so encouraging. Are there any short-term remedies for trying to "practice through" the beginning of an episode, or at least dulling the pain a bit that you could recommend?



08-19-2005, 05:24 PM
I am sure the quote in the beginning is not original.
Rumsfeld cited somebody else.

Janet Rosen
08-19-2005, 09:03 PM
I am sure the quote in the beginning is not original.
Rumsfeld cited somebody else.
well, yeah (grin) Lenin among others has said similar things

Adam Alexander
08-20-2005, 04:47 PM
Although I'm not familiar with fibro, the principle of limitations on training was very nice.

I figure there's so many facets of Aikido, that we'll never understand it totally...it's the journey that's important. In-line with that, there's unlimited things we can explore within ourselves through Aikido that do not require what might be considered our "full" ability relative to an "average" person.

When we come to Aikido, even with what's considered to be a fully able body, we come with intellectual/emotional limitations which hinder us.

I think the study of Aikido helps us learn to overcome those limitations--physical, intellectual, emotional.

I feel like this is a lesson I've learned through Aikdio: I'm really not what I thought I was...I'm much less. It's by recognizing and accepting these shortcomings that give us the point from which we can begin to make real progress.

I guess, Aikido helps me recognize limitations that weren't so apparent.

I don't know. Just figured I'd drop an opinion:)

Forgot something. I was kind of disappointed to see the author put such responsibility on the instructor. I think it's up to the practitioner to recognize their needs and handle them appropriately...i.e, warm up and stretch before class.

Al Garcia
08-24-2005, 11:02 PM
This reply is to Maya's question about working through the start of a flare-up. One thing that has really helped me is sleeping "warmer", i.e., with more covers on so that my body temperature stays higher. It takes getting used to, yet seems to keep the muscles from tightening from pain quite as much--perhaps because the muscles are better able to repair themselves during the sleep cycle under these conditions. Folks with Fibro tend to have slightly lower body temperatures than the normal 98.6 and cool sleeping environments can aggrivate a flare for this reason.

Stretching thoroughly before (and during practice if necessary) helps during episodes, especially leg muscles and any other area that gives you specific trouble with pain or tightness. If you regularly do aikido warm-up stretches which hold the stretch for a long time, do this instead: stretch just to where you feel the stretch, back off slightly and hold the stretch for maybe 4- 6 seconds at the most, then release fully and repeat--this keeps pain to a minimum and doesn't make your muscles think they need to tighten up to "guard" themselves from tearing. If you repeat the stretch maybe 10 times, you will find your range of motion improves and you should have a lessening of pain (it interrupts the feedback loop a bit). This type of stretching (called A I stretching) has been used by Olympic athletes for years and is very effective with Fibro. Another thing I've found useful is rotating your ankles and shoulders (arms hanging down, not extended), one side at a time, maybe 5 times before getting on the mat.

To "practice through" requires focus. Assess how you feel once you've stretched your muscles out. Is pain still intrusive (your primary focus) or a dull roar (there, but you can concentrate on the lesson)? If it's the former, you may want to just observe; one can still learn from watching. If it's the latter, acknowledge the pain and just let it be there ("Body, I hurt, but I choose to continue to practice carefully with respect for your limits") and focus on moving in a range where you aren't adding additional tension to your body (often all this takes is a tiny shortening of movement). Talk to your partner so they'll know you need to do this. I've found that concentrating on doing the whole technique smoothly from start to finish helps; often we train in a 1-2-3 manner, but when you're moving through pain it's easier somehow to keep moving, not be stop-start. If you find yourself tiring easily, let your instructor know and take frequent breaks to stretch and sit. If you find your leg muscles getting ropey (they feel like a washerboard to the touch) it's time to stretch. I carry a small hard rubber ball with me (like a racquetball) to roll over my tight leg muscles--this "ironing out" of tightness saved me countless times at seminars, and allowed me to practice longer that I would have been able to without it.

Finally, if you live in a high-pollution area (like I do) and it's a bad air day, recognize that air quality may affect you. Many people with Fibro have slightly diminished oxygen utilization capacities, and this may directly translate into tighter muscles and clumsiness on such days. Regular Yoga breathing practice, Zen meditation-style breathing, or Ki breathing (for Ki Society folks) are useful in helping increase lung capacity to mitigate this effect.

Remember: do what you can. Some days are tougherr than others, some are impossible, but if you adopt an attitude of "let's see what I CAN do, living with Fibro", most practice days can be very, very good. Not necessarily pain free, but good.

Al Garcia
08-24-2005, 11:30 PM
This is in reply to Jean de Rochefort's comment that I "put such responsibility on the instructor" in this column. I honestly don't feel I did. An instructor does have the responsibility to know something about his/her students' health conditions, especially if s/he takes on a student with a condition that may challenget their ability to practice. While IDEALLY a Fibro student WILL warm up appropriately, we are often in as much of a hurry to get on the mat as "normal" students who fail to stretch before class...and we are also at times too "foggy" to remember we should do so. A perceptive teacher who has some knowledge of Fibro, and who notices our oversight, will usually find a way to remind us.

08-25-2005, 08:16 AM
Thanks for sharing your experiences. Your article reminded me of an older gentlement in our dojo is is a liver transplant recipient. He definently has some limitations, but he does strive to excel to the best of his abilities. He started two months after his sugery and is is 2nd kyu now. He can't train as much as he would like, but he does train as often as he can. He has always had my admiration. He doesn't have the prettiest technique or the prettiest ukemi in the dojo, but I believe he has the best spirit in our dojo.

Regarding Jean's comment. I didn't see AJ putting all or most of the responsibility on the instructor. I believe the article did address much what the individual could do, but an instructor does need to know if their students have any limitations and what are the best ways to help them through their struggle. In the case with the above gentleman no one looks down on him if he has to sit out and take a breather. There are times he can make it all the way through class and there are times he can't. A sensei being aware of a student's limitations and how to work within those limitations can only help the sensei and the student to learn aikido. It's knowing how to provide corrections to that particular student or knowing that they might forget.

For me it's like working with our kids who have ADHD in our kids classes. ADHD is a mental condition. It's knowing the proper things to say to them instead of just "pay attention". It's telling them that they are not focused and teaching them to be aware of their behavior and how it might be affecting other people. It doesn't take too much effort to do this and just falls right into place when your helping them learn a technique. And it's not special attention that takes away from class time. It's just knowing the right words to say to help them learn.

Janet Rosen
08-25-2005, 01:38 PM
I think the study of Aikido helps us learn to overcome those limitations--physical, intellectual, emotional.
I guess, Aikido helps me recognize limitations that weren't so apparent.
Yeah, I second that (sigh) :-)