This is my first posting on aikiweb and it is a question on how to avoid knee problems and injuries whilst practicing aikido, I have been practicing for about 6 months and have had some real pain from my knees (whilst inside and outside the dojo) I think it is sitting in seiza that does it! any hints or tips on knee injury avoidance will be very gratefully recieved!!!
Don't twist your knee
I came to Aikido with a history of problems with my knees. My problems stem from imperfect structure of knee cap, but I think the advice I got is important to everyone:
Keep your knee above and in the same line as your foot.
When turning, don't pivot your foot in the mat: first change the direction of your foot and only then move so that your knee is never twisted.
I dont think seiza by itself is bad, though suwari-waza may be; I try to avoid it when I feel I start to feel pain, as it puts much pressure and twisting on the joint and knee-cap.
I also suggest you discuss this with a physiotherapist. He/she may point out to you the source of your problem and maybe a way to avoid further damage. Don't just stop all activity.
I'll think of more,
I actually heard that sitting in seiza helps to strengthen your knees, though I'm no doctor...
as well as I know, aikido will bring your body to a much better situation.
the only problem is that at the beginning, your body will start 'protesting'. you will make movements that you never did before, and sit in a way that most westerners are not used to.
however, as you may know, there are so many aikidoka over 60 and 70 years old.
many elderly aikidoka told me that aikido improved their health and especially their spine and joints.
so although some pain may disturb you at first, later it will almost surely go away and you will start to feel great.
I hope that also you will feel that aikido is for the rest of your life.
anyway you should see an expert and make sure what your knee can and can't do.
then I am sure that your sensei will take good care of you.
There is a current thread on knees in the training forum, and also a thread within the last year on seiza, also in the training forum. Info from these threads may prove helpful.
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