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Doc2b 10-14-2005 02:56 AM

Aikido injuries
My daughter is studying to be a medical doctor and she is pretty active in the univ aikido club. I heard from other parent that one of the instructors is very vicious and has injured quite a number of students where he instructs. Among the injuries I was told were dislocated shoulder, broken collar bone and torn ligaments to the elbows and wrists. I am more concerned with ligament injuries as I was informed that such injuries do not heal 100% and pains and other ails will come back to haunt from time to time. I am worried that such injury will impede my daughter's ambition of being a surgeon.

Anat Amitay 10-22-2005 02:46 AM

Re: Aikido injuries
I don't know if the Aikido training is part of university activity where your daughter studies, or just an activity on university grounds. But if instructors work for the university, there must be someone to talk to about such an instructor. You mentioned serious injuries done by that instructor, but did anyone ever talk to him/her about this, or is it something people only complain about among themselves?
Injuries can happen in Aikido, even with the gentelest instructor in the world, but still it is not considered to be a very harmful martial art, all things compared. I don't know how many injuries happened in that dojo, and on how long a time scale, but it's something that can be checked out.
You did mention this is one instructor out of a number- your daughter can decide who she wants to train with, and does not have to come to classes by that instructor. If he is part of the group, and she sees him hurt others, and he/she asks her to train with them- she can say no, and explain that their work is causeing harm which she is not interested in.
I doubt that if there are other instructors there and this one caused so much harm, that no one has done anything about it (after all, you did "hear" it from another parent.... which means the information is not first hand and should be checked out before coming with accusations). If you daughter did get hurt by this instructor, she has every right to tell this to the other instructors, it is their job to make sure their dojo is safe for training, and they need to talk to the offensive instructor, and if that doesn't help, he/she should be told to leave. But this is up to the instructors and I know I wouldn't go to a dojo where abusive instructors are allowed to do what they want.
This is not an answer as to what to do, but I hope it helps with your daughters decisions.
Anyway, I hope she enjoys both training and studying- good luck to her on both!

Camille Lore 10-22-2005 07:47 AM

Re: Aikido injuries
I would have to say that if there is such an instructor, that's probably not true aikido and certainly not a good place to learn. If she wants to do aikido, find another place to train......if this is true. The founder of aikido taught compassion and not injuring people....

Robert Jackson 10-22-2005 09:03 AM

Re: Aikido injuries
Unfortunately, Injuries happen. Sometimes it can be accidental. Sometimes it can be done out of ignorance (not knowing how to take care your Uke). And sometimes it's just not caring. Sometimes it can be malice. The middle two are pretty preventable, if you see a nage and nage looks like nage's not taking care of uke and it looks like he might hurt you don't train with said nage. Whether it's an instructor or a peer, If they don't take care of Uke, they lose the right to train.

As previously stated this might be a repuatation caused by a small injury that was purely accidental. My advice, talk with your daughter. She's made it to med school so she's obviously smart enough and observant enough to make her own decision about her training and life.

Janet Rosen 10-22-2005 04:09 PM

Re: Aikido injuries
"Shoulder separation" --dislocation between the collarbone and the top of the sternum--is a common and usually self-inflicted beginners injury in aikido, when folks trying to do forward rolls accidentally project themselves directly on the top of the shoulder. If there are a LOT of these it may mean that the instructor is simply not focussing on teaching small low on-the-ground rolls or may be encouraging faster progress than they are ready for.
Tearing ligaments forearm ligaments should not be a "common" injury. But as others have said, it would be good to get verification from more than one source.

doc2b 10-23-2005 09:05 PM

Re: Aikido injuries
Hi to all who replied,

I am more concerned with the "aikido" injuries and not too much with the attitude and humility of the instructor concerned and, thankfully, he does not instruct at the university on a regular basis. I have approached her instructor who himself is also a licensed medical practitioner. He did not confirm nor deny the vicious behavior of that particular instructor and he assured me that the instructor will not be involved in any campus that is taught by his association. He also said that wrist and elbow injuries from the locking techniques are common but the students are young and such injuries will heal 100%. He became quite evasive when I told him that MDs specializing in sport injuries thought otherwise.

Any MD care to comment.

Thank you.

Janet Rosen 10-24-2005 12:15 AM

Re: Aikido injuries
I'm not an MD but I've been an RN over 25 yrs and have done some research on injuries.
The problem is defining "injury." Some folks do not differentiate among:
We all have minor bruises and muscle aches and pulled toes and minor strains, as you would expect if doing skiing, volleyball, or pretty much any activity. Yep, they heal 100%.
Things like the shoulder separation I described, well it depends on the person and how they treat it. A minor soft tissue injury IF permitted to heal will heal in 6 to 8 weeks. Some gung-ho students refuse to properly treat them though, either not doing RICE enough and/or returning to using it too early, and end up with some degree of a chronic injury as a result.
Finally there are more serious acute injuries--the severely damaged tendons or ligaments caused either by accident or by overzealous cranking. These are pretty uncommon. There is no denying that they may leave residual damage or tendency to reinjury in some folks.

guy incognito 10-25-2005 11:52 AM

Re: Aikido injuries
Have you even watched the instructor in question?

Sounds like your mind is already made up. You talked to the instructor and did not like what he said and simply countered it with your own opinion.

Its going to be crowded in that operating room.....

Avery Jenkins 11-01-2005 08:34 AM

Re: Aikido injuries
I am a doctor, and I've been practicing aikido for many years, so perhaps I can answer your question from both sides of the fence. As Janet said, the injuries you can expect in Aikido are not altogether different from the injuries you might get from any other relatively active sport. For the most part, injuries heal; some require ongoing management, but not specifically because they are Aikido injuries, it's just the nature of the individual.

My "serious" injury list is as follows: 2 broken noses, cracked ribs, 2nd degree separation of the right clavicle, dislocated proximal interphalangeal joint of the third digit, and torn medial meniscus of the right knee.

I must add that I do *not* train at some sort of hell dojo, and my sensei has the utmost concern for the well being of her students. She takes great precautions to ensure the safety of her students. Almost all of my injuries resulted from my own attempts to push the envelope of my skills (except for the finger thingy which was the result of me getting it caught in nage's gi as I was receiving a technique), and none of them occurred early in my Aikido career. These injuries also occurred during my 40s, so I was well beyond the bounce-back-quick days of my youth.

Because of the nature of my work (I'm a chiropractic physician and acupuncturist), I must be able to perform physically complex tasks multiple times on a daily basis. In every case, I have been able to continue working while injured; sometimes, it required some modification of technique, which actually was a net positive because it resulted in the further refinement of my psychomotor skills.

The worst of the bunch, professionally speaking, was the shoulder separation which initially caused a great deal of pain while performing some types of manual medicine. Quality of patient care did not suffer, however.

Other than that, I did have to endure a great deal of ribbing from my patients the first time I broke my nose, which for the week following the injury until I could get it set, was plastered well toward the left side of my face, giving me an uncanny resemblance to a Cubist portrait.

So, relax, Pops. Injuries are bound to happen, but so is the healing. As a father of two extraordinary females myself, I am well aware of the innate urge to protect them from absolutely any harm, but the trouble is, you can't. Statistically speaking, your daughter has a much higher risk of suffering a career-ending injury while driving to the hospital than she does taking an Aikido class.

Avery Jenkins


aikidoc 11-01-2005 10:43 AM

Re: Aikido injuries
Although rumors of abusive instructors are just rumors, it is important to check out any school or instructor. Injuries should be the exception not the rule. If they are the rule, they can indicate many things including: lack of control, lack of concern for the students, egomania, sadistic tendencies, etc.

Having sustained a serious wrist injury by a fellow chiropractor who happened to be my instructor at the time, I stress safety. My wrist has never been the same (sankyo works). I had one student rupture a ligament in his finger recently in a freak accident. He slapped the mat in a routine throw and did not feel any pain but his finger was flexed when he came up-apparently he ruptured the extensor tendon and we are not sure how that happened-he's a nidan.

Students always have the option of leaving the mat when things appear to be rougher than they think they are able to handle. Any joint injury can be serious if it disrupts the ligament or tendon structures or for that matter tears a muscle. Ligaments are not elastic and have a low blood supply and, therefore, heal slowly and poorly. Tendons do a little better and muscles better yet as they are more elastic and have a better blood supply. A torn muscle, however, can take 4-6 weeks to completely heal. Repetitive joint injuries and especially damage to the cartilage can result in early onset of osteoarthritis, pain and possibly disability.

To me, in today's modern dojo, deliberate injuries are inexcusable. Occasional, accidental injuries will and do occur. Testing scenarios are always precarious, as the adrenaline and, if a young male, the testosterone in combination can make for a risky cocktail. The focus of the dojo on safety, prevention of injuries and learning to take good ukemi will help minimize injuries. It may also be advisable to learn basic first aid as well.

James Davis 11-01-2005 11:16 AM

Re: Aikido injuries
I'd go to the dojo and check the instructor out. If I didn't practice aikido, I'd take an aikidoka (or other martial atrist) with me and get his opinion as well.

I have personally seen some instructors that were rougher than others, but injuries are also often a complete accident.
I teach once a week for my sensei, and I think I'm a pretty nice guy. I'm very careful with my students, but sometimes they get injured. Often, it's because they want to see if they can resist, overpower, reverse, or otherwise challenge martial techniques that have been effective for thousands of years :rolleyes: .

Aikido is a labor of love. Injuries will probably happen. Walkin' out the door in the morning puts you at some risk. :uch:

MDs that specialize in sports injuries often are taught different things in college than martial artists are taught from their instructors. Pain meds can numb injured body parts resulting in their not being treated as gently as they should, and sometimes being re-injured. Pain tells us something is wrong with us; it should be controlled, but not shut off completely.

In my experience, when someone has an major injury that requires long-term management, often it's because it was ignored when it was a minor injury. :(

If your wrist hurts a little when you bend it, don't "tough it out". Stay the heck off the mat and let it heal!! :grr:

doc2b 11-01-2005 08:53 PM

Re: Aikido injuries
A big TQ to Janet Rosen, Dr. Jenkins and Dr Rigg for your replies.

To "Guy Incognito",
Yes. I have just watched the instructor in question in. My daughter pointed him out to me in their uni aikido demostration. He looked and sounded like a decent guy but once he was on the mat, he was mean and sadistic.

James Davis 11-02-2005 09:39 AM

Re: Aikido injuries

A big TQ to Janet Rosen, Dr. Jenkins and Dr Rigg for your replies.

To "Guy Incognito",
Yes. I have just watched the instructor in question in. My daughter pointed him out to me in their uni aikido demostration. He looked and sounded like a decent guy but once he was on the mat, he was mean and sadistic.
Then suggest to your daughter that she train somewhere else.

Special Apperance 11-02-2005 02:44 PM

Re: Aikido injuries- A surgeon's advice.
FWIW.Responding late I hope this will help.

I have a good friend who is a general surgeon. I also have a friend who is anesthesiologist. I spoke to both about the situation and the concerns the father has. Both said these concerns of the father are no to go lightly. My surgeon friend highly suggested the daughter stop Aikido training all together. As he put it, my hands are my most critical and important tool that I must protect. Injury to my hands would result in ending my career, I have to be extremely careful." He stressed that medical school is highly competitive and costly. Any injury to her body would have an negative effect upon her school and career, the risk isn't a good one. He strongly suggests not to risk it and stop Aikido. He knows what Aikido is, and strongly sides with the father in his concern for injury. This is one successful surgeon's opinion and recommendation.

The other doctor said, some what the same thing to stop Aikido if she is pursuing a career as a surgeon of any type. If she is going into another field of specialty like anesthesiology, he doesn't think an injury will effect her career as greatly if she was studying surgery. The anesthesiologist is a martial artist nut who works closely with and a friend of the general surgeon.

If you take both doctor's advice it wouldn't matter if the Sensei was Godzilla, or the Pope. If, that is, you were to be a surgeon. Personally, if I could I would have my kid stop Aikido if surgery was the choosen career path. I am sure it is easier said than done.

My personal advice is to contact surgeons of various specialities, and teaching surgeons to get their advice.

Good luck.

aikidoc 11-02-2005 04:51 PM

Re: Aikido injuries
I've seen artist and musicians practice with no problems. It's an issue of people respecting others and weeding out potentially abusive instructors. My personal opinion is there are no excuses for abusive instructors. Abuse of any kind is simply abuse-a person's position is no excuse.

Anat Amitay 11-03-2005 11:24 AM

Re: Aikido injuries
an answer to "special apperance":
with all due respect to both your doctor friends, people should participate in things that let their soul grow and not only their knowledge.
I bet your sugeon friend does cut a salad from time to time, take hot stuff out of the oven, uses a saw/ hammer/ nails... which can all be hazardous to his hands.
So I can understand his concern with not taking "un-necessary" risks as she builds her carreer.
Still, if Aikido is something that fills her life with more than a DVD movie would than I think she'll benefit of it more than she would lose.
We all use our hands, even a computer genious, a clerk, a hair dresser etc... My hands are very important for my work, and that did not keep me off the mat.
She's a grown person and should make her own decisions on her life. I don't think it's not taking her studies seriously, and no one will garantee her the safety of not harming her hands, but as a majority- how many people did injure them so badly as too lose their ability to work in their profession?
I think it's a bit dramatic, though I will respect a person for deciding not to train for that reason, or any other that is major enough for them.
my two cents

Special Appearance 11-03-2005 12:39 PM

Re: Aikido injuries

Anat Eliraz (Amitay) wrote:
an answer to "special apperance":
with all due respect to both your doctor friends, people should participate in things that let their soul grow and not only their knowledge.
I bet your sugeon friend does hazardous [things with] his hands.
So I can understand his concern with not taking "un-necessary" risks as she builds her carreer.

We all use our hands, even a computer genious, a clerk, a hair dresser etc... My hands are very important for my work, and that did not keep me off the mat.

-how many people did injure them so badly as too lose their ability to work in their profession?

I think it's a bit dramatic, though I will respect a person for deciding not to train for that reason, or any other that is major enough for them.
my two cents

Basically, I can't answer your questions, but I will give you my thoughts. I am not a surgeon, you will have to ask one to get accurate answers.

Here is my thoughts. What little I know via my friends, surgery can be a matter life and death, something to be taken seriously, I hope, since the human body is so complex. I wouldn't want a surgeon with nerve damage to his hands operating on me. Or a person who couldn't do the operation because of a torn ligament in their hand. I would want the best care from someone who studied hard.

I am sure American Medicine has some kind of standards of practice that relate to the condition of surgeon hands. I am guessing on that. When I have a chance, I will speak to my friend about that. Generally, I am not the person to ask.

I provided comments resulting to speaking with my doctor friends, I presented their professional view. I recommended that both father and daughter speak to a surgeon, and or a teaching surgeon about injuries she might experience and how it might affect her career and specialty.

I give props to the father for being a concerned parent. He loves his daughter and doesn't want her to get hurt. He wants her to achieve her goals, it is very supportive of. As parent, I would do the same thing, in looking out for my kids in their best interest no matter how old their they are. That is a parent, adult children respect that.

Aikido isn't the be all and end all for everyone. Most people live with out it. It isn't a career, it doesn't put food on the table, it can help some people with living. People do Aikido, not gods, so you will run in to all sorts of people and personalities. Just as there are as many dojos, there are different interpretations by different people of what Aikido is and isn't. So my friend, if a father is concerned about an instructor, he probably is right that the current instructor or dojo may not be for his daughter. His concerns are valid.

Good luck and best wishes.

Avery Jenkins 11-03-2005 07:16 PM

Re: Aikido injuries
Hey, Special Appearance: Just wondering, do you practice Aikido?

Speical Appearance 11-04-2005 12:32 PM

Re: Aikido injuries
Why, yes I do. I have been training regular for a couple of years. Started it late in life. I am very happy doing it. I have a wonderful Sensei, Sempai, and dojo. I guess the dojo is seen as being some what fanatical by some and low key. The core of the dojo is small 5-10 people. Sensei doesn't want to be mentioned on the net, nor the dojo. His concerns are valid IMO, so I don't want to bring attention to him. It would be terrible to have people confuse him with my opinions. Even worse to have what I say reflect upon the dojo. I don't speak for the dojo, or Sensei. I don't want my opinions to reflect on the dojo or the Sensei. This should answer many questions.

This is just misinterpretation IMO, but the dojo has been taken as being snobbish and eccentric. We are considered fanatical by some because our dojo tends to be very Japanese in flavor both pre and post war Aikido. There are other aspects of Japanese culture we learn too. After going through several affiliations, we are no longer are affiliated. We enjoy the status of being an independent dojo. There is no heavy focus on Ki like some schools do, but rather on one's own ability to preform waza, and how closely we adhere to Osensei teachings.

What makes us unique in my opinion is that we also mix in elements of Kendo training, and bring in other aspects of Japanese culture like a guest tea ceremony Sensei. We also learn things in Japanese gardening, and cooking to name a few of the areas we are schooled in. We are encouraged to take Japanese language classes and classes at the University on Japanese culture. I think this is a great element and addition to training. IMO you really have to understand the background of Osensei, it is just not enough to read a translated text, you have to really understand it well. We basically exploit as much of the Japanese way of life, thinking and culture as we can, without living in Japan. And Sensei has lived and trained in Japan for many years. He is a soft spoken gentleman. Who runs a very good private and personal dojo in my opinion.

This should give you a good introduction, and answer some possible future questions, as well as understand where I am coming from when I don't cheer lead the popular cookie cut cheer. Rather, I would offer my opinion. Pls. realize my views are not to reflect my dojo's or my Sensei's.

FWIW, I do read the translated writings of Osensei too. I know the history of Aikido. I honestly, have a hard time understanding what Osensei is saying on the spiritual side beyond the fundamentals we are all aware of. I don't know if anyone really did understand Osensei completely and in detail other then him. This should get me flamed...ugggh...!

When I give my opinion, it is mine and I insure it will stay mine and it will not be confused with or reflected upon my Sensei or the dojo. I don't want people here or else where bashing my Sensei or dojo like they do here in general. I don't want to be kicked out of the dojo, because some Internet Aikido nut bashes him and the dojo on the net, because they find it entertaining. I don't want to give him such a headache.

I offer my opinion and I want people to take if for what it is worth. I understand there are nut cases out there emotionally and mentally imbalanced who take Aikido and will respond to what I say. That comes with the territory of having the freedom to be different and unique, yet the same.

Hope that helped.

Anat Amitay 11-05-2005 11:34 AM

Re: Aikido injuries
Hi again to "special appearance",
Thanks for that introduction, and I wish you and your dojo best of luck in training and enjoying the other things Aikido can give a person.
I respect your wish not to give details about place and names, and I think it's not relevant either- you were talking on your behalf, and no one elses.
I like the fact that you put more into your Aikido than just training (learning the language, history etc.) I think it adds alot.

Thanks for your reply to my post. I know Aikido is not everyones life, and I just gave it as an example. I do think everyone should find some hobby or something that they enjoy to enrich their lives, be it music, cooking, sports etc...
I also know what you mean about a surgeon with hand injuries (though I think they cannot continue to operate if they do damage their hands- just like if they get Parkinson, Altzheimer or anything of the sort).
I respect the father and his concerns for his daughter's wellfare, but it seems he he the one writing and I wonder if the daughters thoughts are in correlation with her fathers. I sure hope they are, and wether it is so or not, is not the case here.
I just wanted to point out that people should do things in life that enrich it. We live here once and realizing it when you're 70 is quite a drag... you missed alot meanwhile. Since we take chances so many times in our lives, sometimes doing things we love to do is not that much of a risk even if we see our future as a doctor-surgeon for example.
At the end, the daughter will make her own decisions (or should) for it is her life and she should live it. I agree to hear opinions from all sides, and just want them to be balanced, so that the final decision she makes would not be regreted because of information not mentioned.
I'm blabering too much... :eek: ;)

doc2b 11-06-2005 11:50 PM

Re: Aikido injuries
My daughter and I thank you "Special Appearance" for your for the information you provided.

As I have mentioned earlier, the chief instructor at the medical school where my daughter trains is a licensed general practitioner (MD) who runs his own clinic. He has assured me that aikido is not as dangerous as I perceive. He said that he has trained in aikido for a very long time and he still has a pair of trusty old hands for his general practice. He also assured the students that the vicious instructor in question would not at anytime be instructing at the medical school. Fair enough, the instructor in question did not use any students of the medical school for his demonstration. He used two or three of his personal students for the demonstration where he shown various knife disarming techniques. I approached a couple of these students after the demonstration to inquire whether they have suffered any serious hand injuries. They confirmed they have injuries, all received from the same instructor. They have trained with him for quite a long time and they are amongst a few who can break falls or receive techniques from him.

With the information provided by "Special Appearance", my daughter and her aikido mates will also seek advice from the visiting professors at the medical school who some of them are also practicing surgeons.


Special Appearance 11-07-2005 12:30 PM

Re: Aikido injuries

It is nice to hear things are working out. As a father, myself, you can never be too careful when it comes to your childern(s) welfare that's are job.

I think it is great that an MD is teaching the class, what a beneficial arrangement, you probably couldn't ask for anything better.

It sounds like your daughter is going into GP. From what I hear and from what you told us, the risk of injury to her career is greatly lessen than if she was to become a surgeon. Good news abounds.

Not to get too side tracked, and side from doc2b discussion, I make it a habit to talk to my surgeon friend regularly and my Family Prac. I don't stop there, I do talk to sports RPTs and other professions about injuries that could happen in the dojo and educate myself about such injuries as well. Of course, the dojo plays a role in that, the people in the dojo play a huge role in the matters of injury. Also, more of a major concern is the overall toll Aikido can take on the body over time.

Aikido is just like anything else, and with time due to wear and tear injury can occur. Prevention, education, and awareness is the best medicine in fighting all types of injury. Aikido is an athletic activity IMO, and should be thought of and treated as such. Educating yourself about injury related to Aikido can only make good sense; types of, treatment of, prevention of. I think it shows the seriousness and a responsibility to Aikido training in par with sports when there is a concern for injury, both short and long term possibilities.

Evaluating the Sensei is just part of the process, talking to medical professionals is an other part IMO. I think this makes for a better longer and more productive training environment.

My criticism is some people don't approach Aikido with the same seriousness as sports when it comes to injuries. This may be because Aikido doesn't look like you could get hurt. I have seen some beautiful Ukemi by some senior students and Sensei. Let me tell you by its nature Ukemi is deceiving. Ukemi's impact on the body can range from being in a 30 m/hr car accident to falling off a bike, from what I am told. I think injuries result from attitude as well, by not taking Aikido seriously. May not understand also that Aikido waza comes from waza that killed and maimed people, and Osensei altered those waza so people don't get killed or maimed as a result.

I rant on, sorry.

Overall, I am personally glad doc2b is taking Aikido seriously, and doing the best by his daughter. This is what IMO makes for a good art, and a good student.

Ron Tisdale 11-07-2005 01:44 PM

Re: Aikido injuries

Aikido waza comes from waza that killed and maimed people, and Osensei altered those waza so people don't get killed or maimed as a result.
Hmm, aikido waza comes from Daito ryu waza, and I've never known anyone that was killed or maimed practicing Daito ryu waza...Maybe they are out there though, and I just haven't heard about it.

I suspect accidents happen in all kinds of training though.

Ron (just trying to discourage too much hyperbole)

James Davis 11-08-2005 09:55 AM

Re: Aikido injuries

Ron Tisdale wrote:
Hmm, aikido waza comes from Daito ryu waza, and I've never known anyone that was killed or maimed practicing Daito ryu waza...Maybe they are out there though, and I just haven't heard about it.

I suspect accidents happen in all kinds of training though.

Ron (just trying to discourage too much hyperbole)

O'sensei learned other stuff prior to Daito ryu aikijutsu, and I think that's what the poster was referring to. Many of our empty handed techniques are derived from kenjutsu and yarijutsu movements. O'sensei took movements that were designed to maim, kill, poke, stab, slice and dice and (admittedly with a lot of tinkering) adapted them to defensive unarmed techniques. Cool stuff. :)

Ron Tisdale 11-08-2005 11:04 AM

Re: Aikido injuries
Hi James,

I have to disagree that the unarmed techniques in aikido are from anything other than Daito ryu. I have yet to see any substantive proof for that assertion. While Ueshiba Sensei certainly trained in other arts for relatively short periods of time, researchers, scholars, budoka in general have so far failed to show any substantive connection to those arts in relation to our empty hand techniques. Of course, I try to remain open to anything new that comes out...if you have some hard evidence of this, I'd love to see it.


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