Thread: Pain in aikido?
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Old 06-20-2006, 11:17 AM   #23
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,053
Re: Pain in aikido?

First, I differentiate "pain" and "discomfort;" pain is the experience of bodily harm, discomfort the absence of comfort. Pain is related to bodily damage and signifies that our body is injured. Discomfort is related to the body reacting to stimulus that is not desirable.

I believe discomfort is a component of any activity that is physically demanding including exercise, athletics, martial arts, and recreation. The experience of stretching muscles, straining ligaments, and falling are naturally uncomfortable, through repetition and conditioning our bodies become accustomed to the discomfort and cease to "complain" about them. Aikido is no exception, and aikido training should realize discomfort as an intense level of training that will positively affect the body. What would happen if a runner simply stopped after they got tired? or a body builder stopped lifting weights that were too heavy? of an athlete stop competing because they were worn out? Yet we make decisions all of the time to avoid a "hard" class, or "get intense," or "work up a sweat." My old baseball coach would scream, "if you ain't tired, you ain't training hard enough!" I agree.

Pain is not part of routine training in aikido, but at some point we all experience pain. Pain is your body's way of saying, "that is not good, please stop what is causing the pain." Aikido people have a problem confusing discomfort for pain. On one hand, we will avoid rolling because we have a problem with ukemi causing "pain," but we'll hunker down and grimace while our partner applies nikyo, refusing to yield to the sensation. Usually, this translates as an aversion to ukemi's discomfort and ignorance of nikyo pain. Good training does not need pain, but good training relies on the consession that the technique's application is correct.

Most of my understanding of techique does not rely on pain, only the aversion to pain. I should not need to hit your face to make your head tilt backwards, the threat of my hand in your face should trigger an aversion to pain that materializes as your head tilting backwards. This methodology is independent of your partner's action, but also compassionate to provide an outlet to avoid pain.

Last edited by jonreading : 06-20-2006 at 11:18 AM. Reason: spellin'
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