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Old 09-26-2003, 06:11 AM   #1
David Yap
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 561
Injury Avoidance versus Ego

In the past when I was uke for my instructors, I left the fate of my well being in their hands. I would lend them the use of my body to demonstrate any aikido techniques and put my trust in them to treat my body with care and with a bit of tenderness. Alas, that was not to be. My right wrist was first injured after my instructor (a 4th dan now) had locked me in nikkyu; and despite my tapping out in pain, he told me that I was bluffing and proceeded to apply more pressure. At that instance, I was tapping the floor like crazy and was hoping that the ground I was kneeling on would open up to relief the pain. The injury on my left wrist was much worst coming off a katate-tori sankyu. After bringing me down with an ikkyu movement, the instructor (known for egoistic and sadistic character in our local aikido community) then twisted my hand for a sankyu grip and the upward thrust of my arm was done with much so strength and speed and couple with the continuing twisting of my hand sent me backward so fast that I had no opportunity to tap/yell out in pain. Luckily for me, the medical report later showed no compressed fracture in wrist but just some torn ligaments that would take a long time to heal (90%-95% healed till only).

A couple of days ago, a 3rd kyu and I were practising kata-tori nikkyu ura and I happened to be his uke. Though I offered my arm to him in a relaxed manner, his nikkyu was not effective and he could not bring me down to my knees. My quick analysis of the situation was (i) his grip on my hand was too tight (almost strangle like) and wrong (my little finger was not even pointing back towards me) (ii) he was not directing his center towards me and neither was he looking at me (his face was turned away from me all the time). While still gripping my hand with one and pressing my elbow with the other arm, he tried again once more -- did not work - and then he tried again but this time with more force and pressure the grips were now on both my hand and wrist and it looked and felt like he was going to twist them apart out of frustration with the earlier attempts. Unconsciously, my arm started to tense up from the shoulder to the fingertips as a response to avoid injury. Later I told him that his grip should be firm but not tight and the approach should be gentle but not manhandling as it would draw stiff resistant from the uke (i.e. me). I then proceeded to show him how the hand should be gripped and he should be looking at the uke to ensure that the direction of his center was right and also show that he cared about the well being of the uke. He should then move in towards the uke to get the "S" bend rather than forcing a "S" bend needed for the technique. Just as I moved in for the "S" bend, he froze up his arm. When I gave him a puzzled look, he looked at me and said, "That's what you did just now" in a tit for tat manner.

I wanted to tell him that the freeze on my part only happened after the two attempts by him and was a natural reaction to his third attempt to avoid injury to myself. But before I could speak, the sensei broke up the practice. When the next technique was called, I decided to partner someone else as I felt that it would be a wasted effort to explain to him -- he was not listening in the first place -- period. I felt he was not ready and hence, the "teacher" in him has yet to arrive.

But it bugs me, as an afterthought, that without an explanation, he would think of me as selfish and arrogant. What do you think? Do I owe him an explanation?

David Y
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