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Old 07-01-2011, 12:39 AM   #1
SteliosPapadakis
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Ethical questions before Shodan exam

I was meaning to write a big sheet of details but after typing and deleting for ages the resume is plainly this:
My shodan exam will be this weekend...i ruptured my left arm's biceps last week and have one functional arm now...
Should i go for it?
My teacher is very supportive but i would not want to show dishonor or disgrace him with me being unable to do most of the techniques...
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:56 AM   #2
carina reinhardt
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Hi Stelios,
If I couldn't move both arms I would leave my exam for next time. But I don't like exam normally, just do it because my teacher say so. So my opinion may not be valid.
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Old 07-01-2011, 01:37 AM   #3
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Stelios
That is really bad luck man.
Do you have any chance to attend class before your exam? This would allow you to see how you arm holds up and then go from there.
In addition I hasten to say to respect your body, an exam can be done again, permanent damage to your body however...

Last edited by Tim Ruijs : 07-01-2011 at 01:39 AM.

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 07-01-2011, 01:59 AM   #4
Mario Tobias
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

hi,

if I were you, I'd respectfully request sensei to have your exam pushed out as you have a very valid reason for not going through with it. I don't think this will be disrespectful. You need to listen to your body first, sensei second.

The risk outweighs the benefit in this case. What would you do with a belt if you risk having permanent damage to your arm? You risk both the arm as well as the belt if you fail, so its a losing proposition. Exams can wait and the belt will wait for you. At the end of the day, it's just a belt.

Wouldn't you also want to show your best to sensei and "wow" your audience during the exam ? But that's just my opinion.

Last edited by Mario Tobias : 07-01-2011 at 02:04 AM.
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:10 AM   #5
SteliosPapadakis
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
Do you have any chance to attend class before your exam? This would allow you to see how you arm holds up and then go from there.:
I did attend my class 2 days ago, and even did uke for my teacher, only attacking with the right hand. As far as the right hand, everything is OK. I keep my left a bit folded but otherwise the lesson went OK. My classmates accepted me attacking with the right hand only and being attacked likewise.
I will also attend tonight's lesson and see how it goes...
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:34 AM   #6
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Quote:
Stelios Papadakis wrote: View Post
I did attend my class 2 days ago, and even did uke for my teacher, only attacking with the right hand. As far as the right hand, everything is OK. I keep my left a bit folded but otherwise the lesson went OK. My classmates accepted me attacking with the right hand only and being attacked likewise.
I will also attend tonight's lesson and see how it goes...
I understand that you cannot use your left arm, you have 'only' managed to adapt a little. Like Mario says, and myself, have your exam put off until your arm has healed.
I can imagine this exam is pretty exciting/important. Black belt is always some kind of milestone, no matter what style you are in. But I do not think it is more important than your well-being. Budo, the mother of martial arts, says self-preservation is most important.

Making the right decision is hard, but is ultimately that what builds (your) character

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:59 AM   #7
SteliosPapadakis
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
I understand that you cannot use your left arm, you have 'only' managed to adapt a little. Like Mario says, and myself, have your exam put off until your arm has healed.
I can imagine this exam is pretty exciting/important. Black belt is always some kind of milestone, no matter what style you are in. But I do not think it is more important than your well-being. Budo, the mother of martial arts, says self-preservation is most important.

Making the right decision is hard, but is ultimately that what builds (your) character
Thanks Tim. Over the years i have learnt my body's limitations and i will not go over the limits, no matter what. As you mention, self preservation is of most importance, esp when you have young ones waiting home for you...
With that in mind, i will go the way up till i can. If i experience discomfort or if things get difficult, i will call it a day and sit down. As it may be months before i can use the left arm again, i will try up to the point i do not cause any more harm to myself. And stay there.
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Old 07-01-2011, 07:57 AM   #8
Michael Hackett
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Stelios,

I tore both menisci in my knee during my last class before my shodan exam. I postponed the exam until after surgery and rehab and came back better than before in many ways. I was really angry and disappointed at the time of injury, but it all worked out for the better. The time it took to recover fully was nothing when thinking of the time I'd already spent on the mat. Best of luck with whatever you choose to do.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 07-01-2011, 08:08 AM   #9
Keith Larman
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Unless you're on death's door and don't expect to live much longer take some time off. Heal up and test when you're healthy. It's just a rank. And hopefully if you hang around long enough eventually you'll see the details of when such and such a rank was awarded are incidental to the bigger picture. I blew a knee right during the Friday night practice preparing for my shodan test on that Sunday. Sat out for a quite a while and wasn't able to test for a year. I partially tore the acl on the other knee right before my sandan. That set that test back another year or so I think (don't really remember now). But that's the point -- if you're in this for the long term focus on getting healthy. Then do your best when you are.

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Old 07-01-2011, 12:06 PM   #10
Janet Rosen
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Ranking is just another step on the path, it can wait.
You only have one body, one you. It won't wait - it needs rest and healing NOW.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 07-01-2011, 09:41 PM   #11
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Quote:
Stelios Papadakis wrote: View Post
I was meaning to write a big sheet of details but after typing and deleting for ages the resume is plainly this:
My shodan exam will be this weekend...i ruptured my left arm's biceps last week and have one functional arm now...
Should i go for it?
My teacher is very supportive but i would not want to show dishonor or disgrace him with me being unable to do most of the techniques...
I took my San dan test with my arm in a sling... Broke my collar bone during the camp about half way through. Saotome sensei made up a test for me. Rather than paired jo I used a cane against jo attack. Rather then the usual kumitachi, I got a short sword. It was an interesting experience.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 07-02-2011, 08:45 AM   #12
kyu mg
Dojo: New School Aikido, Stockton
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

A test is sybolic....
Your Sensei already passed you when they ask you to test....
Soon I have to have surgury on my Right knee, I still plan on going to class and working around it, adapt....
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Old 07-03-2011, 09:40 PM   #13
SteliosPapadakis
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Τhe test went quite well (concerning the circumstances) and i really enjoyed myself!
Thanks to everyone for your warm thoughts and support!

( ps. anyone knows how to tie a hakama? )
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Old 07-04-2011, 12:02 AM   #14
Janet Rosen
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Congratulations!
(ps - like aikido, easier with both hands :-) )

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 07-04-2011, 12:40 AM   #15
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Hi Stelios

That good news! congrats

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 07-04-2011, 12:54 AM   #16
carina reinhardt
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Congrats! And I hope this will help you
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkbCAs1Y5pA

And enjoy yourself
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:12 AM   #17
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Congratulations!!!

I did my nidan exam with a torn muscel fiber which wasn't really healed.

Quote:
Carina Reinhardt wrote: View Post
Congrats! And I hope this will help you ...
Do you really do it this way?
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:57 AM   #18
carina reinhardt
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

No Carsten But I did not find a video with my way, so for a start it might help, even everybody has his own way to tie his hakama .
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:23 PM   #19
cherif morsi
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Dear Stelios
What you describe is called a biceps tendon rupture which is a very serious injury. There are two types: at the shoulder and, far more serious, at the elbow called a distal biceps tendon rupture. I got the later one during aikido on June 10th 20011, had surgery on June 25th 2011. Stelios, even if you think your arm is kind of ok, it is a very serious injury that needs utmost care and this care has to come three weeks post injury because after that, it becomes a far more delicate surgery most probably involving a graph tendon from a cadaver or from your own body from somewhere else. Very sorry for spooking you, but this is what this injury is about and it is huge mental shock to me. Muscle and/or tendon tears are very difficult to heal and almost always need instant surgery to repair otherwise, ie if you choose not to do surgery, you lose a very big amount of strength and range of motion.... for life probably, really not wanting to scare you.
It will be at least 6 months at least before you can fairly consider returning to aikido. And at that point you need to take it from the ground up very slowly gradually up to another 6 months. Look Stelios, aikido is a HUGE part of my life and it has been a very depressive blow to me to understand the true nature of this injury but I extensively researched about it online, and believe me we need all range of motion to the arm for aikido as we supinate, pronate and extent in almost all our movements whether uke or nage.
And to have the best chances, and there are many, you need to heal it properly and over a VERY long time. And despite my depression, I decided to accept this very fact and we will also need extensive good quality physio therapy. I have read about powerlifters who followed this regimen with good nutrition and supplements and went on to lift more than they were pre-injury.
I suggest, like I intend to do, after three months or so, depending on the recovery, to start going at the dojo but, and after agreeing with sensei of course, on my own on the side to just do tai sabaki, stretching, soft rolls back and forth, etc. till i tire for a couple of months, then, at around six months, to start practice gradually from there very slowly, again!!!!, and increase to higher intensity.
Actually i am a lot more concerned about being uke, as most movements like kotegaishi, nikkyo, sankyo, shihonage involve some strong twisting and/or extending at some point of the technique that will eventually put a considerable strain on the repaired tendon which is why it will take a very long time I guess though i am very optimistic, if my recovery doesn't meet very possible complications, that i will be a much stronger aikidoka and hopefully take my nidan test by January 2012 God willing. Can you please give me your email address so we can maybe exchange and share progress, updates, etc. which is of immense help for the mental challenge with this kind of injury while still an aikidoka at the core. mine is: cherifmorsi@link.net.
Domo arigato Stelios san
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Old 07-13-2011, 05:23 AM   #20
SteliosPapadakis
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Some days ago, i did a shoulder MRI as i was curious of the extend of the damage. The bibliography mention motion loss (like, for instance, one with a complete rupture cannot use a screwdriver) but nothing close to what i observed...
The MRI showed that the rupture is not complete, there is still a 30% of tendon that refuses to let go if the glenoid joint! Yes, the biceps itself appears to have migrated to the lower part of the arm (roll down) but i can do all movements, albeit with some difficulty and pain when raising my arm above head height.
So...i will not be attending classes for a couple of months in order to give it some time to recover. This is very difficult (almost impossible, really) as very young kids are around the house and someone must provide from the supermarket for the family...
I am trying to be optimistic and think positively. I am taking chondroitin and glucosamine supplements (not scientifically proven it works but you never know...the cartilage in the joint has been severely damaged), i tend to eat more fruit than usual and keep the system hydrated as much as i can. If i have a moment in my daily routine i would also visualise the rupture to be healing and the biceps to be repairing itself....
I am avoiding surgery at all costs and have thought/searched about it extensively. Since my arm is working (even with less strength) i am not curving it open to repair. A personal approach and not necessarily the correct one...
Again, thanks to all for your support. It really means a lot to me.
Kalimera!
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:29 AM   #21
lbb
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Honestly? I think you should have stopped training some time ago. Now you're going to pay a substantial price for not giving your injury the treatment it needed, when it needed it.

The shodan test has to be one of the most dangerous things in any martial art. People charge at it with blinders on, and sometimes they charge over a cliff. More often, they pass their test, the blinders fall off, and they realize that they no longer want to be there, to be training. At a minimum, they find that the landscape is nothing like what they expected. This is where you get so many shodan dropouts in martial arts.

If you are approaching your shodan exam, and something threatens the test -- something that, under any other circumstances, would make you stop training -- then I think the best course of action is to walk away from the test. Walk away, and take the time to do what you need to do. When you've dealt with that, if you find that you still want your shodan, then resume training and test when it's time to test. And if you find that you don't really want it any more...well, that tells you something else worth knowing, probably that you haven't really wanted to be there for a while. And that's okay. We change, our needs and situations change. Goals that were once truly cherished sometimes become something that we no longer want, for all kinds of perfectly good reasons. Letting go of a cherished goal is hard, but facing the truth that you no longer want something you invested a lot into is even harder. But facing the truth is always better than the alternative. If the truth is that you still want to train, then good; if the truth is that you no longer want to train, that's good too.
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:53 AM   #22
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Honestly? I think you should have stopped training some time ago. Now you're going to pay a substantial price for not giving your injury the treatment it needed, when it needed it.
Ditto to that. I am STILL dealing with an injury because I was stubborn 9 months ago and just kept training through the pain.....

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:24 PM   #23
willow_in_the_mist
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Geia soy, Stelio!

I see that it has been several months now. I hope your injury is recovering well! Best of luck to you.
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Old 07-13-2011, 01:59 PM   #24
willow_in_the_mist
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Quote:
Brandi Weaver wrote: View Post
Geia soy, Stelio!

I see that it has been several months now. I hope your injury is recovering well! Best of luck to you.
Oops! Never mind about the "several months" thing. I accidentally looked at your 'join date' for the 'post date.' Still new to this site...

Anyway, I do hope you heal quickly!
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Old 07-13-2011, 02:29 PM   #25
Diana Frese
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Re: Ethical questions before Shodan exam

Kalimera, Stelios (i forgot how to say good afternoon or good evening)

This is Artemisia again, not Greek, but learned the Greek for my Latin name, after all, Greek was first!

I was hoping for the best about your test, but didn't get a chance to post. You had a lot of good advice, and I didn't want to try to tell you what to do (I am such an old person)

This is a really serious injury, I hope some friends can help you with the shopping and household stuff.

I stopped training because of a knee problem. But as you know I was in construction with my husband, I didn't get it in Aikido. Actually I hadn't trained in a year back then, the place we were living had no back yard, and I was busy (like so many people)

The following spring came around and as usual about once a week I visited my parents, but spring had arrived again and my husband and I were doing some stretches in the yard and I did the stretch over the toes on both sides. Ended up getting plantar fascitis in my heels, and eventually my knee ended up weird. I didn't check out about possible surgery for my knee, we were very busy, and I was able to have a small group a couple of years later next to his art and woodworking studio. Small space, 6th floor, large, unsafe looking windows in old building, and most students had some injury or other reason for not rolling.
The "little dojo" lasted for a couple of months and was very good, but we needed to rent the space out for financial reasons. I was surprised at how much can be done even without rolling for people with injuries.

But you, a new shodan?! Don't take chances .... you should let it heal, don't make your friends lose sleep worrying! I used to love suwari waza and all the rolling, but I can still train in some way.
I was also thinking about daily life, the doctor said my knee had normal range of motion and I decided to settle for that, not to take chances in trying for rolls and suwari waza.

Don't take chances, listen to the ladies! (I forgot how to say "please" in Greek
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