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Old 03-22-2017, 03:36 PM   #51
Cass
 
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Clarification on the aforementioned nikkyo incident.

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
And if she hadn't faced the other way, you would have kneed her in the back of the skull: not as dramatic as a gushing nosebleed, perhaps, but as nage, it's your responsibility to not knee your partner on any part of their head when doing a pin.
Never happened before or after while my ukes had their head the right way. Perhaps that was just coincidence, or maybe she had her head leaning further along her shoulder in a kind of "combo". Not sure which it was, either way it remains something I think about briefly every time I do that pin now and she lies correctly now, so lesson learnt for both I suppose. Also at that early stage, mistakes are very expected, so I may be in the wrong - I would know if I saw it now - and at that point too, it is worth noting that I think most beginners minds are stuck on "where does my hand go now?" "are my feet right?" rather than where uke is and what they are doing.

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Wow. That is scary to me that 2 beginners would be dong nikkyo so fast and unsupervised that one would be able to give the other a bloody nose in the nikkyo pin. I don't blame the first women for being "fragile and hesitant".
Supervised, but big class, our sensei was there straight away after, but he can't be everywhere at all times. He didn't see what happened, I wasn't asked and neither was she, though I think he could see there were no hard feelings between us, sometimes these things happen. It was not a hard knee in the face and she was not in pain/bruised afterward or anything like so. Speed is not discouraged so long as you are performing the technique correctly. As to to description, I think that may be a poor communication on my part - she did not become thusly after this incident and not specifically in this technique etc. I mean "don't close your hand fully around my wrist in katate dori" esq fragility, not to be confused with fear. Hesitant due to lack of confidence in her own ability also.



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Old 03-23-2017, 09:51 AM   #52
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Hi Cass:

I appreciate your clarification.
However, I don't think a knee to the face that causes a nose bleed could be considered a soft knee to the face.
Having kneed myself in the face once when I was demonstrating a back roll ( not my most shining teaching moment to be sure, ) I can attest it hurts bad.

Just a caution to you...speed is not encouraged until you have control. Slowing down never hurt anyone.

I love to hear about your experiences.

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Old 03-23-2017, 01:28 PM   #53
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
Cassia Rose Heatley wrote: View Post
Never happened before or after while my ukes had their head the right way. Perhaps that was just coincidence, or maybe she had her head leaning further along her shoulder in a kind of "combo". Not sure which it was, either way it remains something I think about briefly every time I do that pin now and she lies correctly now, so lesson learnt for both I suppose. Also at that early stage, mistakes are very expected, so I may be in the wrong - I would know if I saw it now - and at that point too, it is worth noting that I think most beginners minds are stuck on "where does my hand go now?" "are my feet right?" rather than where uke is and what they are doing.
Indeed, most beginners are focused on their own movements, to the exclusion of what's going on around them. That's why it's important to go slowly and carefully, and not get stuck on your own plan about what you're going to do with your body -- because there's another body involved. As nage, when doing a technique, you have more choices than uke, and you also have a choice, more generally, in how you approach these situations. You can choose to focus on what your partner did wrong, or you can focus on what you're doing with what your partner gives you, without trying to assess whether what they did is "right" or "wrong".
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Old 03-23-2017, 02:48 PM   #54
"Kei Thrace"
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Thank you for chiming in, Cass. I really do appreciate hearing from a wide range of practitioners.

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Cassia Rose Heatley wrote: View Post
I think ultimately how people react on the mat comes down to who they are as people, you cannot teach kindness or care for your fellow practitioners, no matter how core it seems to the beliefs of aikido. Yes, you can think that is not very "aiki" of them or that they are in the wrong art, but at the end of the day the other people in the dojo are just that - other people. Different opinions, different approaches.
My concussion - and the sad lack of follow-up following an unnecessary injury - is, alas, a lesson to me that the dojo is just like any other human endeavor, there are folks who look out for other people's well-being, and folks who don't.

(I found it interesting that, when I described the incident to another instructor, he exclaimed in surprise, "But [nage]'s a good guy!" As if "good" precluded making bad choices. He - nage - might be a devout churchgoer, a thoughtful boss, a friend who would lend a hand or his truck to someone who's moving boxes. I don't know him well enough to say. But it's quite clear to me that he has a pattern of being cavalier and moving much too fast without regard for his uke, as observed by myself and other, more senior practitioners. That does not meet my definition of good *behavior*.)

I do think though that if the leader(s) - whether instructor, chief instructor, dojo-cho or owner - sets the tone, that careful practice is paramount, and transgressions are dealt with firmly - then even people who aren't inherently thoughtful may toe the line, just because those are the rules. I don't need my fellow practitioners to meet standards of ideological purity - if they go slow because someone else says go slow, that works just as well as if they had noted for themselves that I as their uke have slower reflexes than a 25-year-old former professional athlete, and adjust accordingly.

I have been to other dojo and seminars where instructors make a point of repeating axioms such as "slow is smooth, smooth is fast" or stopping fast, sloppy practice and having the students start from a very slow pace till they demonstrate that they understand the movement in great detail. I don't think methodical training is antithetical to developing an effective (martial, if you will) practice. In four years of aikido I do believe my response time and type of reaction have improved, but I wouldn't have gotten there if my partners had hit me in the face the first week I showed up. I appreciate what Ledyard-sensei says about training:

"Training full power way with a woman of typical size (or a man of smaller stature for that matter) would be abusive. It would unnecessarily stress them physically and would almost certainly imprint fear and tension in the training that would run counter to what we are attempting to imprint via the training."

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...t=2608&page=12

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Cassia Rose Heatley wrote: View Post
Personally, I put a great amount of care in the wellbeing of my partner, I am quick to apologize - sometimes for going too fast or hard, other times for "bumping" on them during technique, or if I apply a pin etc. too quickly. Usually for me it's about speed, as I get into the flow of things I like to speed up which can sometimes be a little much or unexpected for my partner. There was one occasion early on, I had only been training for around 2-3 months at the time, my uke was a girl who was generally known for being quite fragile and hesitant on the mat. She was training for two or three months longer than me and it had recently been drilled in about turning your face away from the nage when they go to pin. Lo and behold, she looked the wrong way as I brought my knees in for a nikkyo pin, knee hit against her nose and started a pretty dramatic nosebleed. Not major, but still, I was apologetic and felt bad about the whole thing, but, ultimately, I know there was not much for me to do there
I just wanted to understand better: we are talking about uke lying down on the ground while you put on a nikkyo pin? And you slid into her nose? I am no yudansha, but that seems like a relatively quiet point of the technique. When you are taking uke down to the mat, shouldn't nage have control over uke anyway? So no need to rush. I mean, certainly, if it was a real street fight, I wouldn't count on uke going down quietly. But then I wouldn't worry too much about bruising them, or avoiding breaking their shoulder for that matter.

(With that said: I have kids who get nosebleeds when the air is too dry, so I grant you that it might not have to be a hard hit to start one off. But maybe I'm just short, hitting uke's face with my knee has not been a concern. I'm even careful to move uke's ponytail out of the way so I don't kneel on it. YMMV. )

I am pretty leery of that takedown in nikkyo anyway. I find some partners go quite fast and if they don't get low enough as they take me to the mat (since I am short), I can find my entire weight on my shoulder if I'm not careful. So I have to get there faster, or give myself a little extra air. Alternately, sometimes nage thumps down on their knees next to me rather than deliberately sliding into position. I have learned to roll away from nage very quickly, because if not they can sometimes land very painfully on part of my anatomy. I count both those instances as insensitive, sloppy nage-ship. So I am very cognizant when I am nage to avoid those flaws. I keep coming back to the concept that if one is careless with one's partners, either they start avoiding you on the mats, or they get broken and leave the mats altogether.

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Cassia Rose Heatley wrote: View Post
RE women and injuries. Men are more honed from a young age with a "rough and tumble" sort of lifestyle in general, competitiveness and brawling are even encouraged - less so with more traditional upbringings for girls. Some girls also expect to be treated ladylike and daintily even in the dojo (a pet peeve of mine, I admit). It also means they are less experienced and prepared when it comes to injuries. All generalizations of course. That might explain the phenomenon you experienced with injured women not returning. Or there could be more to the individual cases, it really depends on a lot of factors.
When I first started this thread, most of the injuries I was aware of involved women. Per my original post, " They have been of varying ages and athletic abilities so I don't think it's as easy as generalizing, "oh, women tend to be less athletic" or that they were never committed to long-term training anyway (on the theory that if you've gone through three testing cycles you're probably decently interested). Some of them have gone on to train, and even make shodan, at other dojo, and some have quit aikido altogether. " Broadly speaking, yes, men tend to come into aikido with more rough-and-tumble experience. (Sometimes I think that makes men more dismissive of injuries in general, which I don't count as a good thing.) But some of these women were/are decent athletes. I think especially for people younger than myself, the presumption that girls are more ladylike is less and less a factor. (I grew up in a time and place where volleyball was the only acceptable sport for girls, and you weren't supposed to train very hard lest you get muscles. Oh, the horror! ;P)

I've also since taken into account other injuries to male practitioners in the past 12 months. Two of the injuries (shoulder fracture, shoulder separation) were to 1st-kyu students. Those students both have extensive experience in martial arts, including a black belt in another art. So even for people who nominally meet standards of physical fitness or alacrity, there's a rather high incidence of damage.

In any case, I think it's not just about "being able to take good ukemi". There are weight classes and age groupings for many sports and some martial arts, for good reason. You practice differently with a white belt vs. a 4th dan. As I once heard Ikeda-sensei say (paraphrasing, all mistakes are mine), "if you only fight people weaker than you, then you don't need martial arts." To my mind the onus is really more on teachers and senior students to tailor their delivery to something that their partner can handle. I really do believe that part of developing one's aikido is becoming more sensitive to what your partner can handle. Otherwise, there should be a sign on the door: "Must pass fitness test to start training here." And I would never have taken up aikido.

Quote:
Cassia Rose Heatley wrote: View Post
When I train, if I do not know the limits of my partner, I lean to the side of caution and gently test their capabilities by increasing speed, force etc. If they already have a pre-existing injury it is up to them to tell me so that I do not aggravate that. I consider it a point of respect to train with care for yourself and others.
I really, really value partners who enter into training with your attitude. I think it's only sensible. Isn't that what people do at a seminar, when the assumption is that you don't know anyone there? I think for myself I'd add that instructors should have the additional consideration of asking about injuries regularly, particularly if there is a newcomer, but also to check in with long-standing students in case something new has come up - e.g., a sprain over the weekend.
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Old 03-23-2017, 03:16 PM   #55
"Kei Thrace"
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Re: Injuries in aikido

What a fantastic summary.

"[Nage] has more choices than uke" - and this holds true regardless of rank, but also, a more senior student will have even more options than his/her junior counterpart, and thus even more responsibility to choose an option that will not hurt uke.

"[Y]ou can focus on what you're doing with what your partner gives you" - and that puts the focus right where it should be: on your partner, not on the technique you're performing, your audience, or whatever was on your mind before you stepped onto the mats.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Indeed, most beginners are focused on their own movements, to the exclusion of what's going on around them. That's why it's important to go slowly and carefully, and not get stuck on your own plan about what you're going to do with your body -- because there's another body involved. As nage, when doing a technique, you have more choices than uke, and you also have a choice, more generally, in how you approach these situations. You can choose to focus on what your partner did wrong, or you can focus on what you're doing with what your partner gives you, without trying to assess whether what they did is "right" or "wrong".
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Old 03-24-2017, 01:04 PM   #56
fatebass21
 
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Very surprised, as are others, about the nose bleed incident. Never seen that happen before with students new or veteran

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Old 03-25-2017, 07:57 AM   #57
rugwithlegs
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
Chris Sawyer wrote: View Post
Very surprised, as are others, about the nose bleed incident. Never seen that happen before with students new or veteran
It's not hard to drop the body weight down on the nose and make it bleed - even slowly. It's mostly cartilage, so another couple of cm in would have broken the nose. Move a few more inches in and drop the body weight through the shin or knee on the back of the neck, and even very slowly or even sitting still I am heavy enough to damage vertebrae. Get a beginner trying to roll in, drop a knee on the throat or major blood vessels in the neck, or break a rib or collar bone, or drop the knee in the center of the chest over the heart.

Again, back to rule #1. We're not working with harmless movements. I'm glad nothing worse happened and everyone moved forward from the sound of it.
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Old 03-25-2017, 08:58 AM   #58
Walter Martindale
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
It's not hard to drop the body weight down on the nose and make it bleed - even slowly. It's mostly cartilage, so another couple of cm in would have broken the nose. Move a few more inches in and drop the body weight through the shin or knee on the back of the neck, and even very slowly or even sitting still I am heavy enough to damage vertebrae. Get a beginner trying to roll in, drop a knee on the throat or major blood vessels in the neck, or break a rib or collar bone, or drop the knee in the center of the chest over the heart.

Again, back to rule #1. We're not working with harmless movements. I'm glad nothing worse happened and everyone moved forward from the sound of it.
Not at all surprised someone got a nosebleed looking back toward nage. I was fortunate in that when I did this early on, my partners (including John H) all warned me to turn my head away or accidental contact with the face might occur. I'm glad nobody decided to 'teach me with tough love'... I was new and was trying to see what was going on.

As John says, these are not harmless movements. In the dojo we protect our training partners, and ramp up the velocity depending on their (and our) skill at both parts of the practice. One sensei in my past kept reminding people that aikido is a MARTIAL ART - if there's no attack, there's no aikido needed, and if we want to practice aikido, the attacks in the dojo have to be "real" to the extent that we HAVE TO do aikido or get hurt. WITH the proviso that we need our training partners so we can train with them, and both sides of the training transaction have to look after their partner.

At the same time as we're protecting our training partners, we need to remember and practice (occasionally) at very low speeds the more dangerous parts of the art - as in, placing the knee on the neck during a pin - not pushing it down or "landing" on the neck, placing - gently - to remember that that's an option for, say, armed attackers in places other than the dojo.
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Old 03-27-2017, 08:41 AM   #59
lbb
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
Not at all surprised someone got a nosebleed looking back toward nage. I was fortunate in that when I did this early on, my partners (including John H) all warned me to turn my head away or accidental contact with the face might occur. I'm glad nobody decided to 'teach me with tough love'... I was new and was trying to see what was going on.
That reaction -- to turn and look -- is so common in new people that we really should expect it. Humans are so used to getting such a large amount of information visually that we really should expect this reaction, even when students have been explicitly told not to do this. One or two verbal instructions from sensei won't overcome a lifetime's conditioning towards getting information visually -- only careful practice will do that.
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Old 03-28-2017, 07:32 PM   #60
"Kei Thrace"
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Good point about countering instinct. I will say though that I don't recall ever being told not to look at nage, only that I should turn my head to avoid a face plant. (Entirely possible though that I was told once and forgot, but it's definitely not part of kihon directions where I started training.)

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
That reaction -- to turn and look -- is so common in new people that we really should expect it. Humans are so used to getting such a large amount of information visually that we really should expect this reaction, even when students have been explicitly told not to do this. One or two verbal instructions from sensei won't overcome a lifetime's conditioning towards getting information visually -- only careful practice will do that.
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