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Old 03-11-2017, 11:02 PM   #26
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Injuries in aikido

I've been hanging back on this one to see what other people have to say and wait for a bit more information to come out. In terms of responsibility, I'd say it is 1/3 uke, 1/3 nage, and 1/3 the teacher's responsibility. I think the teacher really needs to make sure that students are able to do the ukemi required for the sort of training undertaken in that class and to make an effort to bring the ukemi of all students up to scratch. As an example, I once trained at a dojo that had a reputation for being a bit rough. They did locks and throws hard, and often required students to do high breakfalls, including hip throws. In the four years I was there, there were no major injuries. There was another dojo in the vicinity that was known for being gentle and less demanding. During the same period there were 3 catastrophic breaks or dislocations at that dojo. I have trained in my current dojo for about 5 years. In that time, major injuries have been 1 poked eye (healed in a few days), 2 dislocated toes (one caught between mats and one caught in an unfortunate breakfall from a hip throw. I don't think it was a dangerous throw. I was the nage), and a broken ankle (caused by stepping backwards and rolling it during warm ups. I would count all of those injuries as fairly unavoidable. As for the rate of attrition you mentioned, it is clearly too high and something's not right there.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:52 AM   #27
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
Thank you Peter. I would be very interested in any insights you could offer. I am an English only speaking student on the opposite side of the world who was born after O Sensei died. I have been to Japan only once. I have no indepth understanding.
Hello John,

I have no problem at all with your translation of the 'rule', but I think that it is one of six and that all six should be taken together. In Aikido, Kisshomaru expands on each one, but in another book, he elaborates on their provenance. The book is more recent and I have only the Japanese edition, called 『規範合気道』. To find the English, you need to look at the first volume of the translation, entitled, Best Aikido.

Training resumed after the war and numbers entering the dojo increased, so some pupils in the instructors' class [幹部クラス] asked Morihei Ueshiba whether there should not be any rules. After a comment, "そのような時代になったのう", there and then he gave what Kisshomaru states as "次ぎのような簡単な「合気道練習上の心得」なるものをしたためた。He answered off the top of his head and did not include all the possible eventualities.

Of my own injuries, two were the result of training in a crowded dojo, where students had not been taught to be able to visualize with any precision where on the mat their ukes would land. In the same dojo some students would assume that everyone else in the vicinity should simply get out of the way when they were about to throw someone. The other two were caused by the shihans themselves.

After a long interval I have almost ready to send to Jun Column 28, which discusses some of the issues raised by Kisshomaru, above.

Best wishes,

PAG

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 03-12-2017 at 01:01 AM.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 03-12-2017, 07:28 AM   #28
Currawong
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Returning to Aikido a few years ago, I ended up with a cracked rib on one side, then, after that had healed, cracking the same rib on the other side. Much of that was probably the result of my over-enthusiasm, combined with that of people I trained with. Most other injuries I've suffered that were more than the odd scratch seemed to affect fingers and toes, though I did, many years ago, break my nose throwing my partner while leaning over too far, for his foot to hit me in the face...

I recall a description of being thrown by O'Sensei in one of the many interviews now available online saying something along the lines of that it was incredibly scary to him him, but during the throw one felt that one was protected the whole time.

With that in mind, something I have observed, having taken an interest in IP/Aiki/whatever is how much different the techniques become once you learn to do techniques on a person as a whole, through their center instead of just attempting to manipulate their joints. One of the major factors of that is that it feels much less dangerous on both sides.

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Old 03-12-2017, 12:31 PM   #29
Walter Martindale
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post

(snip)

I'll have to look up Kawahara-sensei now.
There's quite a bit of video if you google Kawahara Yukio Aikido, including something from 1976 black and white, and several videos of later instruction through the 80s and 90s. Pity the video quality of the day wasn't up to very high standards. If you look up the memorial video by Pat Olson sensei, you'll see a bunch of photos from the 2003 trip to Japan that rugwithlegs and I were fortunate enough to participate in.
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Old 03-12-2017, 02:25 PM   #30
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Just to expand on that - in a training environment where one partner effectively lends his body to the other it is the responsibility of the borrower to understand the level of his partner and not cause damage. .
Exactly,

Except in an hypothetical case of "suicide by nage", putting responsability of the injury caused by application of waza in kata training on uke is textbook victim blaming.
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Old 03-13-2017, 03:38 PM   #31
rugwithlegs
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello John,

I have no problem at all with your translation of the 'rule', but I think that it is one of six and that all six should be taken together. In Aikido, Kisshomaru expands on each one, but in another book, he elaborates on their provenance. The book is more recent and I have only the Japanese edition, called 『規範合気道』. To find the English, you need to look at the first volume of the translation, entitled, Best Aikido.

Training resumed after the war and numbers entering the dojo increased, so some pupils in the instructors' class [幹部クラス] asked Morihei Ueshiba whether there should not be any rules. After a comment, "そのような時代になったのう", there and then he gave what Kisshomaru states as "次ぎのような簡単な「合気道練習上の心得」なるものをしたためた。He answered off the top of his head and did not include all the possible eventualities.

Of my own injuries, two were the result of training in a crowded dojo, where students had not been taught to be able to visualize with any precision where on the mat their ukes would land. In the same dojo some students would assume that everyone else in the vicinity should simply get out of the way when they were about to throw someone. The other two were caused by the shihans themselves.

After a long interval I have almost ready to send to Jun Column 28, which discusses some of the issues raised by Kisshomaru, above.

Best wishes,

PAG
Thanks Peter. I agree wholeheartedly. The six rules together probably make up the best definition of what O Sensei wanted Aikido to be. I'll be on the look out for your next column.
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Old 03-13-2017, 04:16 PM   #32
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
Thanks Peter. I agree wholeheartedly. The six rules together probably make up the best definition of what O Sensei wanted Aikido to be. I'll be on the look out for your next column.
Hello John,

The six rules probably made the most sense to the deshi at the Hombu Dojo (It is ironic that two of these deshi were the ones who gave me my two permanent non-knee injuries.)

However, Morihei Ueshiba made many discourses on what he wanted aikido to be, which left the issue of injuries or no injuries far behind. I mean the Takemusu Aiki material, of which the best translations so far are the five installments made by Stan Pranin in Aikido Journal and the French translation that is slowly appearing.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 03-13-2017, 07:34 PM   #33
"Kei Thrace"
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
In terms of responsibility, I'd say it is 1/3 uke, 1/3 nage, and 1/3 the teacher's responsibility. I think the teacher really needs to make sure that students are able to do the ukemi required for the sort of training undertaken in that class and to make an effort to bring the ukemi of all students up to scratch.
Do you mean individual teachers, or the teaching philosophy as exemplified by the dojo leadership? Because I don't think those are the same thing at this dojo. I daresay there's a fair bit of attention paid to ukemi at my (now former) dojo. In a typical class, warm-ups are followed by 5-10 minutes of rolls (forward, backward, barrel) in unison. This is separate from the ukemi shown for each technique. And then once a week there's a class unofficially focused on ukemi.

So I think it's not simply a lack of ukemi training, but perhaps a failure to emphasize nage's responsibility for a safe landing, and failure to enforce this type of care. Or I guess another way of saying it is that being sensitive to your partner's ability level is not something that's consistently emphasized at this place. If causing injury is treated as a non-event, then people will keep muscling thru techniques and throwing their ukes without concern for damage. And furthermore, some people have been promoted beyond their ability to take safe ukemi (3rd kyu who can't take a forward roll consistently on the left), so they are a danger to themselves and others. Lots of safety issues, all around.

As for the incident that spawned my original query (-ies): I would say up to the time I got injured, I was doing fine for my level. Ukemi (including breakfall variation) for koshi nage and mae kaiten ukemi without putting hands down are are among the skills required for 2nd kyu and up. I'm familiar with the idea of looking out for oneself - say, taking an extra hop before a forward roll, or tugging on nage's hand to gain a little extra rotation. As a smaller uke I've had to figure out ways to scrub some energy off a throw if I think my partner's thrown me too hard, or how to hang on when paired with someone who tends to drop me instead of throwing me with useful energy. I don't say I'm an expert at self-preservation, but I'm learning. - Even then, even if I take, say, a textbook breakfall, there are still times when a throw rattles my brains, because I just don't have the mass to redistribute all that energy as well as someone who outweighs me by 80-100 lbs, or who is taller/thicker/wider.

And even with constant work on ukemi, I do think there are a few techniques where there's a split-second where you put yourself completely in nage's control - such as some versions of koshi, where uke is no longer touching the ground and uke may not have hands free to break their fall. This was one of those instances. It wasn't koshi, but basically I was flying blind and nage dropped me on my head, where there wasn't enough air time for me to complete my rotation. If I had been suspicious of my nage - if this had been a street fight, I guess - I would have held on for dear life, and probably pulled us both down with him on top of me. But I wouldn't have landed on my head. Instead I relaxed and curved into the roll that I thought was coming. But the ground (that I couldn't see, because I was curled against nage) was six inches too close.

(I should note also that this was during a test and it was an unusual technique. Nage said to me, as we bowed in, "I don't know what to do with this one." So he wasn't performing a kihon throw, because he didn't recognize the waza, and I didn't know what, if any, kihon ukemi existed.)

I never thought someone - much less an instructor and high-ranked black belt - at my dojo, which was like my second home, would be so careless as to toss me without looking. I didn't think I was walking into a great unknown. Up until then I thought everyone I trained with was a friend on the mats. Now I know better. Clearly there are bad drivers on every road.

Quote:
There was another dojo in the vicinity that was known for being gentle and less demanding. During the same period there were 3 catastrophic breaks or dislocations at that dojo. I have trained in my current dojo for about 5 years. In that time, major injuries have been 1 poked eye (healed in a few days), 2 dislocated toes (one caught between mats and one caught in an unfortunate breakfall from a hip throw. I don't think it was a dangerous throw. I was the nage), and a broken ankle (caused by stepping backwards and rolling it during warm ups. I would count all of those injuries as fairly unavoidable. As for the rate of attrition you mentioned, it is clearly too high and something's not right there.
The other concussion (besides mine) in the past 12 months was during class - I'm pretty sure it was out of koshi, and I believe it was one of the instructors who threw a 6th kyu badly. There was a broken collarbone that happened to a 6th kyu, taking ukemi from a 4th kyu out of an advanced back-to-back koshi variation, in a class taught by a newly-minted shodan. There were two poked eyes/cuts near the eye (which I didn't include in my list of major injuries since they didn't interrupt training), both of which were caused by the same black belt who dropped me on my head. I don't recall any mention of any of these - arguably avoidable - injuries being raised either with the teaching staff or with the student body in general, as part of a reemphasizing of safety. One would think a concussion and a broken collarbone within 8 weeks of each other would warrant some gentle cautioning, at least. I'm not surprised they have retention issues.
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:56 PM   #34
"Kei Thrace"
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I have no problem at all with your translation of the 'rule', but I think that it is one of six and that all six should be taken together.

[...]

Of my own injuries, two were the result of training in a crowded dojo, where students had not been taught to be able to visualize with any precision where on the mat their ukes would land. In the same dojo some students would assume that everyone else in the vicinity should simply get out of the way when they were about to throw someone. The other two were caused by the shihans themselves.

After a long interval I have almost ready to send to Jun Column 28, which discusses some of the issues raised by Kisshomaru, above.
I see I have more reading to do - I knew of the four principles but am not as familiar with the six rules. (Encountered them in passing but don't hear them invoked very often, if at all.) I certainly feel they could have enhanced practice at my old dojo.

I sometimes wonder if there are some best practices that result in safer training. Not to water down the art, but to make it more inclusive. I like the work that Ikazuchi dojo has been doing to track injuries. (http://ikazuchi.com/2016/03/16/dojo-...king-injuries/) As the saying goes - "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it!"

I look forward to reading your new column!
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Old 03-13-2017, 10:22 PM   #35
"Kei Thrace"
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Do symbol Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
Amos Barnett wrote: View Post
Much of that was probably the result of my over-enthusiasm, combined with that of people I trained with.
I probably have the opposite problem, an excess of caution. I came to aikido late, after grad school and kids, and without an athletic background to speak of.

Quote:
Amos Barnett wrote: View Post
though I did, many years ago, break my nose throwing my partner while leaning over too far, for his foot to hit me in the face...
I did notice that with one long-limbed partner, there was a move where if he knelt on one knee instead of doing a lunge/pliť, I would end up hitting my back or head on his knee. I think it was a variation of shiho nage? Or irimi, I can't recall just now. Luckily we were not going fast, so we figured out how to correct for it subsequently. And another time a (different) partner caught his foot in my hakama and then when it came loose, he hit himself in the face with his knee. These incidents seem more like typical "dings" that happen in practice, not carelessness - as well as justification for practice at a deliberate pace.

Quote:
Amos Barnett wrote: View Post
I recall a description of being thrown by O'Sensei in one of the many interviews now available online saying something along the lines of that it was incredibly scary to [sic - be thrown by?] him, but during the throw one felt that one was protected the whole time.
This makes sense to me. With a couple of my regular training partners, we go quite fast and furious, but we are very good at reading each other and adjusting if things go pear-shaped in the middle of the technique. So I feel very protected. - At the same time, they are very good at placing their partner exactly where they want them to go - it is not just energy but very directed energy, and with an awareness of what plan B might be if the initial path is blocked or dangerous (for uke). So if we can practice renzuku waza for nage's benefit, why not renzuku waza for uke's benefit? (Or I guess if we are practicing towards the ideal, we are always supposed to be harmonizing anyway...)

(As I wrote that - it reminded me of an anecdote I read in Aikido Journal (rest in peace, Pranin-sensei):

Quote:
[Saito-]Sensei was teaching a class at Aikido of San Francisco and was demonstrating a kokyunage technique, if I remember correctly. His uke was David Alexander. Sensei threw David horizontally but misjudged the amount of space he had free. Right in the middle of the throw when it had become apparent that David would crash into the people who had crowded in close to better observe, Sensei stuck out his left arm and caught David in mid-air thus preventing a collision.
Quote:
Amos Barnett wrote: View Post
With that in mind, something I have observed, having taken an interest in IP/Aiki/whatever is how much different the techniques become once you learn to do techniques on a person as a whole, through their center instead of just attempting to manipulate their joints. One of the major factors of that is that it feels much less dangerous on both sides.
I have only begun to get glimpses at this, and look forward to exploring more of this aspect of the art. I wonder if having instructors who can demonstrate the effectiveness of IP with hands-on transmission, makes a difference in the goals and practice of their students - i.e., inspiring students to use less power, more sensitivity.
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Old 03-13-2017, 10:33 PM   #36
"Kei Thrace"
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Thank you, that's very helpful! I will definitely look those up. Looks like bad weather might keep me indoors, so I might get some time to do so very soon!!

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
There's quite a bit of video if you google Kawahara Yukio Aikido, including something from 1976 black and white, and several videos of later instruction through the 80s and 90s. Pity the video quality of the day wasn't up to very high standards. If you look up the memorial video by Pat Olson sensei, you'll see a bunch of photos from the 2003 trip to Japan that rugwithlegs and I were fortunate enough to participate in.
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Old 03-14-2017, 02:45 AM   #37
Currawong
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I wonder if having instructors who can demonstrate the effectiveness of IP with hands-on transmission, makes a difference in the goals and practice of their students - i.e., inspiring students to use less power, more sensitivity.
In the case of my teacher, it's definitely the case if regularly thrown by him, even if you have no concept of IP. I've observed this with a few of the senior students here who are both intelligent and sensitive. It also goes alongside a particular attitude fostered by the teacher, expressed in his care for the students in general.

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Old 03-14-2017, 10:18 AM   #38
"Kei Thrace"
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Re: Injuries in aikido

(I *think* I hit "send" on this already, but the reply window is still open - so, apologies if this is a double post!)

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
In terms of responsibility, I'd say it is 1/3 uke, 1/3 nage, and 1/3 the teacher's responsibility. I think the teacher really needs to make sure that students are able to do the ukemi required for the sort of training undertaken in that class and to make an effort to bring the ukemi of all students up to scratch.
Do you mean individual teachers, or the teaching philosophy as exemplified by the dojo leadership? Because I don't think those are the same thing at this dojo. I daresay there's a fair bit of attention paid to ukemi at my (now former) dojo. In a typical class, warm-ups are followed by 5-10 minutes of rolls (forward, backward, barrel) in unison. This is separate from the ukemi shown for each technique. And then once a week there's a class unofficially focused on ukemi.

In spite of this they still have (to my mind) a high injury rate. So I think it's not simply a lack of ukemi training, but perhaps a failure to emphasize nage's responsibility for a safe landing, and failure to enforce this type of care. Or I guess another way of saying it is that being sensitive to your partner's ability level is not something that's consistently emphasized at this place. If causing injury is treated as a non-event, then people will keep muscling thru techniques and throwing their ukes without concern for damage. And furthermore, some people have been promoted beyond their ability to take safe ukemi (3rd kyu who can't take a forward roll or breakfall consistently), so they are a danger to themselves and others. Lots of safety issues, all around.

As for the incident that spawned my original query (-ies): I would say up to the time I got injured, I was doing fine for my level. Ukemi (including breakfall variation) for koshi nage and mae kaiten ukemi without putting hands down are are among the skills required for 2nd kyu and up. I'm familiar with the idea of looking out for oneself - say, taking an extra hop before a forward roll, or tugging on nage's hand to gain a little extra rotation. As a smaller uke I've had to figure out ways to scrub some energy off a throw if I think my partner's thrown me too hard, or how to hang on when paired with someone who tends to drop me instead of throwing me with useful energy. I don't say I'm an expert at self-preservation, but I'm learning. - Even then, even if I take, say, a textbook breakfall, there are still times when a throw rattles my brains, because I just don't have the mass to redistribute all that energy as well as someone who outweighs me by 80-100 lbs, or who is taller/thicker/wider.

And even with constant work on ukemi, I do think there are a few techniques where there's a split-second where you put yourself completely in nage's control - such as some versions of koshi, where uke is no longer touching the ground and uke may not have hands free to break their fall. This was one of those instances. It wasn't koshi, but basically I was flying blind and nage dropped me on my head, where there wasn't enough air time for me to complete my rotation. If I had been suspicious of my nage - if this had been a street fight, I guess - I would have held on for dear life, and probably pulled us both down with him on top of me. But I wouldn't have landed on my head. Instead I relaxed and curved into the roll that I thought was coming. But the ground (that I couldn't see, because I was curled against nage) was six inches too close.

(I should note also that this was during a test and it was an unusual technique. Nage said to me, as we bowed in, "I don't know what to do with this one." So he wasn't performing a kihon throw, because he didn't recognize the waza, and I didn't know what, if any, kihon ukemi existed.)

I never thought someone - much less an instructor and high-ranked black belt - at my dojo, which was like my second home, would be so careless as to toss me without looking. I didn't think I was walking into a great unknown. Up until then I thought everyone I trained with was a friend on the mats. Now I know better. Clearly there are bad drivers on every road.

Quote:
There was another dojo in the vicinity that was known for being gentle and less demanding. During the same period there were 3 catastrophic breaks or dislocations at that dojo. I have trained in my current dojo for about 5 years. In that time, major injuries have been 1 poked eye (healed in a few days), 2 dislocated toes (one caught between mats and one caught in an unfortunate breakfall from a hip throw. I don't think it was a dangerous throw. I was the nage), and a broken ankle (caused by stepping backwards and rolling it during warm ups. I would count all of those injuries as fairly unavoidable.
The other concussion (besides mine) in the past 12 months was during class - I'm pretty sure it was out of koshi, and I believe it was one of the instructors who threw a 6th kyu badly. There was a broken collarbone that happened to a 6th kyu, taking ukemi from a 4th kyu out of an advanced back-to-back koshi variation, in a class taught by a newly-minted shodan. There were two poked eyes/cuts near the eye (which I didn't include in my list of major injuries since they didn't interrupt training), both of which were caused by the same black belt who dropped me on my head. I don't recall any mention of any of these - arguably avoidable - injuries being raised either with the teaching staff or with the student body in general, as part of a reemphasizing of safety. One would think a concussion and a broken collarbone within 8 weeks of each other would warrant some gentle cautioning, at least. I'm not surprised they have retention issues.

(I should say - there are good (= thoughtful/careful) instructors and students at this dojo, or I wouldn't have gotten as far as I did. But ultimately they didn't outweigh the risk I felt when practicing there, once I realized that the dojo doesn't value student safety.)
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Old 03-14-2017, 10:31 AM   #39
"Kei Thrace"
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Exactly,

Except in an hypothetical case of "suicide by nage", putting responsibility of the injury caused by application of waza in kata training on uke is textbook victim blaming.
Yes, in retrospect, there are a lot of red flags at this place, which look a lot like classic manipulation. (The issues also seem to predate my membership so I'm not thinking it's anything personal.) I've been going to a lot of seminars and classes at other dojos (and asking questions here), to see if my initial experience was typical or not. I'm happy to say there seem to be other, more wholesome places to practice. Going to try to be less naive about practice from here on out, but there does seem to be a place for me still in aikido, if not at my original dojo.
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Old 03-14-2017, 09:02 PM   #40
"Kei Thrace"
IP Hash: 2304f9b4
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Re: Injuries in aikido

That's really good to hear. I like to think that where an individual teacher can inspire many students who are sensitive, it's even better if the head of the organization (so, the head teacher) sets the tone for a standard of care. Then there's half a chance that even the less, er, thoughtful students may toe the line and maintain a collaborative practice. My hope, anyway.

Quote:
Amos Barnett wrote: View Post
In the case of my teacher, it's definitely the case if regularly thrown by him, even if you have no concept of IP. I've observed this with a few of the senior students here who are both intelligent and sensitive. It also goes alongside a particular attitude fostered by the teacher, expressed in his care for the students in general.
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Old 03-18-2017, 08:04 AM   #41
rugwithlegs
Dojo: Open Sky Aikikai
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I see I have more reading to do - I knew of the four principles but am not as familiar with the six rules. (Encountered them in passing but don't hear them invoked very often, if at all.) I certainly feel they could have enhanced practice at my old dojo.

I sometimes wonder if there are some best practices that result in safer training. Not to water down the art, but to make it more inclusive. I like the work that Ikazuchi dojo has been doing to track injuries. (http://ikazuchi.com/2016/03/16/dojo-...king-injuries/) As the saying goes - "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it!"

I look forward to reading your new column!
I agree with Peter about the six rules. I teach awareness in every direction (Rule #2) and always gauging Ma-Ai as martial practice but absolutely of course it is safe practice. The rules are worthy reading and under emphasized, but be forewarned - different time periods seem to have different wording and the rules have changed somewhat over time. Rule #6 in Budo seems to originally refer to not teaching non-Japanese - that book was written before WWII and now the rules talk about teaching good people and not abusing Aikido.

While the thread is about overly aggressive practice you've touched on a wider topic. I try to remain respectful to how I was taught; I was taught to do lengthy seiza sessions and lots of suwari waza that my knees and toes no longer thank me for. Not every injury was at the hands of an overly aggressive partner, some were very much more "straw that broke the camel's back" variety. I am thinking more about how and what I teach these days. The nine separate suwari waza forms I learned for my gokyu test are no longer the requirements used in that association.
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:15 PM   #42
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Injuries in aikido

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John Hillson wrote: View Post
I agree with Peter about the six rules. I teach awareness in every direction (Rule #2) and always gauging Ma-Ai as martial practice but absolutely of course it is safe practice. The rules are worthy reading and under emphasized, but be forewarned - different time periods seem to have different wording and the rules have changed somewhat over time. Rule #6 in Budo seems to originally refer to not teaching non-Japanese - that book was written before WWII and now the rules talk about teaching good people and not abusing Aikido.
Hello John,

Since I have spent a number of years learning Japanese, I am sometimes wary of basing judgments on translated texts without looking at the original—and I do this not only with texts relating to aikido. Your comment about the rules in Budo sent me back to the Japanese text of this 1938 book and I was able to see the original text and compare it with the translation in Budo by John Stevens, published in 1991.

For the benefit of the Aikiweb ‘Japanese Academy,' here is the original 1938 Japanese Budo text. I have used hyphens and slash ( / ) marks to split the texts into three sections.

六、本武術ハ大和魂ヲ鍛練シ誠ノ日本人ヲ作ルヲ目的トシ --/-- 業ハ委ク秘傳ナルヲ以テ従ニ 他人ニ公開シテ流儀ノ秘法を暴露シ --/-- 或ハ市井無頼ノ徒ノ悪用ヲ避クベシ。

"6. Training in bujutsu is to foster yamato-damashii and to build one's character. The techniques are transmitted from person to person, on an individual basis, and should not be disclosed indiscriminately to the public. Such secret techniques should not be misused for evil purposes."

Stevens duly appends two footnotes to his text.
"Yamato-damashii: the spirit of ancient Japan. Nowadays best interpreted as the manifestation of all that is good and true in human nature. …
‘Indiscriminately to the public,' The text literally says: ‘… create sincere Japanese people … and do not show these techniques to others.'"

As you know, Stanley Pranin published a translation of the Budo manual in 1999. He did not include the rules, but did write an introduction, explaining the provenance of the book. I suspect that Stan did not exactly endear himself to the Aikikai, for his introduction presents Stan's ideas on the real reason why the book (plus rules) was written and any such explanation was omitted from the Stevens edition. In 1938, the number of students at the Kobukan dojo was decreasing and, since they were called up to serve in the Japanese army, which was fighting in China and Southeast Asia. Morihei Ueshiba was "instructing at such military institutions as the Nakano Spy School, the Toyama Military School, the Naval Academy, the Naval War College, the Army Secret Police School, the Naval Machinist and Fireman School, the Army University, and other military institutions" (Pranin, Budo, p. 21.) Stan believes that the manual, plus rules, was written at the request of Prince Kaya, a superintendent of the Toyama Military School in 1942. Kaya was one of Ueshiba's students.

You state that "Rule #6 in Budo seems to originally refer to not teaching non-Japanese." However, the point here is that the waza expounded in the Budo volume are very likely to have been used by Morihei Ueshiba in his classes at these military schools and it seems to me that the teaching of such waza to non-Japanese would never have entered Ueshiba's mind. Nor would he have been unduly concerned about not causing injury. The manual was to be used by instructors in the Japanese military, who had been fighting in China since 1931, when the Kobukan opened.

There is another version of the rules, which appears in Kisshomaru Ueshiba's Aikido. The copy I have of this book was published in 1973 (I actually bought it in a bookstore in Harvard Square, Cambridge, during my student days.) Kisshomaru's version is actually a translation of an earlier book in Japanese, entitled 『合気道』, published in 1958, and both the rules and supplementary explanations appear on pp. 163-167.

六、合気道は心身を鍛練し至誠の人を作るを目的とし、--/-- 又技はこ悉く秘伝なるを以て徒に他人に公開し --/-- 或は市井無頼の徒の悪用を避くべし。

"6) The purpose of Aikido is to train both body and mind and to make a man sincere. All Aikido arts are secret in nature and are not to be revealed publicly, nor taught to rogues who will use them for evil purposes."

Kisshomaru adds the following explanation (which also appears in Japanese):

"Lastly, the aim of Aikido is not merely to produce a strong man, but to create an integrated person. Any educated person knows how brute strength is meaningless in the present day of advanced civilization. For this reason the Master forbade Aikido to be misused and severely cautioned everyone. He would not permit the publication of his art techniques and required introductions and guarantees for each student." (Aikido, pp. 175-176.)

The text I cited in an earlier post was taken from the book published in Heisei 9 (1997) by the present Doshu. (Kisshomaru Ueshiba's name also appears on the cover, but the bulk of the work was done by Moriteru Ueshiba.) The 1997 text also prints the following version of the rules, but without the supplementary explanations given by Kisshomaru in the 1958 volume.

六、合気道は心身を鍛練し至誠の人を作るを目的とし、--/-- また技はことごとく秘伝なるを以て徒に他人に公開し --/-- 或は市井無頼の徒の悪用を避くべし。

As you can see, the writing has been simplified and modernized over the years, but the prewar text and the two postwar texts are different in other respects, also.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 03-19-2017 at 07:26 PM.

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Old 03-20-2017, 02:38 AM   #43
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Hello Peter,
I hope you are well. I would like to ask you about "rule 1". This has always struck me as strange since most aikido folk couldn't deliver a lethal blow, never having trained that way. What is your understanding of this based upon your translation?
This is akin to the (for me) unsourceable "atemi is 70% of aikido in a real encounter". I increasingly train on this basis but not by grafting on inappropriate strikes from other arts but by examining the natural flow within every technique. Probably a little thread hijack, apologies

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Old 03-20-2017, 04:50 AM   #44
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Re: Injuries in aikido

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Alec Corper wrote: View Post
Hello Peter,
I hope you are well. I would like to ask you about "rule 1". This has always struck me as strange since most aikido folk couldn't deliver a lethal blow, never having trained that way. What is your understanding of this based upon your translation?
This is akin to the (for me) unsourceable "atemi is 70% of aikido in a real encounter". I increasingly train on this basis but not by grafting on inappropriate strikes from other arts but by examining the natural flow within every technique. Probably a little thread hijack, apologies
Hello Alec,

Many thanks for the mail. Actually, I have go into hospital later this week and for this reason I did not come to your part of the world earlier this month. I have a heart problem and I have been told that it needs attention.

I think I remember reading somewhere in the Saito volumes that atemi is 70% (always plus or minus) in a 'real' encounter. When I come out of hospital, I will do the same for Rule 1 that I did for Rule 6 and look at how Kisshomaru adapted it to postwar conditions. It probably needs a new thread, which I will start.

Best wishes, and I hope you are well.

PAG

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Old 03-20-2017, 04:56 AM   #45
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Peter, I am sorry to hear that. I wish you all strength, keep me (us) posted, if of course you want to.
I look forward to hearing good news. We are, none of us, getting any younger, a little more tired and a little less quick , but a whole lot smarter neh?
Gambatte!

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Old 03-20-2017, 07:44 PM   #46
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Peter, just now coming back to this thread after a busy weekend. I just wanted to take a moment to wish you a smooth and uneventful hospital visit. Sending best wishes from afar for a rejuvenated ticker!

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Alec,

Many thanks for the mail. Actually, I have go into hospital later this week and for this reason I did not come to your part of the world earlier this month. I have a heart problem and I have been told that it needs attention.

I think I remember reading somewhere in the Saito volumes that atemi is 70% (always plus or minus) in a 'real' encounter. When I come out of hospital, I will do the same for Rule 1 that I did for Rule 6 and look at how Kisshomaru adapted it to postwar conditions. It probably needs a new thread, which I will start.

Best wishes, and I hope you are well.

PAG
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:47 PM   #47
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Peter, sorry to hear about your difficulties. I am hoping for a speedy recovery for you.

Thank you for your insights - without any scholarship or Japanese language skills, I have been left with the language as presented. I know that leaves my understanding wanting. The first time I read Budo, I was surprised by the Rules. Your generosity with your insights is a gift to us all.

Alec, with the caveate that I do not know Japanese nor did I meet the principle players, I believe Shioda said the 70% atemi. I have come to assume that the 99% atemi might have been a Tomiki era reference - the atemi-waza five techniques and variations are the foundation of many techniques. Shioda called a few of the atemi waza shomen and sokumen iriminage instead of atemi waza, and maybe that was the reason for a different percentage. Later, Saito referred to kokyunage being the most prevalent technique in Aikido, but the gross motor movements in his book on kokyunage are actually the same as the atemi waza of Tomiki. I never met these three men, they all use different words, but I am not certain they are actually saying different things.

Atemi does not seem to be defined in a karate/boxing strike sense. Tomiki referred to them as techniques to control and topple opponents, and Shioda referred to atemi done with shoulders or whatever point of contact he had. The books are not right in front of me.

Again, translations of exerts of speeches from people I never met.
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Old 03-22-2017, 08:34 AM   #48
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Re: Injuries in aikido

Re the original post and subject (though the development regarding rules and texts is interesting, alas, I have only studied Aikido and its history in a very limited capacity and cannot contribute).

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.

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 could be more hesitant or slow perhaps before resuming but I had assumed she knew to face the other way. So I recognized that while the fault didn't lie with me, I still felt concern because I care about the safety of those I train with. I have had both kinds of partners and the "fault" can lie with either one of the partners. I have pulled my own meniscus from bad form while training and just yesterday jammed my toe hard when I did not correctly receive ukemi during a demo from my sensei. He did not apologize, though I think was aware of my pain and swapped uke straight away, I did not expect him to apologize either - it was not his fault after all.

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 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.

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Old 03-22-2017, 11:16 AM   #49
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Re: Injuries in aikido

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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 could be more hesitant or slow perhaps before resuming but I had assumed she knew to face the other way. So I recognized that while the fault didn't lie with me, I still felt concern because I care about the safety of those I train with.
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.
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Old 03-22-2017, 11:47 AM   #50
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Re: Injuries in aikido

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".

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