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Old 01-24-2007, 03:48 PM   #1
Peter Savill
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 9
Yoshinkan and knees

I am currently not able to train due to a tendon injury to my right knee and have been training in yoshinkan aikido for almost 6mths. Some 10yrs ago I trained in another style of aikido for 9mths with no knee problems.

I am now trying to look at what I have been doing with my knees to trigger the current problem and have been discussing some biomechanical principles with a physiotherapist. I have looked at the kihon dosa and wondered if repeated practice has caused my injury. It may of course be that my knees are just 10yrs older but I do have an underlying tendency to patella tendonitis which did not surface during previous aikido practice but has with yoshinkan. I am loathe to abandon this style as it is what I have been looking for in aikido and I am very happy with the dojo set-up and quality of teaching.

I have looked at some of the excellent old threads on knee injuries and find the quality of postings on aikiweb in general to be excellent and am therefore hopeful that you can share some thoughts on whether or not yoshinkan places more stress on the knees than other styles of aikido and if so what [if anything] can be done to minimise this?

Best wishes
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Old 01-24-2007, 04:03 PM   #2
Steven's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Yoshinkan Sacramento - Seikeikan Dojo
Location: Orangevale, CA
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 643
Re: Yoshinkan and knees

Been practicing Yoshinkan Aikido going on 25 years. Only knee issues I have were caused by a snow skiiing wipe out some 15 or more years ago. I would suggest, if you haven't already, discussing this with your instructor or sempai to ensure you are not doing something incorrect, like the front foot turned out too much and your knees pointing out, etc.
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Old 01-25-2007, 12:44 PM   #3
Dojo: Aikido of Madison
Location: Marshall, WI
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 16
Re: Yoshinkan and knees

I think aikido is very bad on the knees in general. Getting up off the mat all the time, seiza, suwariwaza all take their toll.

My knees bother me. when I get up from the mat I think about which leg to get up on. I get up on one leg then switch back and forth during the class.

I also think if you can roll out of a technique, you should. I think going down on the mat, stopping and then getting up is harder than getting thrown and rolling right back out of it.

Also, if we are watching sensei do a technique or explaining something, I will sit indian style rather than seiza.
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Old 01-25-2007, 02:01 PM   #4
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 788
Re: Yoshinkan and knees

Steven Miranda wrote:
...doing something incorrect, like the front foot turned out too much and your knees pointing out, etc.
I am not familiar with the Yoshinkan basic exercises, but this caught my attention. Your foot should always be in the same line/plane with your femur when you are bending your knee and putting weight into your foot. I have seen people turning the foot way out or in in relation to the line of their upper leg then cranking their weight into it as some kind of supposed warm-up/stretching exercise and it makes me cringe. Just because you can twist, pull, or stretch your body into a position doesn't mean you should. Ankle flexibility isn't necessarily a good thing.

Given the amount of months training mentioned, the problem could also be simple overtraining. It usually takes a few months to build up to tendonitis and other white tissue problems. If you were not particularly athletic beforehand, you may have just added too much stress too fast. A general training increase rule is "the 10% rule" - don't increase loads more than 10% per week. This would be difficult to apply to Aikido, but if you went from nothing to training 3 or more times per week, you probably violated it.

Another possible issue is that your leg might not be stable and strong enough to do all that you are asking of it, whether it is aligned properly or not. If this is the case, you may need to lay off or stop Aikido for a few months and focus on strengthening exercises - particularly squats and lunges, without any added weight at first... remember the 10% rule. Transitioning into something like this should be part of your rehab anyway.
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Old 01-25-2007, 02:08 PM   #5
Janet Rosen
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,339
Re: Yoshinkan and knees

couple thoughts
1. as suggested already, it may be that your own translation of what you see is creating unecessary stress on your knees and that having your instructor or a senior student watch specifically for hip/knee/foot alignment while you move will reveal correctable body mechanics problems.
2. it may be that you have a structural defect that is correctable via some non-aikido combo of stretching and strengthening (such as trigger points in quads or psoas interfering w/ good use of knees, or imbalance between inner and outer quads causing patella to track laterally) - worth having a sports medicine PT, trigger point therapist or someone else trained to see these things look at

Janet Rosen
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:51 PM   #6
Peter Savill
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 9
Re: Yoshinkan and knees

Thank you all for thoughtful replies.

I am currently following a stretching programme for quads/hamstrings and hip flexors as well as increasing endurance [cycling] and plan to start quads strengthening soon with particular emphasis on medialis component to prevent lateral patella tracking. The ultrasound is also providing some benefit. I guess I am now developing aprehension about returning to training in case I trigger it again [assuming it does eventually settle!] but hopefully the rehab will help and I will get sensei to check my posture carefully when I get back!!

Best wishes

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Old 01-25-2007, 10:28 PM   #7
swchiro's Avatar
Location: Orange County CA
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 10
Re: Yoshinkan and knees

Erick, I understand. I have been training 15 years Aikido.... You are so right on why this happens to our knees, and I don't care how old that person is....sitting on our knees, fighting on our knees, getting thrown on our knees take its toll, period. Everything in moderation, if it hurts, don't do it or just back off a little bit, don't be a hero....good response, keep up the careful training...Steve W., Chiropractor 23 years!
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Old 01-25-2007, 11:51 PM   #8
Tinyboy344's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 114
Re: Yoshinkan and knees

Yoshikan backward rolling hurt my lower back... I guess it's because I'm not used to it? The legs felt weird but I found it a lil' easier to stand straight up. (Currently training Aikikai, did Yoshikan a couple times just to feel the differences)
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