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Old 08-24-2006, 08:57 AM   #26
Carol Shifflett
Location: PA
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Re: Bad knees

Quote:
Juan De La Cruz wrote:
Do we have any information/study on aikido practitioners and the ailments they suffer from the practice of the art?
Besides sore knees, broken toes, head injuries, neck and back injuries, strained finger extensors, and separated shoulders? My all-time favorite is neck-a-nage and strain to the scalene muscles of the neck. See the #3 pain pattern at: http://round-earth.com/HeadPainIntro.html. But we're talking knees here. Back to Janet who did an excellent survey on knee injuries. Yo! Janet!

Suwari-waza is terrific training but terrible for knees. Knees are not feet. Bad things happen when we confuse the two. In the 90's an archaeologist studied the bones of monks who, according to their journals, had spent hours knee-walking across stone floors and up and down stairs to the chapel. In general, their bones were remarkably robust and healthy. Knee cartilage, however, was completely gone and kneecaps were worn smooth -- on the INSIDE. That is something that no amount of outside padding or knee bracing is going to fix, and the heftier you are, the greater and faster the potential damage. The best defense I can see (besides not doing it at all!) is to do everything possible to reduce drag. No you don't want to feel the kneecap twisting on the turn. Teflon knee-guards anyone?

Elastic knee braces are great for keeping the knee warm, and possibly for maintaining knee cap tracking. They give a nice (albeit deceiving) feeling of security. They can't "stabilize" the knee joint itself. Don't trust them to do so in place of putting in the required 6-8 weeks of soft-tissue healing time, or try to bypass that time by buying a tighter firmer "more supportive" brace -- especially the kind without a hole in the back. If you really need a brace, see an orthopedist for appropriate hardware. If your kneecap isn't tracking properly, find out why. It's usually tightness (NOT weakness) in one or the other quad muscles pulling the cap to that side.

Also, a band tight enough to compress the knee joint is compressing a lot more. One possibility is the peroneal nerve just below the knee. If you suddenly notice problems lifting your toes (flexing your ankle) it's probably not a sudden on-mat attack of MS but a numbed out peroneal nerve. You may start getting scuff marks on the fronts of your shoes and worrying about neurological disease. You probably just need to back off on the knee brace.

So what's the big deal with "hole in the back"? The popliteal artery is in the back of the knee. You really do NOT want to cut that off. Doing so will make your lower legs and feet all numb and tingly and cause crampy calf muscles (see #22 pain pattern at the above URL). Obviously seiza will do this all alone. Adding still more constriction is a really bad idea. It can blow out venous return valves and cause varicose veins but there's worse. When blood starts pooling, when circulation slows enough that blood actually starts to clot, you are now set up for deep vein thrombosis, also known as "Airline Thrombosis." That name comes from its observed occurrence in persons suffering long periods of forced inactivity, squeezed into tiny cramped seats, possibly under stress. The condition seems to have appeared in the medical literature in 1940 as a result of the Nazi Blitzkreig on London. People sat for hours in air-raid shelters, survived the bombing and strolled home, only to expire from a pulmonary embolism. Blood pooled, a clot formed. With activity the clot broke loose. Victims tended to be older, heavier people whose cardiovascular systems were no longer entirely squeaky clean.

I've heard stories of older men who have died suddenly after sitting zazen for a weekend. The devastated survivors take comfort in knowing that "he went prepared." Unfortunately, it's also possible that the long sitting punched his ticket.

Hope I'm not too far off topic here . . . this isn't quite what we usually think of when talking knee problems, but it can all tie in together. Or, hopefully, not.

Stay healthy!
Carol
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Old 08-24-2006, 05:12 PM   #27
Apoy
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Re: Bad knees

What I did is put a pad on the knee side of my gi pants. I think I will find a stronger and a smoother material (Does anyone have teflon fabric ) to reduce the friction and the mat. I just have to find a strong fabric. I guess the only problem now is the hakama that will go in between my pants and the very sticky rubber mats. Specially on Hamni handachi omote shiho nage, gosh that technique is a knee killer.
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Old 08-24-2006, 11:36 PM   #28
Brad Pruitt
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Re: Bad knees

Quote:
I'm concerned about the causal vs correlative relationship between aikido practice and knee damage.
Both my brother and I have recent injuries to the medial/anterior of our right knee's meniscus.
Both of us practice aikido, but...
both of us have the same parents,
play softball and other sports,
are currently slightly heavy (~220# +/- 5# @6'1" +/- 1"),
are of similar age (~31yrs +/- 2.5yrs).
I'm older and my injury is was just barely bad enough to require surgery. I think that we were both fortunate that it wasn't worse.

My point is that I wonder:
If our knees are better or worse due to aikido practice?
If your typical aikido practitioner has better or worse knees then the general population?
If some aspect of typical aikido practice is good or bad for knees?

Two thirds of those polled in:
http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=93
believed that knee-walking and suwariwaza in aikido were not bad for you in the long run.
Just over half say:
http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=27
that they have had some form of knee problems due to aikido practice.
I admit that I'm to lazy to research a comparison to other activities right at this moment.
I'm wondering if constantly using the right leg to get up from seiza is a culprit (or for me, just high speed rounding the bases and sliding into third).

I'd like to see the following poll (what do you think, Jun?):
My:
a) knees are fine; I do aikido.
b) left knee is worse; I do aikido.
c) right knee is worse; I do aikido.
d) knees are equally bad; I do aikido.
e) knees are fine; I don't do aikido.
f) left knee is worse; I don't do aikido.
g) right knee is worse; I don't do aikido.
h) knees are equally bad; I don't do aikido.

With ~200 - 500 answering the polls that do aikido, I think there can be even some discrimination toward a preference in the knee that is most likely damaged.
The most important thing to watch in the lurkers that don't do aikido is whether there is a big difference in their knee health. I doubt that there will be enough respondents in this area for good results; but if the poll is done, I pledge to look up some statistics on the general population and knee health (unless someone beats me to it, MDs).

This would shed some light on whether there is at least a correlation between aikidojin and bad knees; or if to the contrary, aikidojin have better knees on average. Of course, aikiweb polls aren't conducted scientifically, but within whatever biases there are in the readership it would be nice to know. There would still be the question of causation, but that would require some controlled tests.

Meniscus typically gets less pliable with age. Note people's advise on knee care (supplements and proper exercises). Don't ignore clicking or swelling in the knee, by the time there is pain in an area with so few nerves, things are probably worse.
I would like to add i ) Knees are no better or worse since aikido. I had not so good knees before aikido and so far in a year and a half they have gotten worse, or better.
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Old 08-25-2006, 12:04 AM   #29
Janet Rosen
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Re: Bad knees

hi carol-- i'm here--ok
my knee survey is at http://www.zanshinart.com/Aikido/AikiKnee.html
and my follow up article is at http://www.zanshinart.com/Janet/KneeRisk.html
and my "recipe" for really cool kneepads to sew into your gi pants is part of an old The Mirror aikiweb column http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2005_11.html

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 08-26-2006, 06:33 AM   #30
guest89893
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Re: Bad knees

This has been an interesting thread.

FTW: I have been practicing Aikido somewhere around 22years or so. Just before I started Aikido, I had a car accident that shattered my kneecap - patella (sp). No damage to ligaments or tendons. They took the two biggest pieces of my kneecap and fused them together. That was my starting point in doing/training/learning Aikido. I am still doing Aikido.

I carefully chose how I did the warm-ups through my training. Although, now if you know me - you know I hate them and rarely do them (the standard warm-ups). Do I still have knee problems -aches, pains now and then you bet. I try to avoid knee braces because they give a false sense of security & stability. I try to not take any medication (the pain is a better indicator of how much range of motion and stability you have that day or if at all). Ice , massage is good because the muscles around the knee and the other leg muscles are all trying to find a way to over compensate.

I do not do alot of suwari-waza, unless I know my knee is feeling good for an extended period of time. It is a choice that has allowed me to continue to do Aikido (how well is another matter).

Gene
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Old 08-26-2006, 09:39 AM   #31
Mark Uttech
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Re: Bad knees

Good post Gene. I wonder what standard warm ups you are referring to? I have tried to focus on warm ups that are kind to knees, and I am inspired by Hikitsutchi Shihan doing suwari waza well into his 80's. Inspiration is actually what is called for in aikido.

In gassho,
Mark
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Old 08-26-2006, 01:37 PM   #32
ChrisMoses
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Re: Bad knees

Suwariwaza isn't what's destroying the knees of Aikidoka. Knee pads won't help unless your problem is bruising. Bruising doesn't put you under the knife, tears in the meniscus and ligaments will. The internal structure of the knee is actually MOST supported and stable when fully flexed (seiza/knee walking). There are lots and lots of iaidoka out there who continue to train until very late in life and just don't have the kinds of knee problems you see in aikido.

At the risk of giving away the good stuff, it's what you do when you're standing that destroys your knees. Aikidoka twist all the time to generate enough torque to throw instead of getting good kuzushi at the beginning of a technique (through good internal structure and correct irimi), then capitalizing on that with a throw that actually relieves the tension in uke and nage's bodies. People could also stretch more to make sure that the supporting muscles of the legs aren't putting too much strain on the knee joint while sitting in seiza, but I really don't believe that's what causes it the majority of the time. Generally it's some extremely unhealthy movements that have become standardized in the the tachi-waza portion of the art. Look at old pictures and films of OSensei, he is not torqueing his hips to throw. Don't get me wrong, you will see him turn, but generally only to follow a flying uke, not to effect the throw while fully weighted. Get rid of loose canvas mats while you're at it, those things are horrible for your knees. Zebra mats on sprung floor, do your squats, realize that your knees can only provide force in the plane that they flex through, and train till you're 80.
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Old 08-26-2006, 05:55 PM   #33
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: Bad knees

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
The internal structure of the knee is actually MOST supported and stable when fully flexed (seiza/knee walking). There are lots and lots of iaidoka out there who continue to train until very late in life and just don't have the kinds of knee problems you see in aikido.
I think your overall warnings about improper knee twisting while standing are good. However, I don't think iaido is a valid comparison when it comes to bent-knee stresses. Although they do a lot of things on their knees, what Iaido people are doing are set patterns to which they pay painstaking attention to detail. In suwariwaza, a technique is never done the same way twice, and all kind of on-the-fly adjustments have to be made to respond to uke. This results in the exact same kinds of unconscious torquings and misalignments you describe when standing, except the tendency to twist in awkward ways is greater because it is much less easy to move or turn the knee/foot base than it is to simply move or turn a foot while standing.

Also, I'm not sure about the claim about the meniscus and cruciate ligaments being safer in the bent position. Even if it is true, the collateral ligaments certainly aren't. If the collateral ligaments get stretched, the whole knee joint loosens. Loose knee ligaments are a major cause of mensicus damage.
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Old 08-26-2006, 06:16 PM   #34
ChrisMoses
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Re: Bad knees

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
I think your overall warnings about improper knee twisting while standing are good. However, I don't think iaido is a valid comparison when it comes to bent-knee stresses. Although they do a lot of things on their knees, what Iaido people are doing are set patterns to which they pay painstaking attention to detail. In suwariwaza, a technique is never done the same way twice, and all kind of on-the-fly adjustments have to be made to respond to uke. This results in the exact same kinds of unconscious torquings and misalignments you describe when standing, except the tendency to twist in awkward ways is greater because it is much less easy to move or turn the knee/foot base than it is to simply move or turn a foot while standing.

Also, I'm not sure about the claim about the meniscus and cruciate ligaments being safer in the bent position. Even if it is true, the collateral ligaments certainly aren't. If the collateral ligaments get stretched, the whole knee joint loosens. Loose knee ligaments are a major cause of mensicus damage.
I agree most people don't know how to move on their knees well and wind up twisting while bearing weight. You should not be twisting on your weighted knees, knee walking is an exercise in pulling along the plane of your bent knee. You twist, and you're doing it wrong (in my opinion, but in the opinion of thousands of aikidoka, you're spot on, but my knees feel great...) The knee joint does not loosen when fully bent, and if your legs are strengthened and flexible enough, the muscles are able to allow flex and tone to keep a solid joint. Try this: extend your leg, activate your quads and try to wiggle your patella, it will move. Now flex your leg and try to get the patella to move. The knee is MUCH more stable when fully flexed.

At the risk of thread-drift, if you are accomodating uke's movements, they are in control of the technique and you've already blown it, so you have more to worry about than your knees. Aikido is about controlling the encounter before there is even contact, it is not solid enough jujutsu to do otherwise. But that's really kind of it's own discussion.

I think Iai is a fair comparison, in my line, we jump, turn, twist, leap all sorts of weird things from seiza and my knees are better than when I started (and I have residual damage from dislocating my patella while trying to do a kokyunage my first year of aikido). You can apply the same precision to your aikido suwari waza as you can in iai. If you get a chance watch how Takeda Yoshinobu moves on the ground, it's basically iai-goshi. And he's probably done 3+ hours of suwariwaza daily for the last 30-40 years (however many decades he's been training).

Last edited by ChrisMoses : 08-26-2006 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 08-26-2006, 08:06 PM   #35
Janet Rosen
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Re: Bad knees

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
Also, I'm not sure about the claim about the meniscus and cruciate ligaments being safer in the bent position.
The cruciate ligaments, yes in the sense that they are "on" when the quads are engaged for extension of lower leg.
However, orthopedists and athletic trainers are unanomous about the danger to the menisci when the knee is compressed by being bent, especially if it is hyperflexed (as in the kneel then lie back stretch) or if it is flexed and turned (as in sitting "yogi" style) and yes I have heard of at least 2 people acutely blowing meniscus doing suwariwaza.

Janet Rosen
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Old 08-26-2006, 11:34 PM   #36
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: Bad knees

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
The knee joint does not loosen when fully bent, and if your legs are strengthened and flexible enough, the muscles are able to allow flex and tone to keep a solid joint. Try this: extend your leg, activate your quads and try to wiggle your patella, it will move. Now flex your leg and try to get the patella to move. The knee is MUCH more stable when fully flexed.
I don't know how you think this demonstrates knee stability. Whether the patella wiggles has nothing to do with the ligaments or cartilage. The patella is a built in pulley in the tendon that connects the quads to the tibia. When the knee is fully straightened, the femur rotates 'inward' a few degrees and creates an incredibly stable bone-on-bone configuration. At this point, the patella isn't doing much, so it gets looser.

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
At the risk of thread-drift, if you are accomodating uke's movements, they are in control of the technique and you've already blown it, so you have more to worry about than your knees. Aikido is about controlling the encounter before there is even contact, it is not solid enough jujutsu to do otherwise. But that's really kind of it's own discussion.
This is ridiculous. If you don't adjust to what your partner is doing, you aren't throwing them. Look up musubi, and the concepts of leading, following, and joining. Attempting to enact the idea of absolute 'control' that you are putting forth here would lead to some very clunky, mechanical, and disconnected Aikido. Ultimately, it wouldn't work anyway, everyone has physical differences such that using a set iaido-like pattern to throw would result in huge failures like ripping someone's arm halfway off or missing it altogether. It wouldn't even work in a pure striking art, as one has to aim and time strikes.
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Old 08-27-2006, 05:38 AM   #37
wayneth
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Re: Bad knees

I have pretty bad knees, and I am only 17 years old. There was a brief period where I believe it to have started, which was at the BAF Summer School last year. I believe it was the Ushiro Ukemi that Sugawara Sensei had us doing (the Dojo was pretty full, 60 plus people on the mat). During the course i couldn't sit in Seiza for longer than maybe 5 minutes, and at one of Kanetsuka Sensei classes; he shouted at the class for not being able to sit properly.
The pain in my knees stopped for a while after Summer School and sat pretty comfortably in Seiza for a while after wards. But a while after wards I couldn't sit in Seiza at all, the pain in my knee was extraordinary. But strangely I am not putting it down to the length of Seiza that I have done at courses and at my home Dojo. I am putting it down to the Ukemi for which we were doing at Sugawara Sensei class.
Maybe some people can share some light into this, maybe knee damage is contributed to the number of Ukemi that we do in everyday practice. Since I believe we do much more Ukemi than that compared to the length of time we spend in Seiza.
Wayne
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Old 08-27-2006, 08:11 AM   #38
Carol Shifflett
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Re: Bad knees

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
The internal structure of the knee is actually MOST supported and stable when fully flexed (seiza/knee walking).
Unfortunately, no. For vivid illustration of why and how not, see the knee joint X-rays in "How to Dance Forever: Surviving Against the Odds" by Daniel Nagrin with comments on dangers of choreography with weight or drag.

Jun (hello Jun!) recommended this book years ago on Aikido-L. Highly applicable to us mat dancers.

Cheers!
Carol Shifflett
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Old 08-27-2006, 08:20 AM   #39
ChrisMoses
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Re: Bad knees

Well that's what I get for overly simplifying...

The point I was trying to make is that for people who *can* sit in seiza. It is relatively easy to move without putting roational forces through the knee joint. Blaming suwariwaza for the woes of aikidoka's knees is a red herring. For those of you recommending kneepads, what do you think these actually do to protect the inner workings of the knee? Anyone care to comment there?
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Old 08-27-2006, 11:57 AM   #40
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: Bad knees

Red herring? Pejorative terms and repeated assertions do not constitute an argument. Every assertion and attempted argument you've put forth so far in favor of the benign nature of suwariwaza had disintegrated rapidly upon further inspection. You don't even have a vague idea of whether there are any rotational forces on the knee joint during suwariwaza. I don't either, really, I just think that the practice has the knee in a compromising position where it is highly likely to be twisted and torqued in ways that could stretch the ligaments and either injure the knee or predispose it to further injury.

Another way to look at this is to ask the people who already have injured knees what activity in Aikido gives them the most pain. By my recollection, seiza and suwariwaza garner almost all of the complaints, whereas I've never heard the knee-impaired complain about pain during standing throws. I'd say throwing is not only lower than knee weight-bearing on the list of Aikido knee dangers, it is also substantially below taking ukemi. I know several people who have hurt their knees during falls.

You are right about the kneepads though - they aren't going to prevent anything but surface bruising/callousing. In fact, they could be harmful. If they are thick and squishy enough, they could increase instability. Worse, if a kneepad that wraps around the knee and has any sort of thickness on the back side, that thickness may end up serving as a new leverage point around which the upper and lower leg pivot. When the weight of the body pushes the butt towards the foot, the bones could pivot on that wad of stuff in such a way that the force works to pry the knee apart.
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Old 08-27-2006, 03:26 PM   #41
ChrisMoses
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Re: Bad knees

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
Red herring? Pejorative terms and repeated assertions do not constitute an argument.

Another way to look at this is to ask the people who already have injured knees what activity in Aikido gives them the most pain. By my recollection, seiza and suwariwaza garner almost all of the complaints, whereas I've never heard the knee-impaired complain about pain during standing throws.

You are right about the kneepads though - they aren't going to prevent anything but surface bruising/callousing. In fact, they could be harmful.
Just pointing out that you're specifically agreeing with my red herring arguement. Look, I really don't care if you believe me, they're your knees. Mine feel great. Knees are very odd structures, and often the same activites that cause damage are not the same that cause the most pain. When I dislocated my patella years ago, doing a nearly identical movement to what caused the dislocation caused no pain whatsoever, but I couldn't sit in seiza for 9 months, it was too painful. You're confusing causation with correlation. If you have inflamation from small tears due to sheering forces, when you flex the knee completely, you will feel pain. Silly me for trying to offer something, I can't tell you how many of my former training partners have had knee surgery. Almost all of them blamed zagi for much of their problems, and none of them spent much time doing suwari waza (maybe a total of 20-30 minutes a week). My stability issue is centered around my patella and the shape of my knees (the valley that my patellas sit in is shaped incorrectly), so for me, a fully flexed knee is much more stable than a straight knee, I *oversimplified* what I was talking about. I totally agree with your recommendations for doing weight bearing squats, that's excellent advice, more people should do conditioning exercises for aikido. Knees are a sensitive issue for me, because I see destroyed knees as nearly epidemic in US aikido, and no one wants to take a serious look at what everyone's doing that actually causes it, as evidenced by this thread.
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Old 08-27-2006, 05:21 PM   #42
ChrisMoses
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Re: Bad knees

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
Just pointing out that you're specifically agreeing with my red herring arguement.
Just noting that I misread your post, and replied too quickly. Appologies for saying that you were agreeing with my earlier point. That was an incorrect statement.
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Old 08-27-2006, 06:20 PM   #43
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Bad knees

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
Knees are a sensitive issue for me, because I see destroyed knees as nearly epidemic in US aikido, and no one wants to take a serious look at what everyone's doing that actually causes it, as evidenced by this thread.
Yes, I am sure you are right about destroyed knees being epidemic in US aikido, and not just in US aikido. In my experience European aikido is pretty similar and one reason is that the mats used are far too soft. I can tell the difference after a training seminar in the Netherlands: it takes several days to recover the flexibility I still have, even though I use tabi when training: the extra layer gives an extra cushion. Incidentally, none of my aikido colleagues who practise iaido (in Holland and Japan) has any major knee problems

I have nearly 30 years experience of living on tatami, traditional Japanese tatami. So, when guests visit me at home they sit in seiza. My Japanese neighbors are members of the local sado club and think nothing of sitting in seiza for hours, as do the ladies who go and watch Noh plays at the Itsukushima Shrine. These neighbors sometimes complain that the practice of sitting in seiza is less common because Japanese houses are becoming too westernized: there is usually just one 'Japanese' room, rarely used. My house is old and traditional and the only rooms without tatami are the dining kitchen and the office where I have this computer.

Japanese aikido students also practise regular zagi and seiza, so Japanese knees seem to be doing just fine. I state 'seem to be' because I have no evidence to compare Japan and the US/Europe other than my own experience.

Another factor might be weight: again, a personal view based on 'people-watching' in airport lounges around the world. Although obesity is becoming a problem in Japan, especially among young people, it is nowhere near as serious an issue as in the US and Europe. In Japan the only people with serious knee problems appear to be sumo wrestlers, with knees that are simply not built to support such weight. I am not stating that US and European aikidoists are overweight: I am suggesting a factor that might be relevant in the absence of any comparative research that takes in the US, Europe and Japan.

Regards to all,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:52 PM   #44
Jess McDonald
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Re: Bad knees

I don't know, my kness have been killing me for a couple of weeks now. The only things that are different is that I've finally learned kata 4 on the jo side of kumi-jo and that puts some strain on the knees. I also just turned 25. I think I'm just becoming an old lady and now am feeling the first indications of wear and tear. Nah...I just need to do kata 4 over and over again. Pain is weakness leaving the body people pain is weakness leaving the body. Seriously though glucosamine, chrondritin, and MSM are good supplements but you MUST get the expensive kind. That's the one the body thinks is ummmy Farewell and good luck!!
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Old 08-27-2006, 10:46 PM   #45
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
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Re: Bad knees

The comparative culture issue is interesting, but I think it would be hard to decipher that into reliable information.

Not only are Japanese people less obese, they are also smaller and lighter overall, on average. When it comes to weight-bearing wear and tear on body structures, total weight may be just as important as overweight. There is a reason the largest land animal with an exoskeleton is about the size of a baseball and mammals aren't nearly as large as trees. If a human were magically made 30 feet tall, it's knees wouldn't last a day. I'm guessing that the last generation to grow up before they started drinking milk and increasing protein intake due to societal wealth in Japan was 2/3 the mass or less on average of the average westerner.

Growing conditions may be another factor in whether seiza and knee-walking are more injurious to one group than another as well. If Japanese grow up sitting in seiza a lot, it could precondition them to be better able to tolerate it later in life.

Overall, knees are probably just the major limiting physical factor in Aikido due to all sorts of things about it that probably can't be avoided. It could be worse. In Boxing, for instance, cumulative brain trauma is your biggest worry. Some activites are even worse for the knees, like soccer or skiing. The best things one can do to extend Aikido knee life seem to have been covered here, avoid twisting them, in whatever position, and preventative strengthening are the main ones, I would also add that dealing with pains and knee injuries sensibly when they do happen is perhaps most important of all.

The supplements mentioned are mostly about preventing deterioration of cartilage, and mostly apply to cases of arthritis. I'm not sure they are indicated as a preventative for younger people with no personal or family history of arthritis. They're pretty expensive and it might be a waste of money.
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Old 08-28-2006, 12:09 AM   #46
Brad Pruitt
Dojo: High Desert Aikido
Location: Bend, Oregon
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Re: Bad knees

The MSM is a great pain reliever and sure beats popping ibuprofen all the time. I buy the premium versions and it's really not that expensive. Around $20 a month maybe $30. That's not very much at all when the benefits are priceless.
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Old 08-28-2006, 04:40 AM   #47
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Bad knees

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
The comparative culture issue is interesting, but I think it would be hard to decipher that into reliable information.
I think this entire thread is based on assumptions relevant to comparative culture.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 08-28-2006, 09:35 AM   #48
ChrisMoses
Dojo: TNBBC (Icho Ryu Aiki Budo), Shinto Ryu IaiBattojutsu
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Re: Bad knees

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
Yes, I am sure you are right about destroyed knees being epidemic in US aikido, and not just in US aikido. In my experience European aikido is pretty similar and one reason is that the mats used are far too soft. I can tell the difference after a training seminar in the Netherlands: it takes several days to recover the flexibility I still have, even though I use tabi when training: the extra layer gives an extra cushion. Incidentally, none of my aikido colleagues who practise iaido (in Holland and Japan) has any major knee problems

[snip]

Another factor might be weight: again, a personal view based on 'people-watching' in airport lounges around the world.

Regards to all,
Thanks Peter, those are both excellent points. I realize there is a danger using anecdotal evidence, but until someone decides to fund a study on knee injuries in aikido, I suppose it's all we have to work with. I had a friend who spent several years in Japan and studied aikido while she was over there. The two dojos that she trained at there spent a LOT of time doing suwariwaza practice (both used vinyl covered real tatami). When she returned she started training at the dojo that a few of us were practicing at. That dojo has the granulated rubber under canvas mat. Within a month of returning to practice here, her knees were hurting so bad that she had to ice them every night after practice and eventually take some time off from training. When she brought this up to one of the yudansha, she was met with the usual, "Yeah, all the suwariwaza/seiza is really bad on your knees." In the two months that she had been training stateside, she had done suwariwaza twice, for a total of maybe 30 minutes. I should point out that she is very thin, so we can rule that out (although I think it's an excellent point to bring up). Personally I like the Zebra mats, I feel that they offer a stable enough platform while providing a bit more cushioning than the traditional tatami.
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Old 08-28-2006, 09:51 AM   #49
Mark Gibbons
Location: Seattle, WA
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Re: Bad knees

HI Chris,

The dojo you mention is switching to zebra mats at its new location. The feeling I get from most of the folks, especially Sensei, backs up up your position. We still do too much grounding into the mat and twisting but options are presented for those of us with crapped out knees.


Only one knee surgery so far,

Mark
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Old 08-28-2006, 10:31 AM   #50
ChrisMoses
Dojo: TNBBC (Icho Ryu Aiki Budo), Shinto Ryu IaiBattojutsu
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Re: Bad knees

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
HI Chris,

The dojo you mention is switching to zebra mats at its new location. The feeling I get from most of the folks, especially Sensei, backs up up your position. We still do too much grounding into the mat and twisting but options are presented for those of us with crapped out knees.


Only one knee surgery so far,

Mark
And the new space looks like it's going to be beautiful when it's completed! I'm looking forward to the grand opening.
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