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Old 10-07-2007, 05:29 AM   #26
G DiPierro
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
I don't know if there is, as Giancarlo reports, bad blood between Ikeda and Homma.
Although I have no personal knowledge of any bad feelings between those two, there have been a few credible reports (see post 16 specifically) that they exist. What I know from personal experience, having trained with both of them, is that they are both strong personalities with very different approaches to aikido operating in close proximity. Knowing what I know about aikido politics, where sometimes there are two dojos in the same city that are part of the same organization that are not on good terms with each other, I don't find it at all surprising that would be some issues between these two. I would be more surprised if they were on good terms given how different their personalities are.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:41 AM   #27
Mark Uttech
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

When I first posted on this thread, I did so without having read the article. Now, having read the article, I stand by my first post. Those concerned about knee injuries should check out a study done by Janet Rosen that did a survey of 100 dojos. I think that study can be found on aikiweb somewhere. One bit of information that I have discovered in my own experience is that a softer mat is actually more damaging to knees than a mat more firm.

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 10-07-2007, 06:09 AM   #28
raul rodrigo
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote: View Post
One bit of information that I have discovered in my own experience is that a softer mat is actually more damaging to knees than a mat more firm.

In gassho,

Mark
Let me just back up Mark's observation (which would have seemed strange to me a year ago) with the experience of one of my kohai, whose knees are fine on rice straw mats, but suffer when we practice on mats made of insulating foam. He says it has something to do with the way the foam conforms to the contours of his knee; it seems to exert greater pressure, at least for him. Just this week his knee gave out and he's been unable to do suwariwaza for the last few days. Any idea why a soft mat can cause more damage?

R
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Old 10-07-2007, 10:57 AM   #29
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

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Mark Uttech wrote: View Post
One bit of information that I have discovered in my own experience is that a softer mat is actually more damaging to knees than a mat more firm.
I have come to a similar conclusion.
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Old 10-07-2007, 11:51 AM   #30
David Yap
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
What specific assumptions do think I have made that were unwarranted or "non-aiki"? Also, what exactly is a "non-aiki" assumption? That sounds like a nonsense expression to me.

Let me remind you that this what Gaku Homma actually wrote:
If you think that I am wrong about the instructor Homma was referring to then please explain why. Do you know of any other contemporary instructors who use the kind of minimalist style described above, as I think almost anyone would acknowledge that Ikeda does, and who have the kind of knee injuries Homma is talking about in this article, which Ikeda is commonly known to have (as I pointed out, anybody who has taken a class with him recently would know this, since he does not even sit in seiza for the opening and closing bows)? If you don't have any such knowledge, then perhaps I am not the one making unwarranted assumptions.
Have a break, get a Kit Kat I am too far away from the other side of the globe to be aware of these circumstances and political differences. Even if I do, I wouldn't partake in such "gossips".

Cheers

David
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Old 10-07-2007, 12:00 PM   #31
David Yap
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

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Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
How is it off topic to identify the specific shihan being referred to? I mentioned Saito because Homma's column makes more sense if you know he is referring to.

I don't know if there is, as Giancarlo reports, bad blood between Ikeda and Homma. But it is relevant to know if Homma is referring to Ikeda, because the young Ikeda had perhaps the fastest suwariwaza I had ever seen on video. I used to watch him and think, "boy, I wish I could do that." But knowing what we know now, then I can look at his suwariwaza video with a new perspective. Perhaps, as Homma says, that kind of skill comes with a price we might not want to pay.

RAUL
Looking forward to see you at Yamada shihan's 2007 seminar in Manila. Please send my regards to Giovanni sensei.

Cheers.
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Old 10-07-2007, 04:09 PM   #32
raul rodrigo
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

Quote:
David Yap wrote: View Post
Looking forward to see you at Yamada shihan's 2007 seminar in Manila. Please send my regards to Giovanni sensei.

Cheers.
Good to know that you will be there. I will pass on your greetings to Giovanni, who founded the dojo I now run. See you in November.

best,

R

Last edited by raul rodrigo : 10-07-2007 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:37 PM   #33
tedehara
 
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

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Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
...Any idea why a soft mat can cause more damage?

R
If you've ever worked out on wrestling mats you'd know why. The foam is constructed to provide leverage for techniques. Therefore the feet sink into the foam. The same would apply to knees if doing swariwaza. There is more friction on the body and more chance for injury.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:26 AM   #34
David Humm
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

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David Yap wrote: View Post
Done my first iaido lesson yesterday and my left knee still hurts like hell. Thought that with my suwariwaza experience, the drawing of the sword from a kneeling position would be painless. Wrong thought, perhaps at 50 the mind is over adventurous..
Iaido should ideally be studied on a hard floor rather than on mats and, it is perfectly acceptable to wear knee pads when doing so.

I study Iai as an integral part of my aikido and iai is always done on a hard wooden floor, knee pads (for me) entirely irradiate any knee issues.

Even if you're iai is done on tatami, still wear the knee pads.
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:12 AM   #35
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

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Dave Humm wrote: View Post
knee pads (for me) entirely irradiate any knee issues.


Bronson

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Old 10-11-2007, 12:47 PM   #36
Rocky Izumi
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

Quote:
David Yap wrote: View Post
In the first iaido exercise, my left kneel was always on the ground - appreciate some good advice from the seasoned iaido practitioners.

Thank you.
Depends on what is causing the pain. It can result from several different causes depending on how you are doing your kamae for your nuki.

Some people I know use knee pads. Others swear that all that pain is due to incorrect posture. Others say due to the floor being too soft. Others say due to the floor being too hard. Others say problem is the slippage of synthetic hakama on hardwood flooring and bunching of synthetic hakama under the meniscus of the knee when kneeling. Others say kamae is not high enough and others say kamae is too low.

Me, I wear cotton hakama on hardwood because soft floors give me knee problems. I take a relatively low kamae to keep bone on the floor rather than exposing the meniscus under the patella. Then, switch to a high kamae so that I only expose the meniscus for a short time. I also watch that I stay on my toes so that I do not expose the meniscus again. I also make sure that my weight is on my front foot when kneeling for Ipponme. Putting weight on the back knee also exposes the meniscus to damage and is improper posture anyway. I try to make sure that I am balanced so I do not put lateral pressure on the knee. This means that I must make sure that the heel of my front foot is in line with the heel of my back kneeling foot. Last, when I am starting to stand, I make sure that my knees are facing forward and my heels go down to the ground during that part where my knees are weakest to reduce the pressures on the knee just as I would use my legs overall in a "clean-and-jerk".

However, it still hurts my knees after a long practice due to loss of cartilage along my knee. I don't think that can be helped except for knee joint replacement.

Rock
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Old 10-11-2007, 01:17 PM   #37
ChrisMoses
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

Quote:
Dave Humm wrote: View Post
I study Iai as an integral part of my aikido and iai is always done on a hard wooden floor, knee pads (for me) entirely irradiate any knee issues.
Wow, impressive!

I use kneepads whenever I do Iai on hardwood, but I don't like to. They put too much weight on the tops of my feet. My favorite surface to do iai (or nagewaza for that matter) is Zebra/vinyl tatami on a hardwood floor. You don't sink into the foam, you get a stable grip on the floor, but you get just enough give. My line of iai does a lot of jumping/dropping movements though, so a little padding is way nice.

Chris Moses
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:16 PM   #38
David Humm
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

lol... my bad...


Last edited by David Humm : 10-11-2007 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 10-11-2007, 09:13 PM   #39
David Yap
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

Quote:
Hiroaki Izumi wrote: View Post
Depends on what is causing the pain. It can result from several different causes depending on how you are doing your kamae for your nuki.

Some people I know use knee pads. Others swear that all that pain is due to incorrect posture. Others say due to the floor being too soft. Others say due to the floor being too hard. Others say problem is the slippage of synthetic hakama on hardwood flooring and bunching of synthetic hakama under the meniscus of the knee when kneeling. Others say kamae is not high enough and others say kamae is too low.

Me, I wear cotton hakama on hardwood because soft floors give me knee problems. I take a relatively low kamae to keep bone on the floor rather than exposing the meniscus under the patella. Then, switch to a high kamae so that I only expose the meniscus for a short time. I also watch that I stay on my toes so that I do not expose the meniscus again. I also make sure that my weight is on my front foot when kneeling for Ipponme. Putting weight on the back knee also exposes the meniscus to damage and is improper posture anyway. I try to make sure that I am balanced so I do not put lateral pressure on the knee. This means that I must make sure that the heel of my front foot is in line with the heel of my back kneeling foot. Last, when I am starting to stand, I make sure that my knees are facing forward and my heels go down to the ground during that part where my knees are weakest to reduce the pressures on the knee just as I would use my legs overall in a "clean-and-jerk".

However, it still hurts my knees after a long practice due to loss of cartilage along my knee. I don't think that can be helped except for knee joint replacement.

Rock
Thank you sensei,

I believe I am putting too much weight on my rear knee when I draw back to jodan kamae after cutting. I will try your suggestions.

Regards

David
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:31 PM   #40
Rocky Izumi
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

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David Yap wrote: View Post
Thank you sensei,

I believe I am putting too much weight on my rear knee when I draw back to jodan kamae after cutting. I will try your suggestions.

Regards

David
You are welcome David. BTW, this is not the Dojo so I am just the Rock here. Ah, the equality of the Internet strikes again.

Also, since you are from Malaysia, do you know Marcus Chan Chee Keong from KL?

Rock
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:40 PM   #41
Janet Rosen
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

HI
for those who didn't know about it...my research was in the form of a survey of 101 dojo, purely gathering info, a snapshot if you will. The link follows...the 2 most interesting things to me were that a small handful of dojos were responsible for a large proportion of the acute knee injuries and that despite many complaints - including MINE - over the yrs about feet sticking to soft mats, there didn't seem to be a correlation btwn wrestling type mats and acute knee injuries.
http://www.zanshinart.com/Aikido/AikiKnee.html

Janet Rosen
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:47 PM   #42
Bronson
 
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
I use kneepads whenever I do Iai on hardwood, but I don't like to. They put too much weight on the tops of my feet.
I found the same thing. I looked around on the internet and finally found a pair that were just two layers of neoprene padding over the knee. It provided enough padding to stop the knee pain but didn't have so much that it increased the pressure on the feet.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 10-12-2007, 12:26 AM   #43
Rocky Izumi
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

Excellent piece of work Janet. Thanks.

Noticed a lot of lateral knee injuries from poor Hanmi Kamae and Tori Fune Kogi Undo and impact trauma injuries from poor Shikko. Been trying to correct those on students to ensure that injuries are minimized. I will send them to your article to emphasize the points. Funny thing though, a lot of my recent knee injuries result from trying to show students how not to do it and why. Surprising how easily the knee can be injured from improper usage.

Rock
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Old 10-12-2007, 03:06 AM   #44
David Yap
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

Hi Rock,

Quote:
Hiroaki Izumi wrote: View Post
You are welcome David. BTW, this is not the Dojo so I am just the Rock here. Ah, the equality of the Internet strikes again.
Being the typical Asian, politeness just come naturally

Quote:
Also, since you are from Malaysia, do you know Marcus Chan Chee Keong from KL?
Yes, I do know Marcus Chan. He was my instructor 4 years ago. Occasionally, I still go his dojo.

Regards

David
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Old 10-12-2007, 05:52 AM   #45
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: No suwariwaza techniques at Nippon Kan

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
HI
for those who didn't know about it...my research was in the form of a survey of 101 dojo, purely gathering info, a snapshot if you will. The link follows...the 2 most interesting things to me were that a small handful of dojos were responsible for a large proportion of the acute knee injuries and that despite many complaints - including MINE - over the yrs about feet sticking to soft mats, there didn't seem to be a correlation btwn wrestling type mats and acute knee injuries.
http://www.zanshinart.com/Aikido/AikiKnee.html
Hello Janet,

I have read your article and the 2004 follow-up and think it would be very good to have much more research done on the correlation between mat type and knee injuries.

Apart from the very earliest dojo (at Sussex University in the late 60s / early 70s, if anyone can remember that far back), the mats at pretty well every dojo I myself trained in were traditional Japanese straw tatami, like the ones I have here in my living room (I am not sure about Tenpukan, near Earls Court in the UK, during the mid-70s). Usually they were covered with canvas, but the few knee inujuries that occurred usually came from collisions due to careless ukemi, rather than from twisting the knee joints from taisabaki. The tatami were always very hard and I was always taught that this was best for the knees, though rather painful for the rest of the body until one became accustomed to them. All my teachers were Japanese and 30 minutes of suwari-waza was about the norm for each class.

In Japan, especially in Hiroshima, every dojo where I have ever trained has traditional tatami and I think you need to live here to see how 'normal' this is. For example, every night I roll out my futon in my wooden house and sleep on the tatami. (The floors are sprung and there is a sizable gap between the floor and the ground. The tatami in the bedroom were replaced a few years ago, at a cost of 10,000 yen each. The ones in the living room are becoming faded from the sunlight and so will need to be re-covered in the near future. A craftsman from a local tatami shop will come and do it while I am away.)

When I receive visitors, it is all done in seiza, with zabuton (cushions) available for those who need them. In my experience of 28 years in Japan, no Japanese has ever accepted a cushion when I have remained sitting in seiza on the bare tatami. Perhaps it is a matter of national pride...

The point I am making here is that certain traditional Japanese arts, including budo, and wooden floors covered with tatami go together like two sides of the same coin. I remember my first visit to the Itsukushima Shrine (which is the famous shrine illustrated in all the guidebooks, which you see when arriving in Miyajima by ferry). I watched a series of Noh plays performed on the ancient Noh stage. I had no clue about the plays, but I was struck, forcibly struck, by the elderly ladies who sat in seiza hour after hour and followed the texts in their books. I had been practising aikido for just over 10 years, was a yudansha, and thought I could do seiza and suwariwaza pretty fast and efficiently. But continuous seiza for three hours...? Actually, these ladies sat in a kind of semi-seiza, where the legs were sometimes tucked under the lower body and they shifted their weight from time to time: something you should NEVER do in aikido training sessions when the sensei wants to give a long lecture about the real meaning of aikido...

My own knee injuries were not incurred from the quality of the tatami, but the elderly surgeon who did the operations on the meniscus once told me that I would suffer from arthritis as I got older, and so it has proved. He thought the physiotherapy regime had been far too severe to give the joints time to recover from the operation.

Because of my position in the IAF, I travel abroad fairly regularly and on these occasions also give training courses. After a recent yudansha workshop (the relevant part of which was devoted to a practical application of the principles of aikido randori: see George Ledyard's work on this), my right knee was very heavily swollen and I could not bend it very far. The workshop had been held in a dojo with very soft mats (not wrestling mats), which look like traditional tatami, but are not. And the floor was not sprung.

I am undecided about the quality of these mats, but I can speak from immediate experience when I state that I always have to spend more time recovering from knee strain after giving courses on mats such as these, than I have done from intensive training on traditional Japanese tatami.

However, there are loads of variables here. The training courses I give are fairly intensive, with practice around 4 - 5 hours daily for a continuous period of up to one week. This is somewhat different from the average. So, it would be very good if you did a wider survey relating to training conditions, type of tatami. The USA would be a very good place for such a survey, since there are many Japanese shihans who were brought up in the traditioinal way and so might have opinions on the quality of the tatami in their own dojos.

Now I have found a good doctor of kanpo-yaku and I am following the example of the late Kanai Sensei, with lots of moxibustion, acupuncture on my knees and very severe massage on the rest of my body.

In terms of my awareness of my own body, my knees are back to the state they were in before the intensive workshop training, but I do not know whether this is due to the kanpo-yaku treatment, or to the absence of such intensive training.

Best wishes,

EDIT: So. I think the general conclusions of Gaku Homma in his article are correct. However, as someone who teaches comparative culture, I want to stress the grave dangers of making generalizations about the knees of a particular culture: e.g., 'Japanese' knees are more adapted to suwari-waza than 'western' knees. All knees outside Japan follow a particular pattern of some undetermined kind. Which is why Janets's research is so important.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 10-12-2007 at 06:03 AM. Reason: To add one important sentence

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