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Old 06-19-2008, 10:55 AM   #1
langelaar
Dojo: Winnipeg Aikikai
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4
Canada
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was on a roll, now I have to rest and watch sun sets ...

Just when things were going really great, 1 year & 4 months of great aikikai training, then bang - I am forced to stop. And I was just getting into the high falls

Nuclear bone scan says there is *some* uptake in the symphysis pubis. Sports doctor says my hip adductors are strained. I am told
to rest and watch the sun sets for the rest of the summer. It's already been over 3 months of rest (no running, no aikido, etc),
and the recovery is just taking it's sweet time

I'm almost devastated. I hate this. Having two boys (9 and 11) around constantly asking to play catch or throw the ball (which really is not that bad) does not help the recovery period any,
and of course you can't just say NO to them every day. I mean
that stuff is important to them (and me too), so I just go along
with it, trying not to lunge or jump or anything like that.

Today I get to see what my MRI from a few weeks ago says.

Oh joy ! I can hardly wait

But I guess I should not complain, after hearing about people being out of action for over a year or more due to back pain or other injuries.

The worst part seems after I wake up, if I try to roll over or get up one leg at a time, it's the worse then, but then calms down over the course of the next few hours. I've found sleeping with a pillow between the legs is helping big time in the recovery.

Anyways ... just venting .... My neighbour told me he had an injury like that 15 years ago (snow boarding) and it took 2 years for the effects of the injuy to finally not be noticed anymore ... Sob !!!

Greetings from Maiko in Winnipeg (Winnipeg Aikikai)

* turning the big 43 next month

http://www.langelaar.net
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:12 PM   #2
Dennis Hooker
Dojo: Shindai Dojo, Orlando Fl.
Location: Orlando Florida
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Re: was on a roll, now I have to rest and watch sun sets ...

Maiko, you do not have to do nothing. Approach aikido holistically. We train and cleanse the muscles and skin though the physical action of Aikido, we train and cleanse the mind through prayer and meditation and we cleanse the internal organs through deep breathing. During my long bouts with Myasthenia Gravis there have been many times when physical activity was not possible but Saotome Sensei always kept me training in other ways. My Aikido journey has lasted over 40 years now and even with two broken lumbar vertebra and one detached from the spine on the left side I will never quite training.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
https://www.createspace.com/238049

www.shindai.com
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:14 PM   #3
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Re: was on a roll, now I have to rest and watch sun sets ...

Onegaishimasu. You have to consider an injury of this type to be a real life wake up call. What makes it hard is when these things come to us and we have no choice and cannot resist. It is at a time like this that we become aware of 'openings' and we are also given a real chance to study aikido as a way of life.

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:22 PM   #4
Dennis Hooker
Dojo: Shindai Dojo, Orlando Fl.
Location: Orlando Florida
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Re: was on a roll, now I have to rest and watch sun sets ...

Maiko maybe you can find something in here that will help.

Healing the Spirit - Healing the Body
By Dennis Hooker

Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is a disease in which voluntary muscles weaken and fatigue easily, especially after repeated use and toward the end of the day. I remember dropping things like a spoon, a pencil and other items. I remember not being able to walk up the front steps of the house, or step up to get in a bus. I remember falling down in the street and not being able to get up until some good person happened by to help. I remember not being able to pick up a fork to eat. These are some of the outward signs of MG. If left untreated MG eventually affects muscles used for respiration. In past years this stage was often fatal. The weakness and paralysis of MG results from the failure of voluntary muscles to receive signals from the nerves that control them. Throughout the body nerves control muscles by means of chemical messengers that are stored in the nerve cells at the point where the cells are closest to the muscle. The nerve cells and the muscle cell do not communicate with each other directly, but across microscopic gaps called neuromuscular junctions.

For a voluntary muscle to move a nerve cell must release a chemical messenger called acetylcholine, which must flow across the junction and contact the muscle on the other side. Only specialized areas on the muscle cell known as acetylcholine receptors receive the acetylcholine. MG results mainly from the destruction of acetylcholine receptors by antibodies, specialized immune-system antibodies. The target of an antibody is known as an antigen. In the case of MG the antibodies mistake the body's healthy tissues and attack destroying these vital receptors.

I had a basic understanding of MG in the early years and medication was able to control it somewhat. However, I was a long way from being that healthy strong young man I once was. I lost my job and driving privileges. Losing my driving privileges was correct because at times I couldn't use the brake. It was about this time I met the man who could and did change my life, Mitsugi Saotome, Shihan (Master Teacher). Although I had been somewhat active in Aikido for a few years prior to the meeting I had no hope of ever going further than I was and of course I had no idea of the physical and spiritual training that was yet ahead of me. After undergoing a relapse and having surgery to remove the thymus, an organ in the chest that is part of the immune system, I had almost decided to give up on the hope of a normal life again. That is when I asked Sensei (teacher) for help.

Before getting into the training methods used, I have reproduced for you parts of a letter to me from Saotome Sensei.

"You ask for my guidance. Your body has a weakness. I know you understand that the physical and the spiritual worlds affect each other, but because you have a physical weakness or disability does not mean that your spirit is weak. It will serve to strengthen your spirit, as I know it already has. If your physical attitude is one of aggression and violence, then your spirit will be aggressive and violent; but if your physical attitude is one of harmony, your spirit will be affected in that way. This is what is meant by the physical affects the spiritual. God often uses a disability as a gift to make the spirit grow and give deeper meaning to your life. Deep breathing and the movements of harmony are very important, not aggression, not conflict, but also not weakness. The true power is in spiritual confidence, flexibility and compassion, in never giving up. Most important in any training, especially misogi, hara is the reason you are training. You must train with an open mind and always you must try to do God's will. Your spirit must strive to purify its self and search for unity with the Holy Spirit. Discover and appreciate the beautiful gifts in life, enjoy the sky, the song of the birds, the food that you eat the air that you breathe and give thanks with your body, mind, and spirit. Discover a bright and positive mind. Find a good balance between food and sleep, exercise and take the time for relaxation. Enjoying life is giving thanks to God.

Exercise and meditation will help but what is most important is what you think of your life. If you don't understand the direction misogi will not help, refining your life will not help. The most important thing to realize is that you are truly a child of God. Your life has deep meaning to help others and set a good example.

All Aikido practice is misogi - adjustment and control. All Aikido practice is meditation. Aikido is misogi waza. But be careful. Do not let your physical situation harm you mentally. This is most important. Understand your limitations and thank God for your life.

When you do the practices outlined, please be careful; listen to your body. Please remember that balance is important."

Mitsugi Saotome

Although yellowed with age and ragged from handling I still read this letter for inspiration from time to time.

The above-described characteristics of Myasthenia Gravis have a direct relationship to the type of training prescribed by Saotome Sensei. From this point I must rely on Sensei's words to express the training undertaken and I believe you will see the relationship between the training prescribed and the disease.

"In the study of the martial arts and in spiritual training a strong emphasis has always been given to the practice of controlling the breath to most effectively realize its power and cleansing properties. It fills the body and the spirit with the energies that radiate from every part of the vast universal spaces, rich living radiation charged with God's love.

By the breath the space inside the body is equalized and unified with the space outside the body. Stale air, depleted of energy and carrying accumulated poisons is exchanged for air, which is fresh and charged with the many universal essences, the electricity of the universal spaces. This cosmic energy, that fills the air, must penetrate each individual cell of the body.

Normally we take about sixteen breaths each minute: but by sitting quietly in seiza (Japanese fashion sitting), relaxed and breathing deeply from the Hara (the center of the body about two inches below the navel) in the tanden method (the tanden method is abdominal breathing done correctly), the number of breaths is easily reduced to two or even one each minute. Drawn in slowly and powerfully, the air is forced deeply in to the hara. As the hara expands, the air begins to fill the lungs and the chest expands. As the cavities are filled, inhalation continues and all the cells of the body are infused inch by inch with the electric pulse of life. Although held momentarily within the body, the air is not static. Continually moving and expanding with the fever, it forces the vibrations of life into every tissue. Then starting again with the hara the air is expelled even more slowly. The body is completely emptied and a vacuum is created within each cell. Fresh air rushes in with expanded energy to fill the awaiting vacuum as every cell in the body seizes the next breath.

As the breath slows, becoming more complete, the volume of air greatly increases. The heart slows down; its rhythm echoes with power as it forces the blood to surge mightily through the veins, quickly purging waste and dead materials from the body. The brain is stimulated and sharpened by the increase in electrical current. The signals transmitted by the central nervous system are transported more rapidly, the body's defense mechanisms are stronger, and all parts of the body glow with the vitality of improved circulation. The delicate membranes at the tip of the nerves are bathed and coated with a fluid which calms and refreshes the body and the mind."

The tanden breathing method was the first step in my rehabilitation. It took some time but eventually I could feel the heat grow inside my body. I could actually feel a tingling in every nerve. With my eyes closed, breathing deeply and strongly I could feel the energy surging through my body. For the first time in years my whole body felt alive and power that might be common to most people was new to me. Through this exercise my body became stronger and my mind and spirit calm and under control for the first time in long time. I could feel a real and distinct change taking place in my body, some of which can be attributed to the medication, but I believe the majority of the change was do to the `exercise. I had been on the medication for years without this kind of growth. This exercise consisted of sessions of at least two hours a day every day for over a year.

However, as all things can be done to excess so too can this exercise. When I had reached sufficient levels of energy in the body and mind, through deep breathing, I began to experience periods of euphoria and depression, sometimes accompanied by hallucinations. It was at this time Saotome Sensei started me on the next phase of my rehabilitation. This exercise would incorporate physical movement with deep breathing. This would assist in toning the larger muscles of my body as well as continuing my respiratory and nervous system conditioning.

The next activity undertaken was the meditation / deep breathing practice of Funatori Furutama. Again I must rely on Sensei's words to convey the effect of this practice on the mind, body and spirit.

"Funatori is an exercise familiar to Aikido students everywhere. Moving the hips it is the classic motion of the fisherman as he rows his boat to his daily work, of the samurai as they rowed their warships into battle. Accompanied by a powerful kotodama from deep within the hara, voice and body set up the vibrations of the ebb and flow of life."

The body ceases movement as the vibrations of the last sound roll out into the farthest reaches of space. Feet released from the hanmi of Funatori practice, move into the relaxed, shoulder width stance of Furutama meditation, knees slightly bent, spine erect. A deep, slow breath is taken in through the nostrils. The hands are joined, left over right, lightly enclosing a small emptiness between the palms. They are lifted over the head as if stretching the whole body to the heavens and brought down to a position, just below the hara. As the hands fall a pressure in the hara forces the breath deeper and compresses it within the body. The eyes are half closed and time becomes nothing as the breath is slowly released through the mouth. The joined hands begin a smooth steady vibration, which resounds throughout the body causing it to shake from head to toe.

The rhythm is set up and the vibration on each breath shakes the fresh energy deeper into all parts of the body, into the hara, the brain, the fingertips, and the toes. The breath is released naturally by the rhythm of the vibration and the air is expelled from the body."

At times my body was out of balance when I would start. My eyes would be rolled back and have a glazed look and my eyelids would droop half closed, this is a classic sign of Myasthenia Gravis. I could not fully open my hands, and at times I could not lift my arms above my head. Sometimes while rolling my hips forward in Funatori my front leg would give way and I would fall. However with continued practice I could extend the sessions a little each month. After the first six months my physical condition at the start of Funatori Furutama did not matter because, by the end, my clothes were soaked with perspiration my eyes in place and clear and for all practical purposes I had full use of all body parts. I would also feel spiritually awake and more alive than I had felt in years.

I would recommend that any student desiring to undergo this type of training do it with the assistance of a qualified instructor. I would also recommend that they read "Aikido And The Harmony Of Nature" by Mitsugi Saotome. My wife, children and students can attest to the power of this activity in altering ones physical and mental makeup.

This training took place over a period of years. I continued to train, to the extent possible, on the mat nearly every day. Training on the mat was in the form of both student and teacher. By this time my physical strength was greater than it was had been in years, but mentally I was almost to a state of collapse. I was going through bouts of anxiety and depression. I must admit, had I followed sensei's instructions regarding Funatori Furutama, and not used it to excess, I could have avoided this stage. Now it was time to get control of myself. This calming of the body and spirit was accomplished through the use of chinkan kishin. This is a sitting meditation designed to bring into balance the physical and spiritual being.

There are many methods of training and each individual will need to find those that are appropriate for them. The one most important thing is that you find a knowledgeable and competent teacher. This kind of training is not child's play and must be done with guidance.

Here is where I learned to make the best out of every situation. Just like that little kid sitting in the classroom unable to grind that stone of knowledge, learned how to polish the spirit of optimism. In those times of my early teenage years when Myasthenia Gravis would hit me out of the blue I learned to polish the mirror. At those times when I could not walk through the wood for some strange reason I could not understand I learned to lay real still be very patient and became a very good shot. When you run out of options you must deal with, and make the best of, the inevitable. Don't hate what you can't do and don't hate anything within you. These only causes conflict that will one day need to be resoled before you can start on the healing process. Instead of dwelling upon what you can't do, rejoice in what you can do and learn to do it the best you can.

Copyright 2003
Shindai Aikikai, Shindai.com and Respective Authors. All Rights Reserved.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
https://www.createspace.com/238049

www.shindai.com
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Old 06-19-2008, 04:11 PM   #5
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: was on a roll, now I have to rest and watch sun sets ...

I feel the pain. My son kicked me in the thigh last night at the dojo while we were mixing it up pretty hard. OUCH! Fortunatley it's just a flesh wound. Not that I am comparing that to anybody elses situation. I have great admiration for those who continue to train regardless of their physical limitations. I'll always remember what Takahashi sensei said to me once; "A bushi (warrior) simply resolves to walk the path with dignity and courage, accepting the lessons each by each, for better and for worse. It is truly the journey that counts, as the path has infinite possibilities with no end in sight."
I have trained with those who have only one arm as well as those who's knees are barely functional. In each case I have been more impressed by their warrior spirit than by their technique, although their technique was in each case, very good.
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:12 PM   #6
Janet Rosen
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Re: was on a roll, now I have to rest and watch sun sets ...

Take time to heal but also do what you can with the body parts that work (seated weapons work?) and do breathing and movement that makes you feel better. Also if you have been part of a dojo community, consider showing up once a week just to watch class. You'd be surprised what you can learn!

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 06-20-2008, 05:49 AM   #7
crbateman
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Re: was on a roll, now I have to rest and watch sun sets ...

Maiko, even the most hardcore "mat rat" will tell you that Aikido is not solely a physical art. In fact, many will say that it is the mental and spiritual aspects that give it its unique dimension. The bottom line is that your mind and your heart are not broken. Use the downtime necessitated by your physical injuries to train and expand yourself in other ways. Read, watch videos, research the net, meditate, circulate, ask questions, consider the answers, stay involved with your dojo, visit others, spectate at seminars. You can also still do many things physical (within your doctor's guidelines), such as stretch, move, do bukiwaza at slow speed, smooth out the kinks, do breathing exercises and/or ki drills. Now is the time you can get to know Aikido in ways you hadn't even considered before. Aikido is about blending and accepting... not just with a training partner on the mat, but with yourself, and with your situation.

Last edited by crbateman : 06-20-2008 at 05:52 AM.
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Old 06-20-2008, 09:50 AM   #8
Enrique Antonio Reyes
Dojo: Yuugou Aikido Kaisho
Location: Manila
Join Date: May 2008
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Lightbulb Re: was on a roll, now I have to rest and watch sun sets ...

Quote:
Maiko Langelaar wrote: View Post
Just when things were going really great, 1 year & 4 months of great aikikai training, then bang - I am forced to stop. And I was just getting into the high falls

Nuclear bone scan says there is *some* uptake in the symphysis pubis. Sports doctor says my hip adductors are strained. I am told
to rest and watch the sun sets for the rest of the summer. It's already been over 3 months of rest (no running, no aikido, etc),
and the recovery is just taking it's sweet time

I'm almost devastated. I hate this. Having two boys (9 and 11) around constantly asking to play catch or throw the ball (which really is not that bad) does not help the recovery period any,
and of course you can't just say NO to them every day. I mean
that stuff is important to them (and me too), so I just go along
with it, trying not to lunge or jump or anything like that.

Today I get to see what my MRI from a few weeks ago says.

Oh joy ! I can hardly wait

But I guess I should not complain, after hearing about people being out of action for over a year or more due to back pain or other injuries.

The worst part seems after I wake up, if I try to roll over or get up one leg at a time, it's the worse then, but then calms down over the course of the next few hours. I've found sleeping with a pillow between the legs is helping big time in the recovery.

Anyways ... just venting .... My neighbour told me he had an injury like that 15 years ago (snow boarding) and it took 2 years for the effects of the injuy to finally not be noticed anymore ... Sob !!!

Greetings from Maiko in Winnipeg (Winnipeg Aikikai)

* turning the big 43 next month

http://www.langelaar.net
Hi there my Aiki Friend. I had this dojo mate once who loves to practice randori till he's dead tired. One time he was so tired that he was not able to do proper ukemi. He fell on his head and broke a part of his spine. He's been paralyzed from the neck down for about 15 years now...take it easy...things will eventually be better.

Sincerely,

Iking
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:10 AM   #9
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
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Re: was on a roll, now I have to rest and watch sun sets ...

Maiko:

You might also use this recovery time to reflect on how you are training. A person can train hard and still learn to soften the body to conform to applied forces. How we train can be more important than how hard we train. Our bodies do not lie to us! If we are injuring ourselves, we are doing something wrong. We simply need to reflect on what we are doing wrong and seek to improve how we move. I am constantly reflecting on this issue as I age (some days more gracefully than others!) and am training smarter so that my hard training is becoming softer and softer. I find that I can practice harder and longer when I am true to this path.

Good Luck and speedy recovery!

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:13 AM   #10
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Wink Re: was on a roll, now I have to rest and watch sun sets ...

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Take time to heal but also do what you can with the body parts that work (seated weapons work?) and do breathing and movement that makes you feel better. Also if you have been part of a dojo community, consider showing up once a week just to watch class. You'd be surprised what you can learn!
That's right, show up to watch class when you can, and bring a notebook to write down what you observe. Then, you can refresh your memory and practice mentally when you have to rest.
I can imagine that this is hard for your kids and you. The best thing is to be honest and explain to them why you can no longer romp around the backyard with them like before. But you can still watch them romp, encourage them, cheer them, organize games, show them that you still enjoy their company.
In all my years of training in various disciplines, I've see people train with all kinds of physical conditions. I've seen a dancer with sickle cell anemia show up in class awfully sick, and train anyway, saying that if she did not, she would feel worse the next day. I've seen an Aikido student who had a car accident come watch class in a neck brace. Train when you can, rest when you have to, meditate a lot. Remember, Aikido is more mental than physical. Having to do a lot of mental training can give you more concentration, and a deeper understanding of the philosophy and the techniques.
What do you do when life gives you lemons?
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:32 AM   #11
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
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Re: was on a roll, now I have to rest and watch sun sets ...

Come to think of it, what an excellent time to focus exclusively on mindfulness practice!

In gassho,

Mark

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