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Old 12-11-2009, 01:35 PM   #1
ninjaqutie
 
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Bending bones!

I have no idea where to post this, so I just thought I'd toss it in here. We have a new guy in our dojo who isn't able to relax. When he grabs you, he squeezes the life out of your wrist. Last night there were 2 complete beginners, me and my husband (9 months) and another guy who's been there a year. So class was pretty laid back. I worked this previously mentioned stiff guy for tai no henko. Now, I actually enjoy working with this guy because there is no way I can do the technique unless my form is correct. Well, my form was correct, but he doesn't really move or get under your wrist. Well, due to his extremely strong grip, I could literally feel my radial and ulna bones bending.... and it HURT! My poor 5 inch circumference wrists just aren't meant to handle that amount of stress I guess.

Anyway, I just sort of put up with it because I didn't want him to think I didn't like working with him, that I couldn't work with him because he is stronger and lets face it "Can you loosen your grip? You are hurting me." just sounds like I am wimping out. I tried a few things to lessen the pain, but they didn't really help. I expanded my fingers apart to make my wrists/forearm a bit bigger, but that didn't really help. I ended up going from the low to the middle variation and that helped alleviate the pain a tinsy bit...

I asked sensei after class (he wasn't there during class, a sempai was teaching) if there was something I was doing wrong and he told me that it sounds like I was doing everything right. I'm hoping he can take a look next time I work this this guy. Anyway, I have bruising on both of my forearms today and both are a bit swollen. So.... I guess I am asking you guys, have you ever experienced this and how did you deal with the problem? I mean, you have to do the technique you are asked to work on, so it isn't like I am worried if it came to this grab and I had the choice to do other things.

Feedback please!

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
 
Old 12-11-2009, 01:51 PM   #2
Michael Hackett
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Re: Bending bones!

There isn't anything wimpy about acknowledging your own pain and letting your partner know. You need to draw the line between exaggerating your pain and speaking up when it is too intense for the situation. I used to periodically speak with an elderly woman, in her eighties at the time, in various community meetings. She was the sweetest person and would hold your hand for minutes on end when shaking hands. She also had a grip stronger than anyone I ever met! I finally told her one evening that she was killing me and to loosen up - me in my full Sheriff's uniform with gunbelt, baton, light saber and all. She loosened her grip and explained that she had spent the first sixty years of her life on a dairy farm and milked cows by hand all of her life. Wimpy? Perhaps, but I could move my fingers the next day. Don't take unnecessary pain - be a carrier!

Michael
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:09 PM   #3
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Re: Bending bones!

Michael said it right. Tell the guy to loosen up.
 
Old 12-11-2009, 02:15 PM   #4
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Re: Bending bones!

What he fails to understand is that if you are holding hard there, it means that you are open somewhere else. that "anchor" is his failure point. He believes that by applying as much force as he can there he is controlling you, more force, more control. However, it is not correct and he has an weakspot somewhere else.

Tell him to losen up if it hurts, first of all.

Secondly, realize that you are not a failure by having him do this. See if you can find the weakspot.

I've been doing this long enough now that I can find it pretty quickly...also, I never grab to hard like this as I know that if the other person is good, I just comitted a tactical error!

When someone grabs like that, it usually is telling about there level of experience and skill. so keep that in mind when looking for your own validation of training!

 
Old 12-11-2009, 02:24 PM   #5
Maarten De Queecker
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Re: Bending bones!

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
What he fails to understand is that if you are holding hard there, it means that you are open somewhere else. that "anchor" is his failure point. He believes that by applying as much force as he can there he is controlling you, more force, more control. However, it is not correct and he has an weakspot somewhere else.

Tell him to losen up if it hurts, first of all.

Secondly, realize that you are not a failure by having him do this. See if you can find the weakspot.

I've been doing this long enough now that I can find it pretty quickly...also, I never grab to hard like this as I know that if the other person is good, I just comitted a tactical error!

When someone grabs like that, it usually is telling about there level of experience and skill. so keep that in mind when looking for your own validation of training!
What he said. People who are trying to control you by using a lot of force on one place, focus on that one spot and often forget that they are wide open for jabs, kicks, punches,... A quick atemi might startle him and cause loosen him to loosen the grip a bit.

Oh and your ego is not worth bent or broken bones. Just tell him if he's squeezing to hard.
 
Old 12-11-2009, 02:44 PM   #6
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Bending bones!

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
... He believes that by applying as much force as he can there he is controlling you, more force, more control. ...
Or maybe he is trying to be a good uke but doesn't know how. Motivations are tricky things to figure out. I get lots of bruises from the beginners. Payback for my ukemi when I started I guess. I'm really big and folks think they have to squeeze harder.

I've had many scary people ask me to lighten up and try to connect with them. More interesting for them, much better training for me. I usually ask the folks that are leaving meaningless bruises to do something else. Meaningful bruises, well that's another thread.

Quote:
ninjaqutie wrote: View Post
... and lets face it "Can you loosen your grip? You are hurting me." just sounds like I am wimping out.
Doesn't sound like wimping out to me. Sounds like a reasonable alternative when dealing with a beginner. Much better than a broken or damaged arm.

Good luck,
Mark
 
Old 12-11-2009, 03:10 PM   #7
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Re: Bending bones!

I thought that's the correct way to practice tai no henko. That's the way I expect uke to grab me.
 
Old 12-11-2009, 03:15 PM   #8
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Re: Bending bones!

Sensei has told him on several occassions to abandon his strength, but he just replies that strength is all that he has. I can tell that he has a weak point and am able to do the techniques if my form is correct. I know it is something he will "grow out" of because he simply doesn't know any better yet. I do not believe he has any ill intensions. The sempai teaching last night kept showing how to stay connected to nage and showed what uke should do, but it just isn't clicking for him yet. No one else has mentioned him hurting them like he is me. They just say that he grabs hard. I guess it is because my wrists are so tiny. Who knows. Thanks for the feedback everyone!

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
 
Old 12-11-2009, 03:34 PM   #9
Janet Rosen
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Re: Bending bones!

There is no reason for anybody at any level to create pain and bruising on a regular basis to a training partner. His motives, strengths, weaknesses are all irrelevent to this single key fact.

Alejandro, there is a difference between giving a strong, connected attack in order to immobilize someone (I'll note that to my mind, sometimes that is and sometimes that is not what tai no henko is "about") and actually hurting and bruising with regularity.

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Old 12-11-2009, 03:39 PM   #10
Maarten De Queecker
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Re: Bending bones!

Quote:
Ashley Carter wrote: View Post
Sensei has told him on several occassions to abandon his strength, but he just replies that strength is all that he has. I can tell that he has a weak point and am able to do the techniques if my form is correct. I know it is something he will "grow out" of because he simply doesn't know any better yet. I do not believe he has any ill intensions. The sempai teaching last night kept showing how to stay connected to nage and showed what uke should do, but it just isn't clicking for him yet. No one else has mentioned him hurting them like he is me. They just say that he grabs hard. I guess it is because my wrists are so tiny. Who knows. Thanks for the feedback everyone!
I do believe that there are people who can't work in certain ways. Where I train, there is a person who is unable to work slowly, even though he has been training for years. It took me two years to force myself to calm down a bit. On the other hand, there are people who just can't attack strongly, because it doesn't lie in that person's nature.

Still, if that guy said that the only thing he's got is strength, there might be some underlying issues, like lack of confidence, or not wanting to appear weak.

Everybody is different, and learning to cope with that is one of the funner, if not harder, sides of aikido.
 
Old 12-11-2009, 03:47 PM   #11
Basia Halliop
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Re: Bending bones!

I don't think asking someone to do something a bit differently because it's hurting you needs to be such a big deal or embarrassing -- and although in this case it's just bruises so not that big a deal, personally I think it's good to get in the habit of feeling confident and relaxed about speaking up, and someday in the future it might save you a preventable injury or accident.

Of course sometimes we choose to go through pain because we feel like there's something useful we're learning or for some such a reason, but other times it's just pain and nothing useful enough to justify it, or sometimes it gets in the way of learning, or presages an injury about to happen. And in any case, it's purely up to you to choose when you want to go through it, it's not something you need to just get sucked along into by default.

I..e, I would try not to think of it as wimping out... try to think of it as standing up for yourself.
 
Old 12-11-2009, 04:17 PM   #12
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Bending bones!

So when O Sensei did his famous grip of doom he was doing aikido wrong....

Anyway, imho, when training both partners have to consider the relative skill of each other. Gripping harder (or softer) than your partner can deal with is unproductive.

 
Old 12-11-2009, 05:28 PM   #13
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Re: Bending bones!

I'm a big guy, 250 lbs +, a former power lifter and a nidan but I have fragile elbows. Lots of times I've asked much smaller men, women and kids to take it easy on a technique because they were tweaking my elbow. The is no shame in protecting yourself!!! Beyond not hurting your partner, your other primary responsibility is to not let yourself get hurt. So tell the guy to loosen up!

Also, as someone who I am sure did that to peoples arms when I started, I bet he just thinks he's giving a committed attack. He probably doesn't understand that when he holds that strongly he is giveing up relaxation and can't really feel what is happen in either his or your body. Ask him to try using an open palm and try to feel how you are moving. Do that with him too. It may cause something to click for him.
 
Old 12-11-2009, 06:51 PM   #14
Garth Jones
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Re: Bending bones!

I would bet that when O'Sensei grabbed with his 'grip of doom' he was establishing such a deep connection between his center and his partner's center that his partner was really stuck. That is a very different feeling from trying to squeeze the stuffing out of somebody's wrist. In the second case the result is much localized pain but no control over center.

When I am teaching a brand new person who grabs like that I tell them that the pain they are causing is counterproductive, because, as Kevin said earlier in this thread, they leave themselves open to all sorts of mischief. Also, beginners who grab like that tend to bend forward and watch my wrist - they are so focused on the grab that they forget about the rest of me. Unwise.

Anyway, tell the guy to lighten up if he's doing you harm. I'm not shy about that - I need my body to keep working right so that I can keep training, and keep working (I build custom furniture and I really need my hands and arms undamaged!). Also, if you can change your timing so that you are moving just before he clamps down, then he won't be able to as well. That should also serve to show him that there is more to aikido than a very static practice.

Cheers,
Garth
 
Old 12-11-2009, 07:50 PM   #15
Janet Rosen
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Re: Bending bones!

Quote:
Bruce Wells wrote: View Post
Ask him to try using an open palm and try to feel how you are moving. Do that with him too. It may cause something to click for him.
GREAT suggestion.

Last edited by akiy : 12-12-2009 at 04:50 PM. Reason: Fixed quoting

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Old 12-11-2009, 08:21 PM   #16
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Bending bones!

Honestly... just tell him he is hurting you and explain the potential injury you are concerned about. He probably has no idea and will be mortified to think he might have caused you real harm.

I have a very strong grip. Sensei often will use me to demonstrate how techniques work when someone strong is trying to prevent you from moving. lol he can't move me unless he gets the technique right when I get fully grounded.

Now I know that I have to adjust for different people and my tendency is more toward not grabbing hard enough out of concern I might hurt someone. That said one day I was working with someone new. (to me. She is Shodan I think) She being much smaller than me and older I was being very careful and not really grabbing her like I should. So she says to me, you need to grab harder and make a connection. At which point I tightened down on her to about half to three quarters strength...lol she kinda glared at me and said you don't have to leave bruises. Good thing I didn't go full strength...

Other people I practice with like me to be stronger and some need me to be lighter. I try to provide what each individual wants to work with. But I can't do that unless they give me some feedback.

Sometimes a strong person just needs a bit of help learning how to judge the power of his or her grip and adjust it according to the needs of their partner. This is something you can help him to learn.

And perhaps your sensei might show your fellow student why being strong can be a total disadvantage when attacking a well trained Aikidoka. I always apreciate getting those lessons myself.

I also fairly often work with guys who seem to think they have to try to lock me down and prevent me from moving. Fortunately I don't break too easy so while sometimes it does irritate me, more often I look at it as an opportunity to really explore and look for those holes. For me the big problem is always jut loosing tension and forgetting about that hand holding onto me. On the rare occasion someone actually does hurt me in a way that could be a problem I make sure to let them know to be more careful.

Last edited by Shadowfax : 12-11-2009 at 08:25 PM.
 
Old 12-11-2009, 10:24 PM   #17
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Bending bones!

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
So when O Sensei did his famous grip of doom he was doing aikido wrong....
I think he was doing aikido very rightly, using kokyu rather than muscular strength (although he also had this too for much of his life).

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Anyway, imho, when training both partners have to consider the relative skill of each other. Gripping harder (or softer) than your partner can deal with is unproductive.
Definitely. I doubt Osensei gripped a child the same way he would grip an adult. I think he probably gave everyone what they needed to learn.
 
Old 12-11-2009, 11:10 PM   #18
Abasan
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Re: Bending bones!

Its good he's earnest, but its not good if he hurts you. Everyone's physical make up is different. Since you're doing kihon where waza is done from static, some allowances must be made. Therefore I suggest you tell him to start from 50% power or less and work your way upwards.

Relaxing your arm and breathing out through it would help. Also if you move him, you must not use your hand like a lever. The pain is an indication that you're fighting him or tensing up. Correct movement is relaxed but extended.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
 
Old 12-12-2009, 12:07 AM   #19
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Re: Bending bones!

Look at the position of his hands, too. Is he grabbing straight across his palm, like you'd do when lifting a weight, or diagonally, with the main part of the grab in the last 3 fingers, like you'd hold a bokken? I was told to do the latter. It gives you a very secure grip, with less force/pain. I've notice when new people grab straight across my wrist, there's more sort of bone-to-bone contact. The connection is wobbly, and way more painful than the bokken-like grip. (I hope that made sense... It's bedtime. Long day.)

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Old 12-12-2009, 04:55 AM   #20
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Re: Bending bones!

The way I see it is: if you don't use the "grip of doom", your partner will never ever learn tai no henko. Or any te hodoki for that matter...

Every other day I come home with bruises in my wrists, forarms, etc. That's what we do. We do Budo.

Of course is not about grabbing 100% full strength to a complete beginner, but hard enough for him not to be able to move if technique is not right.

I've been training long years with "grip of tin" and never learnt tai no henko until I received the "grip of iron" from the Iwama guys, then the Yoseikan people. Shortly after, I left the tin-guys.

My point is that unless you traing the right attacks, you'll never learn the right defenses. Maybe not from day one but from day two. Definitely 9 months is too draged.
 
Old 12-12-2009, 06:41 AM   #21
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Re: Bending bones!

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Of course is not about grabbing 100% full strength to a complete beginner, but hard enough for him not to be able to move if technique is not right.
I really like this way of training, especially when you see the resultant effect of a small woman moving freely in the iron grip of a large male uke. But it doesn't sound like they're doing the kotai waza Osensei left in Iwama or the tehodoki of Yoseikan/Seifukai. Tin or iron, they still need awase.
 
Old 12-12-2009, 06:51 AM   #22
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Re: Bending bones!

Quote:
Ashley Carter wrote: View Post
I have no idea where to post this, so I just thought I'd toss it in here. We have a new guy in our dojo who isn't able to relax. When he grabs you, he squeezes the life out of your wrist. Last night there were 2 complete beginners, me and my husband (9 months) and another guy who's been there a year. So class was pretty laid back. I worked this previously mentioned stiff guy for tai no henko. Now, I actually enjoy working with this guy because there is no way I can do the technique unless my form is correct. Well, my form was correct, but he doesn't really move or get under your wrist. Well, due to his extremely strong grip, I could literally feel my radial and ulna bones bending.... and it HURT! My poor 5 inch circumference wrists just aren't meant to handle that amount of stress I guess.

Anyway, I just sort of put up with it because I didn't want him to think I didn't like working with him, that I couldn't work with him because he is stronger and lets face it "Can you loosen your grip? You are hurting me." just sounds like I am wimping out. I tried a few things to lessen the pain, but they didn't really help. I expanded my fingers apart to make my wrists/forearm a bit bigger, but that didn't really help. I ended up going from the low to the middle variation and that helped alleviate the pain a tinsy bit...

I asked sensei after class (he wasn't there during class, a sempai was teaching) if there was something I was doing wrong and he told me that it sounds like I was doing everything right. I'm hoping he can take a look next time I work this this guy. Anyway, I have bruising on both of my forearms today and both are a bit swollen. So.... I guess I am asking you guys, have you ever experienced this and how did you deal with the problem? I mean, you have to do the technique you are asked to work on, so it isn't like I am worried if it came to this grab and I had the choice to do other things.

Feedback please!
Ashley, is it painful as this partner grabs? or when you try to move? or both? I ask because it seems like there might be motion if the bones are moving. If your partner is just plain squeezing, that serves no purpose.

But, if it's just painful when you try to move, then keep in mind, I'm not an instructor... But if I may, I would suggest trying to ignore your wrist completely as if it didn't exist. Try to move from your hips; extend from your center. Just like the bokken is an extension of your arm, your wrist and hands and fingers are an extension of your arm and of your center. The bokken is pretty straight and now so is your arm... And this type of practice could be helpful for improving technique.

My instructor has a way of locking my wrist with his "iron clamp" that isn't necessarily painful, but completely immobilizes my wrist (and hand). It is definitely uncomfortable and awkward. It's only painful if I try to pull on my wrist or move through it. Think of a much larger circle, and move/extend along it with your hips, perhaps pushing under/through your elbow, and beyond along the circle. Do not focus on the wrist or moving the wrist. The wrist is just part of your arm.


~my two cents. Perhaps this is not the case in this situation. In any case, best wishes for a happy solution.

Just thoughts of a student
 
Old 12-12-2009, 07:08 AM   #23
dalen7
 
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Re: Bending bones!

I would recommend telling him to loosen up... not worth getting hurt over and no shame in it.

Obviously he lacks the bigger picture of what's going on with the practicing of techniques... and it sounds like he would benefit if the instructor would clarify a few points for him.

Maybe he would change his mind if a bigger guy came up and put their knuckles into his wrist to 'escape', and while doing kotegaeshi they rammed their elbow into his inner-bicep. [All techniques we learn, though I rarely do those forms.]

Anyway, the best to you in your training...

Peace

dAlen

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Old 12-12-2009, 08:25 AM   #24
Michael Douglas
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Re: Bending bones!

It's great that there is a student who CAN grip like buggery, just don't be shy to ask him not to grip YOU too hard.
 
Old 12-12-2009, 06:39 PM   #25
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Bending bones!

I can grip a wrist, hold it tight, tight enough where you can't get out, yet it won't cause any pain...you simply can't get away from it unless you figure out how to uproot my ground path.

That grip though, does not involve squeezing with maximum pressure at the palm/hand...focusing all your Ki/energy in that one point I believe means you have opennings/weaknesses elsewhere.

 

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