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Old 04-23-2002, 02:07 PM   #1
Arianah
Dojo: Aikido of Norwalk
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Popping Joints?

Hello all
I have a problem with popping/grinding joints. Especially when I'm doing bokken cuts, and even when striking or punching, I find that my elbows and shoulders will grind, and it is quite painful. I have seen many posts concerning popping joints, and often the assertion is that this will go away given time. Over what period of time do you think this would be, and is there anything that I can do to speed up the process? I stretch my shoulders (which are the biggest problem of the two joints) daily, and lift weights to strengthen them, but this hasn't helped. Any advice would be appreciated . . .
Sarah
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Old 04-23-2002, 02:33 PM   #2
Erik
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Re: Popping Joints?

Quote:
Originally posted by Arianah
Hello all
I have a problem with popping/grinding joints. Especially when I'm doing bokken cuts, and even when striking or punching, I find that my elbows and shoulders will grind, and it is quite painful. I have seen many posts concerning popping joints, and often the assertion is that this will go away given time. Over what period of time do you think this would be, and is there anything that I can do to speed up the process? I stretch my shoulders (which are the biggest problem of the two joints) daily, and lift weights to strengthen them, but this hasn't helped. Any advice would be appreciated . . .
Sarah
I just went to the doctor over this. I was getting a painful popping sound in my shoulder which was related to an injury received some time ago. The doctor basically gave me some VIOXX, said go ahead and do what you are doing and see me in a few weeks. She said it was an inflamed tendon. I got the feeling that she felt it wasn't a big deal but it hurt and it didn't get better on it's own. I've redesigned a bit of my workout but otherwise am proceeding pretty much as normal. I will say that stretching and weights didn't help but the VIOXX (an anti-inflamatory) has helped. What happens when it runs out remains to be seen.

Last edited by Erik : 04-23-2002 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 04-23-2002, 02:36 PM   #3
Robyn Johnson
 
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Hi!

I had to go see a doctor for the same reason last year and he just took some x-rays and gave me some anti-inflammatory pills to take. My joints were just a little inflamed. I think that the pills probably helped. Also, did a few exercises to build some muscles around those shoulder joints. My shoulder rarely pops now. This just helped me. It probably only took 2 or 3 months (I think, can't quite remember).

How long have you been doing the stretches, etc? I'm certainly no expert. Just wanted to say what helped me. If you haven't gone to see a doctor, maybe you should.

Robyn
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Old 04-23-2002, 02:37 PM   #4
Robyn Johnson
 
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Wow Erik! You beat me to it!

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Old 04-23-2002, 03:13 PM   #5
warriorwoman
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warriorwoman

Arianah,
This must have been going on a lot longer than a few months, since I believe you've been training for quite a while now. The popping may not seem so troublesome, but you also mentioned a "grinding", which does seem to indicate that perhaps some damage might be taking place. If you haven't gone to a doctor, you probably should, so you don't wind up with a permanent case of arthritis. I would also seek the care of a competent acupuncturist (preferably one that is an M.D.)I've seen one here work miracles on a guy I used to train Kung Fu with who had a damaged rotator(?) cuff in his shoulder from sparring with a combat steel (heavy) quan dao (horse cutter). The longer you've had the injury, the more treatments you'll need, but don't give up. Ibuprofen (an anti-inflammatory) might help as well as Salonpas. These are patches that are applied directly to the injured area from Japan which contain salycilic acid (aspirin) and are available over the counter at any oriental grocery store. I would also try taking glucosamine. The grinding sounds like you might be lacking synuvial fluid in your joints, so you might try to do some research on what might replace that. I'd also seek out a reputable cranio-sacral therapist. They work wonders with body energy. I'm not a medical person, so I'm merely giving you some ideas of things that have worked successfully for me in the past. Colleen - where are you? I believe she is a medical person, so hopefully she can give you some better advice. Good luck with this and I hope you'll keep us informed on what does help with that situation since I believe others would also benefit.
janet dtantirojanarat
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janet dtantirojanarat
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Old 04-23-2002, 03:26 PM   #6
Kat.C
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Re: Popping Joints?

Quote:
Originally posted by Arianah
Hello all
I have a problem with popping/grinding joints. Especially when I'm doing bokken cuts, and even when striking or punching, I find that my elbows and shoulders will grind, and it is quite painful. I have seen many posts concerning popping joints, and often the assertion is that this will go away given time. Over what period of time do you think this would be, and is there anything that I can do to speed up the process? I stretch my shoulders (which are the biggest problem of the two joints) daily, and lift weights to strengthen them, but this hasn't helped. Any advice would be appreciated . . .
Sarah
Hello, I had this problem before I started aikido. My right shoulder was grinding/popping and had been for quite some time. It got progressively worse and finally went to the Doctor again. He had previously dismissed my pain as a pulled muscle. X-rays ruled out problems with the bones so he figured it has something to do with my ligaments. He told me to stop doing weights and I did about a month and a half ago and I haven't had any problems since. Funny thing is I had only just started working with weights a few months previously and my pain had been going on for much longer that that.
But giving up the weights worked, you might want to try that, but definitely see a doctor.

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-23-2002, 04:30 PM   #7
guest1234
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Hi,

First, everyone's advice about a doctor visit is excellent: one reason I always tell folks on this forum to see a doctor (PA, NP, etc) is a physical examination is crucial to a diagnosis. But there are some things in general that usually hold true: pain usually indicates injury, 'working through' pain usually worsens injury, gain is usually NOT achieved through pain (despite anything your high school coach told you ).

Pain in a shoulder can mean anything from arthritis (inflammation of the joint), tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon that connects muscle to bone), bursitis (inflammation of the fluid-filled cushion inside the shoulder joint, tear in the rotator cuff, etc. It can happen from too much repetetive motion, from too great a load/stretch placed on a muscle/joint, or a combination of things.

Sometimes day to day activites can cause the pain, usually it is either an increase in them, or a new thing added (hence one may have had some shoulder pain from say, dusting or cleaning windows, which became much worse with lifting weights, and when treated with say an anti-inflamatory and stopping weights got better). Usual treatment for almost everything is some sort of anti-inflammatory medication (unless you are allergic or have a history of asthma or ulcers) and rest it until better. Depending on what is wrong, sometimes physical therapy is used. But rest is a key ingredient.

Once you go back to an activity after rest, I warn patients that they should expect to start out at a lower level of training than they had, and gradually GRADUALLY build back up. I give them a rule of thumb that it should take them twice as long to get to the level they were at when they stopped as the amount of time spent out of the activity: eg, for 3-4 weeks of rest assume 6-8 weeks of slow build up back to the level you were at when you stopped. I think reinjury is one of the biggest risks, exceeded only by increased injury from 'working through' pain.

Finally, if you are any sort of medication, it is wise to discuss 'routine' dojo aches with your doctor, and if given new medication, make sure your doctor knows you do a MA. I shuddered last OCT when everyone and their brother hit up the family doc for Cipro...how many patients knew it carried an increased risk of tendon rupture while using it? Another member of my dojo was on a cholesterol lowering medication, and for some time put off discussing his muscle aches with his doctor because he thought they were due to restarting Aikido after a break; instead, they were due to his muscles being damaged by his medication. Pain that is more than minor and/or persists is always a good reason to discuss your problem with your doctor.

Last edited by guest1234 : 04-24-2002 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 04-23-2002, 04:47 PM   #8
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
Usual treatment for almost everything is some sort of anti-inflammatory medication (unless you are allergic or have a history of asthma or ulcers) and rest it until better. Depending on what is wrong, sometimes physical therapy is used. But rest is a key ingredient.
This rest part. I was told specifically to keep right on doing what I was doing. I kept thinking, "you sure you understand what I do?" I even mentioned weight lifting and she wanted me to change a couple of movements but that was also a go. I've toned it down but otherwise just kept going. I got the feeling that it had something to do with the fact that it's been like this for a few months. I was expecting your advice and so I'm more than a bit
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Old 04-23-2002, 08:04 PM   #9
Arianah
Dojo: Aikido of Norwalk
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Thanks for the response, guys. I didn't really expect so many people (um, that is, everyone ) to tell me to go to a doctor; I never think that anything merits a doctor's visit (an outlook that I should probably remedy if I want to live to see twenty . How quickly one gets old, neh?) I will definitely see someone about it. Just a bit more information, in case my first post made it sound worse than it is: I have full range of motion (actually, probably more than many others, because of my freakish flexibility), and though I can feel the cracking/popping/grinding in my shoulders even when I move my arms slowly and smoothly, the only time it hurts is when I make quick, choppy movements. And even then it isn't really painful, just enough for me to fret a little. Anyway, I will see a doctor about it.

As for resting . . . well, I don't really have a choice about that right now, since I'm forced into another aiki-hiatus by the college where my dojo is located. (Grr! ) So I probably won't be doing much of anything for the next couple of weeks. Sigh . . .

Thanks for the advice so far. If anyone else has a comment, I'd love to hear it.

Sarah

Last edited by Arianah : 04-23-2002 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 04-23-2002, 10:10 PM   #10
Edward
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Popping and grinding sounds, why does this sound so familiar to me? If you are serious about aikido and practice every day, tendinitis and other similar stuff are an unavoidable by-product. You either have to live with them, or quit aikido, or take pills for the rest of your life. I myself have grinding and popping sounds in my shoulders, elbows, wrists and knees. The worst are in my wrists, probably from too much Kotegaeshi and Shihonage.
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Old 04-24-2002, 04:42 AM   #11
Simen Smestad
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Hi Arianah!
I think the most important thing is to relax as much as possible when you do the things that make your joints pop/grind so that there is a minimum of tention in the joint. Also stop lifting weights as that will make your muscles more tense and make it harder to relax. Try to lower your shoulders as your hands go up to cut, instead of raising them. Raised shoulders = tension in the joint. This will also make your arms go up more directly in front of your face to create a better shield. Also when your thrusting straight forward (tsuke) keep your shoulders relaxed. Bruce Lee once said: "A correct punch should see the arm completely relaxed until the moment of impact. And have a snap several inches behind the target."
I hope your problems will not hinder you in your training, and that they leave you soon.

Simen
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Old 04-24-2002, 06:10 AM   #12
Bruce Baker
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popping joints

Somewhere back around thirty, almost twenty years ago now, my snap, crackle, pop began to get noticalby loud.

Continuous stretching and movement helped to keep the dreaded Arthritus away, but no amount of rest and diet seemed to help to totally quiet the noises.

When I was Diagnosed for Meniere's a Water pill, Dyazide was recommended. As the months passed, Back Pain, knee popping, and joint noises quieted as time went until within two years ... no noises, no pain ... at least from popping joints.

Check with your doctor about diet, and water pill to help with your build up of water in your body?

My water pill is supposed to keep the water level in my inner ear from building into pressure, imbalance, and pain ... who would have thought it would relieve popping noise or joint pain too?

You could use popping noises as a distraction for your training partner, but I think you would be happier to make the pain go away too?
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Old 04-24-2002, 06:44 PM   #13
warriorwoman
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popping joints

This may be a bit off topic, but after reading Coleen's post, I started to wonder. Are there any other common medications that martial artists should be careful with? Also, what is your opinion of glucosamine, and/or chondritin?
janet dtantirojanarat
www.warriorwoman.org

janet dtantirojanarat
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Old 04-24-2002, 09:01 PM   #14
Krzysiek
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I have a thesis due in two weeks so I haven't had time to write much.

I would like to answer Edward who wrote that joint damage is unavoidable in Aikido.

Here's why I think it's complicated:
1. Flexibility can be good or bad. If a joint is too flexible, it can move beyond the range that's anatomically supposed to move in and that could cause it to be put in a 'weak' position while you're asking it to bear a lot of weight (kind of like being off-center except for your joints)

2. If you have uneven muscle development or tension your own body could be pulling your should out of place as you use it again leading to a weak position, grinding, swelling, etc...

3. If it hurts when you move it or it grinds when you move it (even a little) ... and sometimes even if it pops when you move it... it means you're irritating something which is going to swell, leading to grindings, more swelling, etc...

For some answers:
1. I'd like to second Colleen. Another explanation: if you let it rest, the swelling will go away, if the swelling goes away, exercise is less likely to irritate the joint, then you can return to training

2. You might need to warm up more than your fellow students.... When you warm up (properly) you add more lubrication to a joint which can let even a damaged joint work without more irritation.

3. Stretch to get your muscles (you shouldn't stretch ligaments or tendons much) warm and ready for class, don't do it to see how far you can stretch.

4. Be aware of how your joints move (this takes about as much practice as Aikido, but a little can go a long way) There's a natural way and there's everything else.

example:
leaving your shoulder blades in a neutral position and your arms straight, see what the range of motion is for your shoulder joint. It's not really a circle, it's more circular in the front and bumpy in the back.

5. As an extension of number 4, there are worked out systems of learning about natural movement of the human body which can do amazing things for you. They have teachers and give lessons and everything... they're not an option for everybody since it takes a lot of insight and can be expensive.

I wrote this pretty fast so forgive me if I offend anyone. If you're curious about any of this I'd be happy to write more.

--Krzysiek
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Old 04-24-2002, 10:01 PM   #15
guest1234
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The list of potential problem medications probably could be endless...but I would hesitate to make a list as there are always folks who might think if theirmedication isn't on it it has to be OK, and there are always exceptions, new drugs, etc.... safest thing, if you take any medication routinely, or start any new medication, check with the provider who prescribes it, or your pharmacist. I would include OTC (over the counter) and herbal meds in this rule. It is well worth the few extra minutes to be sure your medications and Aikido mix.

As for glucosamine or chodroitin, I've not seen anything in the way of good controlled studies, most are from small groups or anecdotal reports. But I've had patients who've done well, and if a patient is interested I'll make sure what they are getting from the health store is OK with what I'm prescribing. I guess I'm in the if-it-won't-hurt-it-might-help and is worth a try corner.
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Old 04-25-2002, 11:58 AM   #16
Arianah
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Quote:
Originally posted by Krzysiek
If you're curious about any of this I'd be happy to write more.
Please. I find it quite interesting, but take care of your thesis first; I'm in no hurry.

Sarah
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Old 04-25-2002, 02:17 PM   #17
Don_Modesto
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca As for glucosamine or chodroitin, I've not seen anything in the way of good controlled studies, most are from small groups or anecdotal reports. [/b]
Don't have the details quick to hand (nor the memory to quote chapter and verse), but Consumer Reports did a lengthy review of this product in a recent issue (I think they were quoting from a large study done in Britain). As a result of that review, I buy mine from Wallmart (others, some big names, seemed to have appreciably less product in the pills than promised.)

Don J. Modesto
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Old 04-25-2002, 02:33 PM   #18
jimvance
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
If you are serious about aikido and practice every day, tendinitis and other similar stuff are an unavoidable by-product.
I think quite the opposite. Injury is normally a sign of doing something incorrectly, not the end result of "good" training. Injuries do occur, but they should not be worn like badges of honor. I have had several old joint injuries clear up and go away due to the "yogic" nature of aikido.
Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
...The worst are in my wrists, probably from too much Kotegaeshi and Shihonage.
I would have to say the above is from either pushing back into the force once your joints are locked (masochism) or just having someone apply an abundance of non-specific force repeatedly while you cannot resist (sadism). Either way the principle of aiki is lost and the power struggle begins.

Jim Vance
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Old 04-26-2002, 01:48 PM   #19
ronmar
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Hi
I take glucosamine and chondroitin and find they really work for me. I used to get loads of injuries, mainly to fingers and toes, along with general tendon soreness/injury. I'm not sure if glucosamine+chondroitin will help heal an injury but I'm convinced they help injur prevention. Try them along with fish oils and perhaps lay off training for a couple of weeks to let yourself heal.
I also reccomend yoga or some other sort of deep muscle stretching. This also reduces the chance of injury from training.
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Old 04-27-2002, 04:51 AM   #20
gadsmf@aol.com
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Exclamation

Glucosamine has done wonders for me. Before taking it I was unable to do any martial art
but I'm now into my second year of Aikido.
As for scientific reseach I am aware of two large scale European studies which looked at the effect of Gucosamine on patients with osteoarthritis of the knees, who where followed up after 1 year and three years. At both intervals, both x ray evidence and patient reporting indicated significant improvement of the glucosamine group over patients given a placebo.
I have also seen research which indicates that glucosamine may contribute to insulin resistanse in a small number of the population,and so may need to be taken with caution by diabetic Aikidoka.
The sulfate formulation of glucosamine is regarded to be more effective than the hydrochloride. Hope this is useful.

DL Gadd
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Old 04-27-2002, 11:52 AM   #21
Erik
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http://www.quackwatch.com/01Quackery...ucosamine.html
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Old 04-27-2002, 02:44 PM   #22
eric carpenter
 
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grinding neck

I have had a nunber of injuries and most have sorted themselves out, after a while,but i keep getting a grinding noise when turning my head,its more irritating than trouble some ,any one with similar problem.
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Old 04-27-2002, 04:57 PM   #23
guest1234
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Opps, , sorry Erik, I was snoozing... I don't know what to say about your doc, I always have my patients rest an inflammed tendon, maybe she believes differently, or maybe she just doesn't understand exactly what you do (most folks hear Aikido and think karate or something) or she may just think you're a big guy able to take some abuse. Since she is the one seeing you (and that physical exam is the essential key) I'll bow to her judgement, but you might try resting it. Also, the VIOXX may not have reached an adequate blood level yet while yo uwere seeing if the changes helped: I warn patients that they will need to take the medication as directed for at least X days (usually 3-7) before they should expect to see much difference. I also point out they didn't get to where they are in one day, so they won't get out of where they are in one day, to expect recovery to take as long as injury (from chronic trauma).

I was talking last night over sushi to an Aikidoka about tendonitis, and those funny snapping sounds. Often that snap is a tendon (connects muscle to bone) snapping as you move it over a joint. The occasional noise is usually fine (if it doesn't hurt), but where we often get in trouble is when we think 'hey, that's a funny sound, can I make it do it again??? ... we then proceed to snap it around fifty times, often going from person to person saying 'hey, listen to this, does your -whatever- do this?' pop-pop-pop, until we go 'hey, now it hurts '. We then go from person to person asking 'do you know why it hurts when i do this?' and continue to 'do this'. The noise often gets louder and more frequent. This is because the swelling in the now irritated tendon has made the tendon even tighter. For instance, for those of you who 'pop' ankles, wrists, etc... think about how you do it. There is the occasional pop from just twisting the joint, but to get that impressive sound, don't you tighten the muscles in the leg or arm? that is shortening the muscle and pulling the tendon tighter.

I had the table rolling in laughter as I relayed what how patients describe the problem, and I ask what makes it worse and better. Usually, they will have continued to so whatever makes it worse. Occasionally they will do what makes it better. Good rule of thumb: if it makes it worse, stop doing it. Even when I ask patients to show me with the uninjured extremity how they hurt it, or what makes it worse, they go for the one that hurts We are creatures of habit. I reinforced with an ex-Marine last night that one does NOT work though pain with more of what ever hurts, one just intensifies the problem until the tendon is so swollen that you just can't use it (mother natures way of enforcing rest).
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Old 04-27-2002, 09:41 PM   #24
Edward
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Quote:
Originally posted by jimvance
I would have to say the above is from either pushing back into the force once your joints are locked (masochism) or just having someone apply an abundance of non-specific force repeatedly while you cannot resist (sadism). Either way the principle of aiki is lost and the power struggle begins.

Jim Vance
So according to Jim, I can be either sadist, or masochist, or possibly both. Well, he's not completely wrong. I can distinguish in class between serious and leisure practitioners. I guess one has to be sado-masochist in order to practice any MA seriously, with all the unavoidable pain, sometimes willingly inflicted, which is involved. What I don't like is these instructors who promote aikido (obviously for commercial reasons) as a sort of harmless, soft, suitable for children and the elderly alike, kind of silly dance for effeminate guys and masculine ladies. Well, aikido is a martial art. We have so many people on this forum having specific joint pains because they do aikido. It is a part of aikido training. If you get thrown by shihonage over a 100 times in one session, even very softly and without resistance, I think pain at wrists and elbows is not so surprising and you're not necessarily doing it wrong. I am not saying that we should not try to cure these injuries. No body likes pain. But they are unavoidable for any serious practitioners unless you are one of those teachers who always throws but never gets thrown. Then in this case, I understand that there is no pain.

Last edited by Edward : 04-27-2002 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 04-27-2002, 10:32 PM   #25
guest1234
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Really? I thought I'd heard that O Sensei met an older man who had never done a martial art, and personally trained him, that he enjoyed the children's classes, and encouraged Aikido as an art for everyone

I spent an hour as uke during open practice for a partner needing to work on shihonage. Another open practice I uke'd for an hour in koshinages. Neither time did I come away with sore joints. I think joints get injured when people either don't know the right way to move (eg planting the foot when turning, causing a lot of the knee injuries), or resist past the point of intelligent ukemi (ha...you can't make the technique work). One other rare cause is a nage (worst when they are large) who might muscle a pin once uke has submitted...but that is a serious error on nage's part and I don't consider it to be the price of training.

I'd say that anyone who comes away from training with sore joints is doing something wrong. Again, pain is not an indication of gain, it is an indication of injury.
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