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Old 12-11-2002, 10:03 AM   #1
ivan
Location: singaporre
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KNEE PROblems

I am from singapore ...
the higher grade students from my dojo who are veri aggressive and have been learning for 7 yrs or more all have one problem .
They have a knee problem , which they think is due to slamming
...its so bad that doctors give them pills .
ANd they are unable to kneel down on the ground .
Do any of u have this problem??
is there any way to prevent it
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Old 12-11-2002, 10:15 AM   #2
ian
 
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This thread comes up regularly! Personally I think knee problems often come from placing weight on the knee and twisting it excessively - though I'm sure other activities contribute.

My advice has been to ensure that the foot and knee always point in the same direction (i.e. foot points forwards). This is especially important in irimi-tenkan.

When you turn, place the foot in the position you are going to face (this means having supple hips). Do irimi-tenkan slowly at first to ensure this happens. The hip is a ball & socket joint so is designed to twist; twisitng the knee over-stretches the ligaments.

Ian

Last edited by ian : 12-11-2002 at 10:17 AM.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 12-11-2002, 04:47 PM   #3
Thalib
 
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Knee problems and other joint problems actually resulted from non-harmonious movements. Let's say the upper body wants to go one way but the lower body goes another.

With incorrect tenkan or kaiten, like Dodkins-san said, one's foot is still stationary and the knee is already moving in a circular movement. The whole body must turn as one unit.

But the way Lee-san describe what might be the cause, it is possibly an incorrect ukemi technique. Many forget, when thrown, how they do ukemi without being thrown and end up dropping like a piece of log - then slap the mat.

One should always keep in mind the circular motion of ukemi, even from techniques like side-lock shiho nage, extending kote-gaeshi, or koshi nage. I'm not saying that one should try to second guess how to fall of course. Most people kept the circular motion up until they're back is facing the ground and they're eyes lookin up into the sky and then "BOOM", falling straight down.

When "touching down", one should be stil in a circular motion. When the hands are still held, then it will be an arc-ing motion, a rocking motion. This will greatly reduce any impact, better then slapping the ground. I, myself very rarely slap the mat anymore, bad habit, hurts my hand, elbow, and sometimes shoulder. Now I keep in mind of "placing" my hand on the ground. Try slapping on concrete or ceramic tiles, then one wouldn't want to slap anymore.

Basically keep the body as a unit, be conscious of your legs and arms. Keep one mind and body. Keep your center while one is flying of the ground. Ukemi is to practice safe falling, when one is injured, then it's not the safe way.

As for my knee injury, that was way before Aikido. Torn ligament and dislocation. Seiza used to be a big problem, but now as year passed, I could last a little longer.

I'm also into a lot of nutrition supplement stuff. For joint problems, I would suggest some Glucosamine and Chondroitin. They come in pills and rubbing cream. You could usually get them in a GNC type store. But it is important that one shouldn't be dependent on anything, even harmless supplements.

I used to depend on this stuff, but then I found out it only helps to some extent. The rest must be from exercising the knee area, like by making the thy muscles (quadriceps and hamstrings) and the calf muscles stronger and more flexible. Because my knee has dislocated a few times already, I have to keep in mind not to depend on my knee and shifting the job to my thy and calf.

Keeping the body as one unit when doing anything, even walking, has lighten the load a lot off my knee.

Keep one mind and body, keep the center.

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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Old 12-11-2002, 07:50 PM   #4
MaylandL
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I fully support the comments made by Messrs Dodkins and Thalib.

I tore the ligaments in my knee about 15 years ago (unrelated to aikido) and there are times when it can be stiff and sore, especially in continuous cold and damp weather. However, I can still train without it restricting my movements or techniques on the condition that I use a knee support bandage and perform correct movements and ukemis described by Ian and Thalib.

Happy training and look after your joints

Mayland
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Old 12-11-2002, 08:15 PM   #5
Kevin Wilbanks
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Nothing will strengthen all the structures of the knee as well as developing good squat strength. It increases bone density, ligament density, cartilage thickness, and, most importantly, all the musculature involved in activating and stabilizing the entire lower body. To get all these benefits, you need to learn to squat with proper form and go down to at least slightly below parallel (thighs to ground). You should probably work your way up until you can squat with the addition of your bodyweight, and, of course, proper rest, warmups, etc... are important, as well as regular supplementary hamstring/lower back work for muscle balance and flexibility.

The general point is: the key to injury prevention is consistent preventative conditioning exercise. It seems amazing to me that out of all the vigorous activities out there (including many meat-headed testosterone sports), that many martial artists are the least receptive to the obvious value of preparatory and supplementary conditioning.
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Old 12-11-2002, 11:52 PM   #6
PhilJ
 
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Let me pitch in too, and agree with Ian and Thalib... a few weeks ago in class, we began exploring how our tenkan works, and I realized I did just what they mentioned: Turned my knee, but not the foot until the last second. This constipates ki, plain and simple, making tenkan much less effective.

I have to believe over time this causes a problem. That, and possibly the repetitive nature of class: fall down, get up, fall down, get up, and so on.

Great insight guys, thanks for mentioning that -- I was afraid I was getting too picky.

Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
http://www.aikidobukou.com
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Old 12-12-2002, 04:13 AM   #7
erikmenzel
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I ruined my knee before I started Aikido. Good thing is I am very aware of my knees now and can constantly help people that are doing it in a risky (to the knee) manner. (It is quite amazing to see how many people when starting tenkan do it the kneecrushing way. If they are not corrected early they just ruine the own knees slowly). I havent had any knee problems due to aikido.Bad thing is it sometimes hurts, especially when it is cold and wet weather. Or my knee pops, but this seems to be complete unrelated to aikido (well even better than that, it happens far less in the dojo compared to outside the dojo).

Erik Jurrien Menzel
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Old 12-12-2002, 08:45 AM   #8
Thalib
 
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When I'm squatting and then stand up, sometimes, actually often, my knee squeaks and pops. Actually not just that, sometimes a simple bending of the knee does that also.

It doesn't hurt, just feels weird at first, I'm used to it now. It's a part of my life, I just have to accept it.

Aikido really have helped me on how to move using my center and keeping one mind and body. Now my knee very rarely gives me problems. Even when it does, I just keep one point, focus, keeping one mind and body, the problem dissipates and I just walk it off.

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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Old 12-12-2002, 05:57 PM   #9
Mona
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Will wearing protective pads help reduce the impact and, consequently, the pain?

blessings,

~ Mona
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Old 12-12-2002, 08:02 PM   #10
Bruce Baker
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As someone who had knees that clicked so loud they sounded like snapping fingers, and pains so intense I wished I would have had a root canal in my knees, I can only tell you what has worked for me. Might help, might not.

Good stances and stretching are paramount to keeping the muscles loose, yet strong enough to properly support your body, in both practice or your everyday life.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that practice is totally separate from integrating movements and safe practice standards in everyday life, but they are not. That is one item.

Another item is to properly support your injury and the good knee also. I have found that having an injury tends to make one put more reliance upon the good knee and injure it also. If you have to support the bad knee, wear some type of support on the good knee also.

Diet. We kind of take that one for granted, but we all know a balanced diet, not pills is the proper way to get nutrients for the body. Cheat is you have to, but do it spareingly, and try to lean towards food groups that work for you, not against you.

Lastly, by accident, because of the fluid buildup in my ear canals from Meniere's, I was give a water pill to help remove water and relieve pressure in my ears so I might have some pain relief. By accident, it relieved the loud clicking of joints, and relieved most of my arthritus too. Weird co-incidence?

Well, it seems that I am not the only one to experience this side benefit of a water pill, proper diet, vitamins, and stress relieving methods that allow the body to rest and recover more quickly. Bad knees are either repairable though normal bodily care, or they are not. If they are, then by all means take the necessary measures to increase your chances of healing.

I can only speak for myself, and from barely being able to sitting crosslegged for five minutes to being able to sit on my heels in a half seiza position for ten minutes. It ain't much to get up and cheer about, but it is better than it was, but not as good as it can be.

Guess that is just about all you can ask for these days.

Take care of your body, and practice won't be torture. Been there, done that.
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Old 12-12-2002, 11:36 PM   #11
kung fu hamster
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One cautionary note about a certain stretching exercise in which you lie on your back with one foot on the floor (say the left foot), and the other (right)leg bent and calf crossed in front of the left knee, to stretch right leg you insert your hands behind the left knee and pull the left knee towards your face. The first time I ever I did this exercise was during a class prep for sitting in zen and I didn't realize how extremely this motion torques your right knee; I heard a loud pop like a gunshot from my right knee and it hasn't been the same since. If anyone ever asks you to do this exercise, use a very slow easy pressure when pulling, it's a natural feeling to pull your arms in to hug your knee to your chest but even if you are extremely flexible, the torqued knee in front of it is in a funny position and may not be able to take that sort of quick pressure. At the time it felt like I dislocated it or something.
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Old 12-13-2002, 12:00 AM   #12
Thalib
 
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I do this stretch a lot... I never imagined that it would affect the knee. I put my ankle/foot over the other leg's knee, pull the knee towards my chest. The pressure should be around the hip and and the buttocks area.

The ankle/foot shouldn't move toward the chest without the knee that is within the same leg. They have to move in unity, then you'll feel a nice stretch around the hips and buttocks area. Whenever I'm leading the warmup, I always do this and call it, "the butt stretch".

The more dangerous stretch, which I also do, is actually the reverse of the above. It is folding one of your leg, putting it to the side and then lie down. Stretching the crotch area, a bit of the hip, and the inner side ligament.

The one thing that I still can't or maybe refuse to do, is what those TKD or HKD practitioners do. Sitting on seiza with their calves on their side of their butts, not under it, and toes pointing outwards. Ouch... Some people in the dojo, especially the women have no problem doing this. I don't even want to try it since halfway down my knees are hurting already.

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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Old 12-13-2002, 12:35 AM   #13
Erik
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Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
It seems amazing to me that out of all the vigorous activities out there (including many meat-headed testosterone sports), that many martial artists are the least receptive to the obvious value of preparatory and supplementary conditioning.
Blows the mind clean off the top of my brain.
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Old 12-13-2002, 01:02 AM   #14
Kevin Wilbanks
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The overemphasis/fetish for static stretching is a case in point. Unfortunately, an extended series of static stretches has become the standard "warm up" for most Aikido classes. Not only are static stretches an inadequate warm up, and of almost no value immediately before exercise, the stretches aren't usually held long enough to accomplish anything anyway. The muscle lengthening benefits of passive, static stretching are the result of a long term, serial application of the stretches - there are no immediate 'stretching' effects that aren't easily reversed as soon as the muscle starts being used. Whether increased passive joint ROM is even a benefit is questionable in most cases. I consider many 'standard' stretches downright hazardous, as the anecdotes above illustrate - especially any stretches that involve forced, passive spinal flexion or twisting of the knee. It's a perfect opportunity for overzealous beginners to pull on something too hard and hurt themselves.

We have come to accept a scenario where we use up to a third of class time for this nonsense, in some cases, which drives me nuts. Combine that with the fact that you can't seem to drag most Aikidoka to a squat rack with a team of Clydesdales (a simple, effective weight routine could easily take less than one hour per week) and you have high irony.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 12-13-2002 at 01:06 AM.
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Old 01-03-2003, 03:19 PM   #15
Bronson
 
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Hello all,

Something happened recently and I was hoping for some input from others, especially those with some sort of medical/nutritional background.

Recently I had the flu and for two days drank nothing but water with lemon juice. On the third day when I was up and moving I noticed that the chronic knee pain I had been having for months had gone away. I attributed it to the rest and increased water intake. I mentioned it to sensei (who is also a doctor of oriental medicine/herbalist) and he said that some people with minor arthritis pain get some relief by not drinking carbonated beverages. Since then I have cut out soda, I still drink all the juice, tea, milk, etc that I want just nothing with bubbles. It's been a few weeks now and I'm doing the same things in training as I've always done and still work in the same physically cramped conditions at work and I haven't had even the smallest hint of knee pain.

I thought I'd put this out there in case the info could help somebody else.

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 01-03-2003, 03:51 PM   #16
njnoexit
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this is pritty intresting and yet Ironic for me to see this post. Yesturday I had a knee injury(my second class of aikido). It was the advanced class, I just was origonally going to watch it, and my teacher said it was ok if I pratisipated. Well within the first 5 min I got my injury. it started about when I was uke, and there was this technquie where the nage would send me off ballance and cause me to lean back. As Uke I thought I would not keep centered as much as I would be if I was nage so I had my foot pointed one direction and my body turns another direction and all my wieght suddenly like go down on my leg, casusing it to twist and pop out of its joint. I broke some cartalage. Its gonna take about a month to heal. happens all the time,jst never this bad. But you know what, I am still happy, I am not spitefull, and if it was some other activity before aikido I would be depressed. But I think from my very small experiance in aikido it has helped me be less spiteful about everything and twards everyone. I am still going to go to class, not to partisiate, but just to watch and learn. Aikido is 90% mental and 10% physical. So I think that if I just watch and better understand, and visualise, then when I heal up I would be alot better at aikido if I didnt stay and watch. It may possibly prevent anything like that from hapening again.

Did I put this in the wrong post, or is this a good place to put it?
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Old 01-03-2003, 09:00 PM   #17
Deb Fisher
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Hello Kevin, again you compel me to post.

I've been in a real aikido slump lately, and have been doing a lot more yoga instead, more than anything because of the factors you're talking about. I've been noticing that after a year and some doing mostly aikido, my hips are *much* tighter than they once were, and my right and left hemispheres are way more different than they used to be. Result = more daily discomfort.

I want to say two things in response to this thread:

1. Yoga helps knee trouble, which often stems from tight hips, flat feet, and weak quadriceps. If anyone's having general, non-acute, non-injury related knee trouble (I had osgood-schlatter as a kid, and have had troublesome knees ever since), my own humble advice is regular yoga practice with a good teacher (better than squats, I think Kevin - it's oh-so-easy to do squats wrong and really bungle everything - doing yoga wrong also happens, but rarely in a good class).

2. I've been writing and deleting for awhile... I'm off to start a thread in Spiritual about it, because it's too off-topic.

Happy knees,

Deb

Deb Fisher
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Old 01-03-2003, 10:14 PM   #18
Kevin Wilbanks
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Deb,

From what I have seen, a good yoga class is a lot rarer than someone who can teach you how to squat. Anyone can learn to squat properly in a few brief sessions of feedback and instruction by a competent trainer. On the other hand, most yoga I see is so pretzel-stretchy oriented, that I would classify it as a knee hazard rather than a benefit.

Even if yoga is done properly, the forces involved aren't great enough to bring about a fraction of the benefits of weighted squats: stronger, stiffer ligaments and tendons, radically stronger muscles surrounding the knee, increased bone density, increased cartilage strength and joint capsule lubrication, and, most importantly, development of a strong, sound, broad ROM squat moving pattern that will even serve you when you go to pick up a kleenex.

Stretching is of little benefit to the knee per se, except insofar as a muscle might be so short that it forces an askew movement pattern. Stretching the ligaments of the knee itself is the chief knee hazard of ill-informed yoga/stretching practice.

Good yoga has a large strengthening component and teaches good alignments and stability, but only in an isometric or quasi-isometric context. One still needs dynamic training with greater resistance as it is more applicable to sport/martial arts activity. I would be happy to recommend yoga to everyone for physical/athletic purposes if I believed that most teachers out there today were knowledgable and experienced. Unfortunately, I don't, and I see most yoga as something which may have many life benefits for practitioners, but increased athletic capacity and injury resistance are not among them. Even good yoga is something I see as a good ADDITION to a sound strength training routine, not an alternative.

Once again, I draw an analogy to sports. Find me any professional, farm league, college or even high school athletes of any type who don't do at least basic strength training, or who eschew weights in favor of a yoga-only conditioning regimen.

Have you ever tried a consistent, well-designed resistance training protocol?

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 01-03-2003 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 01-04-2003, 08:07 AM   #19
norman telford
 
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i used to suffer with my knees long before i did aikido i was a power lifter the heavy squats and deadlifts took there toll so did the bench press but thats another matter some days after a leg workout i could hardly walk because of the pain there was a constant clicking in my knees i had been seen by several doctors and a consultant who couldnt tell me the problem (this was 9 years after retiring from that sport) so i went to see a pro soccer physio who within 5 mins told me exactly what was causing my knees to click and hurt this was a muscle imbalance in my thighs the longer outer quadracep was much stonger in relation to the smaller tear drop shaped one just above the knee and was pulling the knee cap across the thigh bone and trying to dislocate it this was a direct result of my squat stance(feet wide apart,toes and knees pointing out) and subsequently the way i walked mt feet pionting out at a ten to two position (ten to two as in on a clock face ten mins to two oclock) he then performed some stretches on my legs which i had never seen the like of which before and where quite uncomfortable this carried on for 2 or 3 sessions with me doing the stetches at home in between my weekly visits to him he then told me to do leg exersizes with my toes pointing in to build up the weaker quadracep within six weeks i was cured i still do the stretches he showed me about once a week and my knees have been ok since. the stretches are quite simple but would take me a long time to put down here as it sounds like there is a few of us with the same problem if anyone would like me to try and describe them let me know and i will do my best to put them into writing
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Old 01-04-2003, 08:55 AM   #20
Kevin Wilbanks
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Note that I was definitely NOT talking about competitive powerlifting, but basic strength training for conditioning purposes.

The vastus medialis is primarily involved in the last 15 degrees or so of knee extension. In your case, squatting with a very wide stance must have given the quads too much mechanical advantage at that point. I have taken to alternating lunges with squats/squatlifts, myself. They work the vastus medialis quite well, and I think the split-stance stability should have good applicablity to Aikido for obvious reasons.

As for whether VM weakness is the cause of others' knee maladies, I would be cautious about making that assumption, or prescribing vastus lateralis stretches indiscriminately.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 01-04-2003 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 01-04-2003, 02:35 PM   #21
norman telford
 
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hi kevin, your missing my point my reference to powerlifting was a recount of my own expeirence and what had caused my own paticular problem i wasnt suggesting it was what you were recomending people should do it was just an insight into the background of my knee problem but as far as the stretches are concerned they are very simple a little uncomfortable at first but simple and as you say i should be carefull about recomending or describing them thats why i left it open for anyone who wants to know what they are they can get in touch with me.
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Old 01-04-2003, 02:38 PM   #22
Paula Lydon
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~~After my first two years of Aikido I almost quit because my knees were hurting so badly at times. Now I've been training for six years and the knees are fine (most of the time). The changes I made were to make certain that my knees stay in alignment with hip and foot, and to learn to take softer ukemi--which had the added plus of enhancing my sensitivity, connection and body control

~~Good luck!

~~Paula~~
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Old 01-05-2003, 03:04 PM   #23
Deb Fisher
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This is a silly thing to argue about, but to answer your question Kevin, yes. I have had extensive experience with weight training, both in a physical therapy context and as a competitive swimmer in college. I have been plagued with knee pain since I was 9. Weights helped. Yoga made it go away. That's just my experience.

BTW, yogis regularly do really, really well on strength and conditioning tests, even cardio testing, etc. I'm talking about dedicated yogis who only do yoga, not yogis who run or yogis who lift weights. There is lots of literature on this - many forms of yoga are great total exercise regimens.

But whatever. Too many people do yoga these days anyway. You should lift weights if that's what you feel more comfortable with.

Peace,

eb

Deb Fisher
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Old 01-05-2003, 08:01 PM   #24
Kevin Wilbanks
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Quote:
Deb Fisher wrote:
BTW, yogis regularly do really, really well on strength and conditioning tests, even cardio testing, etc. I'm talking about dedicated yogis who only do yoga, not yogis who run or yogis who lift weights. There is lots of literature on this - many forms of yoga are great total exercise regimens.

But whatever. Too many people do yoga these days anyway. You should lift weights if that's what you feel more comfortable with.
I'd have to see the literature to believe it. I have never heard of a single yoga-only trained athlete who was competitive at any level in anything. Even vigorous yoga is at best mostly isometric and quasi-isometric strength training - by the principle of training specificity, it makes no sense that someone only trained thusly would be competitive with others who train expressly for maximum strength, power, anaerobic endurance, and aerobic endurance.

I don't see yoga as an either/or, I do it in addition to all of the above. My point was that - in my experience - basic properly performed weight/resistance training is the most essential of all these for injury resistance, and garners the most benefit per unit of time and effort put in. Most of the benefits can be had with a routine as simple as 4-6 exercise full-body workouts of less than an hour, twice per week.

Also, I don't think this is a silly subject to argue about, as I see lack of appropriate preparatory and supplemental conditioning as something that holds many Aikidoka back with injuries... even results in chronic debilitating physical problems. Since Aikidoka and a few other types of martial artists seem to be alone among participants in virtually every other sport or physical discipline in disregarding scientifically-based conditioning methods, I think it's an important thing to argue about.
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Old 01-06-2003, 01:32 AM   #25
Duarh
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I've found that doing the rowing exercise for an hour or so every few days has strengthened my knees somewhat.

I would never manage to spend so much time on the (often rather dull) exercise if it wasn't for the wonderfully distracting invention of the screen
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