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Old 02-18-2003, 07:23 PM   #1
ThOrSHAmmEr3
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Getting Hurt (or killed)

This is probably a stupid message, as nobody wants to get hurt, but after browsing this forum for a few days and listening to a few stories, it seems as if people get their bones and joints forced the wrong way on a consistent basis! I have also read an article on instant death from touching a nerve under the throat. This makes me a little touchy about learning aikido. Should I be worried?
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Old 02-18-2003, 07:46 PM   #2
Edward
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Don't worry! Most of the deaths in aikido result from breaking your neck while doing ukemi, especially with shihonage and irimi nage. If you avoid doing these 2 not so common techniques, you should be fine
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Old 02-18-2003, 07:50 PM   #3
JW
 
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I think most people don't believe in The Touch
of Instant Death. Some do though. Anyway the total number of times anyone has ever died in aikido due to touching a nerve point is zero.
I suppose one MIGHT believe he could be the first but there are a LOT of people who have done aikido or are doing aikido regularly, and never has this happened.

Actually I have not heard of any school of any martial art in the world that has reported an accidental death due to a touched nerve point. Anyone?
Anyway.. of all the martial arts one could choose, I think aikido is the best for anyone who wants to avoid getting hurt. Let's face it, it's part of the premise of the art--minimize damage. Besides that, my guess is that around 50% of the aikido dojos that are around have been criticized as being "way too wimpy" for some people. From a less critical point of view, that = not the type of environment where people get hurt much.
--JW
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Old 02-18-2003, 08:08 PM   #4
jk
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"Justin Time?"
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Old 02-18-2003, 09:01 PM   #5
Kevin Wilbanks
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I disagree about Aikido being the least injurious martial art. Not by a long shot. There's Tai Chi, which is unlikely to get you anything worse than a mild knee overuse injury. There are many Karate/TKD schools which only allow light sparring, so the worst you're looking at there is probably something like a pulled muscle or an accidental black eye. Lots of Kendo and Kenjutsu-type arts are surprisingly safe, despite the ever-present risk of getting cracked with an oaken stick.

I think Aikido is actually one of the most injury-prone arts this side of serious NHB/full-contact type stuff in practice. Falling down repeatedly involves a lot of wear and tear, as well as risks involved with landing improperly. Knee-walking/suwari-waza is one of the worst activities for long term knee health I've ever seen. And, as Justin observed, the upper limb joints are often being manipulated and torqued in extreme ways and even at ballistic speeds.

Nonetheless, if one is in good general shape and/or devotes consitent effort to injury-preventative conditioning, I don't think the risks of Aikido are prohibitive. The most important thing in the long run is to listen to the pain signals given by the body, giving rest and recuperative attention where it is due.

In terms of avoiding death or paraplegia, the most important thing is to avoid backward rolls and avoid practicing under conditions of extreme fatigue.
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Old 02-18-2003, 09:25 PM   #6
Edward
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Nicely said, Kevin. I would like to add that aikido is probably the only martial art where you willingly give your body to your partner without resistance and in full trust, only to discover later on that your partner abused your trust and carelessly caused serious damage to you.

I can think of many situations when you willingly accept to totally loose your balance to your partner, and reach a point where only a very gentle pressure would be enough to throw you, and you couldn't understand why your partner, seeing you in this vulnerable position, would slam you brutally head first in (and into) the mats without any concern for your safety.
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Old 02-18-2003, 10:28 PM   #7
Paul Klembeck
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In our dojo there have been about three serious injuries, all from snowboarding. Aikido, at any competant dojo, is less dangerous than common entertainments like skiing.

The only deaths I have heard of were the result of idiot college club hazing stuff in Japan. I haven't heard of any in the US.

Paul Klembeck
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Old 02-18-2003, 10:37 PM   #8
Erik
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Re: Getting Hurt (or killed)

Quote:
Justin Time (ThOrSHAmmEr3) wrote:
This is probably a stupid message, as nobody wants to get hurt, but after browsing this forum for a few days and listening to a few stories, it seems as if people get their bones and joints forced the wrong way on a consistent basis! I have also read an article on instant death from touching a nerve under the throat. This makes me a little touchy about learning aikido. Should I be worried?
While I agree with Kevin's analysis, I think you also have to compare it with other activities. For instance, people die playing organized sports every year. As a former basketball player I've seen all kinds of knee injuries there. So, from one sense, we aren't really that much worse than other activities.

But, as Kevin said, there is risk and I agree with his analysis.

On "instant death". If they are talking pressure points then I wouldn't sweat it too much. In the first place, it would seem likely that you'd need practice, right? So whose volunteering to be a practice partner? Most of that stuff is hooey. However, there are certain points, which when struck can cause death. Comotio Cortis (spell check!) is caused by a strike to the chest at precisely the right time which you can't know. It's very rare, but it can happen and people die of a heart attack. There are also points on the neck which can be very harmful...duh...but I'm thinking you are safe from what you were describing.

Overall, I've seen more injuries on the basketball court than in the dojo but one should never forget that it's not perfectly safe. I should add that the only broken bone I've seen related to a dojo happened to a fellow student. Fell off his bike on the way to class. On the other hand, I was deposited on the back of my neck once by an unhappy 5th dan. I'm quite happy to be walking but then I've also been undercut on the basketball court, had guys deliberately hurt me and know of several knife incidents and one gun incident where I used to play.

Nothing is perfectly safe I suppose.

Last edited by Erik : 02-18-2003 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:09 PM   #9
Nacho_mx
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I´ve seen my share of cramps and pulled muscles, creaky knees, bruises and bloody noses, but in 6 years I´ve only witnessed one shoulder dislocation, a major arm fracture, and three foot related injuries (one of them my own, lost my toenail when sensei landed on it), I consider aikido a safe practice (at least on my school). And about the "Death Touch"...wasn´t that a Simpsons episode?
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:37 PM   #10
Edward
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I've read somewhere that most aikido injuries result from uke's crashing against each other during practice. Judging by my own experience, I think this is true.
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Old 02-19-2003, 02:32 AM   #11
Creature_of_the_id
 
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my experience is that most injuries in aikido occur during the warm ups

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Old 02-19-2003, 09:21 AM   #12
xaj
 
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Heh, backfalls? I find forward rolls more of a difficulty to me then backrolls. I get scared more with a forward roll.
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Old 02-19-2003, 09:38 AM   #13
Carl Simard
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Quote:
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
I've read somewhere that most aikido injuries result from uke's crashing against each other during practice. Judging by my own experience, I think this is true.
I agree 100%.

The other kind of injury I've seen comes more from the kind of guy who wants to prove to anyone that he's the strongest, the best, etc... And being this, try to block or resist every techniques (putting himself in danger) or go stronger than needed when applying one (putting others in danger)...

So, if you work a bit with your head, you shouldn't have any major injury. You simply must hear what your body tells you and take a break when needed. Don't wait that the other break your arm to see how long you can resist a nikkyo... Wait to fully recover from a benign injury before getting back on the mat. I've seen many of this small injuries being aggravated because they were taken too lightly (not only in aikido)...

Yes aching muscles and articulations are part of the game, as they are with any physical activity.

For my part, I had only one bad injury from aikido (overstreched articulations from a nikkio ura). I have get much more frequent and bad injuries from skiing and baseball than from aikido... It puts things in perspective...
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Old 02-19-2003, 09:38 AM   #14
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Here's the report on deaths and injuries in aikido practice by Shishida sensei:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article...?ArticleID=497

It seems most of the deaths and serious injuries came from doing an inordinate amount of back breakfalls from techniques like iriminage and shihonage.

-- Jun

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Old 02-19-2003, 10:03 AM   #15
Kevin Wilbanks
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I don't know the detailed info, but I've heard several people also report of at least one incident of serious spinal injury and permanent paralysis resulting from a backward roll. The way I originally learned to do them - rolling on the shoulder and side of the head - seemed instinctively dangerous to me and I have never used one outside of warmups. On the Donovan Waite video, he shows a version where all the weight is on the curved arm and the head never touches the mat which may be better. Nonetheless, when you combine the perilous position of one's neck in the middle of a back roll, the inability to see where you are going or what's happening around you, and the possibility of someone else landing on you, the implications seem obvious.
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Old 02-19-2003, 10:09 AM   #16
akiy
 
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Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
I don't know the detailed info, but I've heard several people also report of at least one incident of serious spinal injury and permanent paralysis resulting from a backward roll.
This was due to another person rolling into the person doing the backwards roll. The person doing the backwards roll was showing a beginner in a slow, exaggerated way the mechanics of doing a backwards roll. She was midway in the roll (ie upside down) when she got rolled into...

-- Jun

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Old 02-19-2003, 01:35 PM   #17
Greg Jennings
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The deeper I get into my personal aikido, the less I roll and the more I breakfall.

This because I'm working for a reversal to the last instant rather than looking for a safe point to bail out and roll.

That said, there are techniques that I always forward roll out of. I very seldom back roll anymore.

I'm also working on softening my breakfalls. I'm having to adapt the Dononvan Waite method. It just doesn't work for our aikido as is.

I'm also working on a methodical, incremental method of learning our ukemi. It seems to be working so far.

Best Regards,

Last edited by Greg Jennings : 02-19-2003 at 01:47 PM.

Greg Jennings
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Old 02-19-2003, 05:22 PM   #18
Kevin Wilbanks
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Quote:
Greg Jennings wrote:
I'm also working on softening my breakfalls. I'm having to adapt the Dononvan Waite method. It just doesn't work for our aikido as is.
How can you make that assessment if you are just learning the method?



Our best Waite-style uke probably has the best ukemi I have seen, outside of say, someone traveling with Ikeda or Saotome. Since more standard breakfalls and a nearly traditional forward roll are part of the 'method', I see no reason why it wouldn't work anywhere traditional ukemi would.

I am trying to convert most of my ukemi to wide-leg style, and I find it to be a slow process. Doing the unique style falls as drills was becoming no problem, but using them when being thrown was a whole different thing. From what I've seen, it may be extremely difficult to learn without many additional situation-specific cues and feedback in addition to the videos.

I think trying to convert is probably harder and more perilous than learning from scratch. I was taking some very clunky falls stemming from doing something in between my traditional ukemi instinct and my new fall patterns. Then, I pulled/tore an adductor ("groin pull") almost a month ago. Given the circumstances, it wasn't clear whether the new ukemi was at fault, but it - or at least the stuff I'm doing in the process of learning it - is under suspicion.
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Old 02-19-2003, 08:42 PM   #19
jk
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Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
The way I originally learned to do them - rolling on the shoulder and side of the head - seemed instinctively dangerous to me and I have never used one outside of warmups.
Now this is interesting. I admit my ukemi is largely the result of my hapkido training, but am I to understand that you were taught ushiro ukemi where your head actually contacts the mat/ground? Not saying that what I learned was the best way, but our instructions were that our heads should never contact the mat under any circumstances.

Regards,
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Old 02-19-2003, 09:00 PM   #20
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
How can you make that assessment if you are just learning the method?
Who said I was just learning it? I said I'm adapting it to our specific ukemi.

I've been doing it since 1999, but in those situations where its assumptions don't collide with ours.

Sincerely,

Greg Jennings
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Old 02-19-2003, 09:07 PM   #21
akiy
 
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Hi Greg,

Which aspects of Donovan Waite sensei's ukemi are you incorporating?

-- Jun

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Old 02-19-2003, 09:30 PM   #22
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Jun Akiyama (akiy) wrote:
Hi Greg,

Which aspects of Donovan Waite sensei's ukemi are you incorporating?
Hi Jun. Right now, I'm working on the iriminage ukemi.

Iwama folk usually loop their inside arm around nage's inside arm/shoulder, get in very tight (trying to turn inside nage) and try to slip to nage's rear.

In doing so, our ukemi usually ends up to be a peculiar sort of "flat spin" break fall around nage's hip.

It's an interesting challenge to do that breakfall softly.

Best,

Greg Jennings
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Old 02-19-2003, 11:09 PM   #23
Kelly Allen
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Master of the 230 lb. very load falling leaf

Our Dojo also teaches NEVER to allow head to touch mat. If during Ukemi practice I begin to lose control over this I know I am getting too tired and it is time to rest.
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Old 02-20-2003, 05:38 AM   #24
Greg Jennings
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Re: Master of the 230 lb. very load falling leaf

Quote:
Kelly Allen wrote:
Our Dojo also teaches NEVER to allow head to touch mat.
Do you hold your head up off the mat in the ikkyo-gokyo, kotegaeshi and other face-down pins?

I'd get tired too!

Greg Jennings
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Old 02-20-2003, 05:52 AM   #25
ian
 
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Quote:
Jonathan Wong (JW) wrote:
I think most people don't believe in The Touch

of Instant Death. Some do though.

--JW
I think most people believe that you can learn a 'touch of death technique' and apply it within a relatively short period of time.

There can be a great deal of finger conditioning (have you ever seen someone do a one finger push-up?), so that a single finger can be used to actually penetrate the body (in many cases). Also, striking acurately can be very difficult, esp. with a moving target (appropriate force and direction).

Injuries I've seen over 13 years are:

1 knock-out

2 nose bleeds

1 toe nail removed

3 broken toes

1 shoulder disslocation

about 12 bruised fingers

1 cracked rib

1-2 groin/leg strain

several windings

several minor shoulder injuries

I don't think that is bad at all compared to most physical activities. It all depends on the way you train and your instructors attitude towards safety. Also, aikido teaches you to move out of the way so when we do serious attacks, generally they don't hit their target.

Ian
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