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Old 04-14-2003, 04:14 PM   #1
Dan Takaoka
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Question Injuries in Aikido ?

I 'm sure this question has been asked before however, there are so many threads posted to read this should be easier. I studied Judo for a short time and the one concern I had was getting injured. Judo as you know there are alot of throws, sweeps and so forth. I was told that most injuries occur in tournaments.

In Aikido what are the most common injuries sustained in practice? Is the injury rate high in Aikido. Long term does Aikido have any long terms injuries as one gets older i;e bad back, nek injuries so forth. Any information would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
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Old 04-14-2003, 05:37 PM   #2
siwilson
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To avoid injury, learn to relax!

I know that is easier said than done and it is the buzz word of every teacher, but what it means is let Tori/Sh'te/Nage do the technique on you - not quite rag doll. Resisting techniques locks the joints and aplies the stress of the technique on them.

As for long term...how is 76 to still be active in a martial art?

Osu!
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Old 04-14-2003, 06:08 PM   #3
ikkainogakusei
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Re: Injuries in Aikido ?

Quote:
Dan Takaoka wrote:
I 'm sure this question has been asked before however, Is the injury rate high in Aikido. Long term does Aikido have any long terms injuries as one gets older i;e bad back, nek injuries so forth. Any information would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
I've heard of knees, shoulders, and wrists being the more common -=types=- of injury. I don't know that my experience has been the same as everyone else's. Most of the injuries I've seen have been very short-term, and minor, and they're not very common. I've got some chronic problems, but I've played hard in other endeavors.

OTOH, I know a chiropractor and a couple Physical therapists who would swear that aikidoists seem to have unusually strong trunk strength.


"To educate a man in mind, and not in morals, is to educate a menace to society." ~Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 04-15-2003, 01:30 AM   #4
erikmenzel
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Injuries in aikido kind of fall in different categories.

1) Sheer bad luck (these have nothing to do with aikido itself, like slipping in the showers etc.)

2) Nage is to rough and enforces the technique lacking finetuned technique and compensating with a lot of force (This is in my experience the most common reason for injury)

3) Uke being inexperienced and moving without understanding of the technique (this actually can be split into 2 categories again: A) Uke is just new and still has a lot to learn, something that nage should take in consideration. B) Uke trains for years already but doesnt understand or doesnt want to understand what is going on. These kind often also plays the badass nage)

4) Uke is moving to fast. Like Klickstein said "If you can only do ukemi at 7mph dont attack at 70mph!"

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
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Old 04-15-2003, 08:11 AM   #5
aikidoc
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Another element I would add is that nage is responsible for uke's protection. Becoming aware of uke's ability to handle various levels of force is crucial to preventing injury. Adrenaline and testosterone are bad mixes when it comes to injury. Nage's should remember that everyone's joints have different levels of flexibility and not everyone can handle crushing wrist locks.
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Old 04-15-2003, 09:09 AM   #6
Jim ashby
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Broken toes. Mainly the small toe caused by catching them in my hakama and in gaps in mats. I've seen other injuries but, like I said mosty broken toes.

Have fun.

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Old 04-15-2003, 04:33 PM   #7
Veers
 
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Gi burns!

Seriously, though, you can hurt your shoulder if you try using your elbows to land with... I've used them enough for that purpose to discover that that is very bad and you should use your entire arm. Just a don't-want-to-be-prone instinct, I guess.

James, do you mean thicker mats like the ones about 2 inches tall? We have some of those and some thin ones (not quite an inch tall) and I don't see how you could catch a toe in the thin ones.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 04-15-2003, 04:45 PM   #8
Don_Modesto
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Re: Injuries in Aikido ?

Quote:
Dan Takaoka wrote:
In Aikido what are the most common injuries sustained in practice? Is the injury rate high in Aikido. Long term does Aikido have any long terms injuries as one gets older i;e bad back, nek injuries so forth. Any information would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
See http://www.aikidojournal.com/new/art...sp?ArticleID=8 for documented research on the topic.

In precis, most injuries occur when two UKE's hit each other falling; most serious injuries occur in Jpn universities.

More impressionistically, a LOT of my aikido friends end up with knee problems. I don't know if lots of tennis, bowling, biking, handball, etc. folk end up with them, too, though.

Niggling stuff--beginners usually spend some time with sore shoulders from learning to forward roll (and the older, over-weight one I've seen injured disproportionate to the general aikido population), over-stretched wrists, bruises (YONKYO night!), twisted ankles, stiff thumbs and fingers, etc.

This notwithstanding, I'd guess aikido does more for us than to us. (I'm not stopping soon...)

Don J. Modesto
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Old 04-15-2003, 08:08 PM   #9
Kevin Wilbanks
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If you really wanted to survey the risk, it would be useful to distinguish between chronic and acute injury risks.

I think most acute injury risks are avoidable or bad luck. The way to protect yourself against these is to keep on the alert for uke-uke collisions, and avoid getting out of your depth - which could take the form of jumping into practice too intense for you, or training with people who are reckless or abusive. There is no reason to volunteer for participation in either scenario, unless you just want to take the risk. Sometimes, though, accidents happen, and that's just life.

When it comes to chronic injury, I think suwari waza/hanmi handachi (sp?) is the most inherently damaging part of Aikido. Knees just aren't made for that kind of activity - too much twisting/torque on a joint that is basically a uniplanar hinge joint.

In general, I think the way to avoid chronic injuries is a sound, basic weight training regimen that focuses on the big compound and bodyweight movements. Proper resistance training develops radically increased strength and injury resistance in bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and of course, muscles. It doesn't make you invincible, but you might be looking at a durability increase of 2 or 3x, which is nothing to sneeze at.
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Old 04-16-2003, 07:00 AM   #10
Avery Jenkins
 
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Correction, Kevin:

The knee is actually composed of two joints, the patellofemoral and the tibiofemoral joint. The latter is generally considered to include two degrees of freedom; in addition to flexion/extension, this joint rotates in the sagittal plane (up to 70 degrees with the knee in 90 degrees of flexion).

Grood and Noyes(sp?) say this joint actually has 6 degrees of freedom, but I'm not buying it.

The patella also rotates on the femur as the knee flexes.

Thus, when done properly, the rotation caused by shikko and suwariwaza techniques probably don't overstress a healthy knee joint, because the knee is primarily in flexion during these techniques. Other pressures, I'll grant you, can cause injury in these joints.

Avery

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Old 04-16-2003, 08:09 AM   #11
SeiserL
 
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IMHO, I don't think there is more injuries in Aikido than any other active pursuits. Pay attention to form, learn to relax and breath, and use common sense regarding safety. We all get injuried in life.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 04-16-2003, 10:12 AM   #12
Kung Fu Liane
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Confused

broken toes, especially if the dojo doesn't have one big mat, and connects lots of little mats together...toes get caught in the gaps. or just landing badly on toes.

ouch...gi and mat burns! feet knees and elbows

i'd imagine a few injuries arise from over-enthusiastic joint manipulations too

Aikido: a martial art which allows you to defeat your enemy without hurting him, unless of course he doesn't know how to breakfall in which case he will shatter every bone in his body when he lands. Also known as Origami with people
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Old 04-16-2003, 11:43 AM   #13
Don_Modesto
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Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
In general, I think the way to avoid chronic injuries is a sound, basic weight training regimen that focuses on the big compound and bodyweight movements. Proper resistance training develops radically increased strength and injury resistance in bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and of course, muscles. It doesn't make you invincible, but you might be looking at a durability increase of 2 or 3x, which is nothing to sneeze at.
I meant to discuss this in my posting, Kevin has said it well. It's worth repeating as it goes against the grain of many traditional practitioners.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 04-16-2003, 02:21 PM   #14
Kevin Wilbanks
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Quote:
Avery Jenkins wrote:
Correction, Kevin:

The knee is actually composed of two joints, the patellofemoral and the tibiofemoral joint. The latter is generally considered to include two degrees of freedom; in addition to flexion/extension, this joint rotates in the sagittal plane (up to 70 degrees with the knee in 90 degrees of flexion).

Grood and Noyes(sp?) say this joint actually has 6 degrees of freedom, but I'm not buying it.

The patella also rotates on the femur as the knee flexes.

Thus, when done properly, the rotation caused by shikko and suwariwaza techniques probably don't overstress a healthy knee joint, because the knee is primarily in flexion during these techniques. Other pressures, I'll grant you, can cause injury in these joints.

Avery
The two-joint business is obviously red herring nitpickery.

I'll look into the rotation. Seventy degrees, though? I don't know what kind of hypermobile yogi they took that measurement off of, but I'd pay money to see him run or take a jump-shot. Mine only rotates a few degrees in that postion, and a few when the knee is fully extended and 'locks out'. I don't think either position is necessarily a healthy one to heavily load the joint in, however. As with squatting, lunging, and jumping, the knee works best when the foot and knee are kept in line. In practical terms, the knee functions as a hinge, and should be strengthened for mobility in this capacity, as well as stability in resistance to twisting or ab/adducting.

Just because it is theoretically possible for the knee to rotate while flexed, it does not even remotely follow that it is a good idea to do so under load, or that the torquing forces involved in suwari waza are within healthy knee-functioning parameters. The only way to settle such an argument would be controlled experiments, which probably don't exist. Next would be epidemiological-style studies. I would be willing to bet that I could find a high correlation between amount of knee-walking activity undertaken over a period of years and deterioration of the knee in terms of pain and reduced pain-free function.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 04-16-2003 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 04-16-2003, 05:47 PM   #15
Dave Porter
 
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We had a great Seminar this weekend with Shihan Bloc from Canada, so naturally the Dojo was PACKED! Anyhow I banged heads with another Uke during Heaven and Earth throw. No big deal, two asprin, and back to it! No blood No foul!!!

~Shugyo~ Total Dedication.
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Old 04-16-2003, 08:04 PM   #16
mstoddart
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My ony serious Aikido injury was to my shoulder, during a vigorous randori. It was a number 4 in Erik's typology

"Uke is moving to fast. Like Klickstein said "If you can only do ukemi at 7mph dont attack at 70mph!""

During the same time I've been doing Aikido, I've had two similar-intensity injuries from telemarking (skiing) -- sprained thumb and twisted ankle. So, from my personal experience, I'd go with Aikido being safer than skiing.
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Old 04-17-2003, 06:55 AM   #17
shadow
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ive done some kind of, as it seems now, permanant damage to my shoulder.

whilst doing jo-dori with a particularly big strong kohai (the big friendly giant, lovely guy) he went to throw me and i was ready to take a nice forward roll away, at the last minute he accidentally stepped on my foot and put his whole weight down on me (he would weight about 1.5 times as much as me) whilst throwing me. being ready to take a forward roll, i ended up going head and shoulder first into the mat.

now my collar bone is bent (yes, bent!) and the joint where the collar bone sits on the shoulder pokes up unnaturally above it.

it looks strange, feels strange, but strangely enough doesnt affect my mobility in my arm.

happiness. harmony. compassion.
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Old 04-17-2003, 07:23 AM   #18
Deborah January
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Four months of no aikido due to knee injury. I have 'O'Donohue's unhappy triad' (good name eh?) - tears to medial collateral and crutiate ligaments and probably to meniscus. With no private health insurance I've been looking at NHS 10 months to MRI scan then another year+ to op.

When the hospital physio gave up on me 2 weeks ago she said that because I can walk and work (although not drive, run, cycle, practise aikido aargh), I might not be considered for an op - that was worse than all the pain. But she must have written a dynamite letter to the consultant - I've got a date - 2 June for an arthroscopy, hurrah.

Sorry to be so long-winded, but I'm very happy and wanted to tell people who would understand. Finally, here comes the bit that relates to this thread:

It occurred on the mat but I didn't say that to the hospital - just said I turned abruptly. It could have happened anytime, but the part aikido played was in my keenness to practise over-riding body warnings. I had already strained my knee, but didn't stop.

So, don't ignore those messages from within - a couple of weeks of rest in December would have saved me perhaps 7-8 months of aikido deprivation.

DJ
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Old 04-17-2003, 07:42 AM   #19
James Trueman
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Most knee injuries I see are with ex judoka, they bugger up their knees in competition then come to Aikido to tone it down, by then their knees are already gone and an accident waiting to happen!! Judo is also responsible for damage to the collar bone, lower spine and neck. In Aikido I see wrist and elbow injuries - and whilst kansetsu waza is key to Aikido, they don't have to happen - experiencing pain and receiving an injury are in my opinion separate concepts.

The odd bang on the head happens, and there is room for all and sundry to take place in a disordered dojo.
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Old 04-17-2003, 08:52 AM   #20
Abasan
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Whilst discussing all these injuries might be interesting, I would seriously like to know how to mend them back to fighting fit you know.

Like knee injuries from too much shikko.

Or wrist injuries from too much nikkyo, sankyo and shihonage.

And back injuries from bad break falls.

Is there anything at all short of surgery to get them back in one piece?

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 04-17-2003, 01:18 PM   #21
cindy perkins
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My wrist is healing VERY very slowly with time and care. I try not to have sankyo done on that side.

The knees (done in by judo and fencing) are responding well to gentle strengthening and glucosamine.

The back is everlastingly grateful to a good chiropractor, and is now better than before I tweaked it.
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Old 04-18-2003, 03:18 PM   #22
Brian Boyd
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Hi,

This is my firt post. I am new to the site. I am new to Aikido. I actually have not even started Aikido. I am currently stuck in a contract [doing a kung fu] that is going to end in a couple of months. Then I am planning to on get into Aikido.

My question is:

It seems from reading this thread that a lot of people get injured in Aikido. Do more people get injured, more often, in Aikido than in other martial arts, such as kung fu?

Thanks
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Old 04-19-2003, 06:16 AM   #23
Kevin Wilbanks
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I think it would be tough to generalize about kung fu, as there is more variation among places calling their art that than any I know of. The two kung fu places I have had the most familiarity with were far more injurious than Aikido.

One had full-contact sparring with minimal protection in which cuts, broken noses and concussions were common. Both emphasized practices which I considered physiologically extreme and biomechanically highly risky. At one place, the guy tried to rush everyone into the ability to drop quickly into the splits, along with many other extreme feats. At the other, they did ascetic practices that seemed crazy to me - like beating one's hands on sandbags and rocks for long periods, until they were bruised and swollen, then reducing the swelling with some kind of chinese balm... all in the name of toughening them up for some kind of 'iron hand' technique.

In general, I'm suspicious of practices that go by the name of 'kung fu' as the connections to the real traditions seem very tenuous, and I've seen more bizarre practices followed dogmatically. Hopefully, the places I've encountered aren't all that representative.
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Old 04-19-2003, 07:57 AM   #24
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Brian Boyd wrote:
Hi,

This is my first post. I am new to the site. I am new to Aikido. I actually have not even started Aikido. I am currently stuck in a contract [doing a kung fu] that is going to end in a couple of months. Then I am planning to on get into Aikido.

My question is:

It seems from reading this thread that a lot of people get injured in Aikido. Do more people get injured, more often, in Aikido than in other martial arts, such as kung fu?

Thanks
Hello, Brian.

Welcome to Aiki-web.

My own injuries, after over 30 years of training are a wrist injury caused by an over-zealous nikkyo and a stiff right shoulder, from an 'unknown' cause: i.e., it happened after a practice where I was uke for the visitng shihan, but I cannot point to any particular time or place where it occurred.

Aikido is based on throws and the application of joint techniques. I myself think that injuries from joint techniques are relatively rare. Thus the injuries you are likely to encounter will probably arise from ukemi (receiving throws), either from taking ukemi yourself, or from colliding with other people taking ukemi.

But if you prepare yourself fully before training, the chances of injury will be diminished. I would say spend about 30 minutes on stretching and warming up.

Best regards,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 04-19-2003 at 08:00 AM.

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Old 04-23-2003, 08:31 PM   #25
Jeff Rice
 
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Hmm... I'm very new to aikido but really enjoying it. This talk of knee problems has me really worried though, since I'm primarily a runner. My knees have felt fine so far, but I know so little aikido that it's not really taxing physically yet, just mentally trying to remember which foot/arm/hand/etc goes where.

Are there any particular exercises or stretches people think would be particularly useful in reducing the chances of a knee injury in aikido?

(no comments from the peanut gallery on knee injuries in running, I've heard them already. :P )

Jeff
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