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Old 10-01-2004, 06:31 PM   #1
DonnaQ
Location: California
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Blush! Joint Pains? A Worry?

I am new to the forums and to Aikido in general and my question is...

Is it normal to experience knee and ankle pains (like a sharp sore muscle pain) after three weeks of Aikido (3-4 days a week)? It really rather worries me and I would like to know how other people felt after a couple of weeks when it was their first time. Is it anything to worry about?

I was thinking it was possibly because I am pretty unused to the weight shifts I make when I am doing the techniques. I know I have been focusing on using all of my body's force instead of just my arms. So could that be why? I also think it could possibly be caused by the way we must sit, seiza. Or perhaps because I have recently learned to roll?

I do not think it is caused by any ailments due to old age since I am a relatively "young tyke" so to speak. My health is pretty good as well, though I do know that I have not kept an exercising routine for awhile.

But I am still worried.

Any past experiences or advice is much appreciated.
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Old 10-01-2004, 07:37 PM   #2
mj
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

That is all it is

In 8 months or a year you will feel a lot differently. 2 years if you try hard.

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Old 10-01-2004, 07:41 PM   #3
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

Hmmmm. Some pain is normal. I would even say some nasty pain is normal, however if it is sharp pains I would maybe only practice 2 times a week then add to that so your body has more time to adjust. To much change at once could cause more injury than benefit. Maybe see a doctor.

Lyle Laizure
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Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 10-01-2004, 08:01 PM   #4
DonnaQ
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Smile Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

Hmm, thank you for both of your comments.

The pain only comes about when I kneel. :P If that is of any surprise after spending much time sitting in that position. But it is most definitely not an unbearable "I am going to die in the next second" type of pain. Usually stretching helps loosen it out, but I do believe I should probably tone it down a bit. I am attempting to work out a schedule but...

D: I am in the honeymoon phase of Aikido. Absolutely enamored and in love.
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Old 10-01-2004, 08:31 PM   #5
Jeff Baldwin
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

If you're new to sitting, then yes, it can be painful. Most people get over it....

If you're not new to sitting it can get you in other ways.

Many westerners were not brought up sitting seiza. As we get older and sit more (years), some of us develop Tendentious (me). My knees were constantly in pain it seemed. Then a friend in the Dojo said I should try taking Glucosamine&MSM. Normally I'm the biggest skeptic in the world with anything like this. But after a few weeks I noticed a dramatic improvement in my 40+ year old knees. Stopped taking it for a while, and the pain came back a little. So now I take it on a regular basis..

The way it works is that (my understanding) it just helps your body lubricate the tendons. Much of the pain is from inflammation. By letting the tendons basically just work together a little more easily, it reduces this.

Some people do have trouble taking this product as its made commonly from shell fish.
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Old 10-01-2004, 08:57 PM   #6
SeiserL
 
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

IMHO, takes a while for the body to acclimate and accommodate. Watch your form and structural alignment.

BTW: How long have you been training with Phong Sensei? I am only in the weekday morning class.

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 10-01-2004, 09:20 PM   #7
DonnaQ
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

Oh! You go as well?

I go to the evening classes! From 6:30-8:00 p.m. I can not take the junior classes because I am too big for most of the white belts (yes, me and my 5'2"). Sometimes I attend the morning weekend classes as well. Whatever fits my overall mood of the week?

I actually plan to go to the morning one tomorrow I believe, but I will definitely be going on Sunday.

*cough* And I have only been training for about three weeks, and probably four or five days out of the class have I been actually taught by Phong Sensei. He really is a very comfortable teacher to work with, which is not too surprising. :P

And you guys are probably right. I just need to get used to the routine... but I am loving every bit of pain that comes along with it.

I LOVE watching and learning. The black belts are really a wonder.
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Old 10-01-2004, 10:38 PM   #8
Janet Rosen
 
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

Welcome!
As folks have said, you are asking your body to do something new, and the muscles and related structures are basically yelling "what???" (smile). Be patient, don't push it, and consider training alternate days to give the inflamed areas a rest--maybe do some gentle warming-up kind of range of motion on the days you are not training to help keep things loose.
Structural alignment/posture can esp. be a problem with women new to the art, who on standing/walking weight shifts and turns tend to let the knees rotate in, creating a dangerous torque on the joint. But as you've clarified your pains are related to kneeling, that doesn't apply.
Enjoy!

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 10-02-2004, 12:00 AM   #9
Thomas Ambrose
 
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

Donna, like you, I am also pretty new to Aikido. I am just about somewhere in my fourth month, so this is what I have gone through. I am NO expert Also, please forgive the length of my post, but I figured that since I am also a beginner with similar experiences, it might as well share as much as I can.

Like you, I posted a threat asking for advice, and here is a link to that thread, perhaps you may find what people have told me to be usefull...

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6227

I STILL have trouble initially getting into Seiza, with some pain in various parts of my legs. When I first started, it was in my calves, then my thighs, then a sharp tightness just above my knees. Now, it is still difficult but getting better. The tightness is concentrated right above my knees.

From what I gather, it is mostly getting used to Seiza, being a Westerner and all, but then again, I am NO expert in this. Here is what I do to help out. I get to training early, and do the following extra stretches before: Keeping my legs straight and touching my toes, pushing up against a wall and stretching my calves, and the old fashioned grabbing my foot and pulling it up against my butt. After I do these, I crouch a few times to get the blood flowing. Then I slowly move into a seiza position, using my hands on the ground for extra support. It hurts a bit, but I can get there and it hurts less.

During a recent weapons class, Sensei mentioned that keeping an erect back is important posture for bokken work, and that sitting properly in Seiza with an erect back, or doing Zazen will benefit that. What I take from that is the importance of posture, so that is what I am going to be working on next.

Good luck!
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Old 10-02-2004, 12:36 AM   #10
DonnaQ
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

I have to say Janet... you kind of scared me with the possibility of doing something dangerous with my knees. I had to go practice a few tenkans to make sure I was not doing anything potentially dangerous. Hahaha and thank you for your advice. You are right; I should probably try regulating my days. I am trying to find a schedule that will work for me with school taking up a lot of my time now (Aikido is an excellent stress reliever ).

And thank you Thomas! Your advice about getting used to seiza and the thread really helped quite a bit. I shall try stretching for a good while the next time I go to Aikido. When I first started, sitting in seiza really did not seem that much of a difficult task. In fact, it really did not start hurting until this week. But I suppose my knees took a larger toll than I first believed.

I find that even though my legs might begin to feel numb... I like to see how long I can last. *cough* Pride issue? I do not know, but I shall mind my limits much more especially with the pain involved in some joint-locks.

Besides, the hurting knees... my largest problem must be keeping my back relax when I roll back during warmups. I tend to hear this muted "thump" and I think it is because I let my back hit the floor first. I am also trying to overcome how my body reacts after making a mistake that catches me off guard (such as not tucking my head enough for rolls, resulting in lots of...ow). I get disoriented.

Ah well... perseverence!

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Old 10-02-2004, 10:47 AM   #11
Qatana
 
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

If your legs are going numb, MOVE. You don't want to cut off circulation.
Sounds like you are exactly where you are "supposed" to be, technically.
It all gets easier!

Q
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www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 10-02-2004, 12:23 PM   #12
David_francis
 
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

Donna,

I have the same problem and im just 16. Its because i have played football (soccer) for practically my whole life. Whenever i go into seiza at first it takes a while for me to get fully down with my rear resting on the back of my feet. I get shooting pains in my knees, but eventually as the lesson progresses i loosen up and it doesnt hurt so much. Then at the end of the lesson when we end and i have to sit in seiza for over 5 minutes the pain usually takes over and becomes too much so i have to sit cross legged. My sensei usually says after the end "youre only 16 look at you! hobbling like an old man!!" when i get up from seiza i tend to hobble a bit hehe. One of my dojo mates has some problems with his knees too so he takes cod liver oil tablets daily to help with the joints. He recommended them to me and i now take them daily too, ever since my knees have got a LOT better than they were. So i suggest you at least give it a go and see if it makes a difference.
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Old 10-02-2004, 07:17 PM   #13
Michael Hackett
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

Hi Donna,

What worked for me was a combination of the glucosomine and practice. Seiza was miserable for me at first and I started sitting seiza at home while watching TV. I started sitting seiza during one commercial and then getting up. After a week or so I could sit through the endless commercials before having to get up and it has gotten progressively better. Now 15 to 20 minutes is no big thing.

Before classes I also stretch by pulling my foot up behind me to my fanny as you described and that makes it easier. It will get better in time, but I still appreciate western furniture.

Michael

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 10-02-2004, 09:19 PM   #14
DonnaQ
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

Thank you very much for your input you guys. David, I am actually 15 myself or rather...almost 16. :P I think I will try to sit seiza at home. I actually really like how it feels concerning how it improves my posture and so on, but it does...hurt after awhile. But I suspect that with the advice everyone has given me, I will improve the length of time I can sit.

And I have noted that once class is well into, seiza DOES feel a lot better so warming up before class will probably help quite a bit.

I might even try those... cod liver..oil tablets. I should look to see if I have any, which I believe I do. And look up that bit about glucosomine.
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Old 10-03-2004, 07:53 AM   #15
thomas_dixon
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

Seiza for me at home is hell...And i'm really old...i'm about to turn 16 ^_^

I have concrete floors in my house (which was built in the 70's by someone on LSD), and in my living room, the floor is tile. So naturally, Ow. Otherwise seiza outside is no sweat. I can sit in that position all day...cept for the fire ants. Yeah...they hurt >.<
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Old 10-03-2004, 11:55 AM   #16
DonnaQ
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

Old? Pffft. :P

Hahaha, have you tried putting down some thick matting? I think a thick blanket would work or even doing seiza on a pillow.

Yes... an ant bit me a little while ago. NOT fun.
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Old 10-03-2004, 03:55 PM   #17
David_francis
 
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

Cod liver oil tablets, they sound gross but you dont really taste them, you just take one or two tablets, depends on the recommended dosage and wash em down with some water. Just don't, for the love of god, crack the tablet open cos it really does not taste nice
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Old 10-03-2004, 07:09 PM   #18
Clayton Kale
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Lightbulb Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

Hi Donna. I'm usually an AikiWeb lurker, but I wanted to touch on something that the other posts glanced over.

They gave good advice on stretching and supplements (I, too use glucosamine/MSM). You said you go to 3-4 classes a week, and you just began.

My advice would be to take it easy. We recommend that new students spread their days out at first, especially when they're learning falls and rolls and basic wrist techniques. Like Ms. Rosen said, your joints are going to complain.

I eventually found that a Tues, Thurs, Sat. schedule is ideal for me. If you're bummed that you're not in class on your off days, go to your room, close the blinds and practice your tenkans and shift your weight around to find your hanmi.

As for seiza, you'll get used to it. But, ask an i-kyu how long it took them to sit comfortably is seiza.

I wish I had found Aikido when I was 16. Have fun.

Clayton.

"Pefect practice makes perfect." -Steven A. Weber Godan Nihon Goshin Aikido

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Old 10-04-2004, 12:02 AM   #19
DonnaQ
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Re: Joint Pains? A Worry?

Hahaha, sounds like it happened to you before David. Bad karma? ;D

Clayton, thank you for you bit of advice. I am actually working out a schedule to work with how much work I receive from school and whatnot. I will probably just go twice on weekdays and a Sunday weekend session here or there. I believe that one of the reasons why I find Aikido so appealing is because it provides a place for me to expend and control my energy, which releases a lot of the restless feelings I get after a day of doing trivial things. But I should think about my limits, particularly the limits of my joints. My muscles have already accommodated nicely.

And I actually tried sitting seiza with the pillow like Thomas suggested and it was a really nice reliever. So I recommend that to anyone else having problems as well.

I am glad I found out about Aikido at this age as well, but really... I find that those that start at a later age seem to enjoy Aikido a lot more. I see so many younger students looking sullen or reluctant (even the higher ranking ones my age or not) while the much older ones are genuinely feeling the calming and exhilerating side effects of the movements we go through. It surprises me that they don't see what an opportunity it is, but eh...that's just my viewpoint I suppose.
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