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Old 11-27-2005, 03:17 PM   #1
doronin
Location: Canada
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Question Slouch and falls - please advise

Hi,

On my second lesson I realized a serious concern. I have a slouch, curvature of the spine between shouder blades. No pains so far, but as a result I can't make by back round for falls, and later rolls. Did anyone had this problem, or may be seen someone with this in Aikido that managed to overcome it? Is it possible to overcome it at all (not the slouch, but inability to fall/roll properly because of it)?
I like Aikido very much, and really don't want to discover that I won't be able to continue my practice due to that.

Please advise.
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Old 11-27-2005, 05:55 PM   #2
aikido_luver
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 27
New Zealand
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Re: Slouch and falls - please advise

okay well you say this is only your 2nd lesson in aikido? i have a really bad slouch if anything it kinda helps lol. look just give it time, you said this was only your 2nd lesson, you shouldnt expect so much from just having a few lessons. i know some people that have been doing aikido for years and still have trouble with ukemi. even i have trouble doing ushiro ukemi on my left hand side and iv been doing it for about 3 years. but the point is this, give it a few months or years practice makes perfect. i wouldnt get so worried about it just yet, your still learning, we all are. ^_^
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Old 11-27-2005, 06:22 PM   #3
Janet Rosen
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Re: Slouch and falls - please advise

you might want to consult w/ a good rehab pilates, feldenkrais, alexander method, etc practitioner who can analyze your slouch in the light of total body holding/movement and maybe make suggestions for off the mat regimen to help.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 11-27-2005, 08:07 PM   #4
bkedelen
 
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Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
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Re: Slouch and falls - please advise

I had a long an serious battle with slouching and the answer to your question is this:
YES YOU CAN DEFEAT YOUR SLOUCH
The means to defeate your slouch is simply to go to war with your posture for as long as it takes to attain victory. Throw everything you have at it. Do everything Janet said. Here are several excercies which have helped me tremendously:
Start by forcing yourself as upright as possible for 5 minutes every time you realize you are slouching. If you are as bad as me, you will find that you cannot even get to a genuinely straight posture (much less hold it) without much practice and hard work.
Try not to look at the ground when you train and walk.
Practice putting your head on your headrest when you drive.
Start doing crunches. Start doing squats. Basically what you are going to do over the course of several years is to teach your body to use your abdominal muscles to hold your chest up. You need to build chest, abdominal, and back muscles that you either do not have or your body does not use properly.
Try to find a truly neutral posture. When you start you are trying to get here at all, in the end you will be trying to stay here forever.
Do these things all the time, every time you think about it. NEVER GIVE UP. I promise that it is possible. You will not believe what happens to your life when your posture is better. People literally treat me differently when I do not slouch. The battle between you and gravity is a metaphor for your battle with all of life's challenges. I am extremely passionate about this subject because of how it breaks my heart to see good dignified people hunched over, seemingly defeated. May all of the slouchers of the world gain victory over their burdens!
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Old 11-28-2005, 12:17 PM   #5
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
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Re: Slouch and falls - please advise

"I have a slouch, curvature of the spine between shouder blades. No pains so far, but as a result I can't make by back round for falls, and later rolls"

I'm not sure what you are stating. If you slouch and your shoulders are rounded, then you already have a round back for falls and rolls. If your curve is lateral, then you have a scoliosis which could cause your back to be stiff.
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Old 11-28-2005, 01:23 PM   #6
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: Slouch and falls - please advise

People can successfully do aikido with all sorts of physical limitations. One of my friends made black belt last year despite knees which do not bend past 45 degrees (so that he can't, for example, sit in seiza). He had a lovely test even though some techniques were quite unorthodox.

So don't give up, and seek out teachers who won't give up either.

Mary Kaye
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Old 11-29-2005, 02:25 AM   #7
doronin
Location: Canada
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Re: Slouch and falls - please advise

John - it is a scoliosis, and I'm 31 years old. So... any ideas?

Mary - thanks, I don't see any reason to give up. In the worst case my experience will be somewhat limited.


At this moment I'm looking for an advise

- how to learn rolls now, having stiff back - any tips, tricks, and ideas of how to group the body for roll, etc.

- how to develop better back flexibility on the long run

Last edited by doronin : 11-29-2005 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 11-29-2005, 10:59 AM   #8
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: Slouch and falls - please advise

Finding someone who can examine your back and suggest specific exercises would probably be best. In my thirties I had persistant back pain, and eventually went to a rehab clinic where they assigned me a set of twenty exercises to do daily. After a few painful relapses I worked out that I really did have to do them daily, and things improved immensely. (I don't do them anymore--apparently Aikido covers the same ground. But if I were going to be off the mat for more than a few days, I would.)

For the rolling, my suggestion would be to practice koho tento undo--sitting crosslegged, rolling onto the back and rolling back to sitting--every day, with attention to trying to smooth out any bumpy spots. This will be slow, but should help in the long run. We have one student who had a lot of pain initially from protruding bones in his spine; sensei set him to doing this for weeks on end, and he eventually found ways to move that didn't impact on his bones. He now rolls quite proficiently and painlessly.

It's probably best to practice briefly but frequently, as when you get tired you may stiffen up further. You don't want to cause yourself pain--it will only make you tense and slow down your progress.

Best of luck!

Mary Kaye
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Old 11-29-2005, 03:48 PM   #9
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
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Re: Slouch and falls - please advise

Dmitry: Your back needs to be checked out if you have a scoliosis to ascertain the severity. Generally, a mild scoliosis is considered to be a curve under 10 degrees, moderate 10-20 and severe 20+. At certain levels, steel rods are put in the back to straighten the curve. Generally, this is only done when the curve compromises internal organ function. You may be ok with a moderate scoliosis but not likely able to do much heavy physical activity like aikido with severe. Everyone responds differently. You also may need to undergo rehab to strengten the back muscles.
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Old 12-14-2005, 08:38 AM   #10
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
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Re: Slouch and falls - please advise

dmitry, I have seen your other post about the painful knee. I sent you some feedback on that. But I can tell you this in a nutshell; that you strike me as another beginning student looking for some shortcut. Guess what? There are no shortcuts.

In gassho
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Old 12-15-2005, 02:54 AM   #11
doronin
Location: Canada
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Re: Slouch and falls - please advise

Mark, your last post, what was it for? I though longterm practice helps to lower agression level somewhat...
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Old 12-15-2005, 02:18 PM   #12
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: Slouch and falls - please advise

Me too. Sigh. thus things go. I wrote in another post of a certain meanness of spirit that arises from time to time. I guess it means I am still trapped in the world of delusions. In gassho.
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