About The Following Blog

The following blog has been written purely for those wanting a first hand knowledge of what it is like to step into the dojo for the first time as a complete beginner as a Martial Artist. Through practising a Martial Art, you will gain many things such as self-confidence, self-respect and life-long and good friends. I hope this helps you to see into an amazing world of which you have never seen before and that I have had the privilege of belonging to and knowing.
Although I have not put my name or any name to this blog, it does deserve a dedication- a dedication to those who help people to train, who teach, reassure and most important of all- those who never give up, no matter how many times they hit the ground or a mental brick wall, with themselves or others. But above all- those who are ready to begin their own journey, it begins with one step….

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Chapter 18: The Feeling Of Pain....An Essential Part Of Training?

I recently attended an aiki session where we had someone who was already an orange belt in Karate/Kickboxing start their first session in aiki. The immediate thing that struck me was how this student flinched when myself and another Sengpai started discussing the usual pre-session talk on different bruises obtained from the previous session. I tend bruise real easily, particularly on the wrists so this has become a natural part of life for me that at some point or another during the week I have several aiki-related bruises. Its no biggy, I see it as part of the package of training in a martial art.
But seeing this other student flinch made me wonder... how painful should a contact sport like a marital art be? In Aikido, the application of the different wrist locks make it impossible for you not to escape feeling some pain at one point during a session. To prevent injury obviously, you tap twice on the mat or body in submission when the pain appears. But I often wonder should this be done as the pain is felt or when it becomes unbearable?. To be honest, I do a mixture of the two and I will explain why.
Around two years ago, before I started Aikido I developed RSI in my right wrist so therefore wrist pain is something that I am used to. So, where to draw the line when dealing with pain in training?
I like to think that although pain is part of training in Aikido, it is important to LISTEN to your body, if it hurts, tap out. If injured, rest. You know, common sense things really.
A useful book recommended to me by a fellow student was 'Angry White Pyjamas' by Robert Twigger. I really enjoyed this book. It give an insight into what it is like to push yourself beyond your limits and the experience of pain alongside this. After all, isn't that what a martial art helps you to achieve, obtaining a new physical and spiritual level for yourself?


Ordinary Joe said...

From a martial point of view:

Sometimes the most practical way for you to realize confidence in your abilities, confidence in your equipment, or confidence in whatever else, is to have whatever it is done to you.

In the U.S. Army's basic training, each recruit is familiarized on and drills in the use of a gas mask, but what it all means is not really internalized until you practice with the equipment in the gas chamber. The recruit enters a tear gas filled room wearing the mask---no problem. The recruit is instructed to take a deep breath, remove the mask, wait, put the mask back on, clear the mask, and then resume breathing---again, no problem. Finally, the recruit is instructed to remove the mask... Eventually, he breathes in the tear gas---wow!

When the exercise is complete, the recruit has not only an understanding of one type of gas, but also a confidence in his mask.

I understand that police who train to use tasers will also be subjected to the receiving end. Feeling the pain, the officer will know what the offender will be experiencing and will have confidence in the weapon.

There's definite value in these things.

The same can be said for feeling the pain in Aikido. However, there's an additional aspect: each person is learning how little is necessary to cause what effect. It's an exercise in building sensitivity in the application of the techniques.


Ian said...

Just discovered your blog today and it brought back memories of being a beginner aikidoka.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane.