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, 11 July 2007

Chapter 19: Prevention Of Injury...The Responsibility Of Tori Or Uke?

At a recent aiki session we covered the concept of safety when practising as the attacker. The idea being that the person acting as the Uke is more or less entirely responsible for their own safety. I slightly disagreed with a Sengpai that Tori should only have around 5% responsibility for the prevention of injury to Uke, I see it as more like 10% but that's neither here or there.
The point is, injuries do and will occur in Aikido. Firstly, lapses in concentration can cause injury, secondly, resisting a technique and thirdly through Uke's stupidity. Yes, stupidity. Not often, but it does happen I've seen it. In fact, I seen all three of these reasons. One was when I saw a student go into a roll and dislocate their shoulder. Just a freak accident caused through a tiny tiny lapse in concentration really. Another time, I seen students breakfalling with injured backs. And yes before you ask, to date I have had two, no three injuries so far. The first was my own fault, I panicked when someone did Somenati and ended up with slight whiplash. The second, I cracked my shoulder when someone took me far too quickly into a technique, but strangely enough fixed my RSI so I ain't complaining and the third has been a cracked toe nail.
Yep, everyone has a list of injuries as long as their arm. When I was asked at the session if I thought as a beginner that a martial art would be injury free, I could truthfully answer no. I honestly didn't. The fact is my Dad used to do Judo, and had warned me of the injuries that would occur. And I thought, yep, cheers Dad, you're not selling me starting a martial art.
Anyway, I knew my Dad was right. That's why it took me about six months to start a martial art, I was frightened of what might happen. A hard thing to admit and I still am I suppose, given that I've been doing Aikido for 18 months and STILL cannot roll (probably to some fear complex) But Hay Ho.
So, injury. Yes, I entirely agree that I'm responsible for my own safety for injury prevention. But, I have to add, just because someone stiffens half-way through a technique, does that mean as Tori you continue with the technique knowing full well (especially if you are a higher grade then the person you are working with) that it may cause injury? Or do you stop? Where exactly should the line of responsibility of injury prevention be drawn? Personally, I think you should take care of your Uke but also take care of yourself and not lay blame at anyone's door should you be injured. Rest, and get back to training, not easy...but if you don't get back on the mat, you never will. I would never have got back on that mat after the shoulder and neck injuries if I hadn't have quelled the little voice of fear inside my head and just got on with training. And I'm glad I did.

Note: An interesting idea was brought up during Hikkitat at a recent session. If you find that as Tori you have an Uke that resists during Hikkitat it is YOUR responsibility to do another technique. Interesting concept really, given that it is primarily the responsibility of Uke for their own safety but I guess that as Hikkitat can get quite dangerous given that you and your Uke are fighting for technique this is a sensible idea to have.

1 comment:

dianaschnuth said...

...but if you don't get back on the mat, you never will.

That's where I am with my aikido training right now. After training for only three months, I've been off the mat for a month now, for various reasons (starting with a groin pull, and moving to Life in general), and my fears of a.) looking like a dork and b.) hurting myself again are a challenge to overcome.

I also find myself being more concerned about my ukemi than actually learning the techniques, which is probably not right. But, really -- I won't get hurt by throwing someone, but I will get hurt if I don't know how to take ukemi properly. I've been lucky that most of my sempai are sensitive to the fact that I'm still new, and they take care to keep me from hurting myself.