More advice on specific injuries.


  1. A More wrists
  2. B Cancer and training
  3. C Sprained muscles and ligaments
  4. D Elbow joints
  5. F Broken bones
  6. G Ikkyo injury
  7. H Big toes
  8. J Scratches
  9. K Tight lower back
  10. L Heart condition
  11. M Epilepsy
  12. N Dislocated shoulder
  13. 0 broken feet


From: "J.P. DIESCH"

> It's okay for everything but the slightest 'nikkyo' which is very painful. > Anyone got any advice as to how long I should rest it or if I should try and > nikkyo it gently? I dont think i'm helping at the momnet cos I keep trying to > see if it still hurts! It's suffering form too many enthusiastic beginners;-( >

AAAAAaaaaaaaaahh!!!! poor 'ickle Tricia, wiv' hurted wrist!
(patronising symapathy mode off)

The chinese bally-things are great, leave your wrist for as long as you possibly can! (I know someone who used a sprained wrist as an excuse not to be nikkyo'd for 20 years!!)

If you overdo it, or start practicing nikkyo lots before its properly sorted, you can damage yourself fairly permanently, so BE CAREFUL!

DO make sure ppl at your dojo know you're damaged atm. All except the most evil of them should therfore be nicer to you!

DONT strap your wrist up, unless it hurts during normal movement, or under extension (eg carrying shopping) If it does, you should get the hospital to look at it.

Re. Balls ;-)
I think they're called Bodang ? Balls and they're good, not only for strengthening wrists but for stretching sore wrists and general unwinding. My set have the chimes in them, and came from the pepoles republic although they clonk rather than chime (I'll get the hang of them one day!) so one's with silencers sound like a good idea. I've just got hold of 3 large glass marbles (from Devon) as an unusual alternative. They are the same size and weight as the 'real' ones.

I'm using them a lot at the moment as I've pranged my wrist (all say ahhh).
It's okay for everything but the slightest 'nikkyo' which is very painful. Anyone got any advice as to how long I should rest it or if I should try and nikkyo it gently? I dont think i'm helping at the momnet cos I keep trying to see if it still hurts! It's suffering form too many enthusiastic beginners;-(

Back to work!

From: Alan Shumak

My experience has
shown that if you prepare and wait "FOREVER", at some point in the future (usually six months or so) with regular training, the pain goes away. Then again it usually starts up again just after I thought it went away.


From: "John R. Murray"

That nikkyo tendon on the thumb-side of the back of the wrist? I had that problem for months, until I finally did the "wimp" thing - wore a reinforced wrist brace for about 4-5 months.

Tendons just take forever to heal (rule of thumb is 6 months), compared to muscles (which take days or weeks), and periodically reinjuring them every two weeks after it "stops hurting" just means they'll never get better... (on the other hand, my nikkyo ukemi improved ;-) Massage and exercises will help, but it will still take time. I'm still more sensitive to nikkyo on one side than the other, and I haven't worn a brace for 1.5-2 years or so.

From: Laura Hague

Subject: nikkyo-ed wrists (was: Re: re.Chinese ball thingies)

I have abnormally flexible wrists, so this may be an unusual healing rate. When I sprained my wrist, it was about three weeks before I could use it abnormally again. :-) Whenever I get an owie in one joint, I always have someone manipulate the uninjured joints on the same limb. For some reason (and maybe it applies only to me!) when one joint goes out, it pulls the other ones on that limb a bit out of kilter.


From: "Dean C. Harris"


>training would be greatly appreciated. I guess the question I am dancing >around is whether Aikido can cure cancer. Even if it can't, do you think it >can help? Can it hurt? Your thoughts would be most welcome (We are open to >anything at this point).

Well, if anything it can certainly help give her some positive thoughts. Or to elaborate...thoughts OFF of the topic of cancer and treatment, other words through doing "normal" things she will be living rather then thinking about anything else.

I know for me it helped me "heal" faster post treatment.

I think anything that makes her feel good will help. Perhaps not cure...but there have been direct studies to show "positive" attitude helps the body physically in several ways.

Can it hurt? Don't think so. Only thing she would have to worry about is exposure to germs/people who are sick if she's in the middle of chemo/treatment. Her white cells may drop drastically and that would be very bad as they'd need to stop chemo and admit her to the hospital for IV antibiotics and an isolation room. I had that happen to me-no fun. A simple flu can harm a great deal when you have so few white cells. But I'm sure you and her both know all that.

Aside from Aikido, perhaps Tai Chi would be better? Don't know what state she's in physically-you didn't mention. Is she mobile? I honestly don't think somone's body while in the middle of chemo can handle Aikido...even holding SO many different people will expose her to potential illness.

I'd try Tai Chi (Tom knows a good person to recommend for that) and accupressure/massage. But _not_ accupuncture!

Dee Ann would be best to answer this question for you. The above is just my .02-

From: Lewis Alderton

Jeff Leibowitz writes:
>>> snip <<<
> training would be greatly appreciated. I guess the question I am dancing > around is whether Aikido can cure cancer. >>> snip <<<

Almost definitly not.

But, O Sensei claimed that general body ( abdomen ) flexibility ensured good "health" of the body organs so I s'pose that would include the immune system. If you stop and consider how much of the body is flexed doing simple rolls then it becomes apparent that Aikido does require/encourage great flexibility.

From: "Dee Ann L. Lett-Neal"

Gee Jeff, you are wrong. I am an ovarian cancer survivor and I believe that Aikido has helped me. The exercises and breathing stimulate the circulation and thus improve the immune system. The benefits of the psychology of not being a victim, of being in control of your center, --releasing tension. Anything will help that she believes will help her. Simply doing, instead of giving up, helps her. Too many give up (with any kind of cancer) and die. She doesn't sound like she is giving up!!
Aikido can be a form of therapy.
I started with Tai'Chi and met people who lead me to Aikido. I do both and feel that both have helped me.
I don't panic anymore. I don't freeze when I feel attacked physically or verbally. I am physically active and move better/this is good after working all day as a desk jockey. --and I'm no spring chicken at 41. I can speak from personal experience (true only 6 months of Aikido) --so let me reassure you that the Aikido will help her(in more ways than are visual).
Dee Ann (ovarian cancer survivor 1 year,4 months) Lett-Neal

From: Alan Shumak

> Jeff said:
> My question to you people is whether you think this can truly be of
>benefit to her, or do you think it serves a function in that it simply
>provides hope. Any stories of sick people becoming well from their Aikido
>training would be greatly appreciated. I guess the question I am dancing
>around is whether Aikido can cure cancer. Even if it can't, do you think it
>can help? Can it hurt? Your thoughts would be most welcome (We are
>open to anything at this point).

opinion" is that anything that helps keep a positive frame of mind also helps the body. I guess if Aikido helps soothe the mind, and the mind can help fight cancer, then it can be said that Aikido helps with fighting cancer.

What I hope isn't being suggested is that Aikido is looked upon as a cureall for everything.
A very positive business associate of mine is now successfully fighting his fifth bout with melanoma. His success has always been attributed to a VERY positive outlook. I also have a sister with an
inoperable cancer of the lung wall. Since diagnosis she has been trying to maintain a positive outlook and has been exercising as much as possible. So far so good! If she was interested in Aikido I would suggest it to her as I would to anyone that the combination of physical exercise and the euphoric feeling that I get from a good Aikido workout is a great treatment for any ailments but not necessarily a cure to put stock into.


From: "Joshua Stein (Volt Comp)"

On Wed, 25 Oct 1995, Jeff Leibowitz wrote: > A close friend of mine discovered about six months ago that she had Ovarian > Cancer, a disease with a high mortality rate. [snip]
> My question to you people is whether you think [training in Aikido] > can truly be of benefit to her, or do you think it serves a function in > that it simply provides hope.
You might want to contact Dennis Hooker about Aikido and illness. He wrote an article for ATM I think #25. In any case that issue is about Aikido and health (which after all is the other face of illnes).


From: Douglas Peelle

On Wed, 25 Oct 1995, Jeff Leibowitz wrote:

> Hi,
> A close friend of mine discovered about six months ago that she had Ovarian > Cancer, a disease with a high mortality rate. She has tried conventional >Snip>
> My question to you people is whether you think this can truly be of > benefit to her, or do you think it serves a function in that it simply > provides hope. Any stories of sick people becoming well from their Aikido > training would be greatly appreciated. I guess the question I am dancing > around is whether Aikido can cure cancer. Even if it can't, do you think it > can help? Can it hurt? Your thoughts would be most welcome (We are open to > anything at this point).

I don't think that anyone can tell whether it will work or not, but it's certainly worth a try. I have an aunt who was diagnosed with a particularly nasty form of breast cancer. The doctors gave her a 5% chance of living 2 years. (Of course, any doctor worth his salt will tell you that one can never tell) Along with an aggressive set of medical procedures, she pursued an aggressive regimen of spiritual practices. She began meditating at least an hour or two every day. Anyway, she went into remission for about two years after the first round of treatments. When the cancer showed up again, the doctors were surprised that it was very localized (it had merely gone to the other sid of her body). She told me that when this form of cancer shows up the second time, it usually shows up all over the body and kills the person in short order.

Her second round of treatments included a masectomy and some very nasty, experimental chemicals. One of the known side affects of this particular treatment is the loss of feeling in the extremities and deafness. She experienced none of these symptoms. She didn't even experience nausea! She attributes this to her determination to work _with_ the medication. I attribute it all to her amazing spirit. She lives every moment to its fullest. It's an amazing experience to be around her.

What I'm trying to say here is that I feel that recovery from any disease is as much about having the right attitude or "spirit" as it is about good medicine. If one gives up, one will die.

So, if this woman practices Aikido, and gains spiritual strength from it, it may just do her as much good as any medical treatment. I might also point out that just about any medical person (healer, etc.) will tell you that a person who generally has a strong, healthy body has a better chance of recovery, as well. I believe practicing Aikido will help her in that regard, too


From: Koryn Grant

FWIW Time magazine did an article on corporate highflyers who put in really long days, very busy, potentially stressful etc etc and one thing they all agreed on was that keeping fit generally but especially around the abdomen region (sit-up type exercises were ALL some of them did as I recall) helped their overall health/posture/ability to handle the work they did. Can't remember the date of the issue and my backcopies are home in NZ, but think it was around middle of this year.


From: Kevin Jones

>>>>> "Jeff" == Jeff Leibowitz writes:

Jeff> Any stories of sick people becoming well from their Jeff> Aikido training would be greatly appreciated. I guess the Jeff> question I am dancing around is whether Aikido can cure Jeff> cancer.


I have no personal experience in this area since I am fortunate enough to have never really been sick. I can pass on a story of a person who has overcome a cancer with their Aikido training.

The person is Koichi Tohei sensei and you can find a version of the story in his book Kiatsu. I don't have the book to hand at work, so I might mangle the details a little but the general idea is right.

Tohei was diagnosed as having a tumor (I think it was in the liver but I'm not sure) and was told that the prognosis was not good. I think he was told he would need Kemotherapy and other such regimes. He ignored the suggested treatments and increased his training, particularly in the inner disciplines of Ki Breathing and Ki Meditation. Within 6 months, the tumor had regressed to the point where the Doctor was no longer sure of his original diagnosis.

Tohei is personally convinced that the development of Ki through the practices he recommends is a very effective way of boosting the body's immune system and helping combat all kinds of diseases, including cancer. There is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence to support this, some of it reported in the various books on Ki no Kenkyukai training.

I'm not sure whether a person with this kind of illness would benefit from hard practice or from Aikido waza, but I do think that supplimental disciplines, such as unification exercises like Ki no Taiso Ho, can be valuable in increasing the mind and body strength of the person. If there's anyone in your area with experience in Kiatsu, that can only help too.


From: Dennis Hooker

I find a glass of scotch and my hot tub works well. It don't cure anything but you don't much care after a while.

From: Mike "may be worth an X-ray to make sure it's not a bone" Bartman

> What do you all feel helps the best for sprained muscles/ligaments? >
>The best help is preventive, i.e. warm up before training for about >15 min. to 20 min. When you'r hurt, take it easy on that limb. This >shouldn't say "don't do anything", but "no extreme load for a while".

The doctors I've talked with over the years say, "Pain is the body's way of saying, 'Don't do that!'". They advise listening to it to avoid the problem getting worse, perhaps to the point where it will never heal. Basically, if you can do it and it doesn't hurt, fine. If it hurts, back off.

>sure your toes point in the same direction as your knee. This can be >achieved with not much trouble when you take care to use the ... >(danm I don't know the english word for it) ... the first third of >your feet, or better the soft part directly after the toes rather >than making turns on the whole foot.

The rounded part (not usually all that soft...that's where calluses usualy form) of the sole (bottom) of the foot just behind the toes is usually refered to as "the ball of the foot". The back part, right under the leg, is the "heel". The part between the "ball" and the "heel" is the "arch" (at least the part to the inside (side closest to the other foot) is).

> I tried some Flexall454 (?) and it helped a _bit_ temporalily. In general, > what should be done for a sprained muscle/ligament? A fairly tight ace > bandage?

Just for reference, a sprain is damage to a ligament that doesn't involve a total seperation (usually some fibres have broken, but most have not). Muscles that get similar damage are "pulled". Muscles tend to heal much faster than ligaments and tendons, so a pulled muscle might be fine in a week, but a sprain can take months to heal if it's bad enough. Both are painful and can interfere with normal movement and activities.

Last time I sprained an ankle (last Memorial Day, end of May) the doctor said stay off it as much as possible for two weeks, and do a temperature contrast soak every day for the first week (hot water (as hot as I could stand, but not scalding hot) then ice water (i.e. with the cubes floating in it and not melting very fast), then hot. The deal was 5 minutes in hot, 4 in cold, 3 in hot, 2 in cold, 1 in hot, 1 in cold and done.). I had to wear an ankle support (plastic splintlike thing with air pads and velcro) any time I was on it. At the end of two weeks I was to start limited excersize and stretching excersizes (to loosen it up, help the blood flow, and rebuild muscles that might have atrophied due to lack of use), and keep that up until it was better. Took about a month before I could walk without a limp and another three weeks or so before I had full movement without pain. This wasn't a particularly bad sprain either...I've sprained an ankle once before and that was a bad one...took over a year before I got past all the pain and had full use again.

From: tomm

I've had a great deal of success in preventing injury and recovering from minor injuries using a product called Overdrive. I take acouple of capsules 1 hour before and 1 hour after workout. When I actually do get sore or injured I take Botanozyme whole food enzymes. My chiroprator told me about enzymes and inflammatory injuries.

Works for me. Your results may vary. One size fits most....

From: Alan Shumak

Dean Said:

Does anyone have any type of food/drink that they take to perhaps help the joints/ligaments/muscle remain healthy, but flexible?

One of the guys at our dojo swears by cucumber juice. Ewww...but if it may help I'd try it.

Or is there any particular vitamin or other supplement that helps in the area of joints/muscle tissue?

On the other side-

What do you all feel helps the best for sprained muscles/ligaments? My muscle/joint/ligament in the inner knee area really hurts. Even though I have a test tomorrow...I didn't go to class tonight because it hurt enough to hamper my natural walking. The test is mostly suwari waza. :-(

I tried some Flexall454 (?) and it helped a _bit_ temporalily. In general, what should be done for a sprained muscle/ligament? A fairly tight ace bandage?

You use heat for muscles when they're pulled/strained/bruised to increase circulation and ice for swelling?

I'd really _TRULY_ appreciate some tips on the above.

All I can tell you is that from my limited experience with lots of Aikido Strain, is to work the sore are like physiotherapy. Keep working the Knee (or other parts) to the extent that you can up to the point of pain. After a few weeks of limited activity the joint usually becomes stronger. I've so far used this idea effectively on my lower back,wrist and knee.



From: Thomas

Hello all, Recently I've had a problem with sore elbows, I have
trained quite regularly for the past couple of years
and I think that they should be used to the training
by now.
Can anyone suggest some exercises to strengthen this
particular joint?

From: Joseph Toman

One practice I've started recently and found very helpful for this is making sure that while taking ukemi for ikkyo or shiho-nage, say, I take ukemi before I hear that grinding sound. With a little conscientious practice I found this virtually eliminates my elbow problems, and as a side benefit keeps those messy stains off my gi sleeves.

No, I've never heard of people having difficulties with their elbows from Aikido. Can you isolate the problem to a particular motion or motions that cause it? Humor aside, the most basic advice is to find the offending motions and DON'T DO THAT! If it's really giving you problems, I'd suggest getting a qualified physical therapist to look at it.

From: "Charles T. Taft"

in order to really help I would need to know what part(s) of your elbows are uncomfortable. ie: inside, outside, etc.

in general; in the practice of Aiki we do alot of extention ( extending the arms away from the body ). If you do alot of bokken practice this also uses the same muscles, the triceps. when this group is over worked for a long period it can form active trigger points. if your discomfort is on the inside of the elbow this may be, at least part, of your problem.

If you lay your arm on a table so the upper arm is off the table, this will shortten the triceps with out tenseing them, then you can grasp the muscle, in small segments, with your thumb and first and second fingers and appling pressure that is just below your pain threshold, pull down letting the muscle fiber slip from your fingers. This is cross fiber manipulation. If you feel the muscle twitch as you pull down this may be your problem.

From: Willem Koster

J. Toman wrote:

> One practice I've started recently and found very helpful for this > is making sure that while taking ukemi for ikkyo or shiho-nage, say, I > take ukemi before I hear that grinding sound. With a little > conscientious practice I found this virtually eliminates my elbow > problems, and as a side benefit keeps those messy stains off my gi > sleeves.

Yep, last week sensei thought me a very important lesson about how to be a good uke. "Don't resist the techniek". We did suwari waza gyaku ikkyo and sensei saw nage use his muscles. He came to us and spoke to nage about it. Then he demonstrated on me and found out that it was my fault, I was resisting. He then showed me why I had to go down without resisting... My elbow said **CRUNCH** and I knew. After that I went down really fast as soon as I felt nage's hand on my elbow.

No serious injury lucky me, just a sore arm for half a week. Sensei sure knows just when to stop.



From: James Acker

>OUCH! As I recall Charles decided not to venture into bone breaks. What >_is_ the treatment for that anyway? Just tighly compress with a chest >brace/wrap and time will heal?

Actually there is no treatment. Pain killers and time is about all. The weird thing with this type injury was how long it takes to get to the real pain. I landed badly on a Wed. night class. Had a LOT of pain immediately and it took about 5 minutes to feel like I could move around. It was almost at the end of the class.

That night I had pain. And it hurt but wasn't too bad for the next 4 days....then WHAM Monday morning on the way into work I experienced REAL PAIN.....after work I went to the emergency room, and on getting admitted I mentioned how surprised I was that it took so long since I was injured to suddenly get a lot of pain. The nurse said it happens all the time with both cracked and broken ribs "5-6 days afterwards they really start giving the pain".

>I'll send the 1st part of the injury series in a seperate e-mail. >
>Wish you a speedy recovery!

Thanks, I'm almost ready to try training again and see how it goes. I'm going to try hard to take it easy though.


From: Paul Finn

A question for my cyber sempai;last weekend i was uke for a very gentle ikkyo but when my elbow went above the level of my shoulder i heard a little click a felt pain run through my shoulder,it was bad enough that i had to leave the lesson,i went to see someone about it and they said they were unsure what it was but thought it sounded like i had damaged my "a/c ligament/muscle?".
However i have had no pain or discomfort since and i am little worried about doing serious damage to my shoulder so i have taken the week off.But the problem is that i have a course this weekend a also a grading some time next week.
Have any of you had or know about this sort of injury ,indeed any injury resulting from only the initial stage of ikkyo?

Regards Paul

From: "M. Straus Scantlin"

I waas a swimmer in high school and when we didn't warm up and strecth properply, the tendon that runs across the shouldder wouldn't "jump" as it should. Could be the tendon got caught in it's grove and snapped, like a rubber band.

When we did it, it hurt like hell, but wasn't to bad unless done again and again, like swimming.


From: Alan D Bell

I've experienced a few Ikkyo injuries - although none have been bad enough for me to leave the mat.

As with you - I have been injured at the point in the technique where the elbow is lifted high above the shoulder and continues throught the head - depending on how quickly this has been done (usually in direct proportion to the speed of my attack !!) injury may result (usually a pulled muscle which takes about two to three weeks to heal completely).

I have never felt anything "click" though - sounds like you may not have been sufficiently warmed up - or cooled down too much during the lesson.


From: Dave Raftery

Anyone have expertise in damaged toenails? I know this may be an ugly subject but the other nite at Aikido practice, my partner jamed his foot into my big toenail. Well it turned blue and then bled some. Today the whole nail wiggles a bit. What comes next? If the nail falls off, does the new nail just grow out from the root? Any precautions to take? Special oitments or salves to apply? I've broken toes about 5 times over the years of Aikido practice, but this is the first time I have run into this problem.

From: "J.P. DIESCH"

Just keep it clean and covered. The nail may fall off, but will regrow if the nail bed isnt damaged. Regrowth takes a while tho, and during that time the end of your toe and the cuticle can be really sensitive, so watch out for it whilst training!!!!

HINT for training:
If elastoplast wont stick to your toe when training, try covering the bandage with a partialy unrolled,_unlubricated_, condom; then sticking a bit more tape along the top of your toe and foot. This keeps it clean and protected, also gives you a bit more traction on frictionless mats!! ;>


From: Nick

Well... I am not sure you can save the nail at this point, and I can't see how badly the nail bed is damaged, but if there is pain and tenderness at this point, I am sure you can reduce the problem.

If you are willing, you can either drill into the nail (from the top) with a small pin and relieve the pressure. This drains the accumulated blood and gives the bed a chance to heal. After this, keep it covered with a dressing and neosporin/bacitracin. Avoid wearing shoes and socks as much as possible in order to let the bed heal as comfortably as possible. Watch the nail and surrounding toe for signs of infection.

OR you can go to a podiatrist ;)
(nail drilling is not for the faint of heart...)

From: Alan Shumak

By no small co-incidence I just had my foot run over by a runaway Shite, last week. Luckily the nail didn't fall off so I just taped it up a little each class and it was fine.

As long as you've only got a little looseness, then using an elastiplast bandaid first and then some hockey tape to cover will provide protection and support until healed enough to leave uncovered. If the nail turns black (real black) expect the nail to fall off. If you feel a lot of pressure building up under the nail, see a doctor or try the home improvement method of drilling a small hole to relieve the pressure.

Hope this helps.
BTW it's taken a week for my toe to feel comfortable without covering it...Maybe I should have use "Safe Aikido" and wrapped it in a condom!?!

From: Jeff Frane

The toenail will grow back, and unless there is damage to the root(?) of the nail (unlikely here), it will look just the same after it returns.

BUT: please be advised that *everyone* in the dojo will step on this toe. If you practice with weapons, *everyone* will at some point ram their jyo into this toe (missing all the others, of course). This has something to do with Nature abhoring a vacuum, or Plancks's Law, or something, but When You Have An Injury, It Will Be Repeatedly Re-Injured.

From: Robert Bryner

I have torn my large nail completely back (but not off) during keiko. In both cases I tried to keep the nail attached. I taped it down but did not allow the tape to touch the nail. I covered the nail with a piece of cloth so the tape would not pull it off. The old nail acted as a guide to the new one and I trimed as it grew. I have diabetes and can not afford trouble with my feet. In both cases the new nail is perfect and you can not tell anything happened. Sometimes when the old is taken off to soon the nail grows in. I have nice stories for each nail but some other time.


From: Alan Shumak

Nick said:
>Alan, WHERE on the inside of your knee? it is on the joint line (where >your thigh bone and lower leg bones meet?) or is it slightly above or >below that line?
It feels like a bruise on the joint line that is slightly tender when I use my clutch in the car, worsens when I sit in seiza before class but better after warming up. After class I sometimes feel a strain like sensation.

>Does the pain worsen with activity or lessen? Did you hear a pop or feel >one when the initial injury occured? Is there tenderness in a single >point or part of your range of motion? Do the muscles of both legs seem >proportional?
No pops,clicks, or noises normally and there never was an original injury that I know of. Just a steady irritation that went away and then came back. I also seem to have lost muscle tone on the leg just above and inside of the knee.When in seiza I find that my leg no longer lays properly with my foot now straight up and down for some reason. Any suggestions would help.


From: Richard Reffner

I went to an all day Aikido seminar the other day. Your ususal well run seminar. Your usual Aikido folks there.

Got some fingernail scratches on my arm. No big deal. Took a shower after the seminar and went home. Took annother shower before bed.

Next day got up and took a shower. Went to work and at 2pm noticed the scratches started to swell. At 5pm much worse so I stopped in the ER on the way home.

ER doc looked at my arm and put me on oral antibiotics. Was told to use for 10 days and return if worse.

Next day I started to spike a fever and went back to the ER.

Spent 5 hours in the ER and was admitted. Was put on IV antibiotics every 4 hours for the next 6 days! Culture was Staph A.

Sent home on oral antibiotics for the next ten days. I hope to be back to work next week.

Everyone, please keep those nails short and clean. Mop your mats with Chlorox 1:10 or something else. . .


From: Arun Kumar Mathur

This past Monday I started feeling real tight in my lower back that would extend out to my hips. I was wondering if anyone else had experienced something like this before and would know of any good stretches,exercises, suggestions,etc. to help it heal.

From: Andrew Goodchild

I occasionally suffer from tight muscles in my lower back, and sometimes my sciatic (sp?) nerve gets a bit painful. In general, I have found doing yoga beneficial for stretching out my lower back. But more specifically I find the following exercises helpful:

+ lie on your back, curl your knees up and use your arms to hold them to your chest for a count of 5 breaths. Repeat 2-3 times

+ lie on your back, put both arms out perpendicualr to the sides of your body, bend & raise your knees up, then bring your knees to your left hand elbow while keeping your right hand elbow/shoulder on the ground. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat other side.

Don't forget that your body is an interconnected system. So stretch your hamstrings as well. Also your lower back is probably working overtime because you have weak lower abs. So doing some crunches focuing on your lower abs would not go astray either.

btw. usual disclamar. I am not an expert in these things, so attempt them at your own risk.

From: Ray Cooper

I have received physical therapy for back pain and found out that the best way to get rid of lower back pain is to get in shape !!! Your abdomenal muscles support your low back, and if you strengthen your abs, your back will feel better. Also there are weight lifting exercises that you can do at the gym to strengthen your lumbar (low back) area. Also, if the pain is radiating down your legs, you should probably see a back specialist- you might have had an injury without realizing it.

From: Huy Quang Nguyen

I'm having the same sort of problem... only that it may be a little different. In our dojo, we try to relax all our muscles and do techniques with the least amount of muscle possible... most likely everybody else does too :P But my back tightens up when doing bokken or tai no henko... and despite all my attempts to simply stretch and try to relax my lower back... it still doesn't really help any.

Usually when something like this happens... it's an energy block where the energy in your body is in a bottleneck of some sort. Usually you can relax the tension or work around the energy block to keep things going. So I asked my sensei and he told me to go get a lower back shiatsu massage. Go figure! :) I have yet to set up an appointment but i'll let you know if any changes happen.

From: Arun Kumar Mathur

Last week I posted a question about a tight lower back. This past weekend I started doing some stomach exercises along with some stretching which in turn helped the pain and stiffness go away. Exercise along with rest helped me a great deal. I hope to be back in the dojo next week.

From: "John R. Murray"

I'll have to agree with Julie's comment; don't let your back stop you. Of course, it depends on your particular situation (esp. type of injury), but in addition to the possibility that your back problem may actually improve, another potential benefit of Aikido is a greater awareness of your posture and how your body moves, which can help you prevent further injury.

Personally, I find that my back may start to bother me when I *don't* train for a while.

One general comment; I hope that anyone that starts Aikido with a preexisting condition like that will let the sensei know!

From: Joe McParland

Regarding Aikido with back trouble...

... The army was kind enough to leave me with a mis-diagnosed compression fracture of a vertebrate; that is to say, it's permanent now, and often gives trouble. Stances and some of the heavier work-outs of karate type martial arts would about kill me, though, paradoxically, Aikido actually seems to help me out.

Perhaps its the streching, or constant gentle use, or mild (when compared to judo and the like) throws - who knows? But, believe me: I take proper ukemi training *VERY* seriously!

Since beginning Aikido, I've had a bad day or two, but never any (back related) injury.

Just know your limitations.

From: Berna Slikker

My sensei used to have back problems too, but she says her back doesn't give her problems anymore since she started doing Aikido.

From: "Hugo M. Nijhof"

I have a problem with my lower back too. Here my lineup of the martial-arts that I do with the top one giving me least problems and going down to the worst-for-my-back art:
1. tai chi
2. karate
3. jiu-jitsu
4. nunchaku-do
5. judo
6. Aikido

Aikido is very hard for my back as uke!

From: Roberto Ortiz Falagan

  1. I agree with you completely about Tai Chi.

2.Funny that you should put karate so high up in the list. I tried it myself for about a month, but the stances were too hard on my herniated disk.
(Throwing kicks wasn't exactly good for me either) I've also read that many perfectly healthy karatekas develop (temporary) lower back problems due to the rigid stances.

3. Do you find that you fall more often or harder in Aikido than in Jujutsu?
I haven't had much experience with either (yet).

4. I thought Judo would be the worst of all. These guys use more force than any other martial art I've ever seen. (even though physical strength is not supposed to matter in Judo)

From: Eric Kammerer

True for me also, I have a couple of structural problems with my back, but no problems with falls -- they often seem to help, not hurt.

My wife, who has ruptured some disks in the past, has no problems with either Aikido or Judo falls.

A friend of mine found that falls were the best thing to help his back, and was told by a specialist to do more.

From: Julie Rodriguez

After several years of training, I was involved in what I thought was a minor car accident. Several months later, my neck began to give me problems. A visit to a chiropractor soon discovered several problems. But what I really found interesting was the position he put me in to adjust my back, was the same position I had been doing for years in ukemi. I don't think its entirely coincidence.


From: Andrew Goodchild

Recently my heart has given me a warning about stressing it too much ... but enough of my woes. I was wondering if anybody out there still continues training vigorously even though they have been diagnosed as having a heart condition. Has it changed your training at all or (god forbid) did you have to give up training?

From: Mikel Cummins

My Aikido Sensei at a recent demonstration told how he started Aikido.

He had rheumatic fever as a child, and could not take part in athletic endevours. He went to watch a friend taking wrestling lessons, and the instructor showed some Aikido during a break - emphasising that strength was not required. Sensei went and found a teacher, and 29 years later is still practicing.

{Has it changed your training at all or (god forbid) did you have to give up training?}

I would suggest that as tori you should be alright, but beware uke'ing - that really takes it out of you - the equivalent of climbing a small mountain every practice!

Make sure your parteners know your situation and I am sure that all will be well.

From: Julie Rodriguez

Can't say that it has affected me personally, but some of our students have had MAJOR medical problems. Perhaps they could not do everything that the rest of the class was doing. Perhaps they couldn't make it throught the whole class. Perhaps they could only sit and observe a particular day. But I am certain that the desire to continue training has saved at least one student's life. All that matters is the desire. Listen to your body. Don't push it too hard. But don't stop either.

From: Claudia Wollstein

We had a man in our dojo for many years who one day had a heart attack on the mat during a seminar. We practiced, we sat down. Sensei demonstrated a new technique. The man got up and immediately fell over - almost dead. He was lucky, though, that there were three people present who started reanimating him (one pushing, one supplying breath and one counting) while a fourth ran for the phone. He returned to training a year later - just to do it again. After that second heart attack he gave up Aikido.

There is probably no person who can tell you exactly and reliably hao bad your heart condition is. (Anyway, whatever they tell you: The risk is yours.) So the best thing you can probably do is get it examined thoroughly by a good doctor and have him give you advice. To my knowledge there are heart conditions which get better through practice, others (see above) get worse.

This should also appeal to all instructors to either study first aid (both for the minor injuries which occur all the time and for the more severe things like heart attacks and others) or to make sure that there is someone at hand during the training.

From: John Malcolm

I can not help you with your question re: your heart condition but I would like to piggy back on you to start a thread about conditions or abilities that may pose some special concerns and needs not only for the student but the instructor as well. I am thinking of things like your heart condition, my obesity (almost 400 lbs), blindness, being in a wheelchair ( I have read of this being done quite nicely in "Women in the Martial Arts"), amputees, etc. The sensei's at my dojo are very concerned about my weight and general lack of conditioning. However they have mad it clear that no one is excluded they just have to think about how to proceed. I have been treated with the utmost respect. I have been asked to not get on the mat for the timebeing while they consult. In the interim I have observed the BASIC classes and helped clean the dojo afterwards. My notion being that I should do what I can do and since cleaning duty is part of Aikido I do.

I am especially interested in the experience of others in a similar


From: Mickey Tibbetts

Well I have a not to serious condition that I make known to my sensei. I have epilepsy, though not to severely (I'm not sure that you cannot have a severe case), and have had a seizure while training. At the time the other students dragged me over to the side of the mat and kept training. When I came to I sat for awhile and then joined back in.

Since there really isn't much you can do for a person having a seizure this is what I have always told my sensei to do if this occurs. Of course I was also told to get my act together and take my condition seriously. "I will Sensei, I will".

From: Berna Slikker

We had someone in our dojo who had epilepsy too (he hasn't shown up for a while, so I wonder if he'll continue). He had a seizure on the mat too, once. It was only a mild seizure, but he gave us quite a fright! He *had* told sensei, but the rest of us didn't know...


From: Lucy Halverson

Dave Stevenson wrote:
> A member of our dojo has a persistent shoulder dislocation > problem that has had surgery in the past but is again prone > to PAINFUL dislocation at only moderate provocation. > Anyone have personal experience of a good consultant in > the UK or in the USA SF Bay area???

My husband dislocated his shoulder twice before having surgery done. The first time it was dislocated, our orthopedic surgeon recommended strengthening the musculature surrounding the shoulder instead of jumping into surgery. He said that it was usually enough after a first dislocation. Unfortunately, although his shoulder was not quite as loose as your friend's, it was yanked out a second time while he was upside down in a river kayak and his oar got stuck in some rocks. Needless to say, he then had the surgery. We have an excellent sports-oriented orthopedic surgeon who is in San Francisco. His name is Dr. Kevin Harrington and his number is (415)386-4400.

> Any tips/advice/strategies welcome apart from "give up Aikido"!

As mentioned previously, strengthening the musculature surrounding the shoulder joint would probably help. The major muscles to work on would be the Deltoids, Latissimus Dorsi, Pectoralis' and the Rotator Cuff muscle group. You can probably find exercises in most any weight training book or talk to someone at the local gym. Start out moderately with very light weights and high repetitions. I know my husband's well developed shoulders (he's a swimmer) helped to stabilize his shoulders and he has not had any further problems.


From: Mike Burke

A couple of years ago I let a beginner kneel on my foot while we were doing Nikyo. I didn't go to the doctor for about three weeks (c'mon, I can't go to the doc EVERY time I get an ouchie in Aikido!). The doctor said, "You should have come to me when you first broke it." He then told me to bandage it up, stay off it for about 6-8 weeks and see how it felt, telling me that that would probably be as good as it gets. It took about two years for the pain to go away, during which time I've done some Tai Chi and some Yoga, but no Aikido. During this time I've also gained some weight (although I'm pretty limber for a fat guy...My doctor says I'm in great shape for a fat guy, but if I gain ten more pounds, I'll have to beep when I back up....).

I've just recently started doing some Aikido again. My strategy is to simply practice the basics, working for smoothness and precision, until I feel competent enough to go back to full-scale training. My first piece of advice would be "Don't over do it." I had to lay off once before because of damaged knees, and, after my 1.5-year layoff, it took about 6 months of consistent practice to get back into the stream.

The worst part is accepting that my Aikido skills have atrophied a bit during my layoff. (Don't pray for Patience, 'cause God makes you wait.) I still want to do at the level I imagined myself to be when I layed off. (Actually, I did pray for Patience once, and a few weeks later I met this real nice woman named Patience Rutledge! I've been praying for Faith, Hope and Charity ever since!) Anyway, for me, the discovery of the optimum mental attitude is usually my biggest Aikido challenge.


From: Cady Goldfield

"Not Marc" St. Onge wrote:

>Ha! Bet THAT subject line got your attention...:-) >Can a hard workout at class the night before cause a, shall we say, >slowdown in the body's digestion/elimination process? (How's that >for talking around an issue...). IOW, can hard physical exercise >cause (blush) constipation? I would have thought it would actually >stimulate the system but maybe there's a mechanism I don't fully >understand. Anyone got the straight poop? (Sorry :-)) >
> Not Marc

Dr. PseudoScience (who, by the way, is not a real Doctor...she has a Master's degree) sez:

It's possible. While a good workout increases the body's metabolism and should actually improve motility (the rate at which "stuff" moves through your digestive system), that process can be counteracted by dehydration.

So, if -- after you work out -- you don't drink a lot of water (16 oz. or more) to replace that which you've transpired and sweated off while training, your large intestines will extract and absorb the needed liquid from intestinal contents, leaving them "high and dry." Hence, constipation.

Drinking coffee or beer after a heavy workout will make the situation even worse, as alchohol and caffeine are diuretics (substances which make your body tissues excrete water, which is removed in you urine, bypassing the bowels).

So, try drinking plenty of water before, during (if possible) and after a heavy workout and see if that helps. If not, it's prune juice for you at breakfast!

From: "Mike <insert quote here> Bartman"

I believe so, and I think the mechanism has to do with dehydration. Get all sweaty and fail to replenish the lost moisture and the body takes it from where it can get it, and it's easier to pump semi-liquids through a tube than to pump more viscous, dryer materials...