General advice on health and injuries


  1. Should I train with an injury?
  2. Advice on injuries in Aikido

1 Should I train with an injury ?

Question: When is it a good idea to carry on training and when is it a good idea to keep off the mat until the injury is completely healed?

Am I learning bad habits in the way I compensate for/protect my injury ? Should I leave it until I can attack properly and take the consequences ? Can I still learn useful things training with one arm ?

From: Lewis Alderton

From my own painful experiences, keep training with anything that does not aggrevate an injury, it can be amazing the extra things that you can see in techniques if your body cannot respond to an attack the way it used to and you have to do a bit of thinking.

As for bad habits, you've got SOOOooo many a few more won't hurt

Seriously now, as you recover you former Physical form you`ll slowly slip back into you previous way of doing thing ( back to your old bad habits )!

From: Joerg Bernsdorf

From my own experience to carry on training when injured, here my 0,20.- DM :


Enjoy your Aikido in the way you are able to do it *in this very moment*. Beeing injured and doing Aikido might also be some challange, some new experience. And I'm quite shure, you won't learn bad habbits that will remain, as long as you fit your Aikido to the abilities of your body.

From: Mike Bartman

Um, usually a "sprain" is a strained or partially torn ligament (tissue that attaches muscle to bone). Muscles get "strained", meaning partially torn (a lighter form of this is normal and serves to build more muscle tissue).

If you have muscle damage, then going carefully and stoping at the point where you start to get pain is probably OK and might even help the healing through increasing blood flow. The key is not going so far as to re-injure the healing tissue. Repeated re-injury of the same site can cause a buildup of scar tissue that interferes with proper function in the future and makes re-injury easier. Pain is the is nature's way of saying "don't do that!"

If you have ligament damage you should probably try real hard not to use the injured part until it heals. Ligaments heal much more slowly, re-injure easily, and if they seperate completely are *very* hard to repair (sort of like trying to sew the ends of a stress-severed rope together).

From: Lee . Escobar"

Our rules say to train at your level of comfort when injured. Realize that your injury is not your own.
You share that injury with your partners also. It limits their ability to perform with sincerity and vigor when they worry about your injury, and can put you in trouble.

When you are not comfortable (painful injury) your bodu is afraid, and can cause you to hesitate or resist/refuse while practicing. Essentially you cannot go on -- you are nursing the injury, not training; and your partner is not allowed to finish his movement either.

From: Larry Novick

If you are injured, and any training will either not make it any better or might furthur the injury, then don't train. This is not old Japan. I have seen students of Aikido get permanent damage (not in my dojo) because they or their instructor didn't have the good sense to get off/get them off the mat. Come on!

From: Walter Martindale

Sports Medicine guys usually recommend (soft tissue injuries, now - bruises, sprains, strains) that you ice the area several times daily (no more than 20 minutes at a time) for the first 48 hours, and then alternate ice and heat. RIGHT after the injury, PIE stands for Pressure, Ice, and Elevation. Depending on the severity of the injury, exercise can start anywhere between 48 hours (VERY gentle stretching and light movements) to 6 or more weeks. SEE a sports med guy for this area. The story I've heard from most of these people is that when returning to exercise, you try to work to the point just before the start of pain. i.e., if you stretch (say) 50 cm without pain and 51 cm with pain, then you stretch 50 cm. When the pain goes away, then stretch GRADUALLY farther.

When you start back at exercising the injured part, you can ice it down after exercise to reduce swelling.

Exercising deep muscle bruises before they're healed can cause the body to develop a condition called myositis ossificans (literally, muscle tissue irritation due to bone development within the muscle).

Waiting too long to exercise after an injury can lead to extensive scarring and shortening of the muscle.

2. Advice on injuries in Aikido

John Lovas wrote:

> I am interested in Aikido (MA's in general) but have only observed Aikido. > >From what I saw, I suspect there would be a fairly high incidence of injury > to wrists, elbows and shoulders, especially after a few years of practice. > I say this from the perspective of a 46 year-old, who's studied Shotokan > karate and judo over the years, presently studying Uechy-Ryu karate. A > fellow Uechy student, who had studied Aikido at the same club I had > observed, said that he sustained several such injuries, and implied that > this particular sensei might be rougher than necessary.

From: Jeff Frane

Well, as a 46-year-old who has studied Aikido over the years... wrist and elbow injuries seem unusual, actually. I've observed more injuries to shoulders (separated my own, once) and to knees (lots of suwari waza seems to be hard on them). But, given the damage I've observed in karateka, kung fu players, etc., I don't think Aikido is any more likely to cause injury than any other m.a.

From: "Craig G. Hocker"

Sounds like it. I would suspect that the injury level is a good deal higher in Judo. I could understand some concern over wrists. Elbows and shoulders in general should not be any more and possibly less of a concern than in the other arts you mention. Keep it in mind, that as rough as some of it may look, good Aikido technique goes with the natural direction a joint turns and never against it.

> Do different styles of Aikido have differences in risk of injury to joints? >

From: Jeff Frane

Yes. Definitely. Some teachers make much greater physical demands on their students than others. I've observed some Aikido schools where the physical exertion is minimal to non-existent; others where people take a licking and ...

From: "Craig G. Hocker"

The styles of Aikido as far as I understand them are not as different as some karate styles. Good Aikido in any style pretty much uses the same principles which should make injury to joints minimal. Dare I say it ?
Styles that actively teach ki development in same manner (diplomatic note: even if they don't call it "ki") or in my private opinion a lot less prone to injury.

> I am not particularly injury-prone, and do not wish to offend Aikido > devotees, but I do wish to study martial arts "for the long run". >

From: Jeff Frane

Best suggestion would be to find a dojo where there is an emphasis on self-protective ukemi, and an attention to minimizing breakfalls. All those hard falls can take a toll on us old geezers.

From: "Craig G. Hocker"

So do I. Which is one of the reasons I chose to stick with Aikido. I knew I could do it seriously my whole life. No offense, but I have doubts on whether that is true of karate. But to be honest, if I thought of Aikido as just another martial art like karate, judo, etc., I betcha I wouldn't be doing it. I'd be windsurfing. I am not that interested in martial arts in general even though I did karate in college. So I am somewhat biased.