Aikido and injuries
Last April, I wrote about “Health and self-defense" on this blog and I was discussing injuries that were not specifically related to sports or Aikido. In a recent YouTube video, the Aikido Center of Los Angeles published their point of view about injuries. I would like to discuss two types of injuries: traumatic and cumulative.
The traumatic injury:
Accidents happen and that is why they are called accidents, but we must try to minimize all risks of injuries by keeping the environment safe.
What makes an environment unsafe?
Sharp objects: nails, glass, plastic around the training area.
A wet mat or floor: training just after cleaning the mat making the floor slippery.
Spaces between mats: If the mats are not tight enough together, it is easy to get a toe stuck between the mats.
Soft mats: They could cause ankle injuries during training.
Dangerous students: I have one important rule, it is Nage’s responsibility to take care of his uke and the training should be adapted to the level of the partner.
A cumulative injury:
An injury developed over time is called a cumulative injury. For example, “SUWARI Waza” (knee walking) is known in Aikido to injure the knees and many students after 30 years of training need knee replacement surgery.
Some of those injuries are easily avoidable and with proper care and training a student can have safe training in a safe environment. Students need to adapt their lifestyle as well for example: partying, drinking too much and fatigue will affect the muscles and make the body more prone to injuries.
Today, in Aikido, there is less focus on knee walking and a good teacher will make sure that all the training is adapted to the students on the mat. Note that you should not take UKEMI if you do not know how to do it. Advanced students should ask their partner if there is a doubt or the beginner student should inform his partner.
If in the worst-case scenario, a student gets injured during training, his injury should be addressed immediately, and he should resume training after recovery. Training with an injury will linger the injury or making it worse.
Aikido is a martial art so injuries can happen but most of them can be prevented with the right training. Invest in the fundamentals: UKEMI, footwork, body positioning to take UKEMI and etiquette. A no-openings policy will keep you safe.
"Prevention is better than the cure!"-Erasmus.