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sonibasra
23rd June 2003, 14:51
I've been doing SK for nearly five years and I've got a problem which I'm sure you all have experienced - aching wrists! Does the pain come from years of abuse, or do the techniques just hurt more? How do you overcome this? I've tried to build up my wrists, but its taking a long time. Is it ok to wear wrist supports? The problem is that I feel like it is hindering my training and would love to hear your suggestions.

Most people I train with are bigger than me. This hasn't been a problem until now, but with the nidan syllabus I feel I can't take a lot of the techniques being done on me. I'm all for 'good' pain, but I feel the pain to be 'bad' (i.e causing injuries). Part of this reason in due to the wrist problem. Another point is that I'm trying to protect myself from injuries I've had in the past - how do you overcome this and regain your confidence? Finally, I'm not particularly strong and the techniques are usually done too hard on me - should I just get some muscles or just continue to tell my training partner? I'm sick of being the whinging girl - HELP!

Do you get to a point where you are just too weak to do SK properly?

Tripitaka of AA
23rd June 2003, 17:28
I am reminded of a conversation that Yoriko (my wife) had on returning to work after a Gasshuku summer training camp. She had many bruises on her arms from blocking kicks, punches,etc.

"My God, what happened to you?"

"Oh, I was training. For Self-Defense."

"Doesn't it hurt?"

"Yes, it hurts."

"Have you ever been attacked in the street?"

"No."

"So you pay people to hit you all over..."



Sometimes it is difficult to answer these questions.:D

As for the wrists, mine didn't ache a lot, but they were becoming a source of concern for me and sensei. He commented that the flexibility of my wrists made it easy to use me for demonstrations, as I wouldn't need to fall over straight away and could hold the pose a little longer. Unfortunately, he noticed that the range of movement was becoming so great that he was fearful of causing dislocation just through applying correct technique. I felt this a couple of times, where things seemed to go beyond pain and into jelly-like fluidity for a split-second. His advice was to be aware of the usual point of no return for the average wrist, and go with the movement at that point.


Wrist supports. Would that offer immediate protection, but perhaps bring about a long-term weakening of the muscles as they rely on the support for maintaining stability? Gymnasts use them during competition, don't they? Perhaps worth asking a Doctor (particularly if you know one who has an interest in Sports medicine). Do tell us what you find out.

Good luck with your training and don't fret too much. Wrists were meant to cry out in pain, especially with the Nidan syllabus :)

Steve Williams
23rd June 2003, 17:40
Originally posted by sonibasra
Does the pain come from years of abuse, or do the techniques just hurt more?
Yes, and Yes ;)

Is it ok to wear wrist supports?
Personally I would say no, but if the pain is too great then yes its OK.
If you do wear wrist supports then only for the techniques that are really giving you problems, try to use them as little as possible.

Finally, I'm not particularly strong and the techniques are usually done too hard on me - should I just get some muscles or just continue to tell my training partner? I'm sick of being the whinging girl - HELP!
No you are not "a whinging girl" (I assume you are a girl, and this is not just a patronising name people call you :) ) I have a couple of "smaller" women training at my branch, and I am constantly having to tell the bigger kenshi that it is the technique that is important not the power..... if people are to become good kenshi then they must learn good technique, and that power should only be used in certain circumstances (I have a couple of VERY strong kenshi, and even I [yes, even me :eek: ] cannot use power to excecute good technique...)
You have an advantage being "weak" (your words ;) ) in that you MUST learn good technique, as power is not an option for you.


Do you get to a point where you are just too weak to do SK properly?
Never, if you saw the size/strength of some of the "masters" in Japan then you would never have said that....... it is quite shocking what great technique can do, regardless of size and strength..... :eek: :D

cheunglo
23rd June 2003, 17:44
Gassho Soni

I admire the spirit and the courage that it took to ask this question.

There is a difference between whinging and persistent acute pain. Also, there is a difference between temporarily after-effects that last for a few minutes/hours and long-term after-effects that last for days/weeks.

The symptoms that you describe put you firmly in the latter category. That is, your wrists are injured. What does your Sensei say?

Anyone describing the sort of symptoms you are would lead me to suspect ligament bruising or possibly minor tearing. Unfortunately, it can take months, if not a year or more for serious damage to repair. Shorinji Kempo is a marathon over the rest of your life, not just a few years. Whilst there are things you can do (described below), you may have to consider taking a break to give your wrists a chance to heal. I know that this is not what you want to hear right now, especially from a man, but you will need to balance short-term (6-12 months) losses over what is best for you over the long term (20 years+).

Generally, thing you can do fall into 4 categories:

Strengthening Exercises. Make the muscles around the injury stronger – use a lightweight dumb-bell whilst rotating or flexing your wrists.

External Supports. There are good wrists support used by tennis players etc which help to reduce the stress on the wrist. However, these are only good once the wrists are recovering.

Communication. Tell your partner that your wrists are injured. I know that this won’t make you a favoured training partner, but do you really have a choice?

Rest. Take a break for a month or so. Better that is is voluntary than a forced break of years.

George Hyde
23rd June 2003, 18:02
Hi Soni,

My advice - give it a rest!!

Pain is a necessary component of many Shorinji Kempo techniques, particularly at our lowly end of the syllabus - however, prolonged suffering is not!

If your wrists are in constant pain then it is entirely possible that this is the result of injury, rather than simply the cumulative consequences of regular practice. Don't be afraid to excuse yourself from practice that would continue the pain and doubtless add to the damage.

Cheung's advice is sound - but I'd suggest a break from the techniques that are causing the problem rather than a complete absence. Most of us have been through a similar process with one body part or another. You'll probably find that having recovered, you'll adjust your approach to training to limit your exposure to future damage without missing out on any key lessons. Continuing as things are with hypersensitive wrists doesn't give you the opportunity to explore these possibilities.

If you decide to stick with it, I'd highly recommend wrist supports - not that I think they do a grand job - but because their presence reminds your training partner AND YOU to take things carefully.

Good luck.

Later,

Gary Dolce
23rd June 2003, 19:30
Gassho Soni,

I agree with previous comments that you probably need to take a break, along with some therapy, to help recover from you injuries.

But from your original question, I also surmise that some of your problem may be due to excessive force from your practice partners. I believe that a key part of learning Shorinji Kempo is learning to apply just enough force to make the technique work, without causing damage. The amount of force needed will obviously vary with strength and flexibility of the attacker. If most of your partners are bigger than you, they may not be properly adjusting their techniques to accomodate your weaker wrists when you are the attacker. They may also be relying too much on pain to accomplish the technique and not enough on breaking the balance.

By nidan, Kenshi should be sensitive enough to realize most of the time when they are doing the technique in a way that is causing injury. If your partners don't realize that they are hurting you, you should tell them. It isn't whining - it's self-preservation. I think it is also consistent with the principle of fusatsu katsujin.

David Dunn
23rd June 2003, 22:07
Soni, I hope you're still enjoying Germany. I must say when I first read your post, this was what I thought I was going to answer:


Originally posted by Gary Dolce
But from your original question, I also surmise that some of your problem may be due to excessive force from your practice partners. I believe that a key part of learning Shorinji Kempo is learning to apply just enough force to make the technique work, without causing damage. The amount of force needed will obviously vary with strength and flexibility of the attacker. If most of your partners are bigger than you, they may not be properly adjusting their techniques to accomodate your weaker wrists when you are the attacker. They may also be relying too much on pain to accomplish the technique and not enough on breaking the balance.

If a juho technique is done properly the pain is the 'icing on the cake' and the cake can therefore be iced as much or as little as is appropriate. In the dojo, it is appropriate to ice it less. You can ask your partner to apply less force - you don't counter-attack for uchi uke zuki with full power, so the same is true for juho. IMO the only time force is needed is at the 'kime' stage, i.e. when you are completely off-balance, completely kyo, however you want to describe it. At this stage the minimum of force is required.

At the same time, as the attacker you can resist so much that an inexperienced partner might resort naturally to power, so you have to negotiate between the two of you how you can both benefit from the training. It also helps if you can do good ukemi.

Another thought. I also have very painful wrists, particularly when my hand is bent in the tate gassho gatame configuration. I assumed that such bending was the cause, but now I rather suspect that it is not, and rather it is from typing and/or congenital joint problems.

Anyway, I'll reiterate what everyone else has said. Always rest the injured parts, and be generous how much time you give it to heal. This is meant to be instructive and enjoyable, not perpetual agony.

George probably won't mind me saying, but he has hyper-extending joints which makes him very difficult to do waza on if he chooses to let his joints go through odd contortions. In the long run it isn't good for you though because someone is going to push it just that little bit further. His advice is from personal experience. Other people who suffer in the long run are those who resist techniques too much.

sonibasra
24th June 2003, 07:34
Thank you all so much for you comments.

One of the main reasons I asked the questions is that my fear of the pain is making me fall before the technique is put on properly - that's not good team work!

I am quite flexible and I bend in funny places so people do resort to power rather than figuring out how to get around my awkwardness - I don't blame them! I think the comments about responding as is expected when a technique is done on you is a valid one and I will try not to be so unpredictable.

I did have a torn ligament in my wrist about two and a half years ago and I had problems for ages because it was build up with scar tissue. Sensei Russ gave me the advice to literally rub away the scar tissue and then do gentle exercise to build the wrist up properly. I did this time and time again (which was very tedious!) and now its completely healed. This took 6 months or so. Now, I don't have an actual injury but feel that I could quite easily get one because my body can't take the force with which the techniques are done.

I will continue to try and build up my wrists, but your comments have also encouraged me tell my partner that they don't need to use so much power to make the technique work on me. The latter is much more difficult than the former!

Thank you all again for your comments.

Soni

PS Steve, I am a girl (female that is...!)

George Hyde
24th June 2003, 12:05
Originally posted by David Dunn
George probably won't mind me saying, but he has hyper-extending joints which makes him very difficult to do waza on if he chooses to let his joints go through odd contortions. In the long run it isn't good for you though because someone is going to push it just that little bit further. His advice is from personal experience.

This is an interesting point actually. I found very early on that with no resistance on my part people generally found it very difficult to do techniques on me. However, they usually worked out that my bendy joints simply meant that the point at which the pain starts was a little further down the line than for most other people. What really annoyed me was the fact that many assumed that my flexible wrists made me immune to pain and therefore over compensated. The result? Knackered wrists!

This highlights a really important point in kyo-jitsu as already alluded to by Dave. When Mizuno Sensei performed the same techniques he experienced no difficulty at all and I experienced little or no pain. Clearly, his application had something that removed the necessity for pain.

When we see the devastating effects of pain and the ease with which it can be applied it's common to say "aha! that's how it works!" and stick with that application. However, if you get on the end of a wrist like mine and the pain doesn't happen when you expect, then that vital moment of kyo evaporates in an instant. If there isn't something else in there to maintain that moment of kyo then you immediately have a wrestling match on your hands. Those among us who are blessed with sufficient weight and strength are perhaps able to overcome this and eventually deliver the required amount of pain to get the job done. Such individuals may have such a considerable genetic advantage as to be able to rely on this in the vast majority of cases and choose to do so. However, how are they able to convey the necessary understanding to lesser gifted mortals of meagre stature like me? Or dare I say it - the girls under their instruction?

Flexibility aside, I've recently been studying the phenomenon of pain. The more I read the less I'm able to believe that the levels of pain we manage to dish out in the dojo would have the same measure of effectiveness on a fully committed assailant. Pain may be quantifiable, but it is far from consistent across individuals and - more importantly - circumstances. As a consequence, we should be seeking to ensure that our applications are as effortless and painless as possible. It'll do the world of good for our wrists as well. :)

Later,

norsedragon
24th June 2003, 12:20
I have always felt that one of the very nice aspects of the partner training in shorinjii kempo is the increase of sensitivity in both. Continually expericing the giving and taking pain makes you aware of your own boundaries and your partners. From this evolves a sensitivity for life it self a generosity and care. To shy away from life is easy. To make yourself numb to life through power and insensitive action is also easy. It is the subtle union of action and sensitivity that we experience in practice with the partner. Power and love should not be separated.
Becoming aware of ones own borders ones own life, and respecting it while still being active is an art. It also seems the first step in spirituality and martialarts. To be alive we must feel life, and at the same time live life.
I have found that in periods where I´have been training a lot of techniches with wrist action, the flows of energy in my body has become very strong. So after the pain from a techiche a warm flow has come through my wrist very nice. So from this experience I belive that ideally the wrist technice if done probarly should make your wrist stronger as it massages the nerve points and open up for the energy flow in the meridians.

Thorbs

David Dunn
24th June 2003, 13:20
Hello Thorbs, interesting points. Please note the forum rules state that you should sign with your full name.

sean dixie
24th June 2003, 14:04
Some great posts on this thread and I hope that Soni has had some insites into how to deal with her wrist problems. Just to add my own expereince to the topic, as Dave and George well know I've suffered wrist problems for a long time and was told by my doctor to give up a couple of years ago(Yeah, right) Time to change the way I train. Rather than give up entirely I simply asked Sensei Mizuno to be excused from the techniques that would cause the problems to start up again.My fellow Kenshi, ever understanding would allow me to practice on them while I healed for month so.

Over time and as we all move ever onwards in our training I have done the same for some of them. Mutual cooperation. George has a real point regarding pain. In the last year or so I've found that I don't want to use pain in juho- to break someones balance if far more satisfactory than to have them go down through pain. For me thats where the art lies. Really, at Dan level the techniques should be more subtly applied, and be more effective for it.The real fear for me now is Gyaku Gote from a six foot, fourteen stone white belt!

Gary Dolce
24th June 2003, 15:04
Excellent posts!

I wholeheartedly agree that we can learn to do most juho techniques effectively with no or minimal pain. That should be a goal for all of us. But I think that is often a long term project, and on the way there I think we all have to invest some time in study the difference between pain that directs the attacker to fall (i.e., that the attacker can clearly relieve by falling in the desired way) and pain that leaves the attacker with no outlet, or happens too abruptly for the attacker to respond. Those are the situations that lead to most wrist, elbow, or shoulder injuries.

I also think Thorbs comments on the philosophical benefits of juho are right on target. If you open yourself to it, practicing juho really can build empathy with your training partners. It doesn't happen every time, but it is a real thrill when I feel that I can sense exactly what my partner is feeling as I do the technique (and vice versa).

One last comment to Soni - I don't think any of this has to do your the fact that you are a woman. I have practiced with very strong men who have wrists that are atonishingly sensitive as well as with women who seem to feel no pain.

Tripitaka of AA
24th June 2003, 20:42
... I've learned that my bendy wrists can be described as hyper-extending joints :D

Excellent thread.

Eastwood
26th June 2003, 03:02
Soni,

I'd like to pick up on Gary's advice about making juho techniques show the attacker where to move. For me, it was a real breakthrough when I started to hear what my seniors had been saying - that juho don't just attack one joint, but they lock up a whole series of joints. So in gyaku gote, for example, the wrist doesn't remain the center of motion. Instead, the center shifts from joint to joint as you lock up each one. THIS is how to show people where to move. Focus your seichusen on wrist, then elbow, then shoulder, hips, knees, feet (and more possibilities after the opponent is down). This is the quickest way I know of to do your own research on how to direct people through juho. Then if you can show your partners, they might learn how to return the favor.

Best