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Thread: Martial Arts with Arthritis?

  1. #1
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    Question Martial Arts with Arthritis?

    Hello everyone!

    I'm looking for training advice. What are the styles you might recommend for someone with hip arthritis. In my case, I have really bad arthritis in my left hip. but, it isn't bad enough for replacement surgery yet (maybe 10 years). I'm guessing that high kicks are out, as well as a lot of rolling on the ground. There is a significant lack of mobility and a significant amount of pain involved when things get twisted in my left leg.

    I'm looking for something that is combat related if possible.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Tim Dahl
    Tucson, AZ
    Tim Dahl

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    Hi Tim,
    Excellent question. One of the things I really like about Okinawan Shorin Ryu is the relatively high stances and low kicks.
    Can you manage a low kick or is it out of the question?
    Can you take ukemi (falls)?
    I don't think it is so much a question of style as teacher.
    You could train in Tai Chi Chuan under someone who emphasizes joint locks and find the experience to painful to continue or you could train in something we picture as more brutal like Judo with a teacher who is willing to stop when balance is lost without completing the throw and find it works out well.
    I would also add that any type of daily training with a combat attitude increases awareness (zanshin) which is probably your greatest self-defense enhancement.
    My bottom line recommendation is to see what is in your area that you reasonably think you could attend regularly.Take a look at the curriculum and see how much of it you can do. Talk to the instructor and see how comfortable he is with just teaching you what is possible.
    I don't have diagnosed arthritis but as I get older I do have some knee problems and I cannot clench a tight fist until midday.
    Work on what you can without worrying to much about what you cannot.
    Also please report back about what you decide.
    Len McCoy

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    Tai Chi is very good to practise when you have arthritis. I have several students at my Tai Chi school who benefit from the classes.

    Ofcourse it has little to do with fighting, but still it is a martial art and it is great to practise:


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    Default How about Martial Arts with Eye Trouble?

    I appreciate the thoughts about using Tai Chi to continue in martial arts. I know a sensei, Kyoshi Gerald Beshears, who also practices Tai Chi for relaxation. I'm thinking about approaching him. Not only am I an older karateka, I now have problems with my right eye. I had been in a kumite when I hit the back of my head on the mat. I didn't think anything about it at the time but later it resulted in surgery for a torn retina. I was recuperating over that when I slipped on ice on my drive and wound up in the hospital. It developed I needed another surgery because the retina came detached. After that, tissue in my eye pulled the retina off and I had the retina reattached for a third time. When I went back to the surgeon for a follow-up, he discovered the possibility of glaucoma. I finished checking with a glaucoma specialist and was given eye drops to release the eye pressure and given a future of glaucoma examinations. With all that, what should I do? Should I concentrate on practicing katas and stay away from sparring? One sensei has had me using kicks to the shins or insteps over waist high kicks. The dojo works with my limitations. I also know a staff sensei who has one "bad" eye. He compensates for the loss of vision to such a degree no one can tell which is the low-vision eye. How do I train and keep the motivation with such problems? I'd appreciate your thoughts.

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    Arthritis caused my knees to wear down to bone on bone so total replacement cured that. Now my hips are going! Bone spurs are not cured with any actions and exercise; sorry. But, you do get help from cute therapists.

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    James: I got a detached retina, in 1999, from cumulative head injuries in aikijujutsu. Getting your head slammed on the mat too many times can definitely shake things loose. The ophthalmic surgeon saved my eye... and he happened to be a fellow martial artist. He told me that I could continue training and not to worry. However, I have been very careful about avoiding head injuries and whiplash.

    I do not train in taiji chuan, but I have trained for some years in an internal Chinese art that shares the same principles. The body methodology is one that trains for structural stability and the ability to absorb and re-direct force in a way that helps you to avoid jarring movements. It can be practiced slowly or quickly and explosively, but you learn how to maintain a neutral state in which the head remains stable with the structure. Also, the structural conditioning makes it very hard for people to upend you or take you down ... think Kyuzo Mifune, the great judoka that no one could seem to throw or sweep. Same idea.

    Most taiji chuan taught in the West doesn't have that old body method anymore, though, and largely consists of overt movement, not the inner tissue work. Still, practicing such an art slowly could be good for balance, good joint alignment and conditioning for fall-prevention.

    Dusty: A colleague of mine got a double hip replacement. Twelve years later he's going strong, still practicing karate. My mother had them done a couple years apart in her early 80s with very good results, and that was many years ago. I have read that the new method of surgery for hip replacement is far less invasive than it once was, and the recovery time is shorter.
    Cady Goldfield

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    My knees still work great after 9 years, but the rest of me needs a new robot body

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