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  • Shinsa When Injured

    I'm getting to that age (OK, I've already passed the age) where I occasionally have physical problems that keep me from doing my best (or sometimes any) kendo. So far nothing more serious than a strained back from overexertion in the yard (darn leaves), but I've had problems with sprained ankles, tendonitis, etc. Fortunately, none of these have coincided with a shinsa, but if it did happen, would the grading panel make allowances for an injured kenshi? If so, how would one inform them of any injuries? Or does kendo has an absolute standard for each grade, and if you can't meet that standard, for whatever reason, then keep on working until you can?

    What if the injury is permanent? A few years back we had a kenshi with serious-enough back problems that he could not go into seiza or sonkyo. He explained it to sensei and it was never a problem in our dojo, but if he had gone to shinsa (he quit before he ever made it to one) how (if at all) should the grading panel have been advised to make "accomodations" for him?

    Thanks for any input, especially sensei who have sat on grading panels.

    RC_Kenshi

    P.S. I discussed this issue with my sensei this past weekend, and he also was not quite sure what the best course of action would be.

  • #2
    In my experience judging panels will sometimes make some allowances for someone that has a health issue. I'm not sure about a simple injury that you will recover from is considered in the same way or not.

    I also have injuries and problems with shoulders, knees, and elbows but I don't like to get any compensation for this. If I pass I want to do it like everyone else. When I took my nidan exam my sensei told the exam panel that my knees were not good and when I went to do the shiai portion of the exam they waved me off doing sonkyo. I have to say I was quite embarrassed and felt very uncomfortable. I did pass my exam but it felt at the time that I didn't really pass, ya know sorta sneaked by so to speak. I dunno, maybe thats just me I talked about it with my sensei and some of the exam board afterwards and they all said that I did really well and would have passed regardless... but it still felt weird. So now I don't mention any problems before shinsa to anyone...lol.

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    • #3
      Hi Mike,

      I agree I'm not sure I'd want "special accomodations" for a simple injury. Fortunately I haven't had to ask for any.

      I'd still be interested in opinions (or rules if they exist) about accomodations for more permanent injuries. I'm sure it depends on the kenshi with some wanting no allowances, and some accepting them (if it didn't materially affect what is defined as "good kendo").

      Thanks,

      RC_Kenshi

      P.S. I wonder what the grading panel did when it came to evaluating the "footwork" of Henry Smalls-sensei?

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      • #4
        I very much agree with what Mike said. I attended my Ikkyu grading having had been injured (left foot) about a month prior. I had not trained since then either! In this case, my sensei said he would mention it to the grading panel, but also gave me some advice which I've kept in mind since (more so for shiai where I had to play the next day and also recently where I had to play with a small fracture in my right elbow).

        He said that my test would be to get my opponent to play my game (obviously within the limits of the injury), and to compensate for the lack of speed and movement with superior seme and timing. I later found out he forgot to mention it to the panel!

        Although it can be more challenging than needs be, having an injury means that while some aspects of your kendo are not as strong as they usually are or should be, it does give you the opportunity to work on other aspects of your kendo. And at the end of the day, we should always strive to force our opponents to play our game rather than vice versa.

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        • #5
          You can do the "genuflect" instead of sonkyo. Heck, I've seen nanadan and hachidan do it.

          In tournament while in the round robin pool I have raised my hand and then told the main shimpan that I needed a minute in between matches because of my lungs. I think the rule is that you have 5 minutes to answer before you forfeit.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MikeW View Post
            I have to say I was quite embarrassed and felt very uncomfortable. I did pass my exam but it felt at the time that I didn't really pass, ya know sorta sneaked by so to speak. I dunno, maybe thats just me I talked about it with my sensei and some of the exam board afterwards and they all said that I did really well and would have passed regardless... but it still felt weird. So now I don't mention any problems before shinsa to anyone...lol.
            I know how you feel. I think if you can suck it up then don't say anything about it. If it is a debilitating injury then something has to be said. If it's not permenant then I'd say wait for the next shinsa....after all, it's only rank.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kagerou View Post
              I know how you feel. I think if you can suck it up then don't say anything about it. If it is a debilitating injury then something has to be said. If it's not permenant then I'd say wait for the next shinsa....after all, it's only rank.
              Yup. I agree. If it's a minor injury, suck it up or take a good dose of ibuprophen. If it's more serious, wait for the next shinsa. It's up to you to listen to your own body and figure out when you can push it a little and when to take it easy. Gotta walk that fine line between wimping out unnecessarily and creating a debilitating injury.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Kagerou View Post
                If it's not permenant then I'd say wait for the next shinsa
                I agree with this. I took my shodan with a torn ligament in my thumb (left hand). I couldnt hold a shinai for months and only got to keiko a handful of time before my shinsa. Long story short I taped the hell out of it and put up with the pain and passed. Thinking back however I probably shouldve waited until the next shinsa instead of risking making my injury even worse.
                If it is permanent you should contact your federation and explain your situation to them. They are in end ultimately the ones making the decision. It would be silly to pass up needed assistance just for pride.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by xvikingx View Post
                  I agree with this. I took my shodan with a torn ligament in my thumb (left hand). I couldnt hold a shinai for months and only got to keiko a handful of time before my shinsa. Long story short I taped the hell out of it and put up with the pain and passed. Thinking back however I probably shouldve waited until the next shinsa instead of risking making my injury even worse.
                  OMG You're a juggernaught! That's definately worth a few bragging rights to your grandkids "In my day we used to go into shinsa with our thumbs torn off....."

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kagerou View Post
                    You're a juggernaught!
                    Actually I'm more like this guy.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kagerou View Post
                      OMG You're a juggernaught! That's definately worth a few bragging rights to your grandkids "In my day we used to go into shinsa with our thumbs torn off....."
                      Big deal, you guys had thumbs.

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                      • #12
                        Yeah, if your really badass you do it like Ignatz... without lungs.

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                        • #13
                          Usually at our grading if someone has an injury, their instructor will explain to the panel. I see no reason to penalize someone with damaged knees for not taking sonkyo properly for example. People with chronic conditions should be used to them though, and have workarounds for whatever things they can't do. For temporary conditions, I think case by case - discuss with your sensei.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for all the replies. I agree that either working through the pain (to a reasonable extent) or waiting until the next shinsa would be preferable to asking for special accomodations for those with minor or acute injuries. In retrospect, I guess I was really more interested in how to handle those with chronic conditions that limit their mobility, and what type of accomodations can be made for those kenshi (e.g., genuflecting instead of sonkyo, etc.).

                            Thanks,

                            RC_Kenshi

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                            • #15
                              The accommodations will of course vary from person to person. For the particular case of sonkyo, I have often see people drop down onto one knee so that they are at least a similar level to the player in sonkyo. If that is not possible, a standing bow would be appropriate. For seiza, on one knee or sitting cross-legged are two of the ways I've seen for injured people.

                              BTW just like in tournament, you have to explain and get permission for any extra equipment (heel pads, ankle supporter, etc).

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