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  • Practicing through an injury?

    Hi all!

    As I inevitably find myself returning to posts from this forum time and time again when I have questions outside of class, I figured that this would be a good place to search for some suggestions/advice.

    I have been practicing kendo for about a year and a half now, and have been training extra hard with the intention of attempting to grade for shodan in the new year.

    For the most part, things have been progressing well aside from some irritation to an old injury in my left hand that gets aggrevated when I employ tenouchi (usually heals over the week between our classes)- unfortunately at a recent seminar I did a bit more damage and it has been much slower to heal. As I would really like to avoid the surgery route, it seems I will need to let this hand have some extended rest (possibly 4-5 of the 7 months before grading).

    My sharp-eyed sensei has noticed this injury, and in a passing comment had mentioned sei-nito as a potential solution. Part of me is wanting to leap at this opportunity as it means I may be able to continue practicing despite the injury (depending on if my hand can handle the shoto)... but part of me is really hesitant as I am still a lowly ikkyu, with much left to learn about itto-ryu and chudan no kamae.

    So, with a desire to not appear conceited/presumptuous to those who are unaware of my injury, but a stronger desire to not have to stop practicing the sport that has become such an important part of my life:

    Am I better off to start to learn something unusual, but more or less accepted in kendo circles (though not usually for ikkyu), or would I be better off with a somewhat more unorthodox migi-katate-half nito with the full intention always being to return to the more conventional itto+chudan once I am able (and hopefully in time for the grading).

    I have read information on nito that says it will only benefit my itto, and I have read posts that contradict that information warning against it... so I am not really sure what to believe. The only thing I am fairly certain about, is that either way I will benefit more from being in the dojo participating, doing what I can (and not aggrevating the injury further) than I would from sitting on the sidelines for half a year, or participating and doing more damage to my hand (not that my sensei would allow that, even if I tried!).

    I am looking forward to the combined experience of many of the excellent kenshi on these forums, to give me a better idea of what I should propose to my sensei as a way to keep practicing!

    Thank you in advance!

    -J

  • #2
    Dear J,

    Sorry to hear about your injury. Do you have any idea what exactly the pain is? Ligaments, muscle, tendons? What kind of old injury was it caused by and how long ago was that exactly? Did you ever see a doctor?
    Perhaps you can fix your problem with supporters or it will eventually vanish if you take a break.

    Generally the advice in this forum is pretty conservative and people will most likely discourage practicing nito with as little kendo experience as you got. However I want to mention some points that might help you making your decision.
    - There is no real reason not to try if your teacher already offered to teach you. It might be the remedy after all. He should be a respectable teacher of the club where you are practicing. If he's only a guest or not really interested in teaching you nito that might lead to new problems.
    - IMO, if you want start learning nito one or two practice sessions per week won't do. Most of the exercises are designed for kenshi with only one sword and you can't expect a similar learning result when you are the only nito guy in the group. Three to four times per week should be your aim if you want to improve your kendo.
    - I know a guy who passed shodan exam with two swords, just to let you know that even that is not impossible.
    Last edited by unworthy; 23rd August 2012, 05:07 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by JRS View Post
      My sharp-eyed sensei has noticed this injury, and in a passing comment had mentioned sei-nito as a potential solution.
      I think your first order of business is to heal the injury first. I know it's not easy to take time off from kendo, especially when you have a goal that you're shooting for, bit in the long view of a lifetime of kendo, taking several weeks, or even months, off to heal an injury is a prudent investment.

      As for sei-nito, if your sensei recommends it, then by all means. Another option for you is gyaku-jodan, which has the added benefit of not having to use your left hand as much, and not having to buy a completely new set of shoto and daito.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by JRS View Post
        My sharp-eyed sensei has noticed this injury, and in a passing comment had mentioned sei-nito as a potential solution.
        I think your first order of business is to heal the injury first. I know it's not easy to take time off from kendo, especially when you have a goal that you're shooting for, bit in the long view of a lifetime of kendo, taking several weeks, or even months, off to heal an injury is a prudent investment.

        As for sei-nito, if your sensei recommends it, then by all means. Another option for you is gyaku-jodan, which has the added benefit of not having to use your left hand as much, and not having to buy a completely new set of shoto and daito.

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        • #5
          re: unworthy

          Thank you for the advice, and it is encouraging to know that even if things take longer to recover, there may still be a chance of grading.
          I have seen a doctor recently when it first started acting up again, and have tried most of the remedies short of surgery (and extended rest). The original injury took place about ten years ago, damage to the tendon sheath of my ring finger while carting overloaded wheelbarrows. Once things are on the mend again (i.e. the pain stops) I will support the hand by using padding inside the kote + the thicker diameter tsuka shinai to reduce the amount I need to squeeze. (kind of wishing I'd had the forethought to pad my hand BEFORE I aggrevated it... lesson learned).

          re: Halcyon

          I do agree with the need to heal the injury. I guess I am certainly looking to have my cake and eat it too in this situation! I just recently broke through a bit of a plateau in my kendo development, so the thought of stopping just when my momentum is picking up again is extremely depressing and hard for me to accept. Ultimately I will sit and watch if there is no other solution, but I am hoping to find that alternative that will keep me involved in the class - I had even considered practicing without a shinai and focusing on developing a better sense of maai and a better sense of timing for nuki-waza... but somehow that didn't seem like it would be fair to anyone who was paired up with me.

          It was this thought while sitting watching practice that made me really think about the possibility of using my right hand rather than no hands! I did some googling and lo-and behold found a youtube video of gyaku jodan (that it looks like you might have posted) - I had not realized that such a thing even existed! But it was not far off what I was thinking, using it completely katate. I figure even if I am no good at it, at least people practicing with me will have a shinai to contend with so that they can also work on their timing and maai. Thank you for the information, it gives me something else I can work with!

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          • #6
            You could alternatively switch between mitorigeiko and solo practice (off to the side so as to not be in the way of others' keiko) focused on footwork or something. (can never practice enough, IMHO)

            But I guess this is the boring approach no one would want to do.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Shinsengumi77 View Post
              You could alternatively switch between mitorigeiko and solo practice (off to the side so as to not be in the way of others' keiko) focused on footwork or something. (can never practice enough, IMHO)

              But I guess this is the boring approach no one would want to do.

              It is what I have done for injuries with the duration of a couple weeks or so! But you're right, the prospect of an extended period of this is a bit daunting. As much as I do like getting the mirror-neurons firing, by the second/third class I have a really hard time sitting on the side and watching and start itching to get back into the thick of things!

              As for footwork, that's what I use my dining room floor for outside of dojo-practice times - not that I disagree in needing more practice, my back leg can be stubborn some days

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              • #8
                As mentioned, consider practicing in ways that do not stress your injury.

                For example when i was recovering from knee surgery some years ago, Koike Sensei had me do slow footwork and menuchi with a shinken around the dojo for 6 whole months, he corrected my posture, kamae, swing and footwork in betwen running drills for the regular practice. If i needed to rest my knee, i was instructed to watch others practice to pick out what was good and 'steal' it for myself.

                Come to think of it, I might have gotten more out of those 6 months than if i just did regular practice.

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                • #9
                  Just do it...

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