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  • pregnancy and kendo

    My husband and I practice Kendo together. We are planning on having our first child in about a year and a half (meaning, it would be born a year and a half from now. I would be pregnant earlier). I know this might sound weird, but what worries me the most about being pregnant and having a child is how it will affect my kendo. Obviously, I won't be able to go all out in keiko like i do now, and shouldn't let people hit me in the abdomen; there will be limitations to practicing, but i don't want to stop practicing. I am wondering if anyone has been through this and knows sort of what I could do and what I couldn't do while being pregnant. The more details, the better. Also, how many of you have children and practice kendo still? It might be wrong, but it seems like it would be harder for women with children to get away and practice kendo than it would be for men that have children. thanks!

  • #2
    I'll take a bite at this.

    If I were in your situation, I would probably decide to stop as soon as I found out I got pregnant. Even just doing the basics and danger of receiving stray strikes could put the unborn child in danger. The only thing Kendo related that I would do would be Kata (and you know we all need to practice that more!)

    In closing, I wish you guys luck with getting the baby and all. I wonder if you are planning on giving a Kendo related gift for the first birthday to start off early .

    I'll let the doctors and females who have been in this situation give more insight. Me being a single male and not a doctor doesn't give me any experience in this kind of thing.

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    • #3
      (EARLY)CONGRADULATIONS!

      If I were a pregnant--or soon to be pregnant--kenshi, I would talk to a doctor about what sorts of exercises are okay to do while pregnant.

      I know there are certain exercises that pregnant women can't do, at least not at first, but other than running and using heavy weights I'm not sure. I would think that kata, footwork, suburi, and even light uchikomi practice would be okay, though.

      Fumikomi-ashi might not be a real great idea...

      I would just talk to my doctor; explain the ins and outs of my normal keiko, and see what they say is okay to do out of it.

      I hope your plans work out well!

      Comment


      • #4
        yeah .. talk with the doctor, i have a friend pregnant in kendo too, but she make kendo (without bogu), when her belly started to grow, she just stopped, my medical experience is almost nothing, but i think during the 3 firts months its ok, after that depending the person the next step (keep practicing or not)

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        • #5
          My wife and I just had a baby in August, so I'll give you her experience.
          She never practiced once after the day she found out (two-three weeks since conception??) Although I've heard of ladies continuing with suburi, maybe kata well into the second-third trimester, strapping on bogu is not something any doctor would recommend at any stage of pregnancy (don't take my word for it though).
          However, about one month after birth, she returned to practice about once a week to prepare for shiai.
          One thing she did during pregnancywas to come with me to practice. This gave her a chance to watch and at least keep kendo in the mind, and I think the baby got used to the sound of shouting and shinai, because when we take her (the baby) to the dojo now, she only cries before and after practice.
          My wife had asked other female sensei about the decision-giving up practice for up to three, maybe more years (considering term, recovery after birth, early childraising)-unless you're going to be a national team member or something like that, you will ultimately have to make the sacrifice (something you will have to get used to!)
          Everybody has a different experience with pregnancy, but your priorities must always lay in the little life growing inside you.

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          • #6
            There was an article about a swedish female kendoka who got pregnant posted on our federations website some time ago. (http://www.budo.se/nytt2005/gravid_kampsport.shtml)
            It is in swedish, but I'll give the main points:
            She practiced until 8 months. But she stopped receiving do-strikes, and had to be "easier on the feet" since she was heavier than before. She did ji-geiko, but only after informing the opponent.
            However, this article says that the baby is really quite secure inside the abdomen and that most women would benefit from exercise while being pregnant.

            A bit unstructured, but I hope it helped.

            I really think you should continue practicing as long as it is possible.

            Comment


            • #7
              you could keep practicing without bogu, that means you only get to hit others while they are not allowed to hit you
              use that time to improve on your katas! I think katas are a quite safe exercise for pregnant woman. and although some people think it doesnt, it can help your kendo, in terms of seme, pressure, zanshin, ma-ai, ... when you're doing the 7th make sure you are sidachi its the only one with a do strike in it.

              btw, hakama must be the perfect pregnacy clothing and its just so damn comfy

              Comment


              • #8
                The woman that h2o was referring to has written an article herself, about her own experiences and views on practising during pregnancy. You can find it at http://www.naraforaldrar.se/gravidtraning.htm, but since that one too is in Swedish I'll translate the interesting parts for you.

                Kendo betyder Svrdets Vg och r en fysiskt krvande kampsport, men i och med att inga kast eller liknande ingr, rcker det med att modifiera trningen fr att kunna fortstta under graviditeten.
                "Kendo, the Way of the Sword, is a physically demanding martial art, but since there are no throws, or anything like that, the training only has to be modified for one to be able to keep practising during pregnancy."

                Then she talks a whole lot about the general health benefits of training while pregnant, before she comes back to the topic of kendo.

                Inom kendo kan man till exempel fortstta trna nstan som vanligt, men lta bli att stampa hrt, inte ta emot do-hugg (mot sidan av magen) och inte utstta sig fr hrda sttar. Keiko eller "fri trning" r okej om man fr varje match sger till sin partner att inte hugga do och undvika hrda taiatari. Tvlingsmomentet ska man undvika mot slutet av graviditeten - det r ltt hnt att adrenalinet fldar, att motstndaren inte tar hnsyn eller att man glmmer bort att lyssna p kroppen.

                "In kendo one can practise almost like usual, but avoiding hard stomping, not receiving do strikes and not taking hard pushes. Keiko [she's referring to jigeiko, really, this is a common misnomer among Swedish kendoka] is okay if you before each time tell your partner to avoid do and hard taiatari. Competition should be avoided towards the end of the pregnancy, there's a lot of adrenaline and your opponent might not be careful or you forget to listen to your body."

                Then whe writes about the increased need of taking care of your body and keeping contact with the doctor, just in case, as well as what you shouldn't do (like diving) while pregnant.

                Till att brja med fortsatte jag med kendo tre gnger i veckan, efter sjunde mnaden minskade jag till ett kendopass och trnade kondition hemma med min ministepper tv gnger per vecka i stllet. Mot slutet av graviditeten knde jag att det var omgivningen som undrade om jag inte skulle lgga av snart snarare n jag sjlv. Sjlvklart var jag tyngre i ttonde mnaden, men frmsta anledningen att jag upphrde med kendon var att jag ville ha mer lugn och ro. Under min andra graviditet slutade jag med kendon i slutet av sjunde mnaden, jag blev frkyld sista veckan och valde att fortstta med annan trning efter det.

                "At first I continued practising kendo three times a week, after the seventh month I cut down to one practice and did cardio training at home with my ministepper twice a week instead. Towards the end of pregnancy I felt that the people around me, rather than myself, was wondering when I would stop. Of course I was heavier after eight months, but the main reason for stopping was that I wanted more peace and quiet. During my second pregnancy I stopped at the end of the seventh month, I got a cold the last week and then chose to do other training."

                That's the main (kendo-related) parts of the article, hope it helps.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Anime12478 View Post
                  If I were in your situation, I would probably decide to stop as soon as I found out I got pregnant.
                  She plans on being pregnant, not sick. Within reason, she can do most of the things she is doing now. I'd say to avoid taiatari, and to listen to your body as far as how hard you can push it. After around 6 months, balance can be affected so take that into consideration. Of course, consult with your doctor because on these matters most of us are a bunch of uninformed idiots. There are some pregnancies where you must take it easy, but most as far as I understand it most women can be very active in the first two trimesters. Many run, ski, etc.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    don't know about being pregnant. but, one of sempai, takeyama-san, always brought her little one to the dojo. she and her husband, who does not practice kendo, drove about an hour every sat. morning to our practice, and her husband kept the boy busy.

                    my wife worked out at least 30 min everyday on treadmil while she was with our sons. she doesn't care too much for work out, being 5' 2" and less then 100 lbs all her life, she didn't feel the need, but was told by the docs that regular workout during the pregmancy will actually help with delivery and things.

                    pete

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bullet08 View Post
                      don't know about being pregnant. but, one of sempai, takeyama-san, always brought her little one to the dojo. she and her husband, who does not practice kendo, drove about an hour every sat. morning to our practice, and her husband kept the boy busy.
                      My sensei and his wife both do Kendo and they have a daughter that basically 'grew up' in the dojo, so it's possible to do.
                      You maybe need to figure out who does 100% training and who watches the baby while your child is young.

                      I take my daughter (who's turning 6 now) to training with me every now and then since she's about 3 or so, to give her mum a bit of time on her own, and since then, she's pretty much 'low maintenance', so I can focus on the training and not watch over her so much.

                      Having my sensei's daughter around helps to keep them both busy and enjoying the time. It'd probably be more difficult if there where no kids around and she'd had to sit around bored.

                      Go and motivate more people in your dojo to have kids, so your child will have company.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
                        She plans on being pregnant, not sick. Within reason, she can do most of the things she is doing now. I'd say to avoid taiatari, and to listen to your body as far as how hard you can push it. After around 6 months, balance can be affected so take that into consideration. Of course, consult with your doctor because on these matters most of us are a bunch of uninformed idiots. There are some pregnancies where you must take it easy, but most as far as I understand it most women can be very active in the first two trimesters. Many run, ski, etc.
                        This is a interesting subject and will cause some debate I'm sure. At our club a pregnant member continued to do Iaido well into her pregnancy which was amazing. This may sound terrible so please excuse my thoughts. If a pregnant woman suited up in bogu asking me to train, I would feel extremely uncomfortable and resist. I would however bend for Kata but any form of physical training in bogu would send a shiver up my spine. Sorry to be a softee. Call it insecurity, call it what you want. I could not live with myself if something negative was too occur. Life being something so cherished and precious I find it difficult to understand. It may be deemed as selfish on the expectant mothers part. Yes, the decision lies with them but for me in this type of situation I would have to be the "selfish" one and exclude my training with them. I am interested in how other people feel on this subject. There are so many angles to look at this subject and I value everyones say here on the forum.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Seiza_Seizure View Post
                          I am interested in how other people feel on this subject. There are so many angles to look at this subject and I value everyones say here on the forum.
                          I feel like you.

                          I wouldn't feel too good to practice with a pregnant women in bogu and I wouldn't feel too good to let my significant other (who doesn't do Kendo anyway) practice in Bogu while she's pregnant.

                          Suburi, maybe - kihon is already pushing it - any form of keiko, rather not at all.

                          Being active during pregnancy is one thing, but the unpredictable dynamics of Kendo keiko, even between two experienced practictioners, would be too much of a risk for me personally.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
                            She plans on being pregnant, not sick. Within reason, she can do most of the things she is doing now. I'd say to avoid taiatari, and to listen to your body as far as how hard you can push it. After around 6 months, balance can be affected so take that into consideration. Of course, consult with your doctor because on these matters most of us are a bunch of uninformed idiots. There are some pregnancies where you must take it easy, but most as far as I understand it most women can be very active in the first two trimesters. Many run, ski, etc.
                            This is such an interesting subject and will cause some debate I'm sure. At our club a pregnant member continued to do Iaido well into her pregnancy which was amazing. This may sound terrible so please excuse my thoughts. If a pregnant woman suited up in bogu asking me to train, I would feel extremely uncomfortable and want to resist. I would however bend for Kata but any form of physical training in bogu would send a shiver up my spine. Sorry to be a softee. Call it insecurity, call it what you want. I could not live with myself if something negative was too occur. Life being something so cherished and precious I find it difficult to understand as I feel there are some risks. It may be deemed as selfish on the expectant mothers part. Yes, the decision lies with them but for me in this type of situation I would have to be the "selfish" one and exclude my training with them. I am interested in how other people feel on this subject. There are so many angles to look at this subject and I value everyones say here on the forum. By the way, my partner and I are expecting a bub so this may be why I feel this way. I have opened a can here. Any takers? Once again, if I have offended anyone, I apologize.
                            Last edited by Seiza_Seizure; 12th January 2007, 12:37 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Pregnant women are tougher than you think. They are, as Pete said, now advised by their doctors to keep active rather than lay in bed like in the old days. I'm sure you can manage to keep yourself from being too rough with a pregnant aite. They, in turn, can manage themselves and with their doctors how hard they wish to train.

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