Friday, April 28, 2017

Nikkyo and "rule number one"

Hi y'all

I hurt my wrist (again) in class yesterday.

Over the years, I've developed some chronic weakness in my right wrist, which manifests as pain. I believe that this is probably the cumulative result of years of taking Ukemi from Sensei, whose Nikkyo is legendary, topped off by several notable events while working with other students -- all of which I can vividly recall (see below).   I often wear a wrist brace during class these days, to limit the bend in my wrist during techniques like Nikkyo, Shihonage, and Kote-gaeshi.  Sankyo doesn't happen to affect my wrist as much (yet).

I have always learned, or at least honed, most of what I know through taking Ukemi.  I need to feel it to understand it.   As a teacher now for several years, I also regularly take Ukemi to feel what the student is doing, and to show a student how to execute technique effectively.

Lately in particular, I've tried very hard to slow and soften our training around Nikkyo in particular, because this is a technique that comes on very quickly, applies a lot of pressure to a very focused part of the body, and doesn't leave a lot of room for Uke to adjust when done aggressively.

In the past few years, I have re-injured my wrist while taking Ukemi several times.

  1. During a brown belt test, during jiyu-waza. Very physically strong student.  The pin was so tight it hurt my wrist.
  2. During jiyu-waza with another brown belt student, during Shiho-nage.  I didn't move to a break fall quickly enough, and my wrist was left to take the brunt of the technique.
  3. Recently, during jiyu-waza with yet another brown belt student.  I stupidly grabbed mune-tori, exposing my weak wrist (and I wasn't wearing my brace).  Very strong technique, and I just didn't move quickly enough.
  4. If you're seeing a pattern here, I'd also like to point out that I, myself, once came very close to injuring a fellow student when I was 1st Kyu.  Brown Belts are dangerous!  :-)
  5. Finally, I remember being injured during Nikko once during normal training with a lower-ranked student (right after I showed her how to make an adjustment -- silly me). 

In my own training, I am going to have to take better care of myself.  For instance, I must ALWAYS wear my wrist brace.  Also, during Jiyu-waza, I must try at least to attack with my stronger hand, or perhaps in ways that won't necessarily result in a wicked Nikkyo.  Also during Jiyu-waza, break falls are my friend, and I need to live up to my own teachings and be completely ready to take a break fall when it's there, to protect my wrists.  Finally, during regular training, I simply need to insist that we train slowly and gently.

"Rule Number One" of training is "Be able to train the next day."   That is, don't get injured.

I think "Rule Number Two" is "Remember Rule Number One."