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Avoiding Injuries

One of my posts, Busted Up, was about being careful to avoid injuries during Karate training. One of my friends, a former Aikido student, recently reiterated this to me when he said, "We have to train to avoid injuries." This means that avoiding injuries must be part of our training strategy.

There are two times when injuries often occur.

The first is when we are feeling really good. At such times, we push ourselves too far and injuries result. We have to know our limits and stay within them -- or just push them a little. Going too far, particularly as we reach our 40s, 50s and older, will almost always lead to injuries. And the older we get, the longer it takes to recover, particularly from joint injuries.

I have found that there is another time when injuries are more likely -- during weapons training. I injured myself by using a sai incorrectly. I ended up needing rotator cuff surgery. My friend, who is consideraly senior to me, recently injured his shoulder too -- again while using sai.

Unlike the bo, sai concentrates power in a much smaller, and relatively heavier, area. The momentum generated can be tremendous. My friend was injured while he was momentarily distracted, and I was injured by going overboard.

I should add that there is a third time when injuries are likely -- during grappling. It is very important to carefully control grappling and to ensure that the participants know how much strength to use, when to stop, and how to signal that they are in pain (usually by tapping out).

Control is one of the most important aspects of Karate training. Safety must always come first. And we must design our training to avoid injuries.


Charles C. Goodin