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Wrists seem to get beaten up in Ninjustu
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I visited a Bujinkan Dogo for the 1st time last week to just watch the class in action before my 1st training this coming Friday. While I watched, it sure seems wrists get twisted and abused a bit in Ninjutsu. Many moves seem to be the receiving end getting twisted around with the wrists in awkward angles which I guess is a great way to stop an attacker.

Anyway, from someone just about to start, how has your wrists fared over the years being twisted around all the time. Do you come out of training feeling like your hand is going to fall off.

One of the things I know I need to do is strengthen my wrists as sometimes just leaning on them heavily I can feel a sharp pain. This makes me think that when I get into classes, my wrists are gonna really feel it.

Anyway, just curious of anyone here has gotten wrist injuries from all this twisting around?

tj

Posted on: 2007/6/19 11:05
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Re: Wrists seem to get beaten up in Ninjustu
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Tucker,
It is not just the wrists, all your joints and spine are a matter of attack in Bujinkan but we do train gently (most of the time)as we know the danger. Still you train Budo and sometimes unbalanced people might come. If you train in a relaxed way you will do allright I think.Your Sensei will help you a lot on this.
Sometimes starters tend to use their strength to test the techniques if they work. They are the ones usually get injured as their bodies are to hard when they try to avoid the technique and locking techniques can make a big damage in reality.
So, I think you will be ok as long as you take it easy in the beginning and as time pass you will know how to avoid injuries. As I said though there is always a risk of injury in Budo, this can be your wrist of somewhere else.

Posted on: 2007/6/19 15:23
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Re: Wrists seem to get beaten up in Ninjustu
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Staying flexible is an excellent way to prevent injuries as well. Be sure to always stretch out properly to keep those joints limber. So, rather than needing to strengthen your wrists, Tucker, you should strecth them so they can receive more twisting without being damaged.

And I've never sustained any serious wrist injuries, but I have been quite sore for a few days after training with omote and hon gyaku all evening.

Posted on: 2007/6/19 16:22
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Re: Wrists seem to get beaten up in Ninjustu
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It has been my experience that one of several things happen.

1) your wrists (and joints) hurt, they always hurt. You quit.

2) your joints hurt, they always hurt. Your attitude changes and instead of pain, you know you are alive. You develop masochistic tendencies.

3) you become more flexible - or sturdy and they become harder to hurt.

4) your ukemi improves to the point where you do #3.

I think the biggest change is that your attitude to what real pain changes. Many things that would have stopped you in the past become less impressive.

Marty

Posted on: 2007/6/19 18:03
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Re: Wrists seem to get beaten up in Ninjustu
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Having been thrown around by my wrists for a number of years now, I notice that my wrists are more flexible than before I started. They also tend to make lots of weird noises when I rotate them. It's kind of entertaining at times.

Posted on: 2007/6/19 20:17
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Re: Wrists seem to get beaten up in Ninjustu
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Tucker, training must always be keyed to the student learning. (and both people are learning) It should never be done harder then the receiver wishes to handle. Now often as Ercan said, in the beginning a student gives resistance to the point that they can feel a lot of pain. Maybe, in my experience, it is a way that they prove to themselves whether or not this really works, IT DOES!!! I have seen that often, the attitude of "that wouldn't work on me". Well that gets quickly proven wrong by the person who knows what they are doing. In the beginning go with what is being taught, don't constantly try to "test" it, that will only cause you more pain. You will very quickly see that what is taught in the Bujinkan is pragmatic, it plain works!

Posted on: 2007/6/19 21:24
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Re: Wrists seem to get beaten up in Ninjustu
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If I might add something...

There is a huge difference between pain and injury. You'll experience lots of pain in your training. But, a good training partner and teacher will avoid taking you past the point of pain and injure you.

You need to experience the pain to understand the body and the taijutsu. Pain is an effect, which is what you want your action (or their action) to create. It's what tells you to move this way or that way (ukemi). It's also what sets up techniques (taking balance, creating space, etc).

But, it's also relative. Different people have different pain thresholds and respond to pain in different ways. By experiencing pain yourself, you are training your body to develop more efficient responses to it and actually to reduce it (through ukemi). By invoking pain in your uke, you are learning how others respond to pain and how to adapt your technique accordingly.

But, be very aware of those (including yourself) who may actually have to be injured to experience pain. Know when to 'call it off' in a technique to avoid injury. Pain is not always the necessary ingredient to make taijutsu work.

So, wrist techniques are a good way to understand these points and, yes, your wrists improve over time. But, look beyond all that to what is actually happening in the bigger picture. How is the balance being manipulated by the wrist? Notice how one part can effect the entire body? What factors need to be present to change a wrist technique from a physically strong technique to an effortlessly efficient one?

Oh, and have fun, too!

Posted on: 2007/6/20 2:22
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Re: Wrists seem to get beaten up in Ninjustu
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Tucker,

I'm relatively new to Bujinkan myself, having only been training now for several months, I do relate to your impressions. I think this partly comes from the perspective of being new to the art and seeing it with fresh eyes. What appears like a lot of wrist twisting is actually more movement of body balance. A person reacts to having their wrist twisted, which shifts their body position and balance that then allows the person to finish them off. Its a slight manipulation of a person's balance using their natural reflexes and response. Once you start training you'll come to understand this sense of bringing a person off balance through manipulation of joints and reactions. For example, thrusting your hand towards their face causes any normal person to shift their head back, which changes their body position and balance. You may not even make contact but that movement is enough for you to utilise and get them down. You use that natural reaction to your advantage.

Other people have mentioned it here as well, but pain is a good teaching in training. You come to understand how you yourself react to it, and how to continue if you experience it. You also then learn how to use pain against others to make them move. For example, you may be struggling to get a person to role over and attempting to use a lot of force and they could be resisting, but grab a pinky finger and pull it backwards and watch how fast they roll over. You only understand that though understanding your own reactions to that sort of pain and through training. As Darren and others have said though, pain and injury are different things. People generally train with pain but not injury and I've found in Bujinkan most people are sensible and caring to their partners because it promotes a good training experience. So don't worry, start out light and work you're way into it as you get use to the movements and levels of pain. Honestly, its a common fear in a lot of people but really isn't that big a deal. Start training, start out light and then work up the intensity as you gain more confidence and become more comfortable with what occurs in within training. You'll become more comfortable with this idea of pain.

There is a period of body adjustment that happens in your first few months of training and you'll find parts of your body and joints ache. Mostly I found its because I'm learning to move my body in new ways. Its a process of body re-adjustment. As your ligaments and muscle stretch and grow these pains go away. You'll come to know when something is a growing pain that will pass with time, more training and stretching and when its an injury pain. I think its a normal human function to know the difference. When its an injury pain see and doctor and rest the joint. Common sense really. I've had one or two periods where elbows or knee joints started to hurt more than normal, so I took a week break. It allowed them to heal stronger and better and I then continued on with training, and the pains haven't really come back.

Lastly, you mentioned that even now you get sharp pains in your wrist. Bujinkan training or not, I'd get this checked out by a doctor. Its good to know what's going on. You could have some kind of ligament or small bone problem or it could be simply a case that you need to stretch them out. Either way, get it looked at.

Besides all that, don't worry too much about pain. As I said, attend training, start out as light as you'll like and over time you'll become more comfortable with how the techniques work and how pain works, at which point you'll find you naturally start to train more intensively. Its a learning process really. Just relax and have fun at class, the rest will all fall into place.

Posted on: 2007/6/20 10:57
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