I have had to take a break from training this week, due to my lack of reactions while practising my aikido at the weekend. It was a small class, just the four of us and sensei. With me were two very experienced aikidoka and one novice, and with each set of exercises we changed partners so we all managed to train with each other.
When my turn came to train with the novice, and I am not so far off being an aikido novice, the first thing that struck me was his confidence. He seemed so uncertain and slightly nervous, yet he was clearly thinking over what needed to be done and trying not to have two left legs (which can happen to the best of us). Now as he has been training for at least three months, once I established he could fall safely for his level I started following my own advice and putting a bit more energy into the attacks and defences.
Sadly for me it worked a little too well. Mr Novice, in a fit of confidence and enthusiasm carried out a credible shiho nage on my left arm. Since it was the last thing I was expecting it meant that I was very slow to respond to the build up of pain in my arm. And because Mr Novice has yet to experience a full on shiho nage application (as we don’t make a habit of being nasty to beginners), he merrily continued to increase the torque until I finally registered the pain and sensibly gave way.*
Regular readers may well be aware that my left shoulder was injured a long time ago and sometimes something, like a well applied shoulder and arm lock, causes the muscles to go out of kilter. So it was serious ouch on the shoulder muscle set.
Now for those who are slightly chuckling at the self imposed pickle I landed myself in, pause a little, recover your breath and read on. Because did I learn from past lessons about knowing when to stop? Did I ever. I carried on training. Even worse, I merrily launched into a break-falling exercise with one of the seniors, enjoying being madly flung around and rolling over my right and left arms. What was I thinking of?! I finally realised that my left arm was heading for serious trouble and called time on that side, but it was too late, the damage had been done.
The end result? I spent the following day cradling my left arm, doing some self-physio on it, and tanked up on anti-inflammatories. Three days on I still can’t lift with that side. Even worse, I have to skip training this week, which means no jiu jitsu (as planned) and no aikido. Serves me right!
*(Yes, there are times when I just don’t register pain until it’s too late. On one occasion the only reason I noticed my arm had been in contact with a hot pipe for too long was because of the smell of burning flesh. I might share that story another day, with the photos to prove it.)