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    Helping beginners relax about falls

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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Helping beginners relax about falls

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:57 am

    JudoSensei wrote:Thanks Stacey, for pointing out a couple of examples where a crash pad can help. A pad can be a nice teaching tool allowing repetitive practice that otherwise would not be possible. Some people, because of age, fear, injury, etc. can use a crash pad to make practice much more comfortable so that throwing skills can be improved quicker, as in your example.

    As I was recovering from hip replacement surgery, a crash pad was helpful for me in reducing my initial apprehension about falling again. I see the same thing with beginners who enjoy the crash pad and it gives them greater confidence so they can relax more during regular practice. In randori I see much less resistance and safer falls as a result of their increased comfort with ukemi.

    As Hanon and CK correctly point out, none of this is necessary and students can continue to learn as they have in the past. But adults have a more limited time to learn judo skills than kids, and they have more obstacles to overcome as they get older. We also have a more limited choice of practice partners today in most parts of the world. A crash pad gives us a way to help more people to learn judo and make quicker progress.
    It would be interesting to interview beginners and map what precisely gives rise to their fear, and whether that fear can or cannot be dissociated from the instructor and club policy. I am thinking of a story I have often heard, and possibly you too. It's about either the younger or older female joining a fitness center. Oftentimes they will say, I went first to have a look there and there but ... "I didn't like it there because ..." and then you get the whole range of things from "there were lots of steroid guys there" to "the owner was staring at me and I felt uncomfortable" etc.

    So, really it wasn't muscle pain or injury, or equipment that any cause at all, but issues of framework and culture.

    In judo, club culture does a lot. Some clubs are welcoming and friendly, others have a killer atmosphere. It's not the members but the kind of instructor. You simply have instructors, where from the moment you meet them you feel they couldn't care less about you, instructors who often participate in every single randori session, kind of past career but still holding on. Having to teach a beginner who probably won't stay anyhow is more a nuisance than anything else and keeps himself from doing randori. Then, once in a blue moon, you find an instructor for whom it is like a new member is joining the family. In the first instructor training sessions contain lots of gungho macho stuff like nage-komi, a sheer nightmare for a beginner, but from the start it is made clear that this is judo and if you can't do it you won't make it, period, you just got to learn, and "we've all had pain". That's a culture, very unflexible, and only psychopath beginner would not be in fear. But is that fear really caused by the difficulties of falling ?  It's caused by the framework that surrounds the falling. I still contend that the quality of the teacher is more significant than anything else, quality in terms of pedagogy, understanding, empathy, teaching skills, with those teaching skills not being expressed by quantity of objective methods but by quality of how each method is interactively and progressively employed. One coud move from a crashmad to a trampoline. That's even more flexible, but won't contribute much to improve your falling or take away your fear. At the end of the day, most of the difficulties in ukemi are difficulties of coordination, and in that boils down to neurologic adaptations and the time require to achieve optimal simultaneous firing of neurons.

    I have to think about a guy who was in my B-Instructor's course about 30 years ago. He was a shodan then. Later went to focus on jujutsu (Western style) jujutsu, and finally went all crazy making himself a 10th dan, and the whole Sôke/shihan/Ô-sensei shebang, but, but ... he did have some merit and was on national TV and in newspapers because he entirely forcused on geriatric judo and jujutsu, called self-defense for seniors. So, he went to teach in retirement homes and the likes. He did all that without ever using a crash pad, but at the same time, he also didn't use nage-komi. What I am trying to say, is that he adapted his framework substantially. The elderly people were treated with respect, the class adapted to their level, and focused on what was most important and relevant and possible for them. There wasn't costant ukemi, and ukemi skills were more taught as prevention for them to break their hip and other potential harm. In all fairness he was rather successful at this.

    There are now studies about the effects of similar approaches:


    van der Zijden AM, Groen BE, Tanck E, Nienhuis B, Verdonschot N, Weerdesteyn V.: Can martial arts techniques reduce fall severity? An in vivo study of femoral loading configurations in sideways falls. J Biomech. 2012 Jun 1;45(9):1650-5.

    Abstract

    Sideways falls onto the hip are a major cause of femoral fractures in the elderly. Martial arts (MA) fall techniques decrease hip impact forces in sideways falls. The femoral fracture risk, however, also depends on the femoral loading configuration (direction and point of application of the force). The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of fall techniques, landing surface and fall height on the impact force and the loading configuration in sideways falls. Twelve experienced judokas performed sideways MA and Block ('natural') falls on a force plate, both with and without a judo mat on top. Kinematic and force data were analysed to determine the hip impact force and the loading configuration. In falls from a kneeling position, the MA technique reduced the impact force by 27%, but did not change the loading configuration. The use of the mat did not change the loading configuration. Falling from a standing changed the force direction. In all conditions, the point of application was distal and posterior to the greater trochanter, but it was less distal and more posterior in falls from standing than from kneeling position. The present decrease in hip impact force with an unchanged loading configuration indicates the potential protective effect of the MA technique on the femoral fracture risk. The change in loading configuration with an increased fall height warrant further studies to examine the effect of MA techniques on fall severity under more natural fall circumstances.




    Groen BE, Smulders E, de Kam D, Duysens J, Weerdesteyn V. Martial arts fall training to prevent hip fractures in the elderly. Osteoporos Int. 2010 Feb;21(2):215-21.

    Abstract

    Hip fractures are a common and serious consequence of falls. Training of proper fall techniques may be useful to prevent hip fractures in the elderly. The results suggested that martial arts fall techniques may be trainable in older individuals. Better performance resulted in a reduced impact force.
    INTRODUCTION:

    Hip fractures are a common and serious consequence of falls. Fall training may be useful to prevent hip fractures in the elderly. This pilot study determined whether older individuals could learn martial arts (MA) fall techniques and whether this resulted in a reduced hip impact force during a sideways fall.
    METHODS:

    Six male and nineteen female healthy older individuals completed a five-session MA fall training. Before and after training, force and kinematic data were collected during volitional sideways falls from kneeling position. Two MA experts evaluated the fall performance. Fear of falling was measured with a visual analog scale (VAS).
    RESULTS:

    After fall training, fall performance from a kneeling position was improved by a mean increase of 1.6 on a ten-point scale (P < 0.001). Hip impact force was reduced by a mean of 8% (0.20 N/N, P = 0.016). Fear of falling was reduced by 0.88 on a VAS scale (P = 0.005).
    CONCLUSION:

    MA techniques may be trainable in older individuals, and a better performance may reduce the hip impact force in a volitional sideways fall from a kneeling position. The additional reduction of fear of falling might result in the prevention of falls and related injuries.




    So, while not offering you distinctive exercises, there certainly is a holistic approach, that involves framework and atmosphere and teaching, which I personally think, in the long run will be more effective than a specific tool, whether it be crash mats, of a judo ball. If it can be done in very elderly people, it should certainly be possible to do in more average people.


    Last edited by Cichorei Kano on Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:17 am; edited 1 time in total


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    Stacey

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    Re: Helping beginners relax about falls

    Post by Stacey on Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:56 am

    I've also used a crash pad before with adults who insist that they are in the right position when learning falling from the crouched position or lower, and they aren't. They usually get nice and sweaty very easily, so the crash pad affords me the opportunity to allow them to fall from a standing position or sliding off another student's turtle and do it wrong without them getting hurt. Their sweat will allow me to show them unequivocal proof that they are hitting their head, and not tucking their chin. The crash pad just means they are conscious to appreciate the instruction. Nothing like a nice dry crash pad with a head print on it to get the student to realize I'm not just being a hard ass.
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Helping beginners relax about falls

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:25 am

    Thing is that even crashmats are not completely idiotproof either. I once threw a girlfriend on the bed using tomoe-nage to show my sincere interest in here. I was impressed with my throw, she was impressed with her neck injury and the cat who had been watching it all was impressed neither by me nor by her and just yawned and went to sleep.


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    Stacey

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    Re: Helping beginners relax about falls

    Post by Stacey on Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:42 am

    Not saying they're idiot proof - anybody who's been thrown half on and half off a crash pad knows it can be problematic. You still have to use your best judgement.

    o uchi gari and ko uchi gari usually work much better than tomoenage in said situation. Cat still won't be impressed, but the medical bills will be much less.
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Helping beginners relax about falls

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:37 am

    Stacey wrote:Not saying they're idiot proof - anybody who's been thrown half on and half off a crash pad knows it can be problematic.  You still have to use your best judgement.

    o uchi gari and ko uchi gari usually work much better than tomoenage in said situation.  Cat still won't be impressed, but the medical bills will be much less.
    You're right about that, no argument about it.


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    DougNZ

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    Re: Helping beginners relax about falls

    Post by DougNZ on Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:41 pm

    Cichorei Kano wrote:
    Stacey wrote:Not saying they're idiot proof - anybody who's been thrown half on and half off a crash pad knows it can be problematic.  You still have to use your best judgement.

    o uchi gari and ko uchi gari usually work much better than tomoenage in said situation.  Cat still won't be impressed, but the medical bills will be much less.
    You're right about that, no argument about it.
    Yes, and if she gets guard immediately after said o / ko uchi gari ... well, don't fight it. Sure as hell, don't try to pass it!!!

    medo

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    Re: Helping beginners relax about falls

    Post by medo on Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:43 pm

    Adult beginners tend to be difficult to teach but the most rewarding!   Most come from the Judo mums and dad group who want to join in, unless of course the local rugby club wants to learn Judo.

    Like kids who start stiff arming to avoid being thrown.  Mature adults tend to switch all their muscles on all the time and end up reluctantly falling like rocking horses as Staceys says sweating all over the place.

    Crash mats when I first started were very expensive so I never saw one until going to a club at a sports centre, where it was worshiped, everything was done on the crash mats including sitting while the teacher was demonstrating affraid  

    I had a crash mat at my last club it came out of the store cupboard on occasions and every session one of kids would ask "are we using the crash mat today" answer was a straight NO or Maybe depends how well you work today........ Instructor is always in charge Smile 
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Helping beginners relax about falls

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:58 pm

    medo wrote:
    Crash mats when I first started were very expensive so I never saw one until going to a club at a sports centre, where it was worshiped, everything was done on the crash mats including sitting while the teacher was demonstrating affraid 
    I am trying to imagine this.

    That certainly is a "very specific" club culture.


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    Jihef

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    Re: Helping beginners relax about falls

    Post by Jihef on Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:31 pm

    Cichorei Kano wrote:In judo, club culture does a lot. Some clubs are welcoming and friendly, others have a killer atmosphere. It's not the members but the kind of instructor. You simply have instructors, where from the moment you meet them you feel they couldn't care less about you, instructors who often participate in every single randori session, kind of past career but still holding on. Having to teach a beginner who probably won't stay anyhow is more a nuisance than anything else and keeps himself from doing randori.

    Then, once in a blue moon, you find an instructor for whom it is like a new member is joining the family. In the first instructor training sessions contain lots of gungho macho stuff like nage-komi, a sheer nightmare for a beginner, but from the start it is made clear that this is judo and if you can't do it you won't make it, period, you just got to learn, and "we've all had pain". That's a culture, very unflexible, and only psychopath beginner would not be in fear. But is that fear really caused by the difficulties of falling ?  It's caused by the framework that surrounds the falling. I still contend that the quality of the teacher is more significant than anything else, quality in terms of pedagogy, understanding, empathy, teaching skills, with those teaching skills not being expressed by quantity of objective methods but by quality of how each method is interactively and progressively employed. One coud move from a crashmad to a trampoline. That's even more flexible, but won't contribute much to improve your falling or take away your fear. At the end of the day, most of the difficulties in ukemi are difficulties of coordination, and in that boils down to neurologic adaptations and the time require to achieve optimal simultaneous firing of neurons.
    So true.

    Nice post, CK.

    chicken salad

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    Re: Helping beginners relax about falls

    Post by chicken salad on Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:21 am

    Hi. I am an older (42) and banged up NEWBIE and I'm guilty of not relaxing with falls.
    So my question is, as a beginner could I or should I buy a mat and practice my clutsy and nervous ukemi at home? My schedule allows me to attend class once a week at the most. Thanks.

    still learning

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    Re: Helping beginners relax about falls

    Post by still learning on Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:52 am

    chicken salad wrote:Hi. I am an older (42) and banged up NEWBIE and I'm guilty of not relaxing with falls.
    So my question is, as a beginner could I or should I buy a mat and practice my clutsy and nervous ukemi at home? My schedule allows me to attend class once a week at the most. Thanks.

    No, people often misuse the expression practice makes perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect. It is unlikely that practising "clutsy and nervous ukemi" will significantly improve without guidance. You will probably just need someone who has the time to teach you properly, and it will probably take less time than you imagine. Whether that is either before or after or class which would be preferable, or even on your lawn at home (which is where I learnt mine, mistakes get amplified doing this so do take care) you need to practice correctly.

    Good luck and enjoy.

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    sodo

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    Re: Helping beginners relax about falls

    Post by sodo on Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:29 pm

    Hi Allen,
    When you are teaching newer Judoka (especially older newer Judoka) and lets say the take their first hard fall by another whitebelt, they tense, they get the wind knocked out of them, they reinforce their fear!

    1st Rule: Never let an inexperience beginner get thrown by another inexperienced white belt  Very Happy 

    There is a big difference between teaching children beginners and teaching adult beginners, young kids do have not aquired the narural fear that comes with age and experience  Very Happy 

    All beginners start with breakfalls as the first physical part of judo, with adults we spend alot more time with explanations and theory, inf the first few lessons the will repeatedly practice falling but indispersed with ne waza to get them used to rolling around the mat and get a feel for having their bodies placed in wierd positions (upside down etc..) when we progress to thows they are partnered with higher grades (orange, green, blue). I never let two raw beginners partner each other.

    The first throws are VERY gentle sometimes not even from a full standing position (depends on the student) untill the student feels confident then they get to do randori with the higher grades where they will get thrown for the first time. Only when the students are confident will they get to play with the other beginners.


    atb
    sodo


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    sodo

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    Re: Helping beginners relax about falls

    Post by sodo on Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:33 pm

    Hanon wrote:I had to laugh when I read that when you learned ukemi you also practiced on the floor without tatami. Appears our sensei must have been related:twisted: No responsible teacher would dream of such a thing today, thank heavens.
     

    erhmmmmmmmmmmmmm Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed pale 

    atb

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