Recommended reading: “Aikido and Injuries: Special Report” by Fumiaki Shishida

The important article below on the subject of aikido injuries has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe this subject to be of such importance that we periodically call your attention to it so that you are aware of some of the training abuses that continue to occur.

The cases contained in the documents in Chapter 1 and other materials and testimonies offered by the individuals in question such as alumni who responded to my requests for data are listed in the table included. I chose to reproduce all information in cases where data was limited and attempted to select information for its instructional value in those cases where space limitations caused me to omit details where the data was ample. I have omitted the names of the victims and universities in consideration of the persons involved. I have assigned numbers to the cases according to the date of occurrence of the accident.

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  1. …if you haven’t read this already, please do. It’s important.

  2. Araki-Metcalfe Paul says:

    Even today accidents are kept quiet for fear of obtaining a bad name or reputation. No real concerns for the injured, only selfish motives to protect the organization at all costs.

    I was damaged deliberately by my Sensei in Auckland, New Zealand over 25 years ago. He mistakingly thought I had injured a female aikidoka during practice (wrong. I was the first to get to her as the perpetrator walked away).

    My Sensei became my judge, juror, and nearly my executioner. He had me attack him, then picked me up turned me upside down and smashed me into the mat head first.

    My neck cracked loudly, as I managed to move my head sideways and deflect the force onto my right shoulder, and the impact separated my shoulder bone from my collar bone. I struggled off the mat in great pain.

    Then to finish it off my Sensei said only one way to test the damage and then proceeded to yank my arm viciously upwards then yank it down hard. I nearly passed out.

    I have suffered bad back and neck pains daily, for over 20 years, since then. No apology, no paperwork. No punishment. No justice.

    Here in Fukuoka Japan (2007) I suffered another Sensei’s retribution. He was a 5th dan, and a foreigner (from England). In Japan foreigners protect their territory like mad dogs. One day I laughed at him and turned away. He then attacked, grabbing my left arm and smashed my elbow (Hiji nage) which left me unable to lift up half a glass of water with my left arm for over 2 years. He has damaged many students over the years with his quick temper, fractures, concussions, etc but never once been punished for his actions.

    I do not believe that there is a complaints or investigation department at Hombu Japan to look into these vicious attacks on vulnerable students worldwide, let alone any plan to open one soon. The 3 monkeys comes to mind. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

    Araki-Metcalfe Paul

  3. I have for years advocated the use of isometrics in developing my students muscular strength, Especially the neck muscles Prof Shishida advocates. I follow his articles with great interest as he is very much a scholar and excellent budoka. Not only that, he is an excellent teacher per se….

    From my own point of view it’s a prerequisite in achieving Dan level, or any level come to that, whether they listen or not is another thing!! Whether practising kata or randori, safety is tantamount! To me it is a simple matter of applying common sense…Something which seems to be lacking in modern society today?

    I have visited many a dojo where that is not the case and I wonder how nobody has not been seriously injured?

    In most of the Tomiki/Shodokan dojo’s I have visited, I see the safety measures inherent with the way it’s taught….

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