A cool little article I found on the “ehow” website.
Place a small strip of red tape on your uniform, over the injured area. A patch of red tape on your shoulder indicates that it’s still healing. Your partners appreciate this courtesy communication to take it easy.
Attend the beginner’s class at your dojo, even if you are an intermediate or advanced practitioner of the art. Take this chance to focus on basic techniques at a slow pace to revive your muscle memory. Work joyfully with the people in class who really are just beginning. You carry valuable knowledge, and helping someone else will help you to remember how much you have learned.
Take two classes a week for four weeks. Then, add a third class per week. If you like to train more than that, gradually add more classes. Even if you’ve been working hard in your recovery exercises, give your body time to get used to your return to Aikido.
Write down on index cards the names and descriptions of attack and response techniques. Carry the cards with you and review them periodically through the week. Visualize your successful execution of these techniques. This will help you remember movements that may feel rusty and awkward.
Ask your dojo colleagues to work with you before and after class on any technique that feels hard to get back. Break it down, take a good look at it. Work as if you’re learning it for the first time. This is your opportunity to find things in “forgotten” techniques that you may never have understood before.
I agree with most of these points – obviously there is a slant towards the newer student (esp. step 4) but I also must stress that if your healthcare professional says “rest it for 6 weeks” DO EXACTLY THAT! I have seen so many students of the last few decades put the limits of their rehab in their enthusiasm to get back into training, only to stuff up the original injury and set themselves back even further!!
At my dojo’s we currently have one guys recovering from a knee op (NOT caused by Aikido!) and another from a wrist op (again, not…). Both of these guys are very dedicated and are already getting frustrated at missing regular training.
Here are a few things that you might want to consider – they greatly helped me when I was ‘off the mat” for about 5 months with a snapped achilles back in the 90’s.
Grab every Aikido book you can, even if it means having two or three on the go at once. This will keep your mind active and also help you process the information you have already bouncing around inside your head!
2. Go to training, but just watch
Yes, I realize this can be frustrating but it keeps you in touch with what the instructor is working on and also let’s you sit back and watch how your peers interpret this It can be VERY useful for analyzing the way in which your own interpretation of technique comes about
3.Exercise the parts of you that are still functional.
ie, if your knee is stuffed for a while, work on your upper body. One aspect of training that is often neglected is the self discipline and drive involved to actually get off your butt and go training 3 times a week. A long rehab period, especially if you are laid up in front of the TV can be a slippery slope into lethargy and apathy. Do something! Build the exercise into your routine, even replace your normal “Aiki-time” with it.
4. Aiki ken, Aiki Jo.
I had a full length plaster on for 4 months after the Achilles op, and as soon as I got the OK to put weight on the leg, I got back into, limited, weapons training. If you can stand you can do something!
If you are currently recovering from an injury or an op, good luck with the rehab!
I’d be interested to hear any other tips as to how people have ‘trained around” injuries.