Bad knee - which martial art?

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Catahoula Lou, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. Catahoula Lou

    Catahoula Lou White Belt

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    Dear Group:

    I have a bad right knee (3 operations, will need replacement in the future) and am interested in the appropriate, effective martial art(s) that would not rely heavily (even moderately) on kicks and such. I have previously trained in kick boxing, jeet kune do, and escrima.

    I know that I am somewhat biased toward these arts (as we all are to some degree) and would greatly appreciate UNBIASED suggestions toward the appropriate art form(s) considering my knee condition. I realize that more than one art form may suffice, so don't limit suggestions to just one.

    I live in Redlands CA, so if any quality non-"extreme" studios for the suggested art form(s) are located nearby, please let me know about them as well.

    TIA,

    Catahoula Lou
     
  2. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm not terribly knowledgeable, but have you considered tai chi and/or cane-based SD training?
     
  3. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    As to Taiji I would avoid Northern and Southern Wu as well as Chen and Zhaobao. Possibly Sun, Yang or Hao (Wu) but you need to be careful any of them done improperly can hurt your knees. The best may be Cheng Manching's style of Yang or William CC Chen's style that comes from Cheng Manching the forms tend to be a bit shorter and the stances tend to be a bit higher and if you get the William CC Chen version you will likely get the martial arts of it as well.

    However I would let the sifu know your problem prior to training.
     
  4. CuongNhuka

    CuongNhuka Senior Master

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    Wing Chun is mostly low impact on the knees. Just tell your Sifu.
     
  5. Drac

    Drac Sr. Grandmaster

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    Both are VERY effective..
     
  6. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise Living on the Razors Edge Staff Member

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    I know quite a few practitioner's of the Filipino Martial Arts with bad knees. [​IMG]
     
  7. still learning

    still learning Senior Master

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    Hello, Small Circle Jujistus? ..or something that works more with the Hands....Not sure of Aikido?

    Aloha,
     
  8. Omar B

    Omar B Senior Master

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    I had broken then had surgery on my knee at 16, when I returned to MA I did Choi Kwang Do for a few years till my knee could take the pounding of Seido. Choi Kwang Do's a great style, it doesn't have snapping of any joints, everything is done in a circular or arcing motion. It generates a hell of a lot of power and you notice after a few classes that you are not in pain afterwords. Honestly I would go to the dojang and train all Saturday from 9 in the morning, taking a lunch break at noon and going back after and going till 8.

    People have problems with organization politics and such, but my experience was nothing but positive. You may want to check them out.
     
  9. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Grandmaster

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    Bad knees are a problem. Depending on how bad it is, it can affect everything that you do. It can be hard to even walk on them, much less take any kind of stance or move as necessary. Any torquing or twisting on the knee can send you right back to surgery again. I've got a friend dealing with this problem right now. Had surgery, tried to begin training again, tweaked it, and might be back in surgery soon.

    I don't think there are any arts that don't put stress on the knees in some way or other. My suggestion is you practice a stand-up system, and you make your problem clear and understood to the teachers. You may need to have things modified for you, to minimize any knee stresses. You may need to modify stances, movements, kicks, everything.

    Some arts you may not be able to do at all. Wing chun was mentioned. The basic training stance in wing chun brings the knees together, and it's pretty easy to not do it quite right. When that happens, it puts stress on the knees. If the knee is already bad, then it's almost guaranteed to make the problem worse.

    I wouldn't recommend a ground grappling or throwing system, because I think there are a lot of opportunities to tweak the knee in a fall or while getting twisted up like a pretzel, or just in the large amount of time spent down on your knees on the mats.

    I think you are gonna need to experiment with what's available in your area and see if you can get it to work. Be careful, or you will end up back in surgery again. If you want to train, you are gonna need to be willing to take some risk and you might get injured.
     
  10. mook jong man

    mook jong man Senior Master

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    In Wing Chun there is a hell of a lot of time spent practicing pivoting , and depending on the surface you are pivoting on and your footwear there will be a bit of a strain on the knees.

    It is also worth mentioning that Wing Chun uses a lot of low kicks , namely low heel kicks to the knee and hook kicks with the shin to the thighs.

    To develop the power in these kicks a kicking shield is used , but even though you have a pad in front of your leg , your knee will still be absorbing quite a bit of impact and taking a bit of a battering.

    After 20 years of training both my knees are a bit dodgy , I attribute this damage to holding the pads for partners with powerful kicks over a protracted period of time.

    So I don't know if Wing Chun is such a great idea , maybe only if you plan on never holding the pads for anyone , or partaking in any leg defection techniques as the knees and shins are the prime target I'm afraid.
     
  11. CuongNhuka

    CuongNhuka Senior Master

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    This is as avoidable as you make it sound. And there is a much greater emphasis on the hands compared to most other styles.
     
  12. blindsage

    blindsage Master of Arts

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    If you are interested in exploring Taiji, there is a very experience, high quality Yang style instructor in your area that is also an experienced exercise physiologist. His name is Harvey Kurland, check out this website http://www.dotaichi.com/
    Don't be fooled by the Northwest name, just click on the 'classes' link and you will see a map of your area and links to different cities. Harvey teaches in multiple places in the area and you have some options for where to go.
     
  13. geezer

    geezer Senior Master

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    After reading the responses above, it's pretty clear to me that the answer will depend as much on the instructor as on you and your "bad knees". I have a somewhat screwed up knee and a really bad ankle situation, but I still train Wing Chun and Eskrima. I've also taught both arts to people with a variety of disabilities. I really enjoyed helping people work around their physical problems. And some of my so-called "disabled" students were anything but!

    On the other hand, my own instructor in those days was very good, but not especially kind. He pretty much viewed anybody who didn't have either great athletic potential or a fat wallet (or both) as a waste of time.

    So get out and visit some schools, talk to the instructors, and students, ...and find the right place.
     
  14. kaizasosei

    kaizasosei Master Black Belt

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    Please try aikido. You could also go with yoga, pilates or any japanese art that practices kneeling-one of the most important exercises for your knees.
    Do the undo exercises and practice seiza. If you do this, you have a high chance of completely healing your knee(s).
    Healthy knees will hold up even after turning 100, so other than time management issues, age is not really an issue. Even a young person can get their body to degenerate with enough neglect or mistreatment.



    j
     
  15. geezer

    geezer Senior Master

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    If you have healthy, flexible knees to begin with, perhaps this is good advice. But, I never could kneel in seiza, even as a little kid... before my injuries and surguries. Now, my orthopedic surgeon specifically warned me against that degree of flexion, even if I was nuts enough to ignore the pain and try! To some degree, joint flexibility is genetic. My wife and kids and her whole side of the family can effortlessly drop into seiza... without any martial training (although my son is taking aikido). On my side of the family we have stiff joints, including congenital bone-fusions in the ankles.

    My point is that giving such sweeping advice without knowing the medical condition of those you are advising is, well ...ill advised!
     
  16. kaizasosei

    kaizasosei Master Black Belt

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    Practice everyday. Little by little, and it will get better. If you can't do seiza then wedge some pillows between heels and butt.

    If you do not practice, then it will get worse everyday. The condition will actually deteriorate if you can believe it. That means the body will become even stiffer yet, the pains will become more and in various places.

    Seiza practice is like practicing for splits or straight spine. You don't have to actually be able to do it right away. That is the point of training.

    But sure if you don't believe me, then keep doing your thing...i'm quite sure that time will prove me correct.



    j
     
  17. kaizasosei

    kaizasosei Master Black Belt

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    The healthier and more selfsufficient one is, the less one needs doctors. Knowing is half the battle...


    sorry for double posting.
     
  18. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Grandmaster

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    well, the OP didn't give specific details about his knee problems. But assuming he has deteriorating cartilage or torn/repaired ligaments and such, that stuff doesn't just "get better" thru exercise. Unlike muscle, cartilage doesn't heal and get stronger the more you use it. If you damage it and continue to use it, it gets worse. Once it's all but gone, and you've got bone-on-bone in the joint, then the only thing is a knee replacement. And it's never as good as it once was.

    No sir. Seiza will not heal injured knees. Seiza can help improve flexibility in otherwise healthy knees. But damaged knees...no way.
     
  19. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    Jodo is done all standing up.

    In iaido those with bad knees generally complete the techniques standing up.
     
  20. setboy

    setboy Orange Belt

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    Try isshinryu. just makes sure you find a good and understanding sensei
     

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