Art for beginners with bad knees

Seig

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TigerWoman said:
This way is not the only way we do aerobic activity but TKD is always jumping, hopping at the minimum. This is not the only organization I have seen which does considerable jumping. One other organization expects tumbling also, hahahaha from a 55 yr. old. And they have a cement floor with a few old mats.
You are still putting the limitations of your experience on an entire art form. TKD is not "always jumping, hopping at the minimum." The first jump kick that is required traditonally is not until the highest level of brown or red, depending on which TKD system you are working. It is not required in application until testing for 1st black. While TKD has become known for it's high and aerial kicks in the past 20 years or so, most of that was incorporated for the sport and demonstration aspect. Many instructors that do not understand the history of the art's development require unnaturally high kicks without understanding what they are requiring or why. Tumbling is a second issue. I have never heard of a traditonal TKD system that required tumbling. Falling and rolling was optional, especially if you were going to branch into yudo or HKD. As for your age, I have a student older, who does quite well at falls and rolls. I gave him the option to do them or not. At a certain point, an instructor must realize that their are limitations on what is safe/unsafe or healthy/unhealthy for his/her students and adapt it. My instructor has a one armed student, this student obviously cannot do certain of our material. Does this mean that student cannot progress in our art to the best of his ability? Of course not, to think otherwise is absurd. Since you are 55, you may remember a child that was confined to a wheel chair that obtained a black belt. It was on 60 minutes back in the 70s.
What happens to knees after years of jumping? What cartilage you had does wear down. Its inevitable. The knees sans shock absorbers-the cartilage-- cannot handle any stress nor the ligaments or hamstrings-the twisting, and nor the pain--one can only take so much Advil.
This is unfortunate. You have had a bad experience. I, too, had a bad experience, you may recall I had my entire right knee reconstructed about 10 years ago. My cartilidge is all but gone. I never had ligament or hamstring issues. The main issue that many students have when doing jumping or hopping is not being taught to do it correctly. The same thing happens when students are not taught to kick correctly, they develop not only knee issues but hip issues as well. Properly taught technique will minimize injury.
Not being able to train to the capability of the art is not the art.
Rubbish. A statement like that not only limits the art, it gives an unrealistic and unreachable goal. The only thing this kind of attitude will do is foster negativity that will not only limit you more than physically, it will translate to your students and your fellow students/instructors as well.
Oh yes, you can do forms, and say you do TKD, but that isn't it. I teach it.
Forms are only part of any art. Basics are one part of an art. I have been teaching martial arts for nearly 17 years and have been at the arts for over 30. Jumping and spinning is not the encompassment of TKD, if someone is teaching you that it is, they are doing a disservice to you and the art they claim to teach.
So here is a jump spin heel.
At what level do you require this? And more importantly, why?
And for one my age, I have to practice it to show it, to teach it. Words only go so far. And for me to be challenged mentally and physically in the art, I have to practice it and progress-learn more both physically and mentally. Or regress.
Good, now we are making progress. You are taking your limitations into account and not transferring them to everyone. Yes, it is much easier to show someone how to do something that it is to explain it. As you grow as an advanced practitoner, you should be revisiting your lower belt material and saying, what is wrong with this, how can I make it better? Teaching is the best learning tool, and it sounds like you have a good start on it. Learn to be a better teacher and it will make you a better practitioner all the way around. I had pretty reached the upper end of my abilities until I acquired a new instructor. In the course of teaching me to be a better instructor that does not rely on the trial and error method, my own technique and understanding has improved exponentitally.
I would not recommend Taekwondo as an art for beginners with bad knees because their knees will get worse from the wear and tear unless you can find a McDojang that doesn't require much to get a black belt.
I basically agree with that statement. I would also say that you talk to any potential instructor, explain what your particular issues are and hear them out.
And I probably should have chosen another art as well in the beginning. Bad knees don't get better with any kind of jumping, hopping, twisting. Hey, this is my personal experience here, walk in my shoes. TW
I have, which is why I have debated this issue with you. If you are that disenfranchised with what you are doing, why don't you look to make a change? The only real limitations we have are the ones we place on ourselves. I would not recommend most TKD schools to people with severe joint issues, there are a few I would recommend without hesitation, but they are the exception, not the rule.
 

TigerWoman

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So the difference is in instruction of how to do a hopping and jumping kick? I don't think so. It is still impact and some are twisting. Our first hopping kick is for the second level test to orange. There is impact in that practice. It only progresses in intensity from there. During sparring there is constant moving, light on the balls of the feet. There is definitely alot of impact on knees. I haven't seen anyone with bad knees get to black belt other than me. What I have seen, are younger people developing knee problems. And I started out TKD with no pain and wasn't even aware of my knees having problems. But 20 years of running has got to wear down cartilage. No, I won't debate you on what you consider is the art of Taekwondo, Seig, to each their opinion. I've stated mine and stay by it. I just want to advise beginners with bad knees to seek other arts that are kinder. TW
 

Cruentus

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Forms are only part of any art. Basics are one part of an art. I have been teaching martial arts for nearly 17 years and have been at the arts for over 30. Jumping and spinning is not the encompassment of TKD, if someone is teaching you that it is, they are doing a disservice to you and the art they claim to teach.

Well, I think I have to agree with this. Flashy kicks are only one small aspect of TKD. Granted, some instructors and students make this a bigger part of their system then others, but traditionally it is only a small aspect. The actual self-defense applications do not come from jump kicking, but they come from basics, step-sparring, free-sparring, and forms applications.

If an instructor is willing to work with physical limitations, TKD, or any art, will work.

I still say look into a weapon based art, simply because if personally if I had a physical limitation I would be armed all the time. But this is just my personal preference. I still say any art is good if it teaches good self-defense, and if the instructor is willing to work with your limitations.

Paul
 

Feisty Mouse

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I think some of this also depends on the degree of knee (or other joint) iunjury ahead of time. For some techniques, with a thoughtful instructor (and TW already knows how I feel about the gem she's working with currently), impact may be minimized.

But if you are truly in agony with most impact, an art with less jumping may be easiest on the knee.
 

Seig

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TigerWoman said:
So the difference is in instruction of how to do a hopping and jumping kick? I don't think so.
Yes, and I am sorry you have apparently received such poor instruction.
It is still impact and some are twisting.
You still ignore that there is high and low impact and that with proper instruction it can be minimized.
Our first hopping kick is for the second level test to orange. [\QUOTE]Then this is a modified curriculuum and not tradiotnal TKD.
There is impact in that practice. It only progresses in intensity from there.
Impact can be controlled, why do you insist on ignoring this fact?
During sparring there is constant moving, light on the balls of the feet. There is definitely alot of impact on knees.
I have been sparring and kickboxing for over 20 years. Again, with proper instruction, injury can be minimized. I sparred with my right leg in a brace following knee surgery.
I haven't seen anyone with bad knees get to black belt other than me.
I did it and so did several of my friends. I had one friend of mine, a gentlemen named Berto Friedman not only make it to 5th in TKD but became the NASKA national sparring champ. By the way, he also extensive ligament damage in his ankle.
What I have seen, are younger people developing knee problems.
This is because of poor instruction and poor technique.
And I started out TKD with no pain and wasn't even aware of my knees having problems. But 20 years of running has got to wear down cartilage.
So which caused your knee problems? TKD or running? Was it maybe a combinationof both.
No, I won't debate you on what you consider is the art of Taekwondo, Seig, to each their opinion. I've stated mine and stay by it.
Good, because not only do I have more experience than you do in TKD, I also outrank you in it. I studied all three form systems. You cannot possibly tell me what the art is, I lived it for a decade and a half.
I just want to advise beginners with bad knees to seek other arts that are kinder. TW
That in and of itself is not bad advice. I go back to what I originally said. Talk to the instructor. If they cannot work with your limitations, find another one, regardless of art.
 

Feisty Mouse

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Seig said:
Good, because not only do I have more experience than you do in TKD, I also outrank you in it. I studied all three form systems. You cannot possibly tell me what the art is, I lived it for a decade and a half.

That in and of itself is not bad advice. I go back to what I originally said. Talk to the instructor. If they cannot work with your limitations, find another one, regardless of art.
I think you are referring to how the art should or can be taught, and TW is talking about her own personal experience, and how she, based on her experience, would recommend someone looking elsewhere.

And, of course, the instructor is the most important part of minimizing additional injury in any art.
 

TigerWoman

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Seig, you seem bent on arguing with everything I say. I would say you are trying to push my buttons. Why? TW
 

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TigerWoman said:
Seig, you seem bent on arguing with everything I say. I would say you are trying to push my buttons. Why? TW

TW, Seig is not trying to push your buttons. He is just trying to help you realize what many of us have been telling you all along: YOU NEED TO LEAVE THE DIPSTICK WHO PRETENDS TO BE YOUR INSTRUCTOR, AND GET YOURSELF A TEACHER WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR NEEDS!

I don't know if you give much weight to my opinion, seeing as how I've only been training in Tae Kwon Do for a little more than 5 years, but so far, I've had to agree with everything Seig has posted on this thread. Please, for your own sake, give his words some more thought.
 
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SammyB57

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What kind of things would one do to minimize impact on jumps and to use the most efficient technique on kicks?

I know it might be hard to describe, but if I can get a mental picture it might help.
 

Seig

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Sammy,

Without giving away the whole farm, since you are not my student, let me start you down the correct path. As a teacher, it is not enough for me to know you have a bad knee(s), I really need to know the nature of the injury. For some people with knee injuries have cartilidge issues as TW pointed out, others have meniscus issues, while others have tendon issues. Each of these play a different part in how the knee functions. With that in mind, the first mistake most people make, especially people with bad knees, when they do a jump or a hop is to not let the knee do its job.; in other words they try to keep the knee locked. Locking the knee at anytime is probably not a good idea. By definition, a hop is a one footed vertical movement that can take you horizontally in a given direction, with a primary purpose of taking you off the center line. In a instance where this required, again without knowing the nature of the injury I am giving very general advice, I would recommend a neoprene knee brace until the muscles surrounding the knee can be built up enough to stabilize the body.
People with bad knees, regardless of injury, can minimize this when kicking. The biggest mistakes made by beginners when learning to kick starts off with improper alignment and foot position. It is essential that these things are correct. Another issue is kicking too hard causing the knee to hyperextend at the end of the kick, thus aggravating injuries. Yet, a third common mistake with beginners is to go home and practice while wearing shoes. This not only adds weight to the foot, but it also minimizes technique, this is not a good idea in the beginning.
Hopefully, this will give you some ideas.
Seig
 

MJS

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Well, I certainly wouldn't say that anyone, Seig in particular, is trying to push anyones buttons. He has a background in TKD, and is speaking of the differences in the art. Case in point...how to properly land from a jump, being able to use the legs to cushion the impact, etc.

When I first came to MT, and Seig, as well as many others such as Clyde, Robertson, Doc, and M. Billings can attest to this...I was under the impression that there was no grappling in the art of Kenpo. I was told that I was not looking at the entire picture, and was only looking through my window, not the window of how others train. After taking time to listen to these people, and explore the art more in depth, I came to the realization that YES, there was in fact grappling in the art (Kenpo) that we all trained in, but yet trained in so very differently.

My point of this: Simply to show that there are many TKD schools out there. The way that one school is teaching a certain kick, may very well be different from the next. Case in point again with Seig. Hes stated that alot of it comes down to the instruction and the student themselves, being able to recognize and able to speak to their inst. without fear of retribution, about a possible injury that they may have.

As I also said in another post, we are all different. I can have 2 people in a certain stance, and one could start to have extreem leg pain, while the other will not.

Mike
 

takadadojokeith

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SammyB57 said:
What are good arts for people with bad knees/ankles? I've just had a lot of wear and tear from high school football and want something that will make me strong and supple.... not weak and arthritic.

I dunno. Kendo maybe? How about kyudo? Wing chun minus the kicks?
 
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SammyB57

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The nature of the injury was MCL damage from football, as well as torn ligaments in my ankle from the same. It's pretty well recovered by now, I've been grappling everyday just fine. I've also been taking Glucosamine/Chondroitin. The only physical limitation right now is that my ankles are severely unflexible, and my lower leg muscles are not as strong as I would like them to be, but I'm doing what I can to remedy that as much as possible.

The reason I am asking so many millions of questions is because I am interested in Tae Kwon Do, but that would mean a) spending money b) having to take time away from grappling. So I really, really want to make sure it is worth the effort.

I've heard mixed things about karate and knees. My friend said it destroyed her knees, but I wouldn't doubt if she was using bad mechanics. I am afraid if I go to a dojang, they'll just line me up and expect me to just do kicks by watching everyone else. I plan on going to a trial class this wednesday and want to be as well informed as possible. I've done TKD/Hapkido once at a McDojo, a severly overpriced McDojo, and I don't want to experience that again.

As far as over-extending, I think I am getting your drift. I do some boxing with my jujitz.... so you're saying that when you are kicking you don't want to do a full-extension like in punching, for risk of hyper-extension?

Also, when you have beginners come to your dojo/dojang.... does the instructor take the time to really show them the moves and break them down and explain them? Or is just kind of a, pick it up as you go along, type of thing?
 

TigerWoman

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My instructor taught me proper mechanics and we had a matted surface - which I bought for the dojang. My knee went out of joint from a tornado round kick when I was exhausted after one of many hard workouts we do. The meniscus tore when I put it back in. That was eventually healed according to the MRI after a few years of Glucosamine. But, I got another meniscal tear from a 360 jump two years ago. My cartilage has worn down to nothing, less nothing, there is a divot in the lower joint caused by the jumping according to another MRI. Jumping on Advil/other painkillers is not advisable. I was unable to do much after that one for six months, since my joint did not track right and got stuck on one side and also buckled.

My joint does not track right because of the lack of cartilage, my orthopedist says. That causes the side ligaments to work harder to keep it tracking. If they are loosened by twisting overmuch or side splits, it will be harder for them to stay in joint. Also, the twisting or repetition kicking of TKD, causes the hamstrings behind the knees to work harder and thus get sore easier. I have done all sorts of exercises, the VM quad exercise, also with rubber bands, weights to strengthen my knee muscles to strength the joint, balance exercises. I ice them after each workout because wear & tear of the joint causes bone, cartilage particle breakoff which causes inflammation of the synovial fluid. That in itself is harmful to the knee and is unknown until perhaps later that day but probably in the next two days especially without icing. And according to the doc, who is a sports doc, this is not uncommon even in younger athletes who have high impact/twisting activities.

As for the hyperextension...yes that is bad, air kicking particularly. We kick paddle focus targets, Blastmaster bags and medium weight standup bags too. Beginners have a hard time doing the mechanics right. It takes practice. Alot--most of the dojangs require breaking to advance. Since the yellow belt is required to practice a hopping side kick, impact on knees starts there and a full extension is required to break a board to get to orange belt. We practice full extension to the medium standup bag. It is not really good for the knee but required for breaking. Now if the TKD school is one of the rare ones who do not require breaking you would be lucky. I think MichTKD doesn't require breaking until black belt, but when does that practice begin and how advanced is then? We do breaking for a reason and to not do it diminishes a teaching/learning aspect and also knowing the capability of your kick. And this is about learning the art.

My teacher did instruct on how do do each kick and followed up with reminders. Someone new is still not going to do it correctly for awhile, nor have the muscle strength required. Then the repetition etc. If you have a repaired MCL, go into TKD very slowly, do alot of strengthening exercises for both your knees and ankles. TKD is not kind for people with weak ankles either. If you don't have cartilage wear and tear already, then you have some to wear down. Good luck! TW
 
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SammyB57

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TigerWoman - It sounds like TKD can protect you from the big baddies but not from TKD itself. Isn't it kind of ironic that you are taking self-defense and you are receiving self-destruction?
 

TigerWoman

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SammyB57 said:
TigerWoman - It sounds like TKD can protect you from the big baddies but not from TKD itself. Isn't it kind of ironic that you are taking self-defense and you are receiving self-destruction?

LOL, well haven't destructed yet, but I'm definitely easing off the jumping probably with my own workout, forms and teaching. I was good to reach 2nd dan at 53 even though I'm shy of one break. I'm not going to keep up the pace anymore. But I am alot healthier and stronger and that is why I joined. TW
 

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Sammy dont give up on tkd just yet. I am in my mid 30's i have took out the miniscus completely in the right knee, the acl in both knees, and lots of cartilage in both. I can still kick pretty good but I had to work up to it. Everyone has something they cant do in this world for me it is getting back into the shape I was in when I was twenty. Tw does have a few valid points. However, I have a total different story than hers. After I blew out my knees I sat around doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself. A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go to TKD class with him and that he was the instructor. I told him "maybe" a lot of times and I explained to him why I couldnt because of my knees and I was out of shape (sometimes it is nice being 6'1" but not when you are 370lbs). The thing that impressed me the most is that he told me that he could work with that. He did, I didnt start out fast either I took it slow, I didnt test for my yellow belt until the second testing. I am a fighter and I know my limitations. What helped me the most was the forms. You always start out slow until you get the correct movements down and then you speed it up. Forms are good for strengthening weak areas. I never worried too much about sparring. I was already good at that.
 

Cruentus

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Since the yellow belt is required to practice a hopping side kick, impact on knees starts there and a full extension is required to break a board to get to orange belt.

Now, I am not trying to be nitpicky, but why in the world would a yellow belt have to break with hopping side kick? If yellow is right after white as it was at my TKD school, I would think that if your going to break that early you would be required to stick to the basics, as good body mechanics still need to be developed at such an early stage.

Also, I disagree that you have to overextend your knee to the point of injury on any kick, and with any break. This just seems like poor body mechanics in my book.

I am not trying to push buttons or nitpick, but this is just how I see it based off of my training...

Paul
 

TigerWoman

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A hopping sidekick break is pretty basic. And super easy. But you have to extend (not over extend) that leg through the target to break it...it won't break on it's own.

We have to do a step sidekick break to test for yellow belt. When you have to have real good technique for is a chambered sidekick-staying in one place and breaking through two boards-that was 2nd dan. So its a progression to get there. TW
 
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SammyB57

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It's going to be hard for me to get used the TKD environment. My BJJ gym is really laid back.... I don't really want to be yelled at and bitched at, I got enough of that in football. I just remember doing TKD when I was 5 and having some Korean guy yelling at me all the time because I yawned once. Seems kind of hyper-tensive to me.

Respect and militarism are two different things....
 
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