Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Adapting Juunbi Undo (Warm-Up Exercises)

Paul Enfield-Sensei has shared this generous explication of how Juunbi Undo is done and what it's for. Though I've explored this for years through the lens of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome I spent this morning in physiotherapy going over Juunbi Undo and modifying it to be more Ehlers-Danlos friendly. Briefly, that means swapping out stretches for isometrics and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Function (PNF), changing out rotational movements for balance and stability challenges, and keeping the practice as authentic to the original purposes as possible.


Here's a bit of history that's endearing to Miyagi-Sensei and speaks to his intentions in creating Juunbi Undo, as well as his methods: http://www.iogkf.com/newsletter/edition_2011_4/articles_pg_04.htm

It's quite accessible to begin with, and to me that's what makes Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate-Do a cradle-to-grave martial art.

My entire medical team would prefer I took up Tai Chi, and I get that. But Karate is where my heart is. They are very compassionate in their understanding that I have a right to self-determination, and are generous in their support of all my adventures. They also have the wherewithal to help me cope with the reality that it's not time to be in karate right now, but that if it's a goal, then I need to be moving in that direction as best I can (even if my best is a C+ that day). People who don't have EDS often have trouble understanding that one's medical team often becomes closer than one's own family because the work you're doing together is so intimately connected with oneself, and that this work is the avenue you're traveling to move as close as possible to the rest of the world. They are the bridge and the waters are rocky, troubled rapids at all times.

It will be years before I understand the intentions of Juunbi Undo to a level I consider adequate, but a good warm-up is crucial. Juunbi Undo is a perfect way for anybody to take inventory of their body's functional level, so it would be nice to have a similar method in the EDS toolkit someday. I'd very much like to be the one who develops it, so it's just as well that I'm starting now.

Here's what I do know:
  • It's been two years since I could regularly attend karate to a developmental level.
  • EDS Sucks.
  • If only in my head, I haven't stopped reviewing kata.
  • There has never been a mystery as to whether my body would tank to a point at which I couldn't keep up karate anymore; it isn't necessarily a permanent situation. Karate is self-defense, and everyone can practice self-defense, even Zanshin (perpetual awareness).
  • This is hard. It's very hard. It's physically and emotionally hard, both to practice and to not practice.
  • It's worth it.
  • I'm worth it.
  • "The fun is in the effort." - Lincoln Bragg
  • My gi still fits. :)

Be well.

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