Concussions and Awareness

Don’t want to scare anyone, but in my experiance I have seen a few of these happen, and experienced one myself. In Aikido concussions result from a collision of the head with a hard object, usually part of another person. I got a mild one after getting wacked with an overly enthusiastic shomenuchi. Someone got one yesterday after hitting his head on the edge of the Kamiza, and a few months ago another Aikidoka got hit in the head with someone’s knee. In her case the situation was compounded later when she got struck again outside of Aikido.

The common signs and symptoms of a concussion are:

feeling dazed or loosing consciousness for a short period of time (knocked out)

nausea or vomiting

pain at the site of impact


difficulty speaking or forming sentances,(finding the right word)


not remembering a few minutes before and after the incident.

A person should be taken to the ER if symptoms of a severe concussion occur:

vomiting more than once after a concussion

severe confusion

being unconscious for more than a few minutes

persisting dizziness

being knocked out, waking up, and then becoming confused and loosing consciousness again

a severe headache or a mild headache that does not go away in 1 to 2 weeks


Usually a concussion can be prevented by staying aware of your surroundings,
-taking proper ukemi,
-being aware of your uke(i.e. not throwing them if they are in a bad position or too close to a wall or another person)
-Also staying off the mat if you are overly tired is a good practice. You are unlikely to learn much and more likely to be short tempered and prone to causing accidents on the mat.

Awareness will keep you and your uke safe from all injuries and is one of the most useful things Aikido can teach you. Techniques aside, being aware of your surroundings makes it difficult for someone to surprise you and allowes you to react instinctively to a threat of any kind. Without awareness your martial skill is useless, because you won’t notice the danger before it is too late. Aikido simply trains your body’s reaction to a threat. Awareness comes with practice and is expected especially in higher ranking students. For example to pass the shodan test nage must demonstrate awareness by not throwing uke into the wall or sensei, during randori. They must display at all times awareness of uke and personal safety.