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Judo/Hip replacement and judo


Greetings Sensei Ohlenkamp, I am 55 and have trained various martial arts since 1973.  I am currently a candidate for hip replacement.   My biggest concern is taking Ukemi.  I figure my throws and techniques are probably already altered due to the joint issue I've trained with for the last several years.  Is there a hip procedure/replacement type you've heard is more successful for aggressive trainers??
I promised myself that I would undergo the surgery when my technique and Ukemi was affected to a point were I don't think it can be worse with a new hip!  
Ideas on training and recovery are absolutely welcome!  
Thank you for considering my request.

I have had 3 different different types of hip prosthesis, and am happy to share what I know.
As far as the surgical procedure goes, I am not sure what is most appropriate for martial artists. I have heard claims of advantages for each approach, but all mine were traditional from the rear and I am happy with the results.

I take ukemi regularly, although I try to control who is throwing me and the number of falls I take. I no longer do the heavy kind of randori I did before my first surgery, but going lighter is appropriate for my age anyways. Being careful to prevent injury is central to martial arts training so the hip is just a small part of the equation and doesn't affect the risk as much as many other things.

I had two ceramic on ceramic hips installed, but one failed (squeaking and abnormal wear) and had to be replaced so I would avoid these. I am sometimes afraid the ceramic one I still have might break from ukemi, although I know that is an unrealistic fear because the mats I practice on are great and I am pretty good at ukemi.

The replacement to the ceramic hip was a polyethylene hip. This hip feels better for me and seems to have better performance in my judo practice. In addition to the different surface, this hip is also a larger size. Mobility is increased when the ball of the hip is larger so this type of hip is common for athletes. I think it would be important for you to consider if you are a candidate for such a hip.

Recovery after the surgery is pretty much what you'd expect. Physical therapy, follow doctors orders, get back to martial arts as soon as you can, and get into shape again. My hips are on my mind sometimes because I still have one ceramic, but the larger polyethylene one is as good as my original hip. I even learned snowboarding and went skiing with my son last winter. I thought I would never do that again. Every month at first, and then every year you will gain confidence in the prosthesis. Naturally you also will feel good that you eliminated the source of the pain you had before surgery.

Best of luck to you.


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Neil Ohlenkamp


Mr. Ohlenkamp can answer any questions about Judo having practiced it since 1968. Author of a best-selling book on Judo and a 7th degree black belt, he compiled a comprehensive web site ( to provide the information to everyone.


Mr. Ohlenkamp has been practicing judo continuously since 1968, as a student, athlete, competitor, teacher, coach, referee, leader, and author.

United States Judo Association, United States Judo Federation, Nanka Yudanshakai, United States Ju-Jitsu Federation, Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo, Japan, Encino Judo Club.

As a pioneer in promoting martial arts around the world through the internet, Mr. Ohlenkamp created one of the first web pages devoted to Judo. Since 1995 his Judo Information Site at has been the most highly acclaimed, most popular, and most comprehensive Judo web site on the internet. He runs several other Judo sites like,, and He has authored a best selling book on Judo, contributed to other martial arts books, and had articles published in most major Judo publications. The U.S. edition of his book is Judo Unleashed (2006, McGraw-Hill) but is also available under other titles in the UK, Germany, Russia, and The Netherlands.

Mr. Ohlenkamp is a 7th degree black belt and has been nationally certified as a Judo instructor, coach, and rank examiner. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development with a specialty in recreation from California State University, Northridge.

Awards and Honors
US Judo Coach of the Year-1999, U.S. Team Coach at the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul, Korea, the 1989 World Championships for the Blind in Manchester, England, and the 1990 World Championships and Games for the Disabled in Assen, Netherlands, and member of the International Blind Sports Association Judo Technical Committee from 1988 to 1993. 6th degree black belt in USJJF jujitsu.

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