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There is much to be said about ukemi, but I have observed from close that there is difference between understanding ukemi and talking about ukemi.
As a beginning one should always be aware the gift of ukemi that uke is giving you is priceless, so treat it as a precious gift, be grateful for being offered this gift and show this gratitude by training open, honest and respectful. And offer ukemi to your training partners.
Following that, one should realise that ukemi is more than 50% of your aikido, more than 50% of your techniques and more than 50% of all that you do. This is too often not clear to those that are training. This not from malice or ill will but from not being exposed to good ukemi.
It is very tempting to see how much of a technique you can resist or frustrate. Yet in the end all you were building was your own dojo superpowers and you weren't helping your partner, even though you thought you were. But worst than that, you weren't helping yourself and cheating your partner out of an opportunity to learn.
One often hear people claim Aikido is about love, about harmony. That aikido is life. Yet as uke they train without harmony. They haven't learned the difference between uke being alive and uke being dead. As uke they don't give, but expect to overtaken, to be conquered. Why is it harmony if nage gets his way?
I have been fortunate. All my teachers have told me to do ukemi. Not as an obligatory part of training, not as a necessary evil to be undergone to get to the good part, but as a main buildingblock of my development. If you don't understand the technique, then take ukemi for that technique again and again and again. Ah, you wanna become beter at Aikido, then take one year of only ukemi and learn, feel and learn. Give, give, give until you know why giving is receiving.
So I give. I don't correct my partners when they don't offer to change roles after 4 techniques. I happily offer ukemi.
And now for something completely different, lets talk about ukemi. Ukemi isn't about doing high falls. Ukemi isn't being unbalanced, ukemi isn't about having things done to you to which you have to react. That is what my teachers called being dead. If uke is dead, then the exercise won't be aikido. Ukemi is about being alive. It is about living and being alert, about being outward, about being connected and about being natural. There is nothing natural about being hit, whether it be by a hand or by an on storming bus. Alive is moving with what happens.
Being alive is a difficult concept. Knowing you have to be alive is different from being alive. That is why we train and why ukemi is a major part of our training.
I have made a list of what being alive is in my opinion (and this is still a work in progress) but I also found that a lot of people genuinely don't understand what I am rambling about.
Be aware of what is happening and what you are doing. Somethings you don't want to do or actively avoid. You should not be bent over so avoid or correct that. Nage shouldn't be behind you so avoid or correct that.
Rolling is good. Rolling is being alive, but don't confuse it with slamming or bouncing. Absorb whatever is happening into a dissipation of energy by escaping with a roll or tumble.
Be humble and let go of expectations. You can only go with the flow if you are with the flow. It is not possible to outthink the flow, it is not possible to predict the flow. Oh, and surprise, the flow can be anything from doing a technique to cleaning the dojo to relating to others.
Stay with the contact. Only rolling, tumbling to safety and away from your partner as the flow directs is where uke can release the contact.
Rolling away is escaping. It is not something to survive a technique, but it is something to escape a hazardous situation. Away, away, away. Flow toward safety at top speed.
Ukemi is for learning Aikido. Ukemi is for learning to throw the other. The goal of proper ukemi is to learn and do proper Aikido, so you will never be thrown when not offering the gift of ukemi to the other.
Connect the hands, connect everything, but move the feet.
Follow through to discover the points of escape, reversal. Follow through to discover where there are openings, not to exploit them (unless this is what you are specifically training with your partner) but to discover them and use them to learn. But be honest in this. The flaws you discover in your partner's technique are more than likely to be your own flaws.
Shield yourself from harm, but don't disturb the flow. Blocking equals stopping. Stopping means being a dead uke.
Don't assume. Assumption is like trying to predict the flow. Be honest and accept what is happening. Accept your partners. Accept life. Be grateful.