View Full Version : Poll: How often do you actively slap the ground with your arms/hands when you fall during aikido training?

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12-17-2006, 12:30 AM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of December 17, 2006:

How often do you actively slap the ground with your arms/hands when you fall during aikido training?

I don't do aikido

Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=355).

12-17-2006, 11:25 AM
Nice, a Troll Poll!

12-17-2006, 12:36 PM
Nice, a Troll Poll!

A Troll Poll?

12-17-2006, 07:04 PM
A Troll Poll?

Yes, a staff covered with pitch or other flammable resin that is set on fire so that the nasty creature can't regenerate its wounds when you battle it... oh, wrong reality! :p

So, on topic:

I voted often, although I don't know if it's actively. I really don't try to add to the energy, but to dissipate it through, um, relaxed participation?? Don't really know the words, but I assume that everyone understands the meaning.

Eric Webber
12-17-2006, 09:39 PM
There is actually a formula to figure out the amount of energy dispersed through slapping the mat during a break fall (theoretically; I believe it would have to take place in a vacuum for formula to be perfectly accurate, but it can get you pretty close in real life as well). We had a student training with us who has a degree in kinesiology, he wrote it on the announcement board in the dojo, unfortunately it got erased.

12-18-2006, 11:32 AM
I voted "often," through honesty if not by design. I'm really trying to get quieter!

"Loud ukemi "something I am trying to get away from, with limited success... I've noticed that the more advanced aikidoka that I admire are much quieter in their ukemi, even hard-and-fast ukemi... The shihani I've seen taking falls are generally very, very quite - just the sound of the hakama swooshing across the mat (very awe inspiring).

There's apparently some kind of an inverse relationship between ukemi-loudness and rank that I have noted but not been able to absorb the fine points of "how," yet...

Karen Wolek
12-18-2006, 11:48 AM
I voted "often" but like Peter, I am trying to be softer and quieter. I watch my teachers and I hear just a swoosh. I'm getting ready for 1st kyu, so my sensei is trying to get me to be softer. As nage, too. Recently in freestyle class, he told the group of uke to attack (me) hard, but nage (me) was to be soft. Oh boy. That was not easy......

12-18-2006, 03:21 PM
Secrets of Judo, from 1959, has a nice explanation on it. This might be the resource that someone was referring to about a formula (they have one in the book).

Most of the arguments I've heard against slapping is that in real life someone's hand got injured when they did it. Well, what if they didn't slap? I'd much rather have my hand broken than my head or vital organs damaged.

Having the hands and arms out and ready, instead of one behind the head, also makes it easier to block/attack in real life if someone decides to attack you after you fall. If you fall but have one hand behind your head and I jump on you, I don't think your hand behind your head will do you much good.

12-18-2006, 04:18 PM
I voted often.

I expressed my opinion on this topic so vociferously and contentiously in the thread by this title that I think some feel I was being a jerk. So be it!


Amir Krause
12-19-2006, 12:54 AM
I voted always.

Since, when I break fall, I always slap. The exception to this rule is falling on stairs and similar things. Break-falling on pavement, road or non rocky ground is not part of this exception.

Since when I started practicing I was a total un-coordinated person, I had lots of opportunities to test these rules, and found them to be very efficient, I was never more then slightly bruised due to falling, including multiple falls on hard surfaces.

If one can roll, then slapping is normally avoided.

The most important thing about rules is understanding their origin and reasoning, and being cool enough to realize how you should react according to the circumstances rather then just following the rule


12-19-2006, 11:00 AM
Slapping the mat is the wrong way of putting it I feel. To do soft ukemi I would tell students to extend and reach for the mat not slap it . If you tell someone to slap something they will move there arm forward and backward. It's not about doing nice rolls at all , it's all about extending the whole body and arm to dissipitate the energy of the throw. Try and do a nice ROLL out of a good kotegaeshi and if you can then you are doing your own thing and your not connected to shite. I voted often but I should have voted always, as good ukemi is the the best way for shite to learn the lines to do good technic. Job jobed I feel.

12-20-2006, 04:36 AM
Everyone already knows what I'm saying, but I think one learns various ukemi. Then, when things are hot and heavy you don't have time to think about which fall to take. You take one - and most times our instincts are right on and we don't get hurt. I like falls where I have no choice but to go (well, or choose to fight and get hurt) then I think about energy running out the bottoms of my feet, and no matter how hard I fall, if my joints are clear, hitting the mat is displaced out my elongated body. If you are not being held by uke - all the wonders of soft ukemi become more available.

Doug (the cat) used to roll out of throws that put him high enough in the air you could shikko under him (if you were really really fast!) Of course, the mats at the university SUCK.


12-20-2006, 05:10 AM
I should add that the best ukemi I had in the past two years was from a diminutive rokkyudan - who had me falling before i realized it. I perceived I had 'no feet', and did my best from there. I think this is the zenith of aikido.

He asked why I was laughing so hard when I got up, and I explained that it felt wonderful to be so fooled.