View Full Version : Dojo Floor Space

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10-04-2001, 01:26 AM
Our dojo has just moved to much smaller premesis, and I'm finding it nearly impossible to perform my ukemi correctly in the smaller environment. We have about 10 students in a room about 10 meters long x 5 meters wide.

Do my ukemi just need more work, or is this really a bit small? Is there a recommened "Average space per student"? Am I whining, or is this new venue a bit small?

On the up side I'm becoming increasingly aware of my space (because if you're not you're likely to roll into someone else's space), and I'm getting really good at rolling and falling a very short distance (although often I can't complete the roll to a safe distance away from nage because of space constraints).

Thoughts and comments?

10-04-2001, 03:19 AM
Hi William :)

Pretty soon you will be totally comfortable working in this 'confined' area.
It will be good for you.
Although, to be honest, it sounds like a large training area to me :D

10-04-2001, 04:32 AM
I was talking to someone who trained with Ueshiba about his and he said that there was usually very little space on the mat when he was over there - you had to get up quick after being thrown as you knew that a second later someone would be thrown down in the same space.

Previously I've done exercises where you just ukemi down the length of one mat, then turn and ukemi back - so if you have about two mats between you and your nage you should be OK.

Of course a lot depends on how far Nage wants to throw you! There is something to be said about throwing uke at your feet (so that you can strike them when they're down). However this often results in a higher propensity of break falls rather than ukemis and can be very tiring.

Lack of space definately is good for spacial awareness - though when I've trained in small areas I have missed that flying through the air feeling. However, most real fights I've been in have been in very cramped spaces - night-clubs or pubs. We're lucky at out dojo, having a massive hall, but I often resitrict the numbers of mats we put out to make sure people get this idea of spatial awareness.

I once trained in a dojo where the ceiling was the main concern because it was so low! (had to watch your feet during a ukemi!).


10-04-2001, 04:34 AM
P.S. it seems you are in Sunny South Africa - seems like an ideal opportunity to do loads of aikido outside. Some tai-jitsu can be done safely outside (especially on grass), but weapons work is far better outside 'cos you can chase people for miles when you are attacking them with a bokken!


10-04-2001, 11:45 AM
It can be disconcerting going from a larger space to a smaller space. I went to a mini-seminar my dojo and another dojo had. The seminar was located at the other school and they have a much smaller space than us. It is long and narrow, too. The hardest part for me was taking my ukemi towards the walls. I'm used to more room so I take a little father to roll.

The key really is that everyone needs to be aware of their surroundings. At one of our branch dojos, we train in small aerobics room and our mat size is limited. And 8 on the mat was really tight. Having people throw opposite directions, really helped alot, and being aware of when the other people where throwing was critical to avoid collisions.

Anne Marie.

10-04-2001, 01:47 PM
Hey William. I also train here in South Africa!!! Nice to see a fellow South African aikidoka!

Where about do you train?

I moved from a very large dojo to a very small one early in my aikido career. It is a very different feeling at first, but I found that I soo got used to it.

I found that my ukemi got much better as a result of moving dojos - you have to adapt sometimes, to roll in the smaller space.

Sid Dagore

10-04-2001, 03:46 PM
One evening in a large but not too crowded class, we were doing a technique requiring a forward roll by uke. After a short time but many near misses, the instructor called us all to the center of the mat, forming a large circle facing in. "Turn around and roll" he ordered. We quickly complied and came back to the circle, facing in once more. "Now, everyone take a forward roll" he ordered, as we all stood there looking at him like he was crazy. "THROW TO THE OUTSIDE!" he said, sending us back to our pairs with this new visual on what causes collision.

10-04-2001, 09:02 PM

Well, I'd have to say that that mat is roughly the same size as ours. We can at times have up to about 15-20 people on the mat at once... though typically it's closer to 10. When large numbers are on the mat, we have to make sure to throw to open spaces so it can be great for awareness. Also, on the larger throws and maneuvers, we typically form lines to work in, or small circles(though rarely circles).