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Charles Hill
12-24-2009, 01:40 AM
Ellis Amdur has an excellent DVD tutorial on ukemi and in it he shows a forward roll in which one crosses the spine much lower and less diagonal than a typical Aikido roll. He says that he learned it from sumo and watching a chimp roll on concrete at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo.

I found this clip of Parkour aficionado David Belle rolling on a wide variety of hard surfaces. He, too, rolls low across his back.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rekmYbFRbK0

Here is a Parkour roll tutorial, a bit cheesy, but good. These guys teach that you should change the angle depending on how hard the surface is. If the ground is soft, like grass, roll more like the trad aikido style. If the ground is hard, roll more Ueno Zoo chimp style.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OnrS3awx4Q&feature=related

ChristianBoddum
12-24-2009, 04:46 AM
I like the chimp analogy and have used it many times as an illustration.
Chimps have shorter legs, so they basically just have to lean forward to roll, we have to bend the knees more so we can't
copy it 100%.
I have also noticed this roll in Kung Fu a lot,
it has an advantage in taking off speed, an the body seems to do it naturally when the rolls get fast and enegetic,
BUT you will not end in a ready position,
and that's why I don't see it as Kihon,
aside from that it's cool !

Janet Rosen
12-24-2009, 10:35 AM
The Parkour tutorial is pretty good in its basic instructions!

Michael Hackett
12-24-2009, 10:51 AM
I'm with Janet - the tutorial is pretty well done. Besides the basic instruction, I liked the overall tone of the video and think this kind of approach would work well with a lot of youngsters in particular. The video game segment would appeal to kids too.

thisisnotreal
12-24-2009, 12:22 PM
That is pretty cool. Thanks for posting.

Frankly; when I saw the title of the thread, I thought it was about a new kind of sushi roll...and i was all ready to call PETA on you guys.
whew. glad it didn't come to that. : ]

Janet Rosen
12-24-2009, 12:39 PM
Frankly; when I saw the title of the thread, I thought it was about a new kind of sushi roll...and i was all ready to call PETA on you guys. : ]
LOL!!!
Going briefly OT... I am reminded of a banner at a (now departed, gee, wonder why?) Chinese restaurant on Judah Street in San Francisco proudly proclaiming their special on "baby dumplings". mmmm.

Charles Hill
12-24-2009, 03:49 PM
Thanks for posting guys!

What do you think of the basic idea; rolling lower on the back, less diagonally when the surface is hard?

Merry Christmas!
Charles

Ellis Amdur
12-24-2009, 05:25 PM
The main idea is that one shouldn't roll over a joint, so that, even momentarily, the body weight goes directly thru either the rotator cuff or the hip. Therefore, one rolls from shoulder blade across in a shallower diagonal thru small of back.
This is the track of a roll in both judo and sumo, btw. It does not make one any less "ready" - one can stand up whether the leg is tucked or not.
In judo, one extends both legs - not total extension, btw - because one is usually taking a breakfall, on a flat surface
In sumo, one tucks the legs, much like aikido, because one is very likely going to fall across the raised rope at the edge of the ring - which is about 6-8 inches high - you could break a shin if you came down hard in a judo ukemi.
In either case, however, the track across the torso is the same - and I believe it should be in aikido as well.
Among my judoka friends, the only complaints regarding shoulder injuries are a) if one took BAD ukemi, took a makikomi fall or got pile-driven - in other words, one inescapably fell on the shoulder b) cranked too hard in a lock. But I never heard people complaining about chronic shoulder problems due to rolling, which is quite common in aikido.
Aikidoka have simply been taught wrong. It looks good to fall with the fingers in line with the lead foot toe - one goes in a big arch like a hoop. And if you are a young person - with significant athletic talent and thick flexible tendons - you'll have no trouble. But if you are not that - welcome to chronic, unnecessary injuries. Hence, Ukemi from the Ground Up (http://www.edgework.info/buy.html). It is not a pretty ukemi - but it should keep you safe at just about any age or physical condition.
Once one has mastered the basics and really wants to get into the art of aikido ukemi at the highest level, then I'd go to Bruce Bookman's Ukemi: The Art of Falling (http://www.seattleholisticcenter.com/aikido/videos.shtml) (and a 2nd advanced video) are fantastic.

phitruong
12-24-2009, 07:46 PM
Thanks for posting guys!

What do you think of the basic idea; rolling lower on the back, less diagonally when the surface is hard?

Merry Christmas!
Charles

worked for me. save your truly's rear-end when i laid down my motorcycle and flew across the intersection. rolled like a monkey, got rips on the jacket to prove it (not a scratch on the helmet). walked away from the crash. one bad thing was my judo reflex kicked in and i slapped the pavement with the hands first. padded gloves save the hands but hurt for weeks.

Basia Halliop
01-19-2010, 10:19 AM
I watched the first video and I'm not sure about what was meant by rolling lower across the back -- it looked to me like the majority of the rolls were very nice 'normal' Aikido rolls, but a few on grass were summersaults instead of mai ukemi? I didn't see any that looked lower across the back than what I think of as Aikido mai ukemi... Do some dojos do rolls that are further in the 'summersault' direction than this? Also, I'm curious what the advantage is supposed to be of sometimes doing a summersault (i.e., not going diagonally or barely at all) -- although maybe they explain that in the tutorial -- I don't have sound now but maybe later I'll watch it.

Walter Martindale
01-19-2010, 01:15 PM
That is pretty cool. Thanks for posting.

Frankly; when I saw the title of the thread, I thought it was about a new kind of sushi roll...and i was all ready to call PETA on you guys.
whew. glad it didn't come to that. : ]

Why would People Eating Tasty Animals be interested?
:D
Walter

btw: Good tutorial on ukemi in postings above.

Russ Q
01-19-2010, 03:36 PM
Have you seen Kuroda Sensei's front roll "in place"...doesn't move forward at all....pretty amazing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_UbbDi4LRw&feature=player_embedded

Cheers,

Russ

JW
01-19-2010, 07:03 PM
This is interesting especially from the point of view of "Aikidoka have simply been taught wrong." My initial thought was that our rolls are designed to spread the impulse of the landing across a large time window and large area across the back-- thus the diagonal I was taught was from shoulder to opposite hip, point-of-contact making a pretty straight diagonal, and spreading the impact evenly through that diagonal.
So, if the point of contact dwells in the shoulder region (like in a "barrel-roll" like the one that broke my friend's collar-bone-- there, the point-of-contact does not make it all the way down the back, so all the impulse is delivered in the upper back/shoulder area) it is bad for the shoulder region.
Conversely-- if the point of contact dwells too long in the lower back area, wouldn't that be dangerous for the hips?

The video guys and Ellis Amdur are supporting the idea of impulse being delivered more heavily to the lower back I think, because it sounds like the point-of-contact would spend more time there:
Therefore, one rolls from shoulder blade across in a shallower diagonal thru small of back.

(I'm still confused because my aikido-roll description fits the description of a shallow diagonal. The difference is my diagonal would go through the midline a little higher on the back than the lumbar, I think... I'll have to try it out later)

So, if more impulse is delivered in the lower back, why is it not bad for the lower back? (Because the pelvis is sturdy, unlike the shoulder area?)
--Jonathan Wong

jss
01-20-2010, 01:45 AM
So, if more impulse is delivered in the lower back, why is it not bad for the lower back? (Because the pelvis is sturdy, unlike the shoulder area?)
I don't think more impulse is delivered there. The initial point of contact will take the most impact: it needs to absorb the force from falling (i.e. vertical velocity; unless you can place this point on the mat before you roll, of course). All the other points you just roll over, so they take your body weight and the force generated by rounding out your horizontal velocity along your back. (Does that make sense? :D) Your back should easily be able to take that.

Charles Hill
01-20-2010, 06:27 AM
Here is a clip of front rolling that is very different from the normal Aikido way. This is Aleksey Kadochnikov, a teacher of Russian Martial Arts. He is speaking Russian but I think you can get the idea, especially when he uses a stick to show the point of never crossing on the spine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fbpC5prxB0&feature=related

Carsten Möllering
01-20-2010, 07:00 AM
Here is a clip of front rolling that is very different from the normal Aikido way.
I've seen this being taught in several aikido dojo.

Carsten Möllering
01-20-2010, 07:15 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OnrS3awx4Q&feature=related
I don't see the differences to "normal" aikido rolls?
Could please be so kind and describe what you think is a "normal" aikido roll?

Basia Halliop
01-20-2010, 10:29 AM
I agree with Carsten. What this discussion is showing me is that there seems to be more variation than I had realized in the forward rolls considered 'standard' in different styles or dojos. Which is interesting, because I thought it was one of the few things that was almost universal. (I mean, everyone teaches them differently and there are variations in what the hands do especially when first learning, but I assumed the trajectory across the back was basically the same).

I am curious to those who normally roll higher up on the back than this -- how much higher up the back do you go? and do you still find most people are able to take rolls safely if pushed with a lot of force? We normally try to correct beginners or children who initially roll 'too close to the head' or 'too near along the spine' and when doing techniques, we often throw them a bit more gently than usual until they learn to do it more diagonally, neither 'summersault' nor 'log roll'. But perhaps it's one of those things where if you learn to do it well more than one way can be done safely?

JW
01-20-2010, 03:49 PM
I don't think more impulse is delivered there. The initial point of contact will take the most impact: it needs to absorb the force from falling

Hm, I've thought about it and I still think the vertical impulse is distributed across the roll rather than localized to the initial point of contact. (it's a glancing contact) For instance those parkour guys off the roof-- there is no way their vertical momentum is being handled mainly by the initial point of contact (that would be a "hit" followed by a roll, rather than a nice smooth roll, right?).

I think the roll turns some of the downward momentum into horizontal momentum, doesn't that sound right? in other words it does a lot of work, pushing on the ground in order to create some new horizontal motion out of the force of the downward "would-be-splat."

Well, if that is right, it would mean the line of the point of contact really does take a crunch. In which case, I still wonder why it is ok to have the lower back take so much of that. If it's not correct-- well, then I guess it is clear.
--JW

Charles Hill
01-20-2010, 04:36 PM
Hi Carsten,

I am not often described as "kind" but I will try to explain my understanding. :)

If we think of our mid body structure as a Roman numeral one, we can imagine our shoulders as the upper bar of the one, the lower bar as our hips, and the vertical bar as our spine. An "Aikido" roll is one that crosses the vertical bar. The "normal" aikido roll is one that crosses from the right or left point on the upper horizontal bar to the opposite point on the lower horizontal bar, crossing the vertical bar somewhere in the middle.

The Ueno chimp/parkour roll starts the crossing of the vertical bar below the upper horizontal bar and crosses lower than the middle point of the vertical bar.

The Russian roll does not cross the vertical bar at all. It crosses at the top on the upper horizontal bar, then comes down the opposite side bypassing the spine/vertical bar in its entirety. On the video, Kadochnikov demonstrates by holding a stick to a guy's back. First he holds it diagonally, from the right shoulder to the left hip. He is showing how NOT to do it. Then he holds the stick horizontally across the shoulders and then vertically down the left side of the guy's back. This is the Russian roll, very different to Aikido.

Alfonso
01-20-2010, 04:38 PM
I think rolling itself is better than splatting if you're worried about time spent at point of contact.. rolling is good if you can pull it off at whatever angle it'll save you from prolonged impact at any single point (while you're rolling)

But that doesn't mean the "minimal impact" you get on your bones , joints, carthilages etc is no damage.

In other words, roll, but over the softer tissues if you can

ps - you should be rolling before you hit (dont slam then roll)

ps2 - I dont see anything incompatible with Aikido in the "russian roll"
it's a roll ; and it can happen as a result of practice within an aikido dojo.

Carsten Möllering
01-21-2010, 02:13 AM
Thank you very much Charles!

We do both version you describe (in a way I understand very good) sometimes in our training of aikido. That's why I asked.
But I think got your point.

Carsten

Charles Hill
01-21-2010, 02:28 AM
You are most welcome Carsten.

I highly recommend everyone checking out the youtube channel from where the Russian stuff came from. The channel has tons of stuff from the Kadochnikov style of systema and I think it will be very interesting for most of you who do Aikido.

Pauliina Lievonen
01-21-2010, 03:50 AM
One thing that bugs me in your explanation Charles is that you overlook or omit the fact that the spine doesn't end at the shoulders. So rolling across your shoulders you will still be rolling across the spine, just in a different place. To be more exact about anatomical facts. :)

Personally I'm not convinced that it makes the roll any safer or less damaging. Maybe it depends on your build, some people do have more padding in the form of muscle in the shoulder area...

kvaak
Pauliina

Charles Hill
01-21-2010, 10:22 PM
Hi Pauliina,

Yes, good point.

Here's my answer. When I first started learning RMA, I was teaching Aikido in a typical Japanese dojo where half the room is tatami for Judo and the other half is hardwood for Kendo. I did a lot of rolling of various types on the hardwood and learned a lot.

What I learned about the Russian roll (and what I think anyone will learn if they try it) is that your body will naturally/instinctively scrunch the shoulder blades to avoid pressure to your spine. Our bodies have a natural drawbridge over the spine in the shoulder apparatus that the other areas do not.

A major idea in RMA (one quite opposite to Japanese/Aikido thinking) is that the body will instinctively protect itself and that one important goal in training is to work to take away that which interferes with this instinct.

Working with the various types of rolls on a hard surface is an excellent way to learn this.

Eugene Leslie
01-22-2010, 12:11 AM
Aikidoka have simply been taught wrong.

???

The guy in the first video is amazing, but let's talk practical application...(he was planting his feet first every time)...from a bicycle or a shove: his rolls looked like Aikido rolls; to me at least.
The second video with the two guys was awesome but nothing new under the sun. I certainly wouldn't "plant" my hand; just more factors for injury.
I liked the russian guy's rolls but I wouldn't recommend that from a height at the risk of breaking my neck. Literally.
Great post thanks.
One more thing and correct me if I'm wrong but an Aikidoka's roll allows him/her to maintain a weapon in hand whereas the others we saw here excluded that possibility.

Hanna B
06-16-2011, 04:36 AM
Old thread... but nevertheless. The topic shouldn't go easily outdated. The bolding in the quote below was added by me.


Among my judoka friends, the only complaints regarding shoulder injuries are a) if one took BAD ukemi, took a makikomi fall or got pile-driven - in other words, one inescapably fell on the shoulder b) cranked too hard in a lock. But I never heard people complaining about chronic shoulder problems due to rolling, which is quite common in aikido.
Aikidoka have simply been taught wrong. It looks good to fall with the fingers in line with the lead foot toe - one goes in a big arch like a hoop. And if you are a young person - with significant athletic talent and thick flexible tendons - you'll have no trouble. But if you are not that - welcome to chronic, unnecessary injuries.

While I do think that there are great advantages in avoiding crossing the spine mid-back... is there really that much chronic shoulder problems due to rolling? I never heard about it.

Judo people learn front rolls, of course, but does a judo player during 100 hours of training do as many rolls as an aikidoist? I somehow doubt that. Falls, yes. But not necessarily rolls, or? I admit I never trained in judo, but I imagine the front rolls taught in judo varies quite a bit also. Perhaps I should visit a judo dojo and watch, just to check what their rolling looks like.

Here is a Parkour roll tutorial, a bit cheesy, but good. These guys teach that you should change the angle depending on how hard the surface is. If the ground is soft, like grass, roll more like the trad aikido style. If the ground is hard, roll more Ueno Zoo chimp style.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OnrS3awx4Q&feature=related

Not sure if there is or isnt't a parkour way or rolling, but these guys are mainly Bujinkan people. The shuriken and stuff in the vid is a hint :) and they talked about it on Swedish web forums at the time they created Team Ukemi. The way they roll placing the hands and forearms on the ground is typical of that style.


I liked the russian guy's rolls but I wouldn't recommend that from a height at the risk of breaking my neck. Literally.
Great post thanks.
One more thing and correct me if I'm wrong but an Aikidoka's roll allows him/her to maintain a weapon in hand whereas the others we saw here excluded that possibility.

I doubt the Russian guy would roll like that in high speed or from a height. That exercise must be for some other purpose... or? Difficult to tell when you don't speak Russian :-)

Regarding weapons in hands, and the second vid - I think most Bujinkan people roll more with weapons in hands that most aikido people do. FWIW

Janet Rosen
06-16-2011, 01:48 PM
Hanna, my newbie shoulder separation still gives me near daily pain and stiffness fifteen years later and I suspect I'm not unique...it is a pretty common newbie aikido injury during learning forward rolls and I sure wouldnt have minded learning a different way.

Basia Halliop
06-16-2011, 03:09 PM
If the most common problem is for people just learning how to roll, then what matters is how easy it is to learn, right? And how damaging the most common mistakes you would tend to make would be? Not so much how they work once you do them well.

Unless there are more shoulder problems among more experienced 'rollers' than I'm aware of. If I understand right, though, I was under the impression that rolling injuries are mostly a problem of people during the initial learning curve, i.e., when the roll doesn't come out quite right.

grondahl
06-16-2011, 03:39 PM
I´ve experimented with teaching beginners systema-like (probably far from real systema-rolls) rolls from seiza/kneestanding with some success. It´s seems easier to get a slow roll without "bumps" that way.

Dave de Vos
06-16-2011, 04:37 PM
In the beginning, my shoulders were hurting after classes with a lot of rolling, but it slowly got better. My left shoulder took longer to get better than my right shoulder.

Now they don't hurt anymore, even after classes with a lot of rolling. It took me about 100 dojo hours.

abraxis
06-16-2011, 05:07 PM
In the beginning, my shoulders were hurting after classes with a lot of rolling, but it slowly got better. My left shoulder took longer to get better than my right shoulder.

Now they don't hurt anymore, even after classes with a lot of rolling. It took me about 100 dojo hours.

Following a 35 year hiatus from Aikido I have just completed my sixth consecutive week back attending classes. I am finding ukemi to be the hardest thing to "remember" how to do properly and I too have had sore shoulders to show for it. Eventually, getting down to the right weight, building core strength and regular stretching should help me "remember" quite a bit of what I have forgotten about ukemi. I'm finding suwari waza ryote-tori kokyu ho to be something I remember fairly well however. I believe this is due, at least in part, to the fact that almost every class I took years ago ended with this basic practice.

JW
06-16-2011, 11:37 PM
Good call with ressurecting this, Hannah.
I think ultimately I need to get the Ground Up video.. but the conversation is still great in the meantime, and my brain has been able to put this information together better today, just from re-reading this.

What do you guys think, here's what I am starting to think based on the info here, especially Charles' description, Joep's reply to me, and Eugene's caveats:

When you roll, you spread impact across the whole path of the ground-body contact spot-- but the first moments of contact take more force than the rest. (Impulse is greater in the first half of the roll then the 2nd.) If you have a big vertical drop (threshold for "big" depends on how hard your surface is) then you want 2 things: keep the point-of-contact's spinal crossing confined to the 2nd half of the roll, and minimize time of contact with shoulder region. Result = Ueno chimp roll.

If you on the other hand you have low fall height, possibly with significant sideways momentum (or use your outstretched arm for sideways traction like the Russion guy), then you have another good (best?) option: you use the scapular "drawbridge" to get the point of contact across the spine with protection. So the upper pelvis area and lower back don't bear much, or do much work. Result = the russian roll.

The midpoint-crossing roll being criticized here ("aikido roll") is a compromise/mix of the strengths of these 2, but has significant problems that are particular to it-- particularly dealing with the stressful and strength-intensive arm-to-shoulder portion of the roll.

A lot of thinking.. but ultimately I think I want to go out and play with these and feel what they are each best for..

Charles Hill
06-17-2011, 04:50 AM
A lot of great comments. I especially like Jonathon's last post, a good summation. I have worked with a lot of beginners on rolls, in both Aikido and Systema classes. Here are my current thoughts.

The cause of the vast majority of problems in rolling comes from a lack of flexibility and strength in the spine.

Rolls in response to techniques are majorly overused. Donovan Waite type ukemi work is better. Basically, instead of taking a front roll, turn and do a side or back roll.

Solo front roll practice is an excellent method to improve your health.

Pain is a signal you are doing something wrong. Don't put up with it. George Ledyard has written here that half of the sixth dans he knows cannot take even simple ukemi anymore due to physical problems.

Donovan Waite's videos are absolute must haves. Bruce Bookman's and Ellis Amdur's ukemi videos are excellent. Buy them all, work on all of it everyday, and think of how much money and pain you will save when you are old and not have to being making regular hospital visits and riding around in a wheelchair.

Charles

Hanna B
06-17-2011, 06:36 AM
Hanna, my newbie shoulder separation still gives me near daily pain and stiffness fifteen years later and I suspect I'm not unique...it is a pretty common newbie aikido injury during learning forward rolls and I sure wouldnt have minded learning a different way.

Oh. That's bad. Are there many other stories like this?

Would you say the problem was the type of roll you were taught, or rather the pedagogic metods used how you were taught?

Most of the stories I've heard of people injuring themselves in rolls were young cocky guys competing how many people they could jump and roll over. They didn't have the skill for it, obviously, tried and failed.

abraxis
06-17-2011, 11:49 AM
Way back when I first started I trained at a very busy dojo where I received a minimal amount of instruction in ukemi--just watch and do--was the prevailing attitude. Roll if you want, breakfall if you're up for it. Mostly I tried to copy the "curved unbending arm" I saw used by experienced aikidoka--as if you could get to where the advanced students were by pretending to be one. Despite this naive approach youth and flexibility kept me from getting injured. As I was reluctant to ask for special instruction at the aikido dojo I decided to join a judo dojo which was in a converted church in order to make faster progress in learning ukemi and breakfalls. I told the the judo instructor that I was mainly interested in supplementing my aikido training and he and other judoka were very open to this and taught me quite a bit to the point that high impact breakfalls became a distinct form of relaxation: after all, nage did all the work and I just went along for the ride. I will always be thankful for my time at the "judo church".

Today, at the dojo where I am taking classes, to the best of my ability, I do rolls with everyone else before instruction begins and the Shihan gives me a bit of advice as I need it. I also do one to one sessions with a Shodan at another dojo once each week. There I get intensive attention in ukemi from my instructor who, with great patience, is helping me progress albeit slowly. I may never get back to doing and enjoying high impact breakfalls but it's good to be on the journey. Interestingly enough to my mind is that the dojo where I do the 1:1 sessions is in a converted church.

Janet Rosen
06-17-2011, 12:34 PM
As a newbie injury (distinct from shoulder separations in more experienced folks, where it generally result of weird accident) shoulder separation seems most often to be result of either unbendle arm collapsing or of diving from hand contact to shoulder contact.
IME even when newbies are taught slowly from kneeling wither without direct placement of shoulder on ground, at some point early on each student has to transition to rolling over the unbendable arm and across the shoulder to do a classic aikido roll, and that is when the danger of either collapsing or diving happens.

Janet Rosen
06-17-2011, 12:35 PM
To my last post add: this is why Ellis' focus away from the top if the shoulder appeals to me.

abraxis
06-17-2011, 12:50 PM
To my last post add: this is why Ellis' focus away from the top if the shoulder appeals to me.

I guess that is safer and more effective. Does it also mean the traditional aikido roll should not be taught to newbies or born-again newbies?

JW
06-17-2011, 03:13 PM
as if you could get to where the advanced students were by pretending to be one.

:D
Is it me or are you talking about more than just ukemi? Sounds like one of the biggest problems in all of aikido!

Well, here we are, we're working on it now.

abraxis
06-17-2011, 03:22 PM
:D
Is it me or are you talking about more than just ukemi? Sounds like one of the biggest problems in all of aikido!

Well, here we are, we're working on it now.

It's not just you, Jonathan; I guess I was talking about more than just ukemi. :)