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RED
04-28-2010, 02:27 PM
I was asked this question recently and I have no real answer for it.
The question was: Does ukemi, even good low ukemi, gradually cause irreversibly damage to your body?

My only thought was, I don't think so, but I'm not a doctor.:cool:

There is an old rule of thumb I'm aware of however: Every sound your body makes against the mat is your body being damaged.

We use this old saying to try and get our ukemi softer, more powerful and fluid. I know we can reduce the force we put on any one point of the body by spreading our force out, distribute the force across a large area. We can get low before rolling, we can take wide legged ukemi.
Even so, I'm not a doctor, thus I can't say without a shadow of a doubt if damage is being done.

Jeremy Hulley
04-28-2010, 02:57 PM
I think that poor ukemi does a job on bodies..

I've seen folks who were never taught to fall well ro never paid enough attention to it getting more and more hurt as they get older.

I agree about the sound..

Aiki1
04-28-2010, 02:58 PM
I was asked this question recently and I have no real answer for it.
The question was: Does ukemi, even good low ukemi, gradually cause irreversibly damage to your body?

My only thought was, I don't think so, but I'm not a doctor.:cool:

There is an old rule of thumb I'm aware of however: Every sound your body makes against the mat is your body being damaged.

We use this old saying to try and get our ukemi softer, more powerful and fluid. I know we can reduce the force we put on any one point of the body by spreading our force out, distribute the force across a large area. We can get low before rolling, we can take wide legged ukemi.
Even so, I'm not a doctor, thus I can't say without a shadow of a doubt if damage is being done.

I was talking with Terry Dobson once years ago, one of the few times I met him, and he clearly said that he wished he hadn't done hours of breakfalls every day when he was doing Aikido in Japan under O Sensei. He felt that that was a major contributor to his ill health of later years....

I don't take or teach breakfalls. That being said, a good roll can be healthy for the nervous system, especially if you keep your eyes open.

Basia Halliop
04-28-2010, 03:04 PM
I don't particularly feel like I'm stressing my body when I take falls, other than the risk of injury. Maybe I am without feeling it, I guess.

There are other things that feel like they put more strain on your body... pins or joint locks, kneewalking, some throws where you sometimes twist your knees (although maybe you shouldn't be...).

I'm not a doctor, though... just what it feels like.

RED
04-28-2010, 03:04 PM
I think that poor ukemi does a job on bodies..

I've seen folks who were never taught to fall well ro never paid enough attention to it getting more and more hurt as they get older.

I agree about the sound..

I agree. Hell I'll go as far to say I've seen some school flat out teach ukemi that's wrong and hard. Wrong and hard together is just about the stupidest ukemi I can imagine.

RED
04-28-2010, 03:07 PM
I was talking with Terry Dobson once years ago, one of the few times I met him, and he clearly said that he wished he hadn't done hours of breakfalls every day when he was doing Aikido in Japan under O Sensei. He felt that that was a major contributor to his ill health of later years....

I don't take or teach breakfalls. That being said, a good roll can be healthy for the nervous system, especially if you keep your eyes open.

I know how to do a standard break fall... but frankly the moment the wide-legged break fall was presented to me I converted. Spending whole practice time doing standard break falls was good for me, I think you should know how to do it. But like I said, I'm converted to wide-legged.

Aiki1
04-28-2010, 03:09 PM
I know how to do a standard break fall... but frankly the moment the wide-legged break fall was presented to me I converted. Spending whole practice time doing standard break falls was good for me, I think you should know how to do it. But like I said, I'm converted to wide-legged.

I agree, it's good to at least know how to breakfall, just in case... :-)

What do you mean exactly by a wide-legged break fall?

RED
04-28-2010, 03:14 PM
I don't particularly feel like I'm stressing my body when I take falls, other than the risk of injury. Maybe I am without feeling it, I guess.

There are other things that feel like they put more strain on your body... pins or joint locks, kneewalking, some throws where you sometimes twist your knees (although maybe you shouldn't be...).

I'm not a doctor, though... just what it feels like.

knee walking shouldn't hurt anything... I mean its an exercise developed to strengthen the body. The only times I see people saying it hurts them is when they put all their weight on their knees.

Marc Abrams
04-28-2010, 04:18 PM
The Aiki Expo had a profound influence on many people. Ukemi was one area that went through major changes. The first question that you must ask yourselves, is are you comfortable doing what you are doing for an hour on concrete? If the answer is no then you might want to question how you are doing what you are doing.

Systema made me rethink this entire area. I just had Kaizen Taki (systema instructor from seattle) teach an entire weekend on ukemi. He made some points that we all should keep in mind:
1) The mats are an unrealistic environment. In nature, what is usually flat is hard and what is typically an uneven surface is soft.
2) The ground is usually harder than our bodies, so why would want to keep any tension, stiffness in our bodies.

Good ukemi should be quiet. We should allow ourselves to conform to energy and hard surfaces. I have gone all out on hard wooden floors with throws and sacrifice throws without any bruising. My ukemi has gone a long way from being bad for my body, to being good for my body.

Marc Abrams

Janet Rosen
04-28-2010, 04:28 PM
knee walking shouldn't hurt anything... I mean its an exercise developed to strengthen the body. .

It is possible to rip a meniscus getting up from pinning somebody or sitting cross-legged. Rare, but it happens in real life. Shikko places more internal pressure on the knee joint than the former movements, therefore there is correspondingly higher risk for shearing movement that could either damage meniscus or contribute to wear and tear of other cartilage in the joint.

Kevin Leavitt
04-28-2010, 04:59 PM
All the stupid ukemi and did in the past has messed me up pretty bad over the years, and in the end, it was all a waste of time after learning how to take ukemi correctly.

IMO, you should practice how to fall hard from some throws etc...but this should be the exception and not the norm.

sakumeikan
04-28-2010, 04:59 PM
Hello all,
i have been training in judo /aikido since I was 16 [I am now 71],Whether we like it or not the body ages and you start to get joint problems.Most of my long term Aikido colleagues have some type of problem , be it knees , hips or shoulders.
The only thing you can do is find an easy way to hit the deck.I no longer try and levitate into the stratosphere when taking ukemi say from Shiho Nage.Call me a cowardy custard [a Scottish phrase] if you want but I try and hit the tatami as easy as I can.
Not only that as your body gets older the aches and pains seem to take decades to calm down.Three cheers for Ibuprofen/codeine phosphate!!

dragonsun5
04-28-2010, 05:08 PM
So is it just through experience and practice that your Ukemi begins to become more fluid and graceful? I've been doing Aikido for about 6 months and went through a lot of painful stuff with my back when I first started but now I feel really good. I also don't get as dizzy coming out of forward and backward ukemi during warm ups when we roll across the floor. But I also know that I am hardly graceful or quiet when I do ukemi and I think that from when I my back hurt for 4 months that I am now just naturally tight. I watch my senpai role and she is incredibly graceful when she performs kohoukemi and zenpoukemi. How can I break out of the tenseness I feel so I don't continue to hurt myself during falls and become more graceful on the mat?

Oh and question about the knees. I already have a torn acl and meniscus repair on my left knee and it does hurt a bit during shiko work or even sitting seza. I can hardly stand up after sitting for a long time. Does anyone else feel discomfort with shiko?

sakumeikan
04-28-2010, 05:26 PM
So is it just through experience and practice that your Ukemi begins to become more fluid and graceful? I've been doing Aikido for about 6 months and went through a lot of painful stuff with my back when I first started but now I feel really good. I also don't get as dizzy coming out of forward and backward ukemi during warm ups when we roll across the floor. But I also know that I am hardly graceful or quiet when I do ukemi and I think that from when I my back hurt for 4 months that I am now just naturally tight. I watch my senpai role and she is incredibly graceful when she performs kohoukemi and zenpoukemi. How can I break out of the tenseness I feel so I don't continue to hurt myself during falls and become more graceful on the mat?

Oh and question about the knees. I already have a torn meniscus repair on my left knee and it does hurt a bit during shiko work or even sitting seza. I can hardly stand up after sitting for a long time. Does anyone else feel discomfort with shiko?
Sore knees ?Discomfort is not the word!! How about agony?
I tore my meniscus in an accident and I can hardly kneel to tie my shoelaces.If you want to end up with plastic knee caps after knee ops, just do tons of kneework. You must have a strong desire to punish yourself.The fact that you can hardly stand up after sitting is your body telling its being stressed out.Common sense seems to be in short supply in some cases.I have seen guys doing 8ft Bunny Hops up and down a tatami. Bet that is good for the joints!!

RED
04-28-2010, 05:34 PM
I personally feel that you should only give what you HAVE to. Launching yourself off of something that doesn't call for it is asking for added damage. You should know how to launch yourself for the rarity you need it.

It is possible to rip a meniscus getting up from pinning somebody or sitting cross-legged. Rare, but it happens in real life. Shikko places more internal pressure on the knee joint than the former movements, therefore there is correspondingly higher risk for shearing movement that could either damage meniscus or contribute to wear and tear of other cartilage in the joint.

I personally think that damage caused to the knees during shikko is very avoidable. And a lot of that damage comes from incorrectly doing shikko. People at times put so much weight on the knees, when the majority of the weight should be on the balls of the feet.

Aikibu
04-28-2010, 05:50 PM
Jumping out of airplanes... surfing... and now Aikido have taken their toll over the years... but they have not done as near as much damage as letting myself get fat and out of shape...

That really hurts. :) and honestly I think that is the MAJOR reason Ukemi takes a toll on bodies over the years...

I am now down over 40 pounds on my way to losing 100.

You have been warned. LOL :)

William Hazen

Marc Abrams
04-28-2010, 06:44 PM
So is it just through experience and practice that your Ukemi begins to become more fluid and graceful? I've been doing Aikido for about 6 months and went through a lot of painful stuff with my back when I first started but now I feel really good. I also don't get as dizzy coming out of forward and backward ukemi during warm ups when we roll across the floor. But I also know that I am hardly graceful or quiet when I do ukemi and I think that from when I my back hurt for 4 months that I am now just naturally tight. I watch my senpai role and she is incredibly graceful when she performs kohoukemi and zenpoukemi. How can I break out of the tenseness I feel so I don't continue to hurt myself during falls and become more graceful on the mat?

Oh and question about the knees. I already have a torn acl and meniscus repair on my left knee and it does hurt a bit during shiko work or even sitting seza. I can hardly stand up after sitting for a long time. Does anyone else feel discomfort with shiko?

Alex:

You need to learn directly from somebody who can do it and teach it! I would strongly recommend that you try and find a Systema person to show you how they approach ukemi. You would be amazed at how we can change our ukemi to make it healthy and safe.

Marc Abrams

Gorgeous George
04-28-2010, 07:31 PM
I was under the impression that, whereas judo ukemi was very tough on the body, aikido ukemi was meant to be a safe, unharmful means of receiving technique...?

Abasan
04-28-2010, 07:50 PM
Say, anyone has a vid of that very old sensei who does ukemi on the spot... last international aikido meet in Japan. Forgot his name totally... but an amazing guy who likes to play around with his uke's (err nage's). Nothing wrong with his ukemi.

niall
04-28-2010, 08:01 PM
Ukemi in judo and aikido are slightly different but I don't think either are tough on the body if you do them properly.

In aikido the ukemi is often forward - escaping into position for another attack or defence. So it is possible to do it softly and silently.

In judo the ukemi is often straight down. And in judo you learn yoko ukemi - a fast sideways ukemi - as well as ushiro (back) and mae (forward) ukemi and mae mawari (forward rolling) ukemi. That's the judo terminology.

Also in judo the thrower sometimes takes you to the mat as part of a dynamic throw so an aikido-style ukemi crossing your legs could be very dangerous (imagine hitting the tatami legs crossed with a 100kg tori landing hard on top of you).

Speed is an interesting point. Sometimes you don't have time to turn your body into a mae ukemi. A lot of beginners do an ushiro ukemi against kote gaeshi. Then as they become more experienced they naturally progress to doing a mae ukemi. But sometimes you just don't have the time - and you're back to doing ushiro ukemi again!

RED
04-28-2010, 09:03 PM
I was under the impression that, whereas judo ukemi was very tough on the body, aikido ukemi was meant to be a safe, unharmful means of receiving technique...?

It really depends on what school you go to. My school teaches a variety of techniques for ukemi, all with the purpose of making the uke well equipped to take and survive whatever you put him/her through. The focus is really on protecting your own body and trying to spread the fores of the throw over a large surface, so no one point of the body takes the blunt of the blow.

However, I've seen people who come from places that do not teach this. I've met people who like and think it is proper to take the highest, hardest and most awkward falls I can think of.... and they think they are bad ass for it. :cool:

RED
04-28-2010, 09:06 PM
Jumping out of airplanes... surfing... and now Aikido have taken their toll over the years... but they have not done as near as much damage as letting myself get fat and out of shape...

That really hurts. :) and honestly I think that is the MAJOR reason Ukemi takes a toll on bodies over the years...

I am now down over 40 pounds on my way to losing 100.

You have been warned. LOL :)

William Hazen

Man, I bought a size 8 wedding dress.... there will be no pound cake in my immediate future...promise! :D

Nafis Zahir
04-28-2010, 11:55 PM
I believe that ukemi makes my body stronger. I have learned several different ways to do rolls and breakfalls in a way that makes it easy on the body. If you would like an idea of what I mean, search online for ukemi by Donovan Waite Shihan. His method of rolling is very easy on the body no matter how fast or hard you are thrown. As for breakfalls, I use to do high breakfalls. But now I do lower, wide-legged breakfalls with an elongated spine. I got this from Chiba Sensei who took judo prior to aikido. He also has a way of taking ukemi that will also give your body some longevity. Going back to breakfalls, if you reach for the mat with your slapping hand and make contact as soon as possible, your breakfall will be much softer.

sakumeikan
04-29-2010, 01:59 AM
I believe that ukemi makes my body stronger. I have learned several different ways to do rolls and breakfalls in a way that makes it easy on the body. If you would like an idea of what I mean, search online for ukemi by Donovan Waite Shihan. His method of rolling is very easy on the body no matter how fast or hard you are thrown. As for breakfalls, I use to do high breakfalls. But now I do lower, wide-legged breakfalls with an elongated spine. I got this from Chiba Sensei who took judo prior to aikido. He also has a way of taking ukemi that will also give your body some longevity. Going back to breakfalls, if you reach for the mat with your slapping hand and make contact as soon as possible, your breakfall will be much softer.

Dear Nafis/All,
I know both Waite Sensei and I am also familiar with Chiba Sensei and his methodology in relation to ukemi. Donovan is a relatively young man as I suspect most of you are.What I am saying here in this forum is this no matter how good you are at ukemi /shikko age gets you in the end.Of course you can find ways of delaying this but I feel that breakfalls take a toll on you eventually.
Chiba Sensei for example suffers from back problems due to earlier injuries sustained while training as an Uchi Deshi.
During my own 55 years of being bounced around[must have done thousands if not a million ukemi ] I now restrict my ukemi intake.My advice to any young guy in Aikido is this train smarter not harder.Find ways of absorbing the forces applied to you.The body can absorb a lot if one knows how to neutralise pressures on the body.This is the basic message in Chiba Sensei;s approach to ukemi. .Ukemi by the way is not just about falling .It is about cultivating a body which responds to any situation be it body art , weapons or whatever in a manner that protects the whole body.
In my opinion is easier to be Tori than it is to be Uke.Uke in my view has a harder task.Throwing someone is fairly easy , getting thrown can be hard on the body.Pinning someone is not as painful as being pinned.
On a personal note please pass my best wishes on to Mr Lyons.
He is an old pal of mine from San Diego Aikikai times.
Cheers, Joe.

sakumeikan
04-29-2010, 02:11 AM
I was under the impression that, whereas judo ukemi was very tough on the body, aikido ukemi was meant to be a safe, unharmful means of receiving technique...?

Hi George,
Judo ukemi and Aikido ukemi theoretically are meant to be safe and prevent injury to the body.Theory is one thing , practice is another.In my Judo days it was not uncommon for guys to get the odd collar bone broken or dislocated.
Rotator cuff injury is also a problem in Aikido. Knees are also vulnerable.Your own teacher Mr Grubb is excellent at ukemi but not everyone has his body type.Even he says he is finding it harder as he ages. I hope I can continue for a few more years but I need to be sensible when it comes to training.The key point is this only subject your body to the limits of what your body can stand.
Cheers, Joe

bulevardi
04-29-2010, 02:55 AM
I think that all the wrist/elbow/shoulder locks aren't that healthy for the body.

About the falling and rolling, I still need to do it better. I need more practice in those things because rolling is so important.
I roll rectangular instead of circular :)

And so remember: be there or be square !

grondahl
04-29-2010, 04:55 AM
An unbalanced training regimen will destroy your body.

sorokod
04-29-2010, 05:44 AM
Life will destroy your body.

Seriously, whats the point of dying of "old age" with body in a pristine condition? The body is there to be used, it will acquire wear and tear and this is as it should be.

lbb
04-29-2010, 06:43 AM
I was asked this question recently and I have no real answer for it.
The question was: Does ukemi, even good low ukemi, gradually cause irreversibly damage to your body?

Of course it does. Driving a car wears it out over time, too, no matter how carefully you drive it.

MM
04-29-2010, 06:56 AM
I was asked this question recently and I have no real answer for it.
The question was: Does ukemi, even good low ukemi, gradually cause irreversibly damage to your body?

My only thought was, I don't think so, but I'm not a doctor.:cool:

There is an old rule of thumb I'm aware of however: Every sound your body makes against the mat is your body being damaged.

We use this old saying to try and get our ukemi softer, more powerful and fluid. I know we can reduce the force we put on any one point of the body by spreading our force out, distribute the force across a large area. We can get low before rolling, we can take wide legged ukemi.
Even so, I'm not a doctor, thus I can't say without a shadow of a doubt if damage is being done.

It would appear that you are referring to a small portion of the overall definition of ukemi. Are you referring only to rolling, falling, break falls, etc? Because if you view ukemi as to receive energy, then it really makes a difference in what you're asking.

Learning how to "properly" receive energy and change it within one's body can (notice I say can, not does) have healthy benefits throughout one's life. In other words, learning internal arts can aid in longevity and a healthy body. There's no scientific proof (so I say "can").

When one's ability to receive and change energy internally (ukemi) from an attack is not up to the level of incoming energy, then one is affected and must physically move. In aikido and judo, this then becomes a roll or a fall.

In essence, what people think of as "ukemi" in aikido really is the failure of properly working ukemi. And since we all fail at trying to accomplish whatever martial art we are working on, we definitely need to know how to roll and fall safely. But, we should be working way more on ukemi as the properly defined model, not "ukemi" as the failure.

Ukemi does not destroy bodies, no. "Ukemi" as the failure model in most aikido ... ? Sure seems like there are lots of injured aikido people out there, doesn't it? Knees, backs, hips, etc.

phitruong
04-29-2010, 07:33 AM
Systema made me rethink this entire area. I just had Kaizen Taki (systema instructor from seattle) teach an entire weekend on ukemi. He made some points that we all should keep in mind:
1) The mats are an unrealistic environment. In nature, what is usually flat is hard and what is typically an uneven surface is soft.
2) The ground is usually harder than our bodies, so why would want to keep any tension, stiffness in our bodies.

Marc Abrams

would love to know how he deal with break falls. my judo habits is killing me.

C. David Henderson
04-29-2010, 07:48 AM
About ten days ago I took a fall at a fairly fast speed from my mountain bike; reflexively I went into a roll, but the ground cover consisted of smallish but fairly jagged rocks. It kinda hurt, but it left only some minor scratches and bruises, and I was able to practice two days later (breakfalls were stimulating on one side).

Its certainly possible I would have come out fine if I'd never taken Aikido, but I tend to think in this instance ukemi -- in the sense of knowing how to fall -- preserved my body.

OTOH, I've certainly banged myself up learning...

Keith Larman
04-29-2010, 08:07 AM
FWIW I constantly remind myself and those I teach to try to take ukemi as quietly as possible. Sound is nature's way of telling you you're not rolling smoothly. With the kids I make it a sort of game -- who can roll across the mat the quietest.

Marc Abrams
04-29-2010, 09:06 AM
would love to know how he deal with break falls. my judo habits is killing me.

Phil:

These guys do some AMAZING stuff. Kicked down stairs, thrown on concrete..... No bruising. They look like a body made of gel. They train by allowing their bodies to conform to the energy. I am bringing Kaizen Taki back to my school next year. If you can't attend that, see if you can find a Systema school nearby and ask them to work with you on ukemi. I am seriously reworking my ukemi yet again! Trying to become softer and softer at receiving energy so that I can allow my body to not hold onto force and impact upon hard surfaces.

Marc Abrams

RED
04-29-2010, 09:38 AM
Dear Nafis/All,
Donovan is a relatively young man as I suspect most of you are.

Wow, I'm gonna give my age away. My initial reaction was "nah-huh" Donovan's old... Then I realized how old he actually was in comparison to most of the other Shihan in the USAF... then it occurred to me, he's not old I'm just a baby! :o

RED
04-29-2010, 09:45 AM
It would appear that you are referring to a small portion of the overall definition of ukemi. Are you referring only to rolling, falling, break falls, etc? Because if you view ukemi as to receive energy, then it really makes a difference in what you're asking.

Learning how to "properly" receive energy and change it within one's body can (notice I say can, not does) have healthy benefits throughout one's life. In other words, learning internal arts can aid in longevity and a healthy body. There's no scientific proof (so I say "can").

When one's ability to receive and change energy internally (ukemi) from an attack is not up to the level of incoming energy, then one is affected and must physically move. In aikido and judo, this then becomes a roll or a fall.

In essence, what people think of as "ukemi" in aikido really is the failure of properly working ukemi. And since we all fail at trying to accomplish whatever martial art we are working on, we definitely need to know how to roll and fall safely. But, we should be working way more on ukemi as the properly defined model, not "ukemi" as the failure.

Ukemi does not destroy bodies, no. "Ukemi" as the failure model in most aikido ... ? Sure seems like there are lots of injured aikido people out there, doesn't it? Knees, backs, hips, etc.

This is actually my suspicion; that injury occurs when something 'goes wrong' with ukemi. I think it is unrealistic to think one will NEVER-ever be injured doing Aikido, especially ukemi. The trials and error of trying to master ukemi by itself will cause mistakes and possible injuries while you are developing an ukemi that is safer for the body. I have memories of 7th kyu falling on their shoulders, one 7th kyu recently tore something around his trapezius muscle while trying to extend into a basic forward roll.

RED
04-29-2010, 09:47 AM
Of course it does. Driving a car wears it out over time, too, no matter how carefully you drive it.

And like a car, I'm of the opinion you should drive your body into the ground.

Might as well get some use out of it before you die.

Keith Larman
04-29-2010, 10:40 AM
And like a car, I'm of the opinion you should drive your body into the ground.

Might as well get some use out of it before you die.

Great in theory, difficult to time right in practice... Now where's that ibuprofen bottle...

Marc Abrams
04-29-2010, 10:47 AM
Great in theory, difficult to time right in practice... Now where's that ibuprofen bottle...

Keith:

I prefer my analgesic in the liquid, red form :D ! Actually safer on the liver when taken in moderation.

Marc Abrams

G Sinclair
04-29-2010, 10:55 AM
Going back to breakfalls, if you reach for the mat with your slapping hand and make contact as soon as possible, your breakfall will be much softer.

This is spot on. This is the way I breakfall and the way I teach it. Done properly the only place you should feel impact is on the palm of the slapping hand. If you hurt anywhere else, your hand was too slow.

RED
04-29-2010, 11:22 AM
Great in theory, difficult to time right in practice... Now where's that ibuprofen bottle...

Wine is a natural muscle relaxer... I'm not suggesting it before class... but before bed..:cool:

Lulu
04-29-2010, 12:54 PM
I like to think that all Aikido training including ukemi is keeping me healthy and hopefully young!
I rarely - if ever - do hard breakfalls anymore, I try to be softer in my ukemi.
But I never do shikko at all. Not because of the knees, but I have an ongoing ball of the foot injury and just can't take it anymore!
That is so true that shikko when done properly isn't about the knees - but the ball of the foot.

lbb
04-29-2010, 01:27 PM
Wine is a natural muscle relaxer... I'm not suggesting it before class... but before bed..:cool:

And turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory that doesn't tear up your stomach or liver or anything else. If you take a bunch of it, though, you may feel a little flushed, but that's about it. I carry a bottle of it around (in capsule form) in case I tweak something.

SeiserL
04-29-2010, 01:30 PM
Oh no, I destroyed it by falling down in other ways long before learning to fall down in Aikido.

Basia Halliop
04-29-2010, 02:03 PM
Also in judo the thrower sometimes takes you to the mat as part of a dynamic throw so an aikido-style ukemi crossing your legs could be very dangerous (imagine hitting the tatami legs crossed with a 100kg tori landing hard on top of you).

I don't think I've ever seen a style of breakfall where a person's legs are crossed... I'm not sure how to visualize that.

Gregory Pinkerton
04-29-2010, 08:15 PM
Seriously, whats the point of dying of "old age" with body in a pristine condition? The body is there to be used, it will acquire wear and tear and this is as it should be.
Yea, but people getting knee injuries semi-commonly, I think deserves an examination into what's causing them and how training can be adjusted so it doesn't happen.

I don't think I've ever seen a style of breakfall where a person's legs are crossed... I'm not sure how to visualize that.
I think he meant like when you roll how you typically tuck one leg under the other. Do it long enough and this can happen, unintentionally, when you need to breakfall quickly. When I switched from Aikido to Judo I had this problem. (When I learned Aikido I think generally we practiced using rolls more often than breakfalls (with an extended leg). When it came time for me to 'breakfall' from some talented Judo players, my body simply did what it had done most often. Tuck the leg to try a roll, roll can't be done, switch to breakfall. At which point I didn't have time to conciously extend my leg. So it stayed tucked, and this really makes throws aimed directly downwards a pain.)

I think we tend to over use rolls in Aikido.
I think it really depends on how you were taught to breakfall or roll.

What I believe causes the injuries to the knees is not the roll/breakfalls themselves. (Although it probably contributes having to bend/straighten the knee repeatedly.) But the transition from the roll to a standing position. Especially when turning. Or even just how one is getting up from a pin position or seiza to standing.

L. Camejo
04-29-2010, 08:15 PM
Imho bone, tendon and ligament density can benefit from regular impact with the mat (calcium release from the bloodstream to the bone is it?) so I'm hard pressed to say that ukemi is destroying my body. If anything its made it stronger.

I agree a lot with what Mark Murray said as well - there is so much more to ukemi than falling and the other aspects also help to train and strengthen the neck, spine, torso and leg musculature in ways that will probably not be happen if ukemi were not practiced.

As regards falls on hard surfaces I think one would be an idiot not to adapt ones ukemi technique to ones environment. In our Aikido ukemi is not optional when one is thrown/pinned and one is more often collapsed on the spot instead of projected away - so "softness" in how one falls is often a rare luxury.

Best
LC

Janet Rosen
04-29-2010, 09:26 PM
Yea, but people getting knee injuries semi-commonly, I think deserves an examination into what's causing them and how training can be adjusted so it doesn't happen..

I think 2 very common injuries are knee injuries and, among beginners learning forward rolls, shoulder separations from landing on the top of the shoulder.

Gregory, I did a preliminary survey of 101 dojos on knee injuries a number of years ago. The link to the summary page, which then links to the full write up is
http://www.zanshinart.com/Essays/AikiKnee.html
I did it during the yr off the mat in surgery/rehab. I've never again had that kind of concentrated time to do the second survey I wanted to. Someday....

Nafis Zahir
04-29-2010, 11:34 PM
Dear Nafis/All,
I know both Waite Sensei and I am also familiar with Chiba Sensei and his methodology in relation to ukemi. Donovan is a relatively young man as I suspect most of you are.What I am saying here in this forum is this no matter how good you are at ukemi /shikko age gets you in the end.Of course you can find ways of delaying this but I feel that breakfalls take a toll on you eventually.
Chiba Sensei for example suffers from back problems due to earlier injuries sustained while training as an Uchi Deshi.
During my own 55 years of being bounced around[must have done thousands if not a million ukemi ] I now restrict my ukemi intake.My advice to any young guy in Aikido is this train smarter not harder.Find ways of absorbing the forces applied to you.The body can absorb a lot if one knows how to neutralise pressures on the body.This is the basic message in Chiba Sensei;s approach to ukemi. .Ukemi by the way is not just about falling .It is about cultivating a body which responds to any situation be it body art , weapons or whatever in a manner that protects the whole body.
In my opinion is easier to be Tori than it is to be Uke.Uke in my view has a harder task.Throwing someone is fairly easy , getting thrown can be hard on the body.Pinning someone is not as painful as being pinned.
On a personal note please pass my best wishes on to Mr Lyons.
He is an old pal of mine from San Diego Aikikai times.
Cheers, Joe.


Hey Joe! I will pass on the greeting to Sensei Lyons. I n reference to Chiba Sensei, he once told a story about how hard it was to take ukemi for O'Sensei. He also told us how he figured out how to do it. But as far as any injuries he may have gotten, we should remember that he was taking ukemi for O'Sensei! Add to the fact that they really didn't have nice mats to fall on like we do today, so he probably really took alot of "hard" falls.

Eva Antonia
04-30-2010, 01:58 AM
Hi all,

I have one answer and two questions.

First the answer, to the question about shikko and knee injuries: I tore my right ACL last year in June when performing a ROTTEN yokomen uchi irimi nage ura, I got it repaired in September, and I'm fully back on the mat since January. The knee never, ever hurts when doing shikko, but then 1) I was lucky because it never ever hurt during rehabilitation - the doctor must have done a great job, and 2) as many other posters stated, that what really hurts when doing shikko are the feet balls.

Second the question: Has anyone a link to videos of a) wide-legged and b) cross-legged breakfalls? I know the silent variant where you touch the floor first with your opposite hand (for example when receiving kote gaeshi), but I never heard of wide and cross legged falls.

As to hard falls...what on the body gets exactly the impact? The bones, the articulations, the flesh? I do them especially on shiho nage to protect my left wrist because it is too lax, and if the shiho nage is done dynamically, then it just turns 180 ° in the articulation, which hurts. So either I ask tori to perform shiho nage on my lower arm instead on my wrist or when I feel it approaching I jump over the arm, and that may result, if there is an arm block, in something so high that it approaches a salto. But if doing that sort of escape fall is as bad for the body as not doing it, what can I do when being uke for shiho nage? Always look for small and helpless toris?

I wish you all a nice day and a nice week-end,

Eva

niall
04-30-2010, 02:52 AM
Eva this is a link I just found of a white belt very proficiently demonstrationg normal aikido mae ukemi and ushiro ukemi (#1, #2, #3, -#4). All of them are with the legs crossed (one leg tucked under the other like a figure 4). #5 (breakfalls) is a judo style ukemi and the legs are parallel, not crossed (like a figure 11).

http://www.aikido-world.com/highlights/technical%20_tips/ukemi-undo.htm

I'm not sure where to find a wide-leg ukemi but I'm sure someone will be able to.

About hard falls - the more of your body that takes the impact the smaller the shock. So if you can, start at your hand (tegatana) and roll down your arm and body. If you can't do that then the slap on the tatami becomes important because that will absorb the shock too.

For shiho nage I don't think you need to do a jump (tobi ukemi) but you can try to take the ukemi instantly so there is not even a fraction of a second with tension in your wrist. Too fast is better than too slow at first and your partners might even think you're going too early but you'll soon figure it out. You can also wear a supporter on your weak wrist as a signal to your partners.

ruthmc
04-30-2010, 07:23 AM
I agree that poor ukemi will destroy your body, sometimes quite rapidly :uch:

It's learning to do it right that's the trick...

I'm currently working on ensuring that I don't lose the connection between my hands and hips when taking ukemi - it's something I do ok as tori, but poorly as uke :(

Another good way to learn is by reversing technique, which means your ukemi has to be sufficiently 'on the ball' to take advantage of any opening tori leaves for a reversal...

Allowing yourself to be dragged off balance with your arm stretched out way beyond your centre will almost certainly result in a painful fall :hypno:

Relaxation is important too, but I think in order to get there you first need confidence. Knowing for sure that your body can roll smoothly really helps you to relax. Trouble is it can take a lot of trial and error to get there, with many set-backs along the way. Good teaching is imperative, with emphasis on learning to roll and fall as being equally important as learning to throw :)

Ruth

Basia Halliop
04-30-2010, 09:36 AM
OK, I get the cross-legged comment now. I forgot about stylistic differences. My teacher is of Kanai Sensei's school, so we don't do our back roll that way. But I've seen it at seminars and from visitors.

Still not sure what a breakfall with legs crossed would look like.

Lyle Laizure
04-30-2010, 11:19 AM
knee walking shouldn't hurt anything... I mean its an exercise developed to strengthen the body. The only times I see people saying it hurts them is when they put all their weight on their knees.

Homma Sensei wrote an essay regarding suwari waza some time back. It may be on his web site somewhere but what I took from it is this...practicing suwari waza/shikko does not necisarily strengthen your knees. If a person doesn't already have good muscles around their knees doing shikko/suwari waza will cause more damage. Doing shikko/suwari waza with the mindset that if you practice them they will strengthen your knees is not smart. In his essay Homma Sensei said he quit teaching suwari waza over 10 years ago. He still practices it himself. He stated that the Eastern and Western lifestyles are considerably different and Westerners knees aren't generally prepared to do suwari waza or shikko.

Lyle Laizure
04-30-2010, 11:22 AM
If don't properly I don't think ukemi causes issues. I think its important to start slowly and work your way up. But like others have said I'm no doctor.

niall
04-30-2010, 11:49 AM
I agree with Lyle about suwari waza. It's not going to strengthen your knees...

But I think there are some cool benefits to ukemi apart from keeping you safe and confident:

1.Ukemi takes you out of a two-dimensional world (with your eyes always on your eye-level plane) and makes you a three-dimensional being (Larry said something about ukemi being good for the nervous system).

2.The impacts are a kind of massage for your body too.

3.Ukemi feels wonderful! Being thrown by a good tori who has captured that perfect moment is like flying.

RED
04-30-2010, 12:09 PM
Homma Sensei wrote an essay regarding suwari waza some time back. It may be on his web site somewhere but what I took from it is this...practicing suwari waza/shikko does not necisarily strengthen your knees. If a person doesn't already have good muscles around their knees doing shikko/suwari waza will cause more damage. Doing shikko/suwari waza with the mindset that if you practice them they will strengthen your knees is not smart. In his essay Homma Sensei said he quit teaching suwari waza over 10 years ago. He still practices it himself. He stated that the Eastern and Western lifestyles are considerably different and Westerners knees aren't generally prepared to do suwari waza or shikko.

I don't necessarily think it strengthens the knees. But core muscles. It helps us learn to move from our core.

ninjaqutie
04-30-2010, 12:11 PM
Still not sure what a breakfall with legs crossed would look like.

I'm not sure if they are talking about the same cross legged breakfall as I am thinking, but in my previous style, we landed with our legs crossed. If you look at the breakfall video again, instead of their right leg being bent on the right side of their straight left leg, we would end up with our right leg bent on the left side of our left leg. In order to do this, we landed a more on our side though. The bend leg's foot would be to the outside of the straight leg. Your slap and your foot landing like that did a great job of taking the pressure out of the fall. I'm having a heck of a time learning NOT to cross my legs with breakfalls in aikido.... grr...

Also, it was taught that by landing with your legs crossed that way kept your groin closed off. The way I see people landing in aikido leaves the "goodies" wide open. Yikes.

http://www.knightflowermartialarts.com/images/146_Shane_break_fall.jpg

This is close, except all he has to do is put his foot on the opposite side of the knee. I can't seem to find an image or video of it right now. If we were to land that way on our own (not being thrown), we would bring the slapping hand up to guard our face and his other hand would be behind his back covering his spine and groin. The men in our dojo never seemed to have a problem with this type of fall either. No banging or squishing complaints were ever made.

Maybe I can upload some pictures of me training in my old dojo sometime....

RED
04-30-2010, 12:14 PM
Still not sure what a breakfall with legs crossed would look like.

I've seen it, and don't like it. I've seen so many guys wrack their jewels like that.

There are wide leg break falls I've seen work very well for the body. Also I was taught this tri-pod break fall. The tri-pod starts like a normal break fall, you don't throw yourself out, you aim down. And as you land you pop up on your heels and landing arm to support the lower back.

dps
04-30-2010, 03:56 PM
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger"

Friedrich Nietzsche

David:)

Hellis
04-30-2010, 04:20 PM
I doubt that good soft ukemi will do you any harm what so ever. In the 1950s Kenshiro Abbe Sensei described ukemi as the perfect body massage. I agree with much of what my good friend Joe Curran Sensei says.
Bunny hops are not good for you, we did them every class in the 1950s. I recall telling Masahilo Nakazono that my knees were very painful, he said bunny hops were good for the knees :rolleyes:
One of the most painful things in my old age is my ``new `` knees.
I instruct my teachers that bunny hops are out ! and suwariwazi is timed.
Henry Ellis
www.british-aikido.com

mickeygelum
04-30-2010, 04:52 PM
Crossed leg breakfall? Not if you are male, or a male wearing a cup..must be a "Bunny Breakfall'' ...:confused:

Kevin Morrison
04-30-2010, 06:31 PM
<Snip>

Also, it was taught that by landing with your legs crossed that way kept your groin closed off. The way I see people landing in aikido leaves the "goodies" wide open. Yikes.

http://www.knightflowermartialarts.com/images/146_Shane_break_fall.jpg
<Snip>


This looks like the end of a side break fall or front shoulder roll without the stand up.
position 1: The position pictured (bottom leg forward, top leg back aka convenient leg position if lying on back ) means you won't squash your genitals in a side break fall with your own legs if you forgot to keep your legs abducted (knees apart).
position 2: The opposite position (top leg forward, bottom leg back aka legs crossed aka convenient leg position if lying on belly) or a variant of it (bottom knee bent, ankle kept off ground, top leg ready to kick/protect groin)

It appears better to fall/land in position 1, but position 2 gives better defensive options. Why not just switch from 1 to 2 AFTER the initial impact of the fall?

RED
04-30-2010, 06:59 PM
Crossed leg breakfall? Not if you are male, or a male wearing a cup..must be a "Bunny Breakfall'' ...:confused:

That was sort of my point about the legs crossed thing. I've watched too many men regret ever learning it that way.

ninjaqutie
04-30-2010, 09:02 PM
Men in my dojo never had a problem with it. I guess it just depends on how you learn it and what you are used to.

RED
04-30-2010, 09:15 PM
Men in my dojo never had a problem with it. I guess it just depends on how you learn it and what you are used to.

I had a bad joke about getting used to infertility, :p but I digress.

dps
04-30-2010, 10:08 PM
Well if you did # 2 fall you will naturally ( the men that is ) curl up in a fetal position and cry like a baby thus protecting the groin area from further injury. :uch:

David

raul rodrigo
05-01-2010, 02:34 AM
I once did a breakfall where my legs crossed accidentally. It has never happened again. Pain is a good teacher.

Carl Thompson
05-01-2010, 03:50 AM
I once did a breakfall where my legs crossed accidentally. It has never happened again. Pain is a good teacher.

When I first started aikido, I remember getting koshinage done on me by someone who didn't know I was a beginner. The local term for my ‘natural' way of taking the ukemi was "a knacker-cracker".

Brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it...