PDA

View Full Version : Mae Ukemi - Practicing the HARD way (Literally)


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Mikemac
05-16-2010, 02:40 PM
OK....So I'm practicing Ukemi at home for when I get tested. I decided to do it on cement with a thin yoga mat on top.

I must say, it actually forces me to do the Ukemi correctly, as leaning a little to one side or the other on the finish will smash either of my of my posterior pelvic spine regions (The two nubs that stick out in the back.). The hard surfaces forces me to roll along the back center line which feels perfect.

Try it sometime..........(Ouch!!)

Mark Uttech
05-16-2010, 04:16 PM
Onegaishimasu. When we are young we devise all kinds of cool ukemi exercises for ourselves, if we are lucky we survive that reckless stage. I can't say that that type of practice is useful to encourage anyone to try. There will come accidental times in our lives when we have to practice reckless ukemi anyway...

In gassho,

Mark

Adam Huss
05-16-2010, 06:18 PM
Osu! Concrete break fall club...still have fond memories doing some 'after class training' during a weekend long seminar in Quebec and having my mentor toss me around on the sidewalk in front of our hotel...

Mikemac
05-16-2010, 06:28 PM
That's funny Adam!

I should have myself a bit clearer on this. I meant to say that the pain from rolling incorrectly comes from the pinching of the skin against the pelvic bone, and the roll was begun slowly at first as a cautionary measure.

I'm not advocating cement Ukemi exactly. however, if you ever do have a real life encounter where you need to roll, you might want to consider what it would feel like without the security of a mat.

RED
05-16-2010, 09:33 PM
I think doing ukemi on cement is stupid. MY opinion. Even if you fall perfectly, with the widest legs, and as perfectly as possible, you are slowly wearing your body down. You are slowly wearing your body down on a mat too...making concrete even worse.
I want to prolong my career... thus I advise against rolling on concrete.
I can't tell you how many people I've talked to who have been doing this for decades. They all say the same thing; if they had it to do again, they would of been nicer to their bodies. They might of not taken that break fall when it wasn't absolutely needed, or they might of invested in floating floors for the tatami, instead of just lining it on concrete. I've talked to people who definitely miss their cartilage, and wish they took more caution to preserve it. I take these comments as a warning for training. If i want to be doing this into my old age, I have to be nicer to myself as far as ukemi.

You might once in your entire life have to roll on cement for a real situation. Learn to roll and roll well.. Don't take more rolls on cement than you have to. I'm not going to train for a "rolling" encounter on the side walk that might never happen. I'm going to focus on the more probable and save myself from serious health issues.

Adam Huss
05-16-2010, 10:43 PM
Michael,

I certainly don't advocate ukemi on concrete as a standard method of training. I do understand what you are talking about with rolling on harder surfaces making you understand your rolling lines better. Please understand that a Yoga mat will mostly just protect you from abrasions and does little to protect from dynamic impact. Its a great training tool, but used sparingly while in your formative stages of learning to roll. You should not do it too often in your case so as not to cause some kind of injury.

Some suggestions:
try rolling from one knee down, with your arms in that 'aiki circle' type position/unbendable arm position with the lead arm on top. From there roll forward and immediately in reverse to find out what natural lines you roll on and can adjust from there (as you probably well know from your yoga mat experiment..but this works out really well on a regular mat). On the mat, maybe find a line in the tatami and try to roll directly on that line. But be wary of injuring your pelvis. You could try rolling in grass...if you have a yard...but that's kind of iffy b/c of grass stains, plus grass is often on uneven ground and you can't really see little holes and stuff. The putting green on a golf course would be sweet, but you'd get some odd looks!

I just noticed you are an AWA member! I spent a long weekend training with Sato Sensei last month...he's a great guy. I hope you had a chance to make it to the AWA Spring Seminar in Georgia this last weekend. My teacher was a guest instructor there for the weekend. All the best to you guys!

Concrete breakfall: I did that as an expression of celebration and spiritual expression for it being my last seminar as an uchideshi/otomo, passing my shodan test, and my teacher being promoted to 8th dan. That was probably 6 years ago and I don't think I've done ukemi on concrete since then.

Maggie,
I agree that falling on concrete is a pretty stupid thing to do! I've never been injured doing it...but there is such a low level of forgiveness any mistake in the technique and one could probably be injured. I prefer an austere level of spiritual and physical training in my personal and technical growth as an aikidoka. While concrete falling isn't one that anyone in my group would advocate to students, it is somewhat indicative of this mindset. I am sure you wouldn't approve of some of our Kenshu; or, say, the Senshusei program in Japan, training evolutions for your personal training...it can certainly be rough on the body at times...but I think everybody is entitled to their own path of training: Ueshiba Sensei's original dojo was nicknamed "Hell Dojo" after all! But at the same time, as you alluded to, you only get one body. All the best!

PS Oh yeah, Maggie. What did you mean by landing with wide legs? I'm having trouble visualizing what that is exactly...don't want to miss out on a training tip I can steal!

dps
05-16-2010, 10:58 PM
Osu! Concrete break fall club...still have fond memories doing some 'after class training' during a weekend long seminar in Quebec and having my mentor toss me around on the sidewalk in front of our hotel...

After learning how to do breakfalls ( this is 24 years ago ) Sensei took three of us off the mat and had us doing breakfalls on the wooden floor of the health club we practiced at, then he took us outside and had us doing breakfalls on the concrete apron in front of the health club. Not low slow breakfalls but high fast breakfalls ( the higher faster breakfalls were easier to do ). Since then I have never been afraid of falling on any surface and have had to and survived with nothing more than some scrapes.

The physical problems I am having now have to do with football, wrestling, breaking horses as a youngster and the various outdoor jobs I had most of my adult life. I don't have any ongoing injury that I can attribute to Aikido practice.

However you should always be cautious.

David

Flintstone
05-17-2010, 07:16 AM
I think doing ukemi on cement is stupid.
Then there are LOTS of stupid people out there doing and learning ACTUAL ukemi.

RED
05-17-2010, 08:33 AM
Then there are LOTS of stupid people out there doing and learning ACTUAL ukemi.

Yes, there are :D

RED
05-17-2010, 08:43 AM
Maggie,
I agree that falling on concrete is a pretty stupid thing to do! I've never been injured doing it...but there is such a low level of forgiveness any mistake in the technique and one could probably be injured. I prefer an austere level of spiritual and physical training in my personal and technical growth as an aikidoka. While concrete falling isn't one that anyone in my group would advocate to students, it is somewhat indicative of this mindset. I am sure you wouldn't approve of some of our Kenshu; or, say, the Senshusei program in Japan, training evolutions for your personal training...it can certainly be rough on the body at times...but I think everybody is entitled to their own path of training: Ueshiba Sensei's original dojo was nicknamed "Hell Dojo" after all! But at the same time, as you alluded to, you only get one body. All the best!

PS Oh yeah, Maggie. What did you mean by landing with wide legs? I'm having trouble visualizing what that is exactly...don't want to miss out on a training tip I can steal!

I'm not saying that landing on cement is stupid, so much as purposely wanting to land on cement. I just know too many people who regret ever training like that now that they are in their 50's and 60's.

Wide-legged ukemi, sometimes called soft ukemi. It was developed so for Aikidoka that train several classes a day, because standard ukemi frankly wrecks your body. So if you have to take a lot of classes, soft ukemi is a good thing to learn to extend your Aikido career.
It is an ukemi style that involves wide-legged technique. For back rolls, you fall more to the side with your arm guiding you, and less through the spine like traditional back falls. you don't rotate over your shoulder, you roll across the shoulders and land wide-legged, in a seated position, which is easy to rotate and pop up from. Forward ukemi is sort of the opposite way. Go over the shoulder, rotate across the back/shoulder, not down the back. And land in a wide legged/seat position on the ground. The position takes a little longer than traditional ukemi to pop up from, so it isn't great for randori. but it is easy to pop up from in a typical class.
There are book out there on it. Donovan Waite has written a few. lol

Flintstone
05-17-2010, 09:04 AM
Yes, there are :D
Passive-aggressive again. Jun, a ration of ban for me here.

phitruong
05-17-2010, 09:19 AM
PS Oh yeah, Maggie. What did you mean by landing with wide legs? I'm having trouble visualizing what that is exactly...don't want to miss out on a training tip I can steal!

methink, the ukemi in this video is what she meant http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5U2E0kA8_8

RED
05-17-2010, 09:26 AM
methink, the ukemi in this video is what she meant http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5U2E0kA8_8

I've heard of the feather guys, Never trained in this though. It is really similar though to what we do, not exactly the soft ukemi we do though.. Our school teaches Donovan Waite's ukemi.

Adam Huss
05-17-2010, 10:30 AM
Phi,
Thanks for that...it was interesting.

Maggie,
I am curious to see how you guys do normal ukemi...I will do some google'n of Waite Sensei.

The first part of the video Phi linked to (where the lady is doing split leg rolls) I've actually seen at an AWA dojo I trained at for a few days. I just assumed it was some kind of stretch or general warmup. Interesting stuff.

Adam Huss
05-17-2010, 10:41 AM
I think this is what she was talking about:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkqBo9rqhHw&feature=related

Around 2:20 I think is what she meant...the uke lands on one straight leg then transfers energy from the impact across his body to the other leg. Then go to like 3:10 and that guy is doing different style ukemi.

RED
05-17-2010, 11:01 AM
I think this is what she was talking about:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkqBo9rqhHw&feature=related

Around 2:20 I think is what she meant...the uke lands on one straight leg then transfers energy from the impact across his body to the other leg. Then go to like 3:10 and that guy is doing different style ukemi.

They seem to be doing the same style ukemi, just the 2nd guy seems to like to make that huge slap out. ouchie..
The first guy is what I was talking about. :)

RED
05-17-2010, 11:17 AM
That 2nd guy has some nice soft break falls a few times in that video...sweet.

C. David Henderson
05-17-2010, 12:48 PM
They seem to be doing the same style ukemi, just the 2nd guy seems to like to make that huge slap out. ouchie..


FWIW, slapping can be a good way of dissipating the force of a fall and directing it away from the spine and vulnerable parts of the body; in the dojo, it shouldn't hurt. But, like other aspects of taking a fall, I find it takes practice.

Regards

RED
05-17-2010, 12:50 PM
FWIW, slapping can be a good way of dissipating the force of a fall and directing it away from the spine and vulnerable parts of the body; in the dojo, it shouldn't hurt. But, like other aspects of taking a fall, I find it takes practice.

Regards

I'm just reliving a time that I messed my arm up slapping out. something went, very wrong. :confused:

Phil Van Treese
05-17-2010, 01:10 PM
Doing ukemi on the cement has got to be totally dumb. Just hit your head one time on the cement and you won't practice your falls on cement again. I believe in using your head but not like that!!!!

Mikemac
05-17-2010, 07:07 PM
If I have leaned anything regarding Ukemi, it's that one 's head doesn't touch the ground. Problem solved....

RED
05-17-2010, 07:40 PM
Not hitting your head is a good thing. However, it is naive to think that the head is the only part of the body that can suffer in ukemi. Your entire body suffers when taking ukemi on a mat, never mind the cement.
I'm not saying don't go throw yourself on the side walk, I'm just saying I've known elder Aikidoka that wish they never did.

Abasan
05-17-2010, 07:46 PM
Take a page from the founder of parkour and my favourite ukemi guy,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jquXcwooV6A
If you know what you're doing... its all cool.

Mikemac
05-17-2010, 08:05 PM
Not hitting your head is a good thing. However, it is naive to think that the head is the only part of the body that can suffer in ukemi. Your entire body suffers when taking ukemi on a mat, never mind the cement.
I'm not saying don't go throw yourself on the side walk, I'm just saying I've known elder Aikidoka that wish they never did.

I think we need to have a compromise here Maggie. I'm only saying that knowing what it feels like to roll on the pavement just once is a reality check for when you MIGHT need to do so. Suppose you fell of a motorcycle or bike or whatever, and you knew you could roll off it. You might, in that split second, adjust yourself best to center your roll to avoid serious injury.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure......

Adam Huss
05-17-2010, 09:14 PM
Take a page from the founder of parkour and my favourite ukemi guy,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jquXcwooV6A
If you know what you're doing... its all cool.

Very cool, thanks!

Flintstone
05-18-2010, 02:25 AM
Are you really doing right ukemi?

Walter Martindale
05-18-2010, 03:16 AM
I've come off a bicycle and done a mae ukemi. not a scratch. The car managed to stop before it took me out, too. Unintended ukemi on gravel, too. (but then I'm clumsy) Run for phone, oops, crap that's gonna hurt unless I roll, whew - now, the phone....

RED
05-18-2010, 11:02 AM
I think we need to have a compromise here Maggie. I'm only saying that knowing what it feels like to roll on the pavement just once is a reality check for when you MIGHT need to do so. Suppose you fell of a motorcycle or bike or whatever, and you knew you could roll off it. You might, in that split second, adjust yourself best to center your roll to avoid serious injury.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure......


Compromise, I definitely wouldn't learn ukemi for the first time on a side walk lol How many beginners land on their shoulders or worse, heads. A good compromise, I wouldn't put a 6th kyu on the side walk.

Have you tried ukemi at the beach? It seems to really force you to make good connection with the ground, and it forces your falls to be wide. The ground is always moving below you, so if you are too tight you will splat!, or worse, you'll pull a muscle. So sand training is I found out helps keep those falls wide.

Mikemac
05-18-2010, 11:34 AM
I'l have to try some sand rolls....Thanks!

RED
05-18-2010, 11:55 AM
I'l have to try some sand rolls....Thanks!

Try it up hill :D

mathewjgano
05-18-2010, 02:07 PM
OK....So I'm practicing Ukemi at home for when I get tested. I decided to do it on cement with a thin yoga mat on top.

I must say, it actually forces me to do the Ukemi correctly, as leaning a little to one side or the other on the finish will smash either of my of my posterior pelvic spine regions (The two nubs that stick out in the back.). The hard surfaces forces me to roll along the back center line which feels perfect.

Try it sometime..........(Ouch!!)

I used to have some simple though solid ukemi skills and I credit much of that from training in the parking lot on my lunch breaks. As has been pointed out it can be dangerous so a person should ease into something like that (e.g. I started from seiza and worked my way to standing, just as I did when first learning basic rolling form). I also recommend rolling in confined locations and using various shaped debris that forces you to change directions mid-roll. There were a couple times I was saved from hitting something sharp because I got used to shifting on the fly.
I used to experiment with whatever I could think of: compact movements, big spread-out movements; different surfaces; etc. It's not stupid to push your ukemi training to the proverbial edge as long as you're careful about it.

Eva Antonia
05-19-2010, 07:42 AM
Hi all,

as to wide legged ukemi (I never thought that term might mean this!), my favourite is this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMpBpM38TMg&feature=fvw
Maybe it's not so pedagogically well described but certainly impressing to look at.
I tried to imitate it at the dojo but it didn't work :-(

And also I do occasionally (soft) ukemi on outdoor soils (for fun, obviously), I'd admit that there are some throws upon which I'd never be able to fall soft enough (like shiho nage...)

Best regards,

Eva

RED
05-19-2010, 09:54 AM
Hi all,

as to wide legged ukemi (I never thought that term might mean this!), my favourite is this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMpBpM38TMg&feature=fvw
Maybe it's not so pedagogically well described but certainly impressing to look at.
I tried to imitate it at the dojo but it didn't work :-(

And also I do occasionally (soft) ukemi on outdoor soils (for fun, obviously), I'd admit that there are some throws upon which I'd never be able to fall soft enough (like shiho nage...)

Best regards,

Eva

hey, those are some really good soft ukemi practices. Thanks for sharing the video.

Adam Huss
05-19-2010, 12:48 PM
Hi all,

as to wide legged ukemi (I never thought that term might mean this!), my favourite is this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMpBpM38TMg&feature=fvw
Maybe it's not so pedagogically well described but certainly impressing to look at.
I tried to imitate it at the dojo but it didn't work :-(

And also I do occasionally (soft) ukemi on outdoor soils (for fun, obviously), I'd admit that there are some throws upon which I'd never be able to fall soft enough (like shiho nage...)

Best regards,

Eva

Eva,

We do a pretty different approach to ukemi from shihonage. Here is a clip of me explaining this ukemi from my last testing. The nage isn't a Yoshinkan practitioner so its not exactly exact...but the idea is nage (shi'te in Yoshinkanese) controls uke all the way (pretty much straight) down. So uke lands on shoulders first and lands as hard as nage deems...which shouldn't be too hard b/c its going to a pin vice a throw. The landing is actually soft regardless b/c uke's feet stay planted so that connection is there. Tucking the chin is obviously important, but I also teach to put uke's ear against his/her manipulated arm to prevent shoulder separation.

This ukemi requires control on the part of shite and some flexibility by uke...but its not like a step back breakfall (which I do second) where there is a variance between the speed and height that uke and nage share that can sometimes create abrupt landings as uke is falling away from nage's center of control so nage has to move forward to keep up. This is, of course, shihonage osae..not shihonage...um, nage.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G66spr_o6Wg

RED
05-19-2010, 02:09 PM
I could never do those types of ukemi. My own fault. I just don't have the flexibility in my thighs to fall back like that. I end up splatting going straight back. :(

Our Shihonage ukemi is bit different. We follow our hand down by keeping it close to our ear, with the upper body tilted towards nage. Sort of fall like we following your hand. It I guess gives you the option to take a break fall out if the nage suddenly turn on you.
As long as you didn't break fall out of it, it wouldn't be to bad if you had to take it on cement.

This video is only the break fall from it...but you can see how it is easily turned out of for a soft fall if nage doesn't crank you.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WYZPUJNTIU

Adam Huss
05-19-2010, 02:17 PM
Ah yes, here is another difference with Yoshinkan aikido;
We typically do Oyo Waza Shihonage Kuzushi...where the shihonage uke typically does jumping breakfall out of (we call jump break falls Zenp Hyaku Ukemi) involves keeping uke's arm straight.

This is still throwing to any direction but with uke's arm locked out. One reason we do this helps prevent injury to uke's elbow, I can ask my teacher for other reasons next time I see him. I know I am comfortable breakfalling out of a bent arm shihonage throw (as I've trained aikikai style where that is common)...but I don't think too many people are as comfortable. I don't think its bad at all if you know its coming, but I guess it could catch some people by surprise...which is probably why they don't like it done to them too much.

Anyway...here is our shihonage..nage variation (not done by me!)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9F04U92suk:

Adam Huss
05-19-2010, 02:21 PM
...and if you look around the 32 second mark you see slow mo of a typical Yoshinkan jumping breakfall...we try to keep our plant foot on the mat a long as possible and put the breaking arm as far ahead of our body as possible in order to reduce the hight of the fall and break/slow momentum before our body passes a vertical axis (where weight is then generated really smartly down).

Adam Huss
05-19-2010, 02:26 PM
Here is an interesting clip of another Yoshinkan practitioner doing a different variation of the ukemi (we actually teach specific ukemi for each technique). I haven't seen this one before...but will try it out next time I get the chance. Plus it shows the full shihonage (which I didn't upload to save time) and how ours starts of with a ubishime...which is a little different.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAVP7F89cpU&feature=related

Adam Huss
05-19-2010, 02:30 PM
So anyway...with a standard Yoshinkan Kihon variation we focus very strongly and making it like a sword cut...with uke's elbow being the tip. So uke's elbow is pointed outward vice upward as some do. In this way, its very difficult (if not impossible) for uke to do a jumping breakfall out of it. Hence our different variation for nage waza. For osae waza...we pin uke by his upper shoulders...the bridge in the lower back (that you see in the one I did and the one I uploaded from Japan) is due to nage bringing uke's back of forearm against the mat and pushing elbow forward...this bridges uke's body, hence the different ukemi.

RED
05-19-2010, 07:03 PM
We pretty much think of shihonage the same way I think. Shihonage is a bokken cut. It is standard to pretty much treat it like that in our style I believe. I've seen people mix it up slightly though. I've seen shoman, and yokomen cuts with shihonage in our style. I think this is why we take the ukemi we do. We have to be very sensitive to follow the nage incase it turns to a yokomen type cut, or any circular frankly to protect the shoulder. Our style also always castes out, never down to the ground below us. I think its because we put a lot of emphasis on randori where it is better to have uke far away from you than at your feet.

One time a teacher told me "shihonage is a sword cut.. don't end with your sword tip on the ground directly below you...that's bad bokken kata. Keep the tip of your bokken pointing forward, you have a better chance of getting the pointy bit inside some one if it is facing in front of you, not the ground, unless you think the ground might attack you." lol
But I think every style develops the way it does for its own reasons. It just depends on what you are emphasizing.

RED
05-19-2010, 07:11 PM
This is still throwing to any direction but with uke's arm locked out. One reason we do this helps prevent injury to uke's elbow, I can ask my teacher for other reasons next time I see him. I know I am comfortable breakfalling out of a bent arm shihonage throw (as I've trained aikikai style where that is common)...but I don't think too many people are as comfortable. I don't think its bad at all if you know its coming, but I guess it could catch some people by surprise...which is probably why they don't like it done to them too much.


The throw I think itsn't hard to take. For shihonage, kotegaeshi,same principle us. Keep your head wear your hand is and the body will follow.

Eva Antonia
05-20-2010, 08:42 AM
Dear Adam; dear Maggie,

thanks for sharing these videos. In fact, in our dojo shiho nage falls are taught as in Adam's video, but unfortunately I have some very weird wrists that turn in their articulation so the soft-backwards-letting-down-fall ends up with a 180 torn wrist for me (still standing). Doesn't hurt when doing it one or two times but repetition is very bad. And tori obviously gets deeply disturbed (and sorry, like "oh, did I hurt you?").

So I just do the Maggie-video-type version anticipating what will be done with my wrist (arouses criticism from toris who want to keep control up to the last moment). And yes, it is easier if there is an elbow lock - but then that is exactly what friendly and considerate tories avoid in case uke wants to do the backward fall...but my problem is not the fall as such, but the quiet and soft landing. Maybe one day that also will come. Never give up hope :-)

Best regards,

Eva
(aikikai not yoshinkan - but that changes nothing about the issue)

Abasan
05-20-2010, 09:43 AM
Here is an interesting clip of another Yoshinkan practitioner doing a different variation of the ukemi (we actually teach specific ukemi for each technique). I haven't seen this one before...but will try it out next time I get the chance. Plus it shows the full shihonage (which I didn't upload to save time) and how ours starts of with a ubishime...which is a little different.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAVP7F89cpU&feature=related

Nice Vid! Good explanation on principles! Nothing like most videos that wind around too much... that ukemi is one I'm trying to master. It looks pretty simple in that kihon example, but applying it in kino nagare is something else. Its also one of the most safest ukemi to take for shihonage.

RED
05-20-2010, 11:25 AM
Dear Adam; dear Maggie,

thanks for sharing these videos. In fact, in our dojo shiho nage falls are taught as in Adam's video, but unfortunately I have some very weird wrists that turn in their articulation so the soft-backwards-letting-down-fall ends up with a 180 torn wrist for me (still standing). Doesn't hurt when doing it one or two times but repetition is very bad. And tori obviously gets deeply disturbed (and sorry, like "oh, did I hurt you?").

So I just do the Maggie-video-type version anticipating what will be done with my wrist (arouses criticism from toris who want to keep control up to the last moment). And yes, it is easier if there is an elbow lock - but then that is exactly what friendly and considerate tories avoid in case uke wants to do the backward fall...but my problem is not the fall as such, but the quiet and soft landing. Maybe one day that also will come. Never give up hope :-)

Best regards,

Eva
(aikikai not yoshinkan - but that changes nothing about the issue)

Nice nage won't try to break your elbow lol... unless they know you can take the break fall for them, and make them look good :p

Ouch, that sounds painful. Good luck in training and your wrist.

Kwizxi
05-21-2010, 07:35 AM
Just found this video :) Sorry if you've all already seen it

http://www.youtube.com/user/AikikaiAikido#p/u/21/ogDN0ZghdQs

Adam Huss
05-21-2010, 11:36 AM
Yes, Maggie turned us on to Waite Sensei earlier in the thread as an example of their unique take on ukemi. Thanks anyway though!

v/r

A

Walter Martindale
05-21-2010, 02:03 PM
OK....So I'm practicing Ukemi at home for when I get tested. I decided to do it on cement with a thin yoga mat on top.

I must say, it actually forces me to do the Ukemi correctly, as leaning a little to one side or the other on the finish will smash either of my of my posterior pelvic spine regions (The two nubs that stick out in the back.). The hard surfaces forces me to roll along the back center line which feels perfect.

Try it sometime..........(Ouch!!)

Kawahara shihan (Canada) encourages people to be able to do ukemi on pavement. Such practice discourages one from putting their knees down firmly on the "mat". If mats are too soft, you don't learn where your corners are - you know the corners - they're the bits and pieces that get hurt if your ukemi isn't round enough.
Walter

Adam Huss
05-21-2010, 09:52 PM
Soft mats suck...especially for kata and the like

Robin Karlsson
06-14-2010, 12:01 PM
This thread seems to have evolved from mae ukemi on hard bedding to breakfalls indoors. I'll try to give my opinion on both since the art of falling lies close to my heart, though I don't claim to be an expert on the subject.

Outdoors (sand, gravel, grass, asphalt, concrete) falling is very different from indoors (tatami). I once tried using the martial arts standard mae ukemi outdoors but ended up with an injured shoulder about one hour later. I used to play volleyball for many (~10) years on hard floors (often concrete covered with a very thin plastic mat) and never hurt myself doing both rolling and diving moves (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g34mcY9vs8k). I've also had some "professional" training (supervision) with very basic parkour.

-- My experience and strong opinion is that you should never, do martial arts ukemi anywhere other than on tatami, you're bound to injure yourself. --

If you want to do mae ukemi on harder bedding, use parkour techniques. Here's a great tutorial which also explains most problems which you'll face when doing this type of rolls (including the ones mentioned by the OP): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6I1J0zmE7U
Be careful on uneven surfaces and what's hiding in them, grass and sand are both treacherous.

As for tatami breakfalls, coming from Judo I slap the mat a lot, both with my feet and my hand+arm. I think it's essential if you are to distribute the force of the throw+gravity properly, away from your body and your spine (back+neck). Extending the legs and keeping the top one floating in the air or slapping the floor with your foot on the outside of your lower leg is essential to preserving the scrotum.

Here's me taking ukemi, exhausted after tiresome keiko, to show you a little of what I mean:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEao4EzaM0w

Beware, using your foot for slapping could hurt your knee and ankle (or it may wear them out over time) if you're not precise with the angle with which you slap the ground. It's essential to know how to do this though since you might get caught in a throw where both your arms are locked up, like jujigarami.

As you may also notice, I try to stand up as straight as possible always focusing on how my knees and feet are positioned. Knees take faaaar more damage from standing up poorly than your body will ever do just by being thrown on the ground. - To be fair I don't agree at all with what's been said about your body beeing worn out by falls, quite the opposite I'm of the belief that it strengthens your flesh, muscles and bones when executed well. (Granted you're not suffering from brittleness of the bones or something similiar). -

I love falling and getting slapped like a wet cloth into the mat. I'm working on relaxation in my breakfalls, much according to the principles in the videos posted in this thread (Myanmar and USFAikido). However, I think there's a martial flaw in doing the spread legs fall in jiuwaza or randori: once on the ground you're essentially sitting up with your back to your partner and are open to all sorts of nasty attacks. This works (most of the time) in aikido where we usually don't have our partner all over us as soon as we've been thrown, but for Judo and BJJ you want to stay low and quickly shift your full focus back to your partner and what they're doing (stay connected).

Example, the first throw you see in this clip (1:30):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gj1UMNSxRw#t=1m28s

It's beautiful, graceful and comfortable (Anna has such lovely ukemi), but not good martial behaviour. This type of ukemi is on the other hand well suited for breakfalls on hard beddings if you're unable to do mae ukemi (parkour style). I might cover breakfalls on hard beddings another time, this post is long enough as it is :-)

Thank you for reading!
Robin

WilliB
08-24-2010, 02:23 AM
methink, the ukemi in this video is what she meant http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5U2E0kA8_8

Hmmm... I notice that they all practise by touching the ground not with their palms but with the knuckle side of their hands? That is a terrible habit for ukemi, totally the opposite of the reflex we should have. Is that part of this soft stuff?