View Full Version : extensive breakfalls

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06-25-2002, 06:38 PM
hi guys,

i was just wondering how many types of breakfalls are taught in your dojo? i've been practicing aikido for almost 4 years now and i've also been practicing DanZan-Ryu Jujitsu for over a year and the thing is in jujitsu we were taught several types of breakfalls (ex. facefall, backfall, sidefall, fish flop, one-handed sutemi, straight over, etc.) unlike in our aiki traiing we were only taught how to do a backfall and sidefall.

I'm just curious about what is taught in your dojos :D


David H
07-07-2002, 11:22 AM
Well, I'm surprised some dojo's do not practice breakfall in all it's forms.
IMO, all possible ways of falling to the floor need to be examined.
I think each one of us needs to be able to fall safely from any action. Self preservation is paramount.
For me, training with beginners is the ultimate demostration of this. As a beginner myself once I remember how my experienced partners had to adjust to and accept my limitations, this has stayed with me since then.
Wherever I train in the UK, breakfall is considered important and sometimes practiced in it's own right.

07-07-2002, 06:29 PM
Hey david,

I agree with you that self-preservation is paramount. I posted this topic because a couple of months back I had a friend from Yoshinkan practice with us and we were doing a figure-4 armbar (ude-garami?), in our dojo we usually take the uke down slowly because of his immobilized arm, but my friend expected me to do a straight-over fall so he threw me and I didn't know how to receive something like that so my elbow 'clicked' and I was sidelined for about a week, and I'm just curious to know what kind of breakfalls do others dojos practice?

Thanks for the response.


07-08-2002, 01:09 AM
I'm also surprised that some dojos don't practice all aikido breakfalls. You sure they don't? :freaky: then how do they receive falls which they aren't taught?? hmm...

IMHO, i think breakfalls is the key to enjoying Aikido...yes? :)

07-08-2002, 01:33 AM
Originally posted by nikon
I'm also surprised that some dojos don't practice all aikido breakfalls. You sure they don't? :freaky: then how do they receive falls which they aren't taught?? hmm...

I guess badly. I trained in Aikido for years before I even saw a backwards role and then had one particularily aggressive lady loudly proclaim that how could I be a shodan if I couldn't even do one. We used a different kouhou ukemi since the role was not safe.

Bruce Baker
07-08-2002, 07:06 AM
If you have practice many types of falls in jujitsu then you also have seen the practice focus upon slamming the opponent to the mat, this is not the focus of Aikido practice ... although as you become more skilled, it can be.

The variety of falling from ukemi in most Aikido practice throws allows for the the slight diversion of anglular throws to allow for rolling rather than dumping you partner on their head. Unlike the gentler angles of Aikido, the uncontroled falling that sometimes is found in many jujitsu throws can cause injury over time ... even if the fall is interrupted or broken by correct breakfalls the force can overcome the level of safety.

Funny how a slight change of angle can make falling easy or hard?

With this level of safety for practice in mind to the degree of danger, Aikido doesn't create a need for breaking your fall as often as is needed for rougher more uncontroled falls created in some jujitsu techniques.

I have crashed to the ground in many different uncontroled positions. I do encourage practitioners to study the different ways other arts encourage you to learn how to fall ... it becomes unneccesary in the most Aikido practice. I don't think it is due to the capability of Aikido to not contain the capacity to inflict physical damage, but that practitioners exert a conscious effort to practice within nonviolent and safe practice standards.

I can't say you will never again use the many positions of falls you have learned in jujitsu breakfalls, but to roll and recover from some of the breakfalls onto your feet again is much too difficult to do in Aikido practice.

Breakfalls suggest what they are named for, breaking the force of your fall to the ground without injury.

On the other hand, ukemi is the ability to take a technique or fall into the most advantageous position to recovery.

Would you rather fall and struggle to regain your footing, or would you rather blend and take technique into a more advantageous position? Bounce and recover as it were?

It isn't so much that learning different falls is ignored, but that the falls we use in Aikido are directed to having the practitioner learn to turn adversity into a greater advantage than breakfalls.

07-09-2002, 06:00 PM
hey bruce,

nice post. yup in jujitsu i have experienced being slammed onto the mat and the variety of falls they teach do protect us from those high impact throws. and in fairness this has boosted my breakfalling confidence a lot!

and you are right, the cool part of breakfalling in aikido would be being able to bounce back and recover after the throw.

but a breakfall can only do so much, i've also experienced falling properly in aikido but unfortunately my partner decided to plant my head to the mat with his iriminage (ouch!:freaky: ), but i guess that's a different topic altogether :D



07-10-2002, 08:36 AM
i thought my first few classes were ace i never thought i'd get flying lessons included in a martial art ;)

we've practaced breakfalls a little anyhoo throwing ourselves over n stuff side front back etc... but not mega amounts of that more painfull stuff like sankyo and yonkyo (yay)
its true aikido can be practaced by sadists

David H
07-10-2002, 10:46 AM
Bruce, it's interesting you make the distinction between ukemi and
This is am important distinction to me though of course one could argue the two are interlinked.

I posted purely thinking of breakfall, which to me means falling to the floor at what should be completion of tori's (nage's) technique. As part of this 'breaking the fall' there are the basic rolls, impact reducing actions (hand slap etc.) and more specialised roll out techniques.

Ukemi has a different interpretation and I consider this to be the whole method of 'receiving a technique'. So from the first moment uke is responding to tori's action they should be constantly alive to every
movement and in 'contact' with tori to be able to accept whatever may happen whether expected or not (nothing worse than anticipating omote and getting ura!) Only then can uke truly be able to keep safe and (if your dojo does it) look for countering options.
Recently I heard ukemi described as 'the art of keeping alive'. I like this!

I haven't practiced other martial arts but do think I am lucky in that some of my more experienced colleagues (20-25 year'ers) have been brought up with a real martial approach and this provides the 'slamming to the mat' that you mentioned. Aikido is many faceted and to me it is important to remember where O Sensei took the roots from, even though harmony is the ultimate

So again - I can only offer my opinion that breakfall is an important part
of self preservation.