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D-Ring
02-06-2012, 05:56 PM
I took an extended break from aikido a while ago to rehab my chronic back. Now a few years later, as I enter my 40s, I've realized I may never again be able to take the repetitive falls that are such a huge part of aikido training. As much as I'd like to continue in the art, reality is that the training methodology requires uke to take ukemi.

So my question is this: can the study of aikido be accomplished without taking falls? And, if so, is anyone doing it? In theory aikido isn't about the kihon waza and we're supposed to be learning the principles behind this technique-less art so that eventually we can create technique spontaneously as needed. But for a technique-less art we sure do love practicing the same five or six techniques over and over.

I'm sure I'm not the first guy in aikido with a bum back. Has anyone else come to this dilemma?

Thanks much,
Dave

Janet Rosen
02-06-2012, 06:50 PM
Many of us older or disabled folks have periods of time, temporary or permanent, when we cannot fall or roll.
It has never been a problem for me, either as uke or as nage, to agree to take a partner just to the point of balance break such as bending and tapping from ikkyo or stretching back and tapping from shihonage.
At the same time, many of us older or disabled folks have been pleasantly surprised that some gentle rolling back and forth (the precursor movement to a full back roll) or other gentle, circular forms of rolling without necessarily going over the shoulder/head can be slowly eased into and end up being very good therapy and lead the way to some limited falling.
If one dojo isn't supportive of this, another one will....often the greatest barrier is the voice within our own heads.

Chris Li
02-06-2012, 07:31 PM
So my question is this: can the study of aikido be accomplished without taking falls? And, if so, is anyone doing it?

Yes, and yes. But it may or may not be hard to work into a conventional class.

Best,

Chris

Lee Salzman
02-06-2012, 08:10 PM
Yeesh, you're right in California, and you have someone like Fong Ha (http://www.fongha.com) sitting on your proverbial doorstep. I think it may be worth your while to go out and explore other martial arts that don't present this same dilemma, but at the same time may offer a lot of the same things that attracted you to aikido in the first place, and more... Internal CMAs, other JMAs, weapon arts, etc. Even if you do end up staying with aikido in the end, couldn't hurt to compare and contrast how they approach their training in ways that would help your situation?

sakumeikan
02-07-2012, 02:00 PM
I took an extended break from aikido a while ago to rehab my chronic back. Now a few years later, as I enter my 40s, I've realized I may never again be able to take the repetitive falls that are such a huge part of aikido training. As much as I'd like to continue in the art, reality is that the training methodology requires uke to take ukemi.

So my question is this: can the study of aikido be accomplished without taking falls? And, if so, is anyone doing it? In theory aikido isn't about the kihon waza and we're supposed to be learning the principles behind this technique-less art so that eventually we can create technique spontaneously as needed. But for a technique-less art we sure do love practicing the same five or six techniques over and over.

I'm sure I'm not the first guy in aikido with a bum back. Has anyone else come to this dilemma?

Thanks much,
Dave
Dear Dave,
After a car accident three years ago I decided to cut down on my ukemi.I think it is possible to still train , but you have to be aware of your /partners limitation.some guys are gung ho types, so you have to use common sense.As far as your back is concerned gentle exercises might well help. Noro Sensei
practices Ki no michi.Try to get this on the net. Hope you get bettr. Cheers, Joe.

BWells
02-07-2012, 05:53 PM
Two things , Fong Ha is in Berkeley and is great to train with, plus he likes Aikido and Aikido folks:D

As far as training without falls, one guy at our dojo has a permante back problem (plus heart issues) and is not suppose to take falls. He trains to the point of inbalance which is all he needs. Of course, he is an x Marine (if a Marine can be and x) so sometimes he takes falls even when he is not suppose to. Like Janet said the voice in your head is the main issue:)

Thanks,
Bruce

A2B
02-08-2012, 04:29 AM
Many of us older or disabled folks have periods of time, temporary or permanent, when we cannot fall or roll.
It has never been a problem for me, either as uke or as nage, to agree to take a partner just to the point of balance break such as bending and tapping from ikkyo or stretching back and tapping from shihonage.
At the same time, many of us older or disabled folks have been pleasantly surprised that some gentle rolling back and forth (the precursor movement to a full back roll) or other gentle, circular forms of rolling without necessarily going over the shoulder/head can be slowly eased into and end up being very good therapy and lead the way to some limited falling.
If one dojo isn't supportive of this, another one will....often the greatest barrier is the voice within our own heads.

Would also fully support Janets point of view.

It's no problem to practise even slowly with only very few force in a contact just to reach the point of inequilibrity. If you learn to work very exactly in Aikido you may turn a benefit from your seemingly disadvantage. And not only you, but also your partners. The only thing is, the instructor should should appreciate and support such a way of practising.

And David: What about Aikijo and Aikiken ? As Aikido consists of three parts, you need not to fix on Aikitai. In Aikijo and Aikiken there is normally no need to fall.

regards, Christine

chillzATL
02-08-2012, 07:35 AM
I think the mindset we have when we know we're not falling is better than the one where ukemi is in the back of our minds. It becomes more about connection and kuzushi than anything to do with ukemi.

phitruong
02-08-2012, 08:20 AM
we have a guy in our dojo who was in a car accident long ago. he got rods and various metal bits in his body. he couldn't roll or do regular ukemi. i had to come up with various modified ukemi for him, but usually we took him to the break balance point. the thing i liked about him is that he doesn't quit. he kept coming back. because of his work schedule, sometimes he would show up for even half an hour, he would do that. i rather have a dojo full of folks like him than a dojo full of able bodies who have no will power to stay.

Larry Feldman
02-27-2012, 10:28 AM
Not trying to split hairs, but can you roll? If so, you should be able to train by rolling.

I have an advanced student who has some physical issues with falling now, and many times just goes to the point of the throw. Once the balance is gone from the uke, and you remain balanced in t throwing position the 'throw' is not a big concern.

But your local instructor is the one to ask.

LinTal
02-28-2012, 12:22 AM
Does 'taking a fall' involve just a high breakfall or rolling etc. too? Several of our members have tricky backs, they can roll though, and often beautifully. A member at our dojo has severe knee pain, he does suwari waza techniques by standing. One of our members just had his hip joint resurfaced, we take him to the point of balance and then he taps out. As for myself? I've had a couple joint issues, and it's always been fine for me to sit out and watch class when I've reached my limit.

Do these options help at all? They say 'where there's a will there's a way', but it often comes down to the nature of the injury and the individual.

Regards,
S.

lbb
02-28-2012, 08:23 AM
Do these options help at all? They say 'where there's a will there's a way', but it often comes down to the nature of the injury and the individual.

Also on the dojo and the sensei. Since I started training, I've had two surgeries that each prevented me from taking falls for four weeks post-op. My sensei actively encouraged me to take class and participate as fully as I could, so I just trained without taking falls for that time and missed almost no training. Other senseis might have encouraged me to just sit out. Our typical practice is such that I could participate to a large degree under those constraints. If we'd had a breakfall class, I think that would have been a different matter.