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Robby3751
11-12-2015, 12:19 AM
Hello Everyone it is a pleasure to meet you. I have some questions about Ukemi in Aikido. I started doing aikido about a month ago as recommended by my co-worker which we both are steam engineers for the Disneyland Railroad whom he spent years doing Aikido. Considering I always wanted to do a martial art but Im not a violent person Im glad I took his advice after trying many different ones such as Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I love Aikido and seem to now be getting the concepts especially making sense of what my sempai told me, think of your hand as a sword.
After spending the time training sadly I just cannot get ukemi, I just don't know what to do, it seems to be my battle and the one thing I hate about myself is I just can't get it and Im frustrated. I have tried taking advice from my sensei and watching Sensei Donovan Waite whom he says is the guru of ukemi, I also have tried to read many books for instance "Progressive Aikido" and watch many youtube videos. Quite frankly I don't know what to do, I am feeling upset and wondering now should I even continue? It seems also I have a bit of a learning difficulty, I just cannot imitate what I see demonstrated to me, however I have read the text books and watched many movies and I notice if I take on the role of Uke more often it seems to help me become better familiar with the techniques.

Would any of you kind aikidokas and respected teachers have any advice for someone like myself wanting to learn more, primarily on the aspect of Ukemi which the word itself seems to annoy me now. LOL! I have thought about getting my yoga mats and putting them on the floor and practicing at home, however it seemed to result in me hurting my shoulder and considering I work on live steam equipment it would not be ideal to injure myself as I need my hand on the throttle at all times. :hypno:

robin_jet_alt
11-12-2015, 12:27 AM
Hi Robert,

Without looking at your ukemi, it is really hard to tell what you are doing wrong. Perhaps you could take a video of yourself.

Have you tried the exercises in this video? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHEm1FVX9mo - Don't try anything beyond the 50 second mark until you are very comfortable, but you shouldn't hurt yourself with the early stuff. Just don't get discouraged that you aren't as flexible as the guy in the video. Very few of us are. For what it's worth, my wife also has real difficulties with ukemi, but she can manage the exercises up to the 50 second mark. It's taking a few years, but she is making progress. I'm sure you will to if you stick with it.

Robby3751
11-12-2015, 12:34 AM
Thank you very much, Im surprised I did not find this video, I thank you very much. I also saw what you meant by doing exercises only to the 50 second mark! LOL! Way too advanced for me, and thank you for the encouragement, considering Im stubborn and impatient with myself, Im sure I will stick with it as I can't help but love it. I guess there is something really crucial about aikido, it teaches you how to fall, to me I interpret that as humility, no other martial I have seen teaches such humility, well maybe some but not where Im at. I will try to see if I can get a video, thats a great idea actually.

robin_jet_alt
11-12-2015, 01:00 AM
Hi Robert,

I also just found this video that my teacher produced a while ago to help beginners with their rolls (he's talking and I'm rolling). Once you feel comfortable with the early exercises in the first video, perhaps you could try this as well. https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=644781835657990

p.s. I hope the link works

Mary Eastland
11-12-2015, 06:07 AM
Robert...Some patience and compassion for yourself would be my advice.. After a month of aikido most people would still be having issues with ukemi. Relax and enjoy the journey.

Derek
11-12-2015, 08:28 AM
You are hopefully starting a life time of practice. Take it easy! Ukemi takes practice and time. I applaud your search for different methods. Each person has their own way they learn best. Ask your sensei and find what works for you. One further caution.. When you "get it" still be very careful, this is likely the most dangerous time for beginners (ie. when they think they "understand"). Keep striving to improve your ukemi and it will serve you well. Welcome to the art!

lbb
11-12-2015, 10:54 AM
One whole month of practice and you can't "get" ukemi? You're hopeless. Give up now.

Seriously, you're being silly. Aikido has a steep initial learning curve, and people who think they "get" anything after a month are generally wrong and will probably impede their own progress due to believing they understand/have mastered things they don't/haven't. You need to decide if you're cut out for a practice where the progress is slow and gradual, no matter who you are. Don't set goals of mastering this or achieving that, set the goal of showing up and trying. It's the only one that's worth anything, really.

jdm4life
11-12-2015, 11:11 AM
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22239

JW
11-12-2015, 12:53 PM
Here's another thread about this kind of thing:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24414

In it I mention a kneeling version of Robin's recommendation. (easy to do at home with yoga mats)

And welcome to aikido! And don't be too hard on yourself... it doesn't mean you have a learning problem, it just comes slowly to everyone. Maybe a bit more slowly to some, but everybody is different! One of my friends felt the same way but she figured things out. Just don't feel pressured to fall/roll faster than you are comfortable with until you start to get it down.

robin_jet_alt
11-12-2015, 01:19 PM
In it I mention a kneeling version of Robin's recommendation. (easy to do at home with yoga mats)


Yeah, do the kneeling version first, I couldn't find the video we made about that one.

jdm4life
11-13-2015, 07:08 AM
The ground wont come to meet you so the nearer you can get to it the better. Crashing even a few inches down onto a shoulder isnt good.Took me a long time to get ukemi to a point I was satisfied with but I just pushed myself and eventually it clicked. It was rather frustrating for a while and seeing complete beginners turn up and have it in a few weeks didn't help......but that didnt matter... I had my own reasons for struggling with it so I just kept to myself and worked at it. One day I got annoyed and just decided, right, Im going for it and then I started to get somewhere. Im now working on mae yoko kaiten, ushiro yoko kaiten and eventually progress to front rolls/falls with the front arm out of action. 

Get low, go slow, dont jump into it or throw yourself, tip over the balance point and stay relazed....., I was told to try to picture travelling across the mat rather than down towards it because you will crash.... you are travelling across it, not down.I think being 6'3 has its drawbacks when learning this so it took as long as took and thats just the way it is. It takes as long as it takes but steely determination goes a long way.Ive practiced on and off for a couple of years and remain ungraded, no big deal. I may be due to jump a couple of grades but Im pretty dam hard on myself and am rarely satisfied with my practice anyway so a different coloured belt wont make much difference with that. The biggest test for me is inbetween my ears.

I was getting very annoyed and thought Id never get it.....but one day it will click and you will wonder what all the fuss was about. Sometimes after the initial roll I wasnt staying online as the angle wasnt quite right so I didnt feel I was rolling in a controlled manner...but somebody at my dojo said 'your brain will figure that out so dont worry' and it did.

Michael Douglas
11-13-2015, 11:37 AM
Wouldn't a total thread derail be better?
... we both are steam engineers for the Disneyland Railroad ...:
Cool!

JP3
11-13-2015, 05:17 PM
I keyed on the "month" in the O/P an sort of went... Uh..... there's the issue. Ukemi takes time for anyone, everyone to learn. Peoople learn it, the different skills/directions/heights/orientations of ukemi are all different in appearance (same in principle) but remain challenging. It can be a years-long practice to gain acceptable competence, to say nothing of comfort, less mastery.

Relax, take it easy, continue to practice under the eyes of your higher ranks and listen to everyone's words on the subject - something will stick and help you "get it."

fatebass21
01-11-2017, 08:19 AM
Good thread thanks for starting it. I really like the videos as I had never considered a bridge technique like Robin demonstrated in the video .

GovernorSilver
02-09-2017, 05:23 PM
As a beginner, it has begun to dawn on me that "ukemi" is really the art of working with the nage, with multiple levels of learning.

I thought it was just falling and rolling, like the OP. But it's more a combination of taking care of yourself as uke and helping nage work on technique without being too cooperative or offering free openings. There's also the aspect of preparing for counters - even though that's an advanced topic, they're mentioning that to us, presumably to give us further incentive to work on good ukemi. On my previous attempt to learn Aikido years ago, I never got any hint of how deep an art ukemi can actually be. One dojo was seemingly content to have nage beat the hell out of uke - rolls and falls were taught and that's it - no details about how to set up for counters or otherwise take care of oneself. I didn't see a single yudansha who didn't have taped up feet and other bandages.

I just got Ellis Amdur's DVD on the topic and he starts touching on counters, shortly after introducing front falls - the part where he explains why uke shouldn't commit too early to doing a forward roll out of a particular technique. Haven't watched it all the way yet, though.

Hope the OP is happier with ukemi these days.

Janet Rosen
02-09-2017, 08:55 PM
As a beginner, it has begun to dawn on me that "ukemi" is really the art of working with the nage, with multiple levels of learning.....

I just got Ellis Amdur's DVD on the topic and he starts touching on counters, shortly after introducing front falls - the part where he explains why uke shouldn't commit too early to doing a forward roll out of a particular technique. Haven't watched it all the way yet, though.

Hope the OP is happier with ukemi these days.

1. Ellis Amdur's DVD and method is EXCELLENT.
2. Yes, uke and nage are the same thing: learning to stay relaxed and in the moment with good structure.

robin_jet_alt
02-09-2017, 11:10 PM
As a beginner, it has begun to dawn on me that "ukemi" is really the art of working with the nage, with multiple levels of learning.

I thought it was just falling and rolling, like the OP. But it's more a combination of taking care of yourself as uke and helping nage work on technique without being too cooperative or offering free openings. There's also the aspect of preparing for counters - even though that's an advanced topic, they're mentioning that to us, presumably to give us further incentive to work on good ukemi. On my previous attempt to learn Aikido years ago, I never got any hint of how deep an art ukemi can actually be. One dojo was seemingly content to have nage beat the hell out of uke - rolls and falls were taught and that's it - no details about how to set up for counters or otherwise take care of oneself. I didn't see a single yudansha who didn't have taped up feet and other bandages.

I just got Ellis Amdur's DVD on the topic and he starts touching on counters, shortly after introducing front falls - the part where he explains why uke shouldn't commit too early to doing a forward roll out of a particular technique. Haven't watched it all the way yet, though.

Hope the OP is happier with ukemi these days.

Very very good realisation!