View Full Version : Rolls and breakfalls

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01-23-2003, 05:57 AM
Hi everyone, my name is Marcus Leong and I have just started practicing Aikikai Aikido under Morris Sensei at the QLD Aikido Centre in Burleigh on the Gold Coast, Australia this week. I am very excited and so keen to learn all the curriculum right now and what consolidated my decision to study Aikido was what you all have wrote on these forums. Believe it or not, I have read all the threads that I am interested in before I have posted one of my own. Hopefully I will have the chance sometime soon to write of my own knowledge to contribute to this website as everyone else has contributed.

Being so new, all the language is foreign to me, could someone direct me to a database of the vocabulary and a manual for etiquette?

How long will it take for me to be able to sit comfortably on my knees? It feels like circulation has been cut off and the stretch of the ankle is too much for now.

More to the point, everyone says I'm good in rolls and breakfalls (I don't know what the word for it is, I think Ukemi?) especially for my 2nd lesson, but I feel differently because I feel dizzy and about to go unconscious. It feels like a coup-counter-coup injury because I can't take the inertia. Has anyone ever experienced the same or know what I am doing wrong and how to correct it? I've just been told to stop to recover and I don't know if it is just a matter of getting used to rolling. Thank you in advance.


Greg Jennings
01-23-2003, 06:50 AM
Hi Marcus,

Welcome to aikido. Hang in there, all that is required is perseverance. It will all come with time.

Sitting on one's knees is called "seiza". Just practice it some every day. Start with 15 seconds and work your way up. Use a kitchen timer or a timer on a digital watch.

Dizziness during front and back rolls is normal. You'll get used to it, but it might take 6 months. Then, you'll only be dizzy after you stop :) .

Best Regards,

Matt Whyte
01-23-2003, 07:28 AM
I have a suggestion about the dizziness with rolls thing

When you do a roll, try not to hold your breath while you do it, but keep breathing. Exhale as you make the commitment to the ukemi, and you will keep the oxygen flowing into your body. This is one of the main reason why people get dizzy during alot of rolls: There is no oxygen in their bodies!

01-23-2003, 11:24 AM
Hello Marcus and welcome to the Aikiweb.

There are a few threads from some months ago that dealt with dizziness from rolling. I used the "Search" link at the top of the page and used the keywords "dizziness" AND "rolls" and came up with this:


There were a few others threads there as well, so you may find a lot more information than you bargained for.

Hope your knees and ankles feel better from sitting. I used to sit (seiza) in a hot bath, it helped relax my muscles and the joints a bit more when they were warm.

Hope this helps,

Jim Vance

01-23-2003, 11:35 AM
Dear Marcus,

I know it may sound very corny but most of the difficulties will go away with time and practice. Unfortunately no 2 humans are the same so some things will go slowly when compared to others as where others things may go more quickly.

Dont forget to have fun during training. Having fun is the best way to overcome some of the difficulties.

And if you are still worried about the dizzyness and near passing outs, then it might be wise to consult a sportsdoctor (if only to take your worries away).

Train and enjoy

01-23-2003, 12:59 PM
As for sitting seiza (on your knees), some adults can't do it. My Judo partner could never ever get into seiza in twenty some years of Judo without a) pain b) leg going to sleep, c) getting stuck and d) all of the above. If can sit for short periods you may have luck if you slowly extend the time period.

01-23-2003, 05:21 PM
One thing that helps me with the dizziness is to bounce straight up and down. It usually gives me my bearings back in just a few seconds.

Janet Rosen
01-23-2003, 06:05 PM
One thing that helps me with the dizziness is to bounce straight up and down. It usually gives me my bearings back in just a few seconds.
Yes--staying low on the mat and doing roll after roll is a prescription for confounding your proprioceptive system and making you dizzy. If you have to, stand up and walk a couple of steps between rolls (and as others noted, breeeeaaathe!)

Kelly Allen
01-25-2003, 03:01 AM
With Seiza my instructor suggested putting a pair of wool socks under my ankles to help support the pressure. Also I find that it is easier for me to sit in Seiza after a workout or warm up. Try also to concentrate on relaxing past the pain starting from your sholders and ending at your hara. This takes some of the pain away at first, and more of it as time and experience passes.

With rolls think like the spinning figure skaters. As they spin their heads don't. If you watch closely they turn their heads ahead of their spin, stop their head and focus on something. When their body spins around to the point that the head has to move they turn their head ahead of the spinning body again and repeat this through out the spin. Try the same with the roll. focus on a point ahead of you till the point of the roll takes place. then tuck your head and roll. When you come out of the roll immidiatly train your focus on the spot you were just before the roll. Do this slow at first because one can focuse too long ahead of you before the roll and bam you end up landing on your head. For me the act of concentrating on where I'm going to end up as opposed to the roll itself is what makes the difference in whether I get dizzy or not. Hope this helps

Robert Vaughn
06-21-2004, 05:28 PM
Hey Marcus
here's one you can try at home
it requires two pillows one to kneel on and one to put between you're ankles and bottom .
you will still be sore and you're legs will probably still go numb . but it should help you increase the amount of time you can sit in seiza everyone is different but it helped me out when i first started just
realize sitting in seiza is not the most comfortable way to sit
good luck

Lan Powers
06-21-2004, 06:30 PM
Kelly's point is well stated about the focusing on a point in your path. My Sensei has a lovely wife who has just started doing aikido and has had fairly severe dizziness problems with the rolling. Look where you are going, breathe, and if it is still not too helpfull seeming.....dramamine. :p
After getting used to it, I don't think she is taking dramamine any longer.

Seiza just hurts ..... you get more " stretched" as you go, tho.


06-21-2004, 06:41 PM
Hello Marcus
You are very fortunate to be training with Graham Morris, he is a very good sensei. Graham & my sensei both trained under Chiba sensei in England & share that crisp no non-sense style.
Everyone has offered you good advise regarding seize & dizziness durring Ukemi, so I will offer you the Data base you are after it is on the QLD Aikikai website.
as for etiquette you would do best to talk to the senior students in your dojo for advise to your particular brand of etiquette.
Good luck with your training.

Benjie Lu
07-15-2004, 09:15 PM
When I feel dizzy after rolling, I generally look up to the dojo ceiling and focus on a spot there. Then I just wait for the world to stop spinning. This happens especially when we do endurance rolls... Up to 50 rolls without stopping... whew...

Lyle Laizure
07-26-2004, 09:18 AM
I don't know of anyone starting out that doesn't get dizzy when rolling. It should get better as time goes on. It does help to fix your eyes on a target before you roll and then see it when you come up out of the roll as well. I have also been told that if you shake your hands in front of your face and look at them it helps. I have done this in the past, it does seem to help some.

07-26-2004, 06:02 PM
The shaking of your hands in front of your face does seem to work. I've been told that the mind still percieves motion, even after the roll is over and you're still. By giving the mind motion to look at, you trick it into not being dizzy. Not sure if it actually works like this, but that's what I've been told all along. I pass this information along to newcomers, if it works, great, if not, it's funnier than hell watching them stumble around the mat shaking their hands. It has worked for me, not promising that it will work for everyone.

eric carpenter
10-03-2004, 09:34 AM
its comes in time progress is enevitable with practice