View Full Version : Beyond Frustration

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03-11-2003, 11:49 AM

This is my official first post - since I've been browsing the forums for quite some time now, I thought I'd drop on in.

I've only been training for about 3 weeks, at 2 hours per session, 3 sessions a week. My problem is with forward rolls. A week and a half ago, while trying to learn rolls I bruised up my shoulder (blades) really good. My left side is still sore, but my right is up and groovy again. I had it x-rayed, everything's fine, just sore.

I know that I'm super, super new and everything takes time, but I hate sitting out when everyone is out there rolling like butter, even the other white belts - it feels like I'm holding others back, or taking "too long" to learn something.

Advice? It's incredibly frustrating not being able to roll properly (especially on my left side where I'm instinctively putting my right hand down as well to protect my shoulder).

Shall I just quit my whining? ;)
Thanks for the listen.

03-11-2003, 12:02 PM
This is all normal. You're learning. Proceed at your own pace.

03-11-2003, 12:06 PM
Three weeks is a very short time to be expecting so much. Don't worry about it. Remember everyone out on the mat started at the beginning and is still learning. It took me a good 5 or more YEARS to be comfortable with some of my rolls, and I still really hate doing high-falls. Everybody has a different body, and it is certainly easier for some than it is for others. Give yourself time (I know you don't want to hear that, but it really is true) and it will improve.

As to the idea of holding people back; you are not!!!! Beginners are terrific teachers for anyone training who can see it. They don't move where you want them to often, and then the more advanced practioner has to analyse their own technique to make sure it is really being applied properly. I love training with beginners! (I love training with almost everyone for that matter)

Now, heal, and then go train.

Best wishes,


Dirty Dogi
03-11-2003, 12:24 PM
I found it was easier for me to roll foward standing than sitting. I was taught to stand with my Left foot out, toes pointed to where I want to roll. Your right foot should be behind you.

Next bend over "not kneeling" and place your left hand on the mat on it's side. Your fingers should be pointing back twords you. It looks like a karate chop " but pointed at you"

Then start leaning foward until you feel your balance start to go. Tuck your head and enjoy the roll. Just let your weight bring you over.

I used to be the slowest one when doing rolls. I would be holding everyone up while they waited for me to roll out of the way. now I'm a rolling machine! heh just stay patient and let your body remeber how to roll, we all did it when we were kids, I think we tend to think to much about it.

03-11-2003, 12:27 PM
Have patience Matthew,

Iím just about as new as you :P I start aikido two and half months ago. I canít back roll for the life of me. My front rolls need work as well. Thatís the beauty of Aikido- it forces us to slow down and listen to our bodies. Push your self to hard and youíll end up with shoulder injuries ( I should know.. I had to sit out for an hour and half on Saturday after biffing a forward roll!). The best advice I can give you is to have fun, laugh at your self. Youíre sitting at the bottom of Aikidoís Paradox of the Kyu(ess):

You Donít want your Kyu , but everyone else does.

Enjoy your mistakes, leave your regrets behind. Weíre all beginners on the mat J


Karen Wolek
03-11-2003, 01:15 PM
Hi Matthew!

I'm a newbie too....I started 5 months ago. And I JUST started doing forward rolls with any sort of speed. Not much speed, but before I had to stop, move my hips, bend my knees, put my hands down, turn, push off, roll. So I worked on my own or with my teacher until I felt ready (and sensei though I was ready) to join the line. Everyone in my dojo rolls better and faster than I do. But that is ok. I will get it someday. Meanwhile, I just keep on practicing! That's all we can do.

Good luck!

03-11-2003, 01:45 PM
I'm a newbie, about 4 years now I've been a newbie.

I went to a basics class the other night. Lots of new people were there and the instructor started with ukemi drills. This one was interesting.

Sit in seiza, and reach between your legs with the arm you intend to roll on as far as you can. As you reach further your hand ends up back by your feet (or past), and your shoulder touches the mat. Keep reaching and start to push off with the foot opposite of the arm you're rolling on. Push just enough to tip yourself over the balance point. Y'all are probably past this type of excercise, but I found it very interesting to get the 'feel' of how the roll should, uh...feel.

As I've progressed, I find the unbendable arm thingy is very important for forward rolls. If it collapses, your shoulder is next in line. Pointing your elbow in the direction of the roll, and your finger tips back at you, introduces tension into the arm. This allows it to be "springy"

Take your time, you'll get it.


03-11-2003, 02:48 PM
me too me too

I subluxated my shoulder doing a forward roll in my third week.That was in December.Painful and embarrassing as it was the exact baby roll described above.As i had no fear of falling before it gave me a whole new fear to work through and i am happy to say that last night i was happily rolling on both shoulders and landing on my feet instead of flat on my back, in fact i can roll forward in a straight line but not back. Last night, anyway.

be very patient with yourself.

i tell myself that about every 30 seconds...



03-11-2003, 04:40 PM
Good advice from those above.

All I'll add now is something I've learned many times over: sometimes, the frustration itself is the lesson...

-- Jun

Paul Klembeck
03-11-2003, 04:52 PM
In aikido you definitely have to take a long range point of view, as there will be many periods of frustration for any honest student. Now its rolls, later it will be something else. This is the nature of learning a difficult art.

From the long range point of view: My teacher took 6 months to a year to learn to roll. Now he's a seventh dan and a Shihan. In the long run, continued practice is what counts.

Paul Klembeck

03-11-2003, 04:57 PM
Thanks for the words everyone.

I suppose I'll just have to view sitting out on some drills as "smart time" to heal myself - and others as "learning time". Perhaps I need to learn not to get in a hurry as well...

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
03-11-2003, 05:39 PM
An upside a senior student told me:

"Hey, everyone has trouble with certain things, and is good at certain things; it's just how your body is. Think of it this way. You're learning all the tips and tricks, so you'll be able to teach rolls really well..."


I hadn't thought of it like that. But I saw someone else having trouble, and I conveyed one of said tricks after watching her try, and it allowed her to do a roll. So there's a bright side to being slow - you can help other slow people. ^_-

03-11-2003, 07:24 PM
Don't worry Matthew, as Jun said the frustration itself is a lesson. As time passed you will overcome that as long as you keep practicing. A bit advice from me from my own experience (I have the same problem as yours), at first roll in any position you are comfortable in (I rolled sideways) but spend some time after class about five minutes to practice roll. maybe its awkward at first but in my opinion a good roll was executed because we already used to it. Good luck and keep practicing

Joseph Huebner
03-12-2003, 07:39 PM

Greetings! Believe me (and my iced left shoulder LOL) you're not alone! I'm a newbie myself. Keep with it. It does get better. Check out the thread "Need advice for my newbie self" we address this very issue.


03-12-2003, 08:38 PM
hey matthew,

as joseph said you're not alone, i'm the one who started the "Need advice for my newbie self" thread because i messed up my left shoulder doing one of my first forward rolls....i'm talking everyone's advice and doing like you're doing just watching out for my left shoulder being sure to tell nage to be gentle on that side and compenstating with a backfall or just not doing it at all.

btw i was wondering if any of us newbies with left shoulder injuries are right hand dominant and therefore lack significant confidence when useing our left sides....i find this to be the case for me being that i have to focus a little more when using my left side both as nage and as uke...just a thought...


03-12-2003, 09:05 PM
Um this is weird but I just wrote a posting on this thread and it got posted on the "other shoulder thread"...I put in a link to some good physical therapy, it sure helped me.Took me nine weeks but I can now take backward ukemi & am doing forward rolls on both sides.And overhead sword strokes...



03-12-2003, 09:17 PM
btw i was wondering if any of us newbies with left shoulder injuries are right hand dominant and therefore lack significant confidence when useing our left sides
Could be but for me it's the opposite. I'm a righty but I injured my right shoulder. That was over six years ago and although the shoulder is completely healed and there isn't any pain, I'm more mentally comfortable doing diving forward rolls on my left side.


Joseph Huebner
03-12-2003, 10:47 PM
I wouldn't solicit the right-hand dominant theory as absolute when it comes to rolling on the left side. I cannot say for sure, but as a kid doing somersaults, my technique favored the right. We develop a pattern, a set way of doing things. Ukemi presents as a challenge to "un-do" alot of past learned behavior.