View Full Version : Reading throws
08-21-2003, 12:34 PM
I was wondering if anyone knew any specific exercises that might help in learning to "read" a throw. I'm at a point where I'm doing breakfalls regularly from some of the scarier techniques (iriminage in particular). It's no problem when I'm being thrown by the senior students since their technique is strong enough to just take me over if I relax, but when working with less experienced people, the throws are very inconsistant. Sometimes a breakfall is needed, sometimes not. I'm not very good at telling the difference and getting it wrong is painful at best. Other than practice, practice, practice (I figured that one out myself!) does anyone know any ways to help develop this type of sensitivity?
08-21-2003, 12:50 PM
Good point you make. But it is you as an uke who determines what ukemi is proper for the situation, if you decide you only want to do ushiro ukemi, nage will find very difficult to try to make you do otherwise (because you know what's coming). However if you decide to turn your body trying to follow the direction of the throw (iriminage, kokyunage, kotegaeshi, etc), you can then decide (in a split second) if zempo ukemi/breakfall ukemi is proper. Try to hold on to the last moment to determine nage's intention, direction and strenght. Donīt anticipate anything.
08-21-2003, 01:00 PM
Take the fall everytime. Don't try to teach jrs by selectively deciding when to take the fall, when not to. Just do the ukemi. After a time, your sensitivity will increase.
I'd say that there's no delination point between a regular roll/fall and a breakfall; rather, there's a spectrum in between. A front breakfall, after all, is basically just a "condensed" forward roll in the air.
As such, I would just relax, stay in the moment, and "ride" the throw with your body. Personally, I've found that there's no time to try to make those kinds of decisions during a fast throw. As Ron says above, I probably wouldn't try to pre-"select" which fall to take but, rather, let your body move appropriately to the situation.
As far as exercises go, you might want to grab a senior person at your dojo for some (a lot) of jiyuwaza. As long as your partner can moderate his/her techniques for you to take a range of falls from regular rolls and falls to breakfalls and work with you so that your body develops the ability and comfort to feel and move appropriately, I think you'll soon develop the type of sensitibity that you'd like.
Hope that helps.
08-21-2003, 01:32 PM
Good suggestion Jun! Ken, ignore my post and listen to Jun...
08-21-2003, 01:34 PM
If I sense a weak/timid technique or a strong but unfocused one, I as uke can do many things: I could try to resist it, or reverse it, or just take the fall, either an spectacular looking breakfall, or a relaxed back roll, but which one really benefits nage? Ukeīs role has more input over nageīs actions than we (at first) suspect, so uke must be sensitive, not passive, to nageīs attempt at a technique.
Breakfalls can result in severe dizzyness, and I'm almost sure could eventually cause Parkinsons disease, if done exclusively! Always try to roll instead as it provides less shock to the brain. If you are thrown too fast to roll you will realise because your back hurtles towards the floor directly and no rotation of the body is possible. In these cases your arm should automatically break-fall. If not, try doing a few rolls where you gently slap the mat during the roll.
I would be careful about being 'sensetive' as uke. Aikido requires non-competitiveness. An instructor I know said Ueshiba spoke of the uke being the devil and the nage the angel. i.e. the uke has a responsbility to give an aggressive attack whilst the nage should be sensetive and blend. If uke blends with nage too much it can weaken the attack or produce a counter technique. Usually this is not the purpose of the training method.
08-21-2003, 03:47 PM
Thank you all for the input. As Jun pointed out there is very little difference between a front roll and a breakfall and I'm usually ok if it's a choice between those two. Then it's only a matter of whether or not my lead hand is available. It's the choice between a back roll or a forward breakfall (again, I'm thinking of iriminage) that screws me up (I've been told that there is no difference between those either but I'm not at a point where I see that yet :)!)
To give you a little more background (and to address Ron's point), I'm recovering from an injury, so I'm trying to be selective about my breakfalls. On the flip side though, I don't want to get hurt worse by not taking one if I do need to.
For me, at least, being sensitive as uke doesn't have to do with "blending" as much as feeling what nage is doing to me. It's the same exact thing that I try to do as nage. Some folks might think of it as "listening" to what my partner is doing...
Far be it for me to go against the idea that nage is an "angel" and uke a "devil" but, to me at least more and more over the years, I don't see any difference in the two with said "roles" being artificial labels at best.
As far as the difference between a forward breakfall and a backfall in a technique like iriminage goes, I still think it's about the same difference between a forward roll and a forward breakfall in that, as uke, you just need to stay aware of the circumstance and move accordingly.
Once again, you might want to grab someone with experience who can take you to the point of unbalancing in various methods of iriminage. Some will feel like a backfall will be appropriate while others will feel like a front breakfall will be appropriate. I think you can get to that point of feeling the differences without having to go all the way through the throw itself. One exercise you might want to figure out is: what's the difference between an iriminage that requires a front breakfall and one that can be taken with a back fall?
In one respect, you might be able to picture it as how your own center as uke is interacting with nage's center. Is nage's center above uke's? Or is it below? And so on.
In any case, this has been an interesting thread so far. I'm looking forward to hearing other people's thoughts on this subject.
08-21-2003, 09:22 PM
Breakfalls make me dizzy? Shock to the brain?? Parkinsonīs disease??? :eek: you mean 40+ breakfalls an hour is bad? Wait a minute whatīs this thread about again? Who are you people?? Who am I???
Now seriously, when uke commits to attack it has already blended with nage whether it likes it or not. Uke may lose balance (kuzushi) and thus can be lead to wherever nage wants, however uke should not lose all sense of direction (this can be bad for both).
08-21-2003, 09:43 PM
Arrgh, 15 minute time out. I meant to finish this way...
Now seriously, when uke commits to attack it has already blended with nage whether it likes it or not. Uke may lose balance (kuzushi) and thus can be lead to wherever nage wants, however uke should never lose all sense of distance and direction (this can be bad for both), therefore, an experienced uke could sense a flaw in nage's movement and adjust ukemi properly, for the safety of both.
08-21-2003, 11:35 PM
I'm recovering from an injury, so I'm trying to be selective about my breakfalls. On the flip side though, I don't want to get hurt worse by not taking one if I do need to.
If you're recovering from an injury you probably shouldn't "need to" take a breakfall. Ask nage to go slow so you can take ukemi without re-injuring yourself.
08-22-2003, 11:20 AM
Breakfalls can result in severe dizzyness, and I'm almost sure could eventually cause Parkinsons disease, if done exclusively!
I agree that breakfalls are hard on the body, and that there is a limit to how many one should do. But with over 20 yrs as a RN and having my dad and uncle die of Parkinsons, I'd really like to know on what you base the above assertion, with which I respectfully disagree.
08-22-2003, 11:58 AM
I, also, would like to see any evidence of this. I have been doing sute ukemi since I was six years old or so and am now fifty-six. I do have some health problems but I really doubt that they have anything to do with ukemi. My son is now 32 and most likely has more ukemi under his belt since he was five than most people take in a lifetime and has no serious ill effects from it. He works in the medical field and keeps pretty close tabs on himself.
Of course there's ukemi and then there's ukemi. I personally don't do or teach "breakfalls" that create much trauma as the body meets the mat. Most of the force should be dissipated during the roll in the air and there should be very little tension in the body as it makes contact. Timing, no breath in your lungs, etc. and natural posture as you touch the mat is important. When done properly you really shouldn't have much sensation of having "hit" the mat with your body.
08-25-2003, 03:05 AM
I'd really like to know on what you base the above assertion, with which I respectfully disagree.
I may be wrong but I think Ian was making a funny.
08-25-2003, 10:12 AM
I've heard any number of people complain that their body is suffering from having taken 'too many breakfalls.' I think that Chuck's point is well taken: some breakfalls are gentler than others and some people are better at taking gentler breakfalls.
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