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Thor's Hammer
05-15-2004, 08:08 AM
Hi, I've been doing aikido for only a year now, but my rolls on the mat are pretty good, I never get any injuries or pain rolling on mat, even at fairly high speeds...

I am having trouble with ukemi on concrete and asphalt, however, especially concrete. First of all, I have a tendency to roll the bony part at the back of my shoulder, and when I roll on concrete, this causes some pretty bad pain. Also, after I've rolled across and down my back, the concrete presses against the bony part at the back of my hip, also causes pain. Is this just a matter of growing some tissue to cover that up and disperse the pressure, or is my technique incorrect?

Thanks in advance.

Chris Birke
05-15-2004, 01:49 PM
I've had the same expirence for the last 3 months. So far no magical tissue growth.

Tharis
05-15-2004, 03:48 PM
Bryan,

I've been training 3 years, and honestly I still don't feel comfortable training on hard-surface floors. When I've occasionally tried it on a hardwood gym floor I get distinctive sore spots on my shoulder blade and towards the middle of my spinal cord. I'm no expert, but I imagine that repeating this practice isn't good for your body, especially if it continues to hurt.

Is there any more incremental way to get used to falling onto harder surfaces?

I think I've seen this addressed in another thread, but I don't have it in front of me right now.

Yours in ukemi,

Thomas

ChristianBoddum
05-15-2004, 04:13 PM
Hi !
Hard surfaces are the greatest teachers !
Put on a white T-shirt and find out where your contact slips ,
what can I say ?
yours - Chr.B.

otto
05-15-2004, 04:39 PM
Are you trying this from a standing position?

Dont know about you , but i learned ukemi from a kneeling position first , I've become quite comfortable with rolls on hard surfaces after 4 years of practice but doing them this way...

Yours
Otto

mj
05-15-2004, 05:10 PM
Having to 'do' ukemi on hard surfaces is entirely different.

Firstly the area you move over is random, unlike tatami. 2ndly most 'aikido uklemi' are more about form than about actual 'breakfalling' (as in taking the force through our own body) and to do that we need to take more of it at the start (that is ,through our original contact with the ground - usually a forearm).

In real life rolling sometimes you have to avoid bits and counterbalance with other bits...ukemi is an art not a cant.

I don't know if I have communicated this properly.

MaryKaye
05-16-2004, 07:54 AM
I have a sempai who rolls on concrete, and one of these days my stupid pride will require me to learn how....

I'll ask him, but I believe his advice would be to work, on the mat, on getting the rolls very round and smooth. We often stop improving our roundness at the point where the roll stops hurting (on the mat) and that isn't good enough for concrete. Look for points at which there's hard impact. I have a callus on my outer ankle where I slap it on the mat at the end of a forward roll. I'd be sorry right away if I did that on a harder surface, so I could work on improving this bit until I could put my feet down silently.

My head teacher always likes to tell us that his head teacher taught himself to roll on railroad tracks. But I bet they walked to school in the snow, uphill both ways, too.

Mary Kaye

Virgil
05-16-2004, 09:15 AM
At our dojo we are expected to do rolls on concrete by the third or fourth test; I can now do all the rolls & breakfalls outside without undue trauma (the odd roll still reminds me if I'm not smooth enough, though!). The trick, if it could be called that, is to get very low, and go slowly. To get sore spots when you first try it is to be expected. Keep trying, but as Thomas says, not too much - get comfortable on a carpeted surface at home first, something harder than the mat but still more forgiving than concrete.
And watch those ankles! It wasn't until learning to breakfall "out there" that I really discovered how to position my ankles so they wouldn't get smacked

PeterR
05-16-2004, 06:38 PM
A couple of points.

First of all that is what mats are for - we don't want or need to abuse our body on concrete.

That said - the occasional role on grass, concrete, sand whatever highlights what we can ignore on the mats.


When you do role on concrete I got to ask - do you where street clothes. I mean there is the world of difference between dogi and leather jacket and boots. What worries me most about mai ukemi are the edges of my feet - but then I would never consider doing roles on concrete without shoes.

Ian Williams
05-16-2004, 10:56 PM
In the videos I have seen of Ueshiba Morihei, he often is practicing outside in the "dirt". Not as hard as concrete, but not a lot of give on dirty ground either.

PeterR
05-17-2004, 12:43 AM
In the videos I have seen of Ueshiba Morihei, he often is practicing outside in the "dirt". Not as hard as concrete, but not a lot of give on dirty ground either.
But was he taking ukemi?

At the Kobukan they did not use mats either. I wonder if there was as many spectacular ukemi's then as you see now.

Ian Williams
05-17-2004, 01:04 AM
But was he taking ukemi?

At the Kobukan they did not use mats either. I wonder if there was as many spectacular ukemi's then as you see now.

If he wasn't taking it, then his uke's were... The point of my post is that Aikido was being practiced on hard dirt, and the practitioners were taking ukemi on the dirt.

vanstretch
05-17-2004, 06:21 AM
All the above are valid points to consider. Yet all the training we do is to serve us in the real world. And concrete is about as real as you can get in this modern world. I was just watching O-sensei 1-6 vids and saw that his ukes were rolling on rooftop concrete and looked really smooth and fluid. That being said, there is a larger chance in life of falling down than being approached and punched. I absolutely see the need for aikido ukemi for this very reason. And maybe the ultimate test of your ukemi is to roll on a hard surface, harder than what we are accustomed to in the home dojo. I hear dans in seminars complain about the different mat material, comparing it to "theirs". If I sound like Rambo, I am not trying to be, I just wish to illustrate that aikido aids in one becomming more pliable, flexable,fluid, and adaptable in life. So attention whiners, stop whining. the end.

Bronson
05-17-2004, 09:47 AM
I mean there is the world of difference between dogi and leather jacket and boots.

And don't forget to do your roles on concrete with everything that you would normally carry. Keys, wallet, pocket knife, cell phone, money clip, checkbook...etc. A wallet is soft but can be surprising painful when rolled over :uch:

Bronson

aikidoc
05-17-2004, 10:35 AM
As an older practitioner, I have no intention of trying my rolls on concrete unless forced to do so. As a secondary point, I question whether anyone would have enough time to do a nice roll if they were tripped or had an incident where they went down quickly. I know some uchideshi at one school that go out back and perform tobu ukemi on the pavement. I also ran into some that at one seminar after imbibing too much in the spirits went outside the restaurant and took high falls on the cement. Young and foolish in my mind.

vanstretch
05-17-2004, 11:11 AM
Yes, "unless forced to do so" is the point. An incident of an aikidoka who lost control of his motorcycle and flipped over the handlebars shows partially that his lack of more severe injury could be attributed to his rolling training. His bruises were mostly in the following places; pinky edge of hand, elbow, back of shoulder, lower hip region of his other side and heel. Sounds like the forward roll may have helped save his life and prevent further injury. As for being macho and breakfalling on pavement, yes a waste of time, but nice to know you could if "forced to do so". thank you.

Gareth Hinds
05-17-2004, 12:58 PM
I used to do a fairly hard style of kung fu, and we learned to roll and breakfall on concrete. As folks already mentioned, it's mainly a matter of working on it very slowly and carefully. It's a bit of a different skill than just having a really smooth roll on the mat, so go ahead and practice on a semi-hard surface, as Virgil says.

Unfortunately I have kind of lost the knack due to lack of practice, but for a while there I could comfortably take a medium-hard hip throw or a surprise leg sweep and the fall didn't hurt at all. A full-speed aikido throw from a vigorous attack would be a different story, but I imagine you can probably get to that level over time.

I should also mention that we always had a good supply of Chinese bruise medicine handy for this and other conditioning-type exercises ;)

Bronson
05-17-2004, 02:24 PM
The first time I tried a roll on a hard surface I seperated my shoulder...from kneeling. I can do them now if I have to, but like John Riggs have no intention of doing them just for fun. We don't practice them in our dojo but I and some of the other students have related stories of slips and falls we've taken in the "world" and our normal, matted, rolling/falling practice served us just fine.

Hell, one of the older judo guys I know was coming down a ladder from his roof and slipped off about halfway down. He landed in a back breakfall. Knocked his wind out and he was sore for few days but no other injuries...and they don't practice falling off 8ft ladders ;)

I've done demonstrations with my sensei and we normally don't take mats and nobody seems to have a problem with the falls, but then again we're one of those wimpy Ki Society offshoots :rolleyes:

Bronson

Lyle Laizure
05-17-2004, 02:48 PM
I think it is important to know you can safely roll on any surface. It is important though you slowly build yourself up to roll on harder surfaces.

Being able to take good ukemi on mats is one thing but taking high falls on concrete is another. There are several folks I know, including myself, that are able to roll smoothly on hard surfaces as well as take breakfalls. We didn't do this overnight though.

Regarding rolling/breakfalling on grass/dirt. Providing there aren't any sticks, rocks, pinecones, etc....it is my preference over mats.

Gareth Hinds
05-17-2004, 03:08 PM
If anyone's thinking of doing this on your own, be careful.

Don't start out kneeling. Start out sitting/lying down, just rolling back and forth, then into backrolls. Then you can try kneeling.

Same for breakfalls -- start out just lying down and getting used to slapping the hard surface without banging your joints on it -- then go to backfalls from sitting, squatting, standing, then try controlled forward throws with a partner (I'd never throw myself into a forward breakfall on concrete, or even wood).

Bronson
05-17-2004, 09:02 PM
I think it is important to know you can safely roll on any surface.

Regarding rolling/breakfalling on grass/dirt. Providing there aren't any sticks, rocks, pinecones, etc....it is my preference over mats.

Would not sticks, rocks, pinecones, etc. qualify as any surface? If you were mountain biking and went over the handlebars there would be sticks, rocks, pinecones, etc. so you should probably practice rolling over them. Oh, and make sure to practice rolling over nails, broken glass, piles of bricks, car hoods, gravel, brush piles, dog poop, lava, etc....
wouldn't want to be caught unprepared :rolleyes:

Bronson

Ian Williams
05-17-2004, 10:56 PM
As an older practitioner, I have no intention of trying my rolls on concrete unless forced to do so. As a secondary point, I question whether anyone would have enough time to do a nice roll if they were tripped or had an incident where they went down quickly. .

I've become laterally separated from my motorcycle on a couple of times and performed an instinctive roll which saved me from any injury. I have also tripped over in the back yard in the dark (stepped in a hole and rolled my ankle) and performed a nice side break fall, again, instinctively..

If your ukemi isn't instinctive, it's not much use..

PeterR
05-17-2004, 11:27 PM
If your ukemi isn't instinctive, it's not much use..
Very good point.

As an aside - they only way for that to happen is lots and lots of practice. There is no fundamental difference between ukemi on any surface - if there is you should consider exactly what you are training for. What mats do provide is a relatively friendly way to get that practice time in and avoid both short term and long term injury.

Again - checking your ukemi on a hard surface is a good idea but I see no reason for consistently training there. Taking your training out of the dojo is always a useful exercise.

Bronson
05-18-2004, 12:46 AM
There is no fundamental difference between ukemi on any surface - if there is you should consider exactly what you are training for. What mats do provide is a relatively friendly way to get that practice time in and avoid both short term and long term injury.

Ahh, Peter makes my point...albeit with much less smart-assiness ;)

Bronson

MaryKaye
05-18-2004, 09:12 AM
I trippped on concrete a couple of months back and did a face-plant. While picking gravel out of my hands I thought, first, "Why didn't I try a forward roll?" and second, "If I'd have done a forward roll while wearing that large, bulky backpack I'd have killed myself."

I didn't skin my knees, though, so perhaps all that ikkyo practice did help.

Very lush grass is actually one of the nicest surfaces around. Firm beach sand isn't bad either, but watch out for loose sand. It eats your momentum and changes the dynamic of the roll a lot--I cranked my neck the first time I tried it, because I lost momentum mid-roll and essentially stood on my head.

Mary Kaye

Paul Melsness
05-18-2004, 11:03 AM
I just read this thread yesterday afternoon and was run off the road by a car while cycling home from work later that day. Fortunately, my mind was clear as I was thrown over my handlebars after braking hard. The first thing that came to my mind was "I recognize this feeling!" and was instinctively able to do a forward roll out of it (I agree Ian, instinct is an important part of surviving a fall). Apart from a rather nasty bump on my forearm just below the elbow (and a couple of scrapes) I came out of that situation in pretty good shape. Looking back on the roll now, I think I probably could have absorbed more of the initial landing with my hands (since they were gloved) and perhaps rolled with a judo style roll (rolling onto my feet) rather than ending the roll in a kind of barrel roll (skinned my knee a little). Just goes to show that having the presence of mind (or no-mind) to feel what your body is doing and being able to respond is vital in cases like this. I think once I entered the roll, I sort of stopped listening to my body and assumed I was OK (I was more concerned with the bike that was now bearing down on me).

BTW. The guy in the car was fined $110 for failing to remain at the scene (thank goodness for witnesses).

Peace,

Paul

PeaceHeather
05-18-2004, 11:11 AM
Husband went flying over the shoulder of a horse that decided bucking him would be a fun idea. He remembers seeing the ground coming up at him and thinking something like "uh-oh", then his next memory is of standing and looking at the horse, who was looking back at him in shock! His body had that tingle along all the right spots you'd expect for a forward roll, and his only injury was a bruise on one hip where a rock dug into him -- but it happened so fast that he doesn't actually remember the roll.

So yeah, those of you saying that your ukemi needs to be instinctive... I'm convinced that "instinctive" saved my husband from at LEAST a broken arm, if not a broken neck.

Heather

zachbiesanz
05-18-2004, 11:16 AM
I've taken a couple diggers off my skateboard that were less severe than they would have been sans aikido training. One time I hit a rock and took a nice forward roll across the gravelly sidewalk (which should have been a clue not to skate there). Another time the board just went sailing out from under me, and I took a nice back breakfall on the pavement. Don't get me wrong: it still hurt and I continued to lie there for a little while, but I was pleased to notice that I kept my chin tucked in and thusly didn't hit my head.

Ian Williams
05-18-2004, 07:11 PM
I trippped on concrete a couple of months back and did a face-plant. While picking gravel out of my hands I thought, first, "Why didn't I try a forward roll?" and second, "If I'd have done a forward roll while wearing that large, bulky backpack I'd have killed myself."
Mary Kaye

A forward break fall would have been much more useful than a roll, especially if have little forward momentum..

In JJ, we practice this by forming a "V" with our hands, with the fingers outwards in front of our face, and we kick our legs out backwards and to the side so we're falling as near as straight as possible..The impact is taken by our hands and forearms.. No need to roll.

(no need to eat gravel either) :)

Largo
05-18-2004, 10:57 PM
I don't know if this should be here or not, but I only have one hard surface ukemi/ instinctive ukemi story. My apartment is Japanese style (tatami mats) and is rather cluttered. Anyways, I tripped and was about to go face first into the floor when I instinctively took an ukemi, and ended up slamming my back into the wall. I was unhurt, but there is a pretty large hole in my wall (and I'm moving in about 2 months).

maybe instinctive ukemi ain't all that great. (more likely I just need to clean my place a bit more)

Ian Williams
05-18-2004, 11:12 PM
Paul, walls can be replaced, backs can't :)

Bronson
06-09-2004, 03:38 AM
...some of the other students have related stories of slips and falls we've taken in the "world" and our normal, matted, rolling/falling practice served us just fine.


Just found out tonight that one of my students fell off the back of a camel while in Egypt a couple of weeks ago. She landed in a back breakfall position...unhurt. She landed in sand which I'm sure softened the landing but she was also falling from a height more than double what she's ever done before.

Lucky for her we practiced falling off camels before she left or she never would have been able to do it ;) :rolleyes: ;)

Bronson

Pete Redshaw
06-09-2004, 10:07 PM
I used to get so frustrated at how much mat work I had to do, but fortunately no amount of complaining made any difference and my instructor showed nothing but patience, which as a result saved me serious injury on at least two occasions, not to mention making my subsequently frequent trips to the mat much more bearable.

When I was in the 8th grade I developed a silly stunt of flipping over the railing of a steel stairwell, as if I had unexpectedly backed into it and just fallen over, miraculously catching the railing with my hands. What started out as something requiring lots of concious planning became reflex, and I got so good at it that I made the ultimate sin of deciding it was impossible for me to blow it.
One of the last times I did it, I hit the railing sooner than expected and, thanks to my carefully developed reflexes, just went over, and without the benefit of proper alignment, only one hand caught the railing, which just simply wasn't enough, considering the circular forces involved.
After taking a bounce off the steel stairway, I ended up at the bottom of the landing and realized I was in a proper sidefall position, which saved my head from hitting and allowed me to take up the force of the fall over the whole length of my body. Had a hard time limping out of there, but to take a circular fall over the railing in a steel stairwell and not suffer any more than some bruises (both ego and flesh) has made me offer many thanks to the patience of Mr. Yonago. :)

Several years later I hit a perfect backfall off a warehouse roof (where I'd climbed up to watch a Bruce Lee movie showing at the drive-inn theater on my way home!) when the rafter that I thought I was going to use to swing myself lower to the ground before making the 15 foot jump turned out to be held in place by one nail on each end. I don't remember falling, but I do remember looking up, and once again realizing my head was tucked in, and both my arms were out in slap position - one on the sidewalk, the other over into the gravel driveway. It was a painfully long walk home, but again, thanks to ukemi, I was able to go home! :uch: (I hope I didn't cause too much trouble to whoever had to go nail that 2x4 back up :sorry: )

I have over the years done lots of rolling falls on many different surfaces and have never developed the perfect circle necessary for not feeling any pain, but my brother used to enjoy showing his jumping falls on hardwood and concrete, and he told me much the same that has already been said by others here: You train on a surface that won't hurt you, but develop the ability to fall anywhere fate may take you, which means learning what it takes to fall on gravel, concrete or whatever. Personally my favorite is on a lawn, but to each his own.

One final point about a previous post mentioning rocks and glass etc... Yes, there's a real world out there, but training is not an infallible insurance policy that says you'll never suffer hurt from here on, it simply gives you a better chance to avoid some of lifes pitfalls, and when you can't, to survive them better! ;)

Abasan
06-10-2004, 03:41 AM
Mmm... just a quick note:
I think its great we can train to the level where ukemi on hard surfaces are no problem. I still think that we should limit it though... pls read the soft breakfall thread to see an instance where a yudansha had great soft ukemi but in the long run actually injured his shoulder.

I believe we are training aikido as a path in our life time, not just for the few short years of our adulthood. So, we might as well take good care of our body. Constant unnecessary ukemi on hardsurfaces will hurt later...if not now.

Lyle Laizure
07-17-2004, 11:33 AM
Well Bronson I wouldn't call it smart-assiness just being an ass.

Bronson
07-18-2004, 01:09 AM
Well Bronson I wouldn't call it smart-assiness just being an ass.

I wish there was a smiley for that :D

Bronson

batemanb
01-07-2005, 02:52 AM
I caught a program on TV last night called Jump Britain. It follows a group of guys practicing Parkour, these guys do some very impressive ukemi on concrete. It is a very impressive art, fluidity of movement with minimal effort, looks like something we try to achieve in Aikido albeit in a different paradigm :).

If anyone wants to see some interesting videos demonstrating this stuff you can here

www.parkour.com

and here

www.le-parkour.com

I'm in agreement with the other "old boys" here, I've done it to try it, survived it but don't feel the need to do it unless I have to :).


Regards

Bryan

eyrie
01-07-2005, 04:59 AM
You'll definitely need to modify your ukemi to suit the surface. I suggest trying practising at the beach first, in the soft sand first to get a feel first then try the hard wet stuff... :-) just as good as concrete if no better IMHO.

But you might want to learn this first:
http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=152

We were taught something similar in the army - with full battle order I might add....

eyrie
01-07-2005, 05:23 AM
I caught a program on TV last night called Jump Britain. It follows a group of guys practicing Parkour, these guys do some very impressive ukemi on concrete. It is a very impressive art, fluidity of movement with minimal effort, looks like something we try to achieve in Aikido albeit in a different paradigm :).

If anyone wants to see some interesting videos demonstrating this stuff you can here

www.parkour.com

and here

www.le-parkour.com

I'm in agreement with the other "old boys" here, I've done it to try it, survived it but don't feel the need to do it unless I have to :).


Regards

Bryan


Thanks for the URL! What can I say? ******* AWESOME!
:hypno: :freaky: :eek:
Who needs the SAS when you can have urban ninjas!

Aiki LV
01-20-2005, 04:42 PM
No offense, but if you don't have to do ukemi on concrete why would you? :confused: That's the first thought that comes to my mind? It seems to me that if our Sensei's thought we were going to be rolling on concrete we would train on it instead of mats. Just an opinion :)

spinecracker
01-20-2005, 05:16 PM
Ok, I now have a concrete (actually tarmac) ukemi story! You may have noticed on the news that Reno and Tahoe region, NV has had some pretty bad winter storms recently. There's a layer of ice and compacted snow on the road outside my house that is 6 inches thick. I was walking out the car on Tuesday when I slipped, my left leg shooting out straight ahead. Ah Hah! Time for a graceful ushiro ukemi. Well, it would have been if my right foot didn't get caught underneath me - grrrrr! now I have a bimalleolar fracture of my ankle being held together by pins and a plate. I won't be back on the mat for at least 12 weeks. I used to practice ukemi on concrete every so often to check my technique, but I wouldn't suggest it unless you are confident that you can do it without injuring yourself - or have a paramedic standing by! (now the pain meds are kicking in, I think I'll have a nap)

stuartjvnorton
01-20-2005, 05:59 PM
lol, I only tend to do it when I'm drunk and stupider than usual.
Then I remember the next day because my hip bone is a bit sore. ;-)

Bronson
01-21-2005, 02:31 AM
lol, I only tend to do it when I'm drunk and stupider than usual.

WOW...that's really drunk ;)

Bronson

maikerus
01-21-2005, 02:34 AM
WOW...that's really drunk ;)

Bronson

And skillful if you can do it while drunk...now I know why ukemi practice is SO important :D

--Michael (confesses that he has also done this...sober even...just to see if he could)