View Full Version : Help with rolls?

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06-21-2004, 10:20 AM
When i do forward/backward rolls, I get very dizzy (a little sick almost) and I often snag my hair (which is very long, mind you) and pull it out, which means i have to fix my ponytail every time I try to do a backward roll! But that is not nearly as bad as the sick feeling I get in my head/sinuses and all over.

Is this normal? Will my body get over it as I practice more? i haven't decided wether to formally join the dojo yet and if I'm going to stay this way, I'd rather look into something else.

Any response is appreciated!


06-21-2004, 10:42 AM
Put your hair into a braid (or two). I did this when I had hair to my waist; I rarely had a problem. If you find the braids get in your way, try pinning the braids to your head with bobby pins.

As for dizziness, I think most find that goes away as they get more practice and get used to rolling.

06-21-2004, 10:48 AM
As for the rolls, make sure you keep breathing naturally and are aware of your surroundings as much as possible. See if you can be aware of (ie see) a particular spot on the far wall before and after your roll each time. Take your rolls slowly and controlledly, and take a break if the dizziness comes on again (rather than continuing on through).

Hope that helps some,

-- Jun

06-21-2004, 12:37 PM
Dizzy? Check for inner ear infection. Relax. Visually spot as Jun suggested. Think round. Exhale as you roll. Practice and progress with patience. Enjoy, don't fear, the disequilibrium to reframe the experience. It takes time, but IMHO, your body will adapt.

Pony-tail? Keep trying different styles. I take the hair from the sides into a high pony-tail. Grab that and the back hairs inro a tight low one.

Ron Tisdale
06-21-2004, 01:10 PM
If you find the braids get in your way, try pinning the braids to your head with bobby pins.

OUCH! That sounds worse than practice!

Ron (who doesn't have to worry about such things...) :)

Janet Rosen
06-21-2004, 03:31 PM
Besides breathing (always a good idea!) I found it helpful ... no, actually, I found it essential!...the first few weeks I was learning to roll, to actually stand up and walk a few steps between each and every roll. It made for slow practice, but it worked for me...
If you have middle/inner ear problems or sinusitus or just overly developed balance system (tendency to sea or car sickness could be evidence of the latter) it may make the process more slow; the former are treatable, the latter just takes slow practice over time.

06-21-2004, 11:40 PM
One thing I've noticed in a lot of newer students is wanting to do too much, too fast and too soon. Our dojo space is long and skinny, we practice our rolls on the long axis. The new folks see the more advanced students shooting down the dojo floor and they try to keep up instead of going at their own pace. A few of us will try to roll next to them and set a slower pace so they get some quality practice. Very often the juniors are the last in line for rolls and don't want to take their time because they feel everyone is watching them and they are holding up practice. HOGWASH!! Take your time, breath in and out (holding your breath will make you very dizzy), focus on proper form and don't rush it. IMO one good roll is better than ten bad ones.


Kevin Masters
06-22-2004, 09:05 AM
I don't know what the physiological reasons are for this.
I've been told and have found it effective to shake your hands when you feel dizzy. You kind of thwap them palm down at your sides forcefully.

Does this work for anybody else?


06-22-2004, 11:07 AM
Does this work for anybody else?

Yep, all the time. It's actually one of our aiki taiso--tekubi shindo undo, although that's not the only reason we do it ;)


Joanne Arnest
06-22-2004, 05:35 PM
I've found that its important to stay well hydrated, especially if you have sinus related problems. If I'm dehydrated the first sign is always a killer headache in my sinuses, and just bowing can make me feel sick.

As for the hair, I too have long hair. I braid it, and then twist it into a bun/knot at the nape of my neck with a scrunchie. It hardly ever gets caught or stepped on that way, and doesn't come out during practice.

06-22-2004, 07:14 PM
I have been practicing for about 3 months and have the same problem. I have read so many times to remember to breathe, but for some reason, I never think about it on the mat. I really have no idea what I do, but I usually end up dizzy right at the last roll. I also cannot roll forward AT ALL on my left side despite the fact that I can do it fairly well on my right, at least compared to the faceplant I do every time I try the left side. Everybody tries to help me with it, but I don't think they really understand why I can't do it either. It took me a while to get ther right and then it clicked. One day this will click too I hope. I will take the advice given here on the mat and remember to breathe and work slowly.

As for the hair. My hair is fairly long and really thick. The ONLY way I can keep it all up and out of the way is to put the top third in one tie and then put it all in a bun or pony tail. Otherwise, my hair is falling out or getting caught on everything. Nothing is worst than having your hair-tie fall out during those forward rolls and having to finish class with hair everywhere.

Jessie Brown
06-22-2004, 09:52 PM

Except for those superhumans who are ambidextrous, there's almost always a difference between left and right sides. I've been doing aikido for more than two years-- granted, not very long in the scheme of things. There's still a difference in my right and left side when I learn new techniques, especially ukemi. The difference gets smaller the more familiar you are with the technique/roll but there will always be a learning curve for one side when learning something new...in my humble-- not authoritative at all-- opinion.

Good luck and don't worry about the face plants; there are challenges at every level. Iriminage is the current bane of my existence ;)


Jeff Stallard
06-24-2004, 01:51 PM
Just be thankful you haven't gotten so sick you threw up. When I get real hot, real tired, and real dizzy, the odds are good I'm gonna throw up. Well this one morning, I got in a groove and ignored the warning signs until it was ALMOST too late. I was able to ask permission to leave the mat, but as soon as that bathroom door closed I lost it. So here I am yakkin' my guts up, and the class is having to listen to it all because the bathroom is RIGHT off the mat. So I get cleaned up, gather whatever's left of my dignity, and go back on the mat. No one said anything, but sensei did come over, put his arm around my shoulder, and give me a "man that's gotta suck" look. From that day on I've noticed we take more breaks. heh heh heh

Uhh...so back to the question. I used to get dizzy after just a few rolls, but after about six months things started getting better. I can't recall a time in the last few months where I've gotten anything more than the slightest bit dizzy. Hang in there; you'll get used to it.

As for the hair...I recommend Wahl clippers and a 3/8" guard, but that's probably not what you want to hear.

Jill N
06-24-2004, 03:11 PM
When I first started aikido, I would have a headache the next day, every time I did one roll. My advice is stop rolling when it feels like you should, don't push yourself, but keep trying. I have been doing aikido for about 10 years now, and I can roll all over the place and not miss a beat. It takes some persistance, but don't push yourself so much that you get to hate it. Talk to your instructor about the problem and get his/her co-operation on self regulating. I always encourage my students to stop doing something if they feel they should. Some teachers require a more formal request to stop, so find out from your sensei what is expected. I strongly feel that adults should be their own judge of what and how much they can do.
e ya later

07-29-2004, 06:57 PM
Trying to avoid dizziness, something that I have been told, and have found useful to me, is after the roll, if you're dizzy hold your hands in front of your face and shake them while you watch. The mind still perceives motion and giving it this motion to see is supposed to trick it into "straightening out". This helped me when I first started. In time I was able to do several rolls without dizziness. As for the long hair, I used to have a long ponytail. After repeated pulls, getting stepped on, and getting whipped in the eyes during high break falls, I simply shaved my head bald. This might be an option, worked extremely well for me.

Lyle Laizure
07-31-2004, 03:54 PM
I've never heard of it being as severe as you describe it. I know it gets better in time the more rolls you do over time.

Something that helps with dizziness is picking an object ahead of you to look at. Focus on the object as you begin your roll and as you come out of your roll.

If you are feeling nauseous I don't know what to say. Like I mentioned, I have never had anyone with that severe a reaction to tumbling. I would say stick it out for a little while and see if it doesn't get better. It may be that your dizziness is to a greater extent than others causing nauseousness. If this is the case maybe see an ear doctor to make sure your inner ear is in good shape.