View Full Version : Breakfalls (Merged)

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05-24-2001, 12:26 AM
Just curious how far into the game you were before you took your first one. Mine was probably somewhere in the first month or 2.

05-24-2001, 01:08 AM
Originally posted by Greg Jennings
We do train hard and we do a lot more breakfalls that the average aikido dojo. But, we've had very few injuries. We've had only one student leave the dojo over being roughly thrown (by another new student).

Enough rambling.

Best Regards,

Out of curiousity, how fast do you get the average new student taking breakfalls?

05-24-2001, 08:25 AM
I took 2 or 3 months (probably 3 and a half:D )... but I still think my breakfalls sucks. :(

Greg Jennings
05-24-2001, 12:01 PM
Originally posted by Erik

Out of curiousity, how fast do you get the average new student taking breakfalls?

Hi Erik.

We have so few students that "average student" has such a high standard deviation that it becomes meaningless.

Let me say it this way: a student with
o No physical limitations such as back problems and
o No mental blocks such as being scared totally stiff of the idea of falling.

Will be started on the first breakfall drill as soon as he/she is able to do front rolls over a partner squating low on knees and elbows. This could be the first week or it could be much later.

The first breakfally drill is just like the roll drill in the previous paragraph except that the student gently "flops" over the squatting partner rather than rolling over them.

It's hard to succintly describe, but you've probably seen the drill before and know what I'm talking about.

If you haven't, I'll try to get some pictures taken and post them.

The second breakfall drill (breakfall using partner's obi) is normally required for 5th kyu.



Jim ashby
05-24-2001, 12:08 PM
Hi all,
at our dojo, new members start breakfalls as soon as they feel able. With our training syllabus and the instructors they start usually within the first few lessons.
Have fun.

05-24-2001, 12:55 PM
Originally posted by Greg Jennings

Thanks for the reply. I do know the drills you mentioned and have spent many a night doing the flop. I hated it then but really appreciate having done them now.

I guess I was asking because someone at the dojo I'm currently at just busted up her shoulder (maybe broke it). Her ukemi was at best substandard and after 2+ years she's never taken a highfall and understands little beyond a forward and backward roll.

What I keep coming back to is the low level of expectation this dojo has in regards to ukemi and that because of that she was injured. Students are almost expected to absorb ukemi from the ether. Maybe it was just a fluke but I can't help thinking that the odds caught up with her. At least it was only a shoulder.

I really feel bad, because I tried to work with her, even did my best to express my concerns (in a tactful way even) and it just didn't make any difference. If the sensei doesn't make it important, neither will the students. I still remember a conversation she had with our sensei that she was afraid while being thrown and the answer he gave was to go slower. He was right, but the answer that flitted through my mind was teach her how to fall.

We'll see what happens, maybe something positive will come out of this or maybe it was just one of those things.

05-24-2001, 02:20 PM
I remember my first experience breakfalling was not the best a person can have. It as only my second class, in my old school, and I was still learning how to roll. My fellow students, not much more high ranking than I was, were told to let me roll. The problem was they were throwing me into breakfalls. As a result I not only developed a mental block from breakfalling but on rolling as well. It took me a good month or two to roll comfortably. And after a year and a half in a different school my breakfalling is coming only naturally and with much less anxiety. I haven't gotten over the breakfalling from koshinage or jujinage yet but that is because I haven't done them as much. The good thing is that I am really comfortable with rolling now than ever before.

Anne Marie

Michell Knight
05-24-2001, 03:59 PM
I am guessing you mean over-the-top break fall? At my dojo, I have found the average is by nanakyu---though each person has there own progression curve. Basic Kehon pretty much begins the trek into rolls and break falls. By Rokyu, I was taking over-the-top off of tsuke kote gaeshi and kata gruma. I learned through a great method called ukemi no kata---anyone can take break fall by the end of the first lesson (even I). I was actually able to flip myself from a standing position by next class. Now, I am an over-the-top junkie! I feel very much a part of the technique--I can actually feel the transfer of energy from the nage, into myself, and then grounding itself as my hand slaps the ground. Taking a lot of breakfall has really helped my ability as a nage. Anyone else feel the same way?

05-24-2001, 04:56 PM
I forget exactly when I learned how to do a breakfall -- probably a month or so into aikido? (Erik?) I distinctly remember grabbing another student after class and asking him about how to do a breakfall...

And just as a point of clarification, the term "breakfall" (or "high fall") may not be very clear to all styles of aikido. I believe that certain styles like Yoshinkan aikido use the term for a front roll with a slap or a "side" fall with a slap. I believe what people are talking about here are those taken, say, from a vigorous kotegaeshi, shihonage, or koshinage that requires uke to "flip" in the air and land safely.

-- Jun

05-31-2001, 03:18 PM
I think my first was about five or six months into my training. It was a small class and my sensei helped me take breakfall ukemi for his hanmi handachi shihonage. It looked really scary but he supported me so well through it that my fears dissipated.

It seems to me that breakfalls from different techniques have somewhat different flavor. For example, breakfalls from koshi waza seem more like flopping off of nage, whereas those from kotegaeshi seem more like nage is launching uke into the air. ...I still have an aversion to breakfalls from standing shihonage. Anyone have any suggestions for overcoming such fear?

As far as confusion over types of breakfalls, I think they can range from landing flat (stemi), to those where the slapping arm helps lower uke to the ground, to those where uke actually rolls down to the ground using the "slap arm". I guess maybe there is a continuum between rolling and the flat out breakfall.

Chris Guzik

06-01-2001, 12:25 AM
I remember my first was on a national seminar. When doing a role out of sumi otoshi a shodan from our club just kept hold of my hand and my first breakfall was there. My first impression was "What happend???" and then "Cool!!!"

This was over a year ago and recently I'm starting to get comfortable about them.

On the other hand I'm still not comfortable about letting people make a breakfall. Even very experienced people who in my opinion can make a breakfall from a high building. Any sugestions on breaking this mental block?