PDA

View Full Version : Question about back/front roll practice


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


phoebus
12-27-2005, 05:47 AM
I have not been training for about a year. However Aikido is
always on my mind. I wish I had the time and money again
to be able to train everyday. Being in a foreign country
and studying is tough on its own...

Anyway, my biggest problem was with backrolls.
Specifically with the front rolls. I find them more
difficult for some reason, not that I have mastered
my back rolls.

I would like to go back to Aikido some day, but until
then I would like to improve my back/front rolls.

If you have any suggestions/ideas on how one could
practice back/front rolls off the mat, links or anything,
please post.

Thanks.

Mark Uttech
12-27-2005, 07:08 AM
Phoebus. try sitting down. Anywhere! Cross one leg over a straight leg. Stretch out your arms. Roll over on the same shoulder as the outstretched leg. Very basic. Very fundamental. Very wonderful.
In gassho

Mark Uttech
12-27-2005, 11:42 AM
Oops! I just noticed an error. It should have said: "cross one leg under the outstretched leg."

phoebus
12-27-2005, 02:55 PM
I'll try that, thanks.
But what about front rolls? ;)

giriasis
12-27-2005, 09:00 PM
I had a hard time with forward rolls, too. What helped me was taking my rolls as low as I can go. There is a shoulder stretch we do in our dojo where you sit and seiza bend over and put your shoulder on the ground then you push up with your feet. If you push to much you flop over sideways. To make it more roll like you need to turn your body sideways with your knees in an "L" shape. If your left knee is forward you put your left shoulder down. Then you push up with your feet. If you still flop to the side some you need to push a litter hard with your feet.

Doing that really helped me get the smallness of the roll and the feeling of rolling from my shoulder to my opposite hip.

With backward rolls you can do a modified "plow" (when you roll back to stretch your back with your feet over your back) but instead of going straight back you go at an angle placing both feet on the side you want to go. So if you want to right both your feet will go to the right side. Also, with this you need to be careful of your neck, so make sure your head is tilted out of the way.

Mark Uttech
12-27-2005, 11:05 PM
As for forward rolls, bend your knees, reach out, (assuming you are in hanmi), look behind you, and roll. The foot you have forward is the side you are going to roll on. In gassho

kokyu
12-28-2005, 03:22 AM
Doing that really helped me get the smallness of the roll and the feeling of rolling from my shoulder to my opposite hip.

I was watching Ellis Amdur's excellent DVD on Ukemi and he made 2 points which I'm still wondering about:
1) He encourages students to avoid rolling over the shoulder to the hip, but rather along the triceps to the back and then to the side just above the hip. This helps one to avoid rolling over our joints - i.e. shoulder + hip joints.
2) He encourages students in back rolls to avoid putting the back of the back foot flat on the mat, but rather to let the back foot stand on tiptoe. According to him, this allows uke to get up quickly if the opportunity presents itself. Putting the back foot flat on the mat makes it very hard to get up and basically means you have surrendered to tori.

I'm wondering whether anyone has tried (1) for lengthy periods? It seems very comfortable, but I don't see many people rolling that way. Also, I'm wondering about (2) because it seems to put some stress on the ankle.

Thanks very much.

senshincenter
12-28-2005, 11:30 AM
We train to avoid the shoulder/hip line as well (for many reasons) - adopting more of a hip to hip line. If by the back of the foot you mean the "instep" - yes, we also train to avoid that part being the point of contact on the mat. We opt for the ball of the foot (not the tip of the toes) instead (for the same reason you said was mentioned in the DVD). This we do in both the standard back breakfall and the backward roll (which we never opt to do in standard training because it breaks zanshin/connection with Nage). To place weight on the instep - postural or rising - is not biomechanically sound and can very easily lead to injury (e.g. ankle, knee, etc.) over a long period of time or even fail abruptly within a hard enough throw. We've never had anyone injured from using the ball of the foot in place of the instep.

giriasis
12-28-2005, 01:36 PM
What I was trying to get at was that when you practice seiza rolls you learn the basic form the roll and part of that is that diangular movement from you shoulder to the opposite hip. Of course my description didn't discuss your arms or triceps, because, normally, when people have problem with rolling they have crashed on their shoulder so many times they acquire a fear of the floor. By taking down to the floor and avoiding the first half of the roll and only focusing on the second half a person can really learn to acquire the feel of the roll.

I agree with using a live toe for rolls.

MaryKaye
12-28-2005, 04:00 PM
I never had much luck learning forward rolls from kneeling or low crouch positions, or going slowly--that was five months of falling over sideways and hurting my shoulders. I finally did better when I allowed myself to do rolls from motion and much higher up. This is counter-intuitive and scared my teachers, but it worked for me.

One teacher, after seeing the difference, recommended that I hop in place and then roll--this is almost like being thrown and I found it very helpful.

For learning forward rolls I found it best to practice as often as possible, but briefly each time. If you do too many you get tired and bruised and they deteriorate, and this sets you up to become tense and nervous and do even worse next time. Also, some warm-up before practicing rolling is important--running around fast for a couple of minutes makes a huge difference in my ability to roll smoothly. (I've taken to starting kids' classes with five minutes of dodgeball. I don't know if it helps them, but it sure helps me!)

Mary Kaye

kokyu
12-28-2005, 07:26 PM
We opt for the ball of the foot (not the tip of the toes) instead (for the same reason you said was mentioned in the DVD). This we do in both the standard back breakfall and the backward roll (which we never opt to do in standard training because it breaks zanshin/connection with Nage). To place weight on the instep - postural or rising - is not biomechanically sound and can very easily lead to injury (e.g. ankle, knee, etc.) over a long period of time or even fail abruptly within a hard enough throw. We've never had anyone injured from using the ball of the foot in place of the instep.

I think Ellis Amdur meant the ball of the foot... I was thinking about the video image and how it felt, especially when one crouches very low... that's why I mistakenly said 'tip of the toes'. David, thanks for the correction. :)

However, use of the instep is still prevalent in most Aikido textbooks... hopefully, this will change in the future...

giriasis
12-29-2005, 12:27 AM
I think Ellis Amdur meant the ball of the foot... I was thinking about the video image and how it felt, especially when one crouches very low... that's why I mistakenly said 'tip of the toes'. David, thanks for the correction. :)

However, use of the instep is still prevalent in most Aikido textbooks... hopefully, this will change in the future...

I have heard an argument against using the live toe when learning to roll to avoid spraining one's toes. I learned to roll without a live toe and then changed to live toe once I got more confident with my ukemi. But I've found more benefit using live toe as you can control you descent to mat better on ushiro ukemi and get up faster on mae ukemi.

Donovan Waite also emphasizes using live toe for your ukemi.

kokyu
12-30-2005, 10:29 AM
We train to avoid the shoulder/hip line as well (for many reasons) - adopting more of a hip to hip line.

How does the hip-to-hip line roll work? I'm trying to visualize it step-by-step.Thanks.

senshincenter
12-30-2005, 01:30 PM
Yeah, that is not a very good description of the roll - sorry about that. It is what I consider to be the furthest thing away from the shoulder/hip roll - which to me is not "good" for the following reasons:

- it keeps the head and shoulder area (which is often the true target in such a throw) too close to the original line of attack, which is dangerous.

- it keeps the heaviest part of one's mass behind the intended target of the throw (i.e. the lower torso/legs behind the head/shoulder), which makes it risky toward shoulder, neck, and head injuries (because the lower parts of the body act as back-up mass to the attack).

- it does not allow nage to truly enter to the front side of the body (both in terms of time and space) because uke is not as open as he/she should be, which requires uke to roll out of the technique way earlier than is architecturally viable.

The roll I'm proposing looks basically the same as the standard forward roll. However, when you see it, you sort of say, at most, "Hey, that looks different - what's different there?"

To understand the dynamics of the roll - all you have to do is roll on your side like when you were a kid rolling down some grassy hill. As you can see, the line you have in such a roll is sort of hip-to-hip and shoulder-to-shoulder line(s). This is the basic positioning of the torso as it travels across the mat in the forward roll I'm talking about. However, since we are rolling from a standing position in the forward roll, the shoulders don't really do their shoulder-to-shoulder line - you are sort of just left with the hip-to-hip line. The key here is to open yourself up as much as possible and also to stay in the technique for as long as possible (allowing Nage's center to displace your own). When you do that, there is no other way to roll (though there remains plenty of ways to crash). :-)

sorry - i imagine one would require some video for this - but I'm away for the holidays and can't put video up till the next year (next week).

dmv

kokyu
12-30-2005, 07:19 PM
David, Thanks for the explanation :) It sounds a bit like a yoko ukemi, or something an uke would do from tenchi nage when tori digs his knee into uke's back.

If you put up the video, please let us know.

roosvelt
01-04-2006, 11:46 AM
Yeah, that is not a very good description of the roll - sorry about that. It is what I consider to be the furthest thing away from the shoulder/hip roll - which to me is not "good" for the following reasons:


:
:

The roll I'm proposing looks basically the same as the standard forward roll. However, when you see it, you sort of say, at most, "Hey, that looks different - what's different there?"



Surprise, surprise. I do forward roll as what you described. It makes wonder if most people actually doing rolls which you're proposing.

Draw a line from your head to your navel as reference line. If you do head-to-foot forward roll, it's flipping/rotating vertically. If you do hip-to-hip roll, it's flipping/rotation horizontally.

If you do shoulder-to-hip roll, internally you can do horizontal rotation or verical rotation. I think what you proposal is horizontal roll. That's what I'm doing.

Some tips to help the horizontal feeling.

1. head look back all the time. Suppose some push you into a roll from behind. You want to keep an eye on him. So your look back, then up the ceiling, then roll, then back. If your head rotating horizontally, your body tend to follow the same rotation. That's why I don't like the tip "looking at your belt knot", which promotes vertical rotation.

2. Do as much as pre-rotation on your unbendable arm while your front foot is still on ground. I think that is the same as "open up your body".


But in the front breakfall, the vertical rotation is the correct way to go. If you still try to do horizontal rotation, you'll be sprayed all over the place.

It's good to verify my thinking from other more experienced people.

kokyu
01-15-2006, 04:16 AM
I've noticed that some ukes are able to do a back roll and then stand up almost immediately. It appears the that the uke is kicking very strongly, and (for a brief instant) he is almost doing a handstand. How does this work?

Thanks. :)

akiy
01-15-2006, 10:31 AM
I've noticed that some ukes are able to do a back roll and then stand up almost immediately. It appears the that the uke is kicking very strongly, and (for a brief instant) he is almost doing a handstand. How does this work?
While doing your usual backroll, don't let either of your knees touch the ground. When your feet are about to touch the ground behind you, push off with your hands onto your feet.

-- Jun

senshincenter
01-17-2006, 01:17 PM
I'm sorry this took so long. With the New Year we just moved into our new location. A lot is going with the transition. Here is a link to the video - I put it on our website under temporary pages on the Video Page.

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/forwardroll.html

thanks,
dmv

Ron Tisdale
01-17-2006, 01:41 PM
Hi David, and Happy New Year.

Is this style of ukemi in use at Chiba Sensei's dojo? It reminds me of some of Donnovan Waite Sensei's ukemi. Can you give us some history as to how you came to adopt this?

Thanks,
Ron (the clip was very informative, though I do ukemi quite differently)

jonreading
01-18-2006, 12:14 PM
Leave it to David to post some kind of informative video; as always the video has good information in it.

Ukemi is about preference. Some students prefer the should/hip roll, others prefer the hip/hip roll. I have found that older students and more frail students do better with the hip/hip roll for daily ukemi. I have noticed 2 problems with that roll:
1. Students develop a tendancy to use their wrists to "catch" themselves; this creates a dangerous situation that I have seen result in a broken wrist.
2. Students become "mushy" and their body loses control to remain rigid.

Peronsally, I learned the shoulder/hip style and still find it useful when sparring or playing Judo. I find hip/hip to be less capable of defending against aggressive grappling then ukemi I am used to.

Many previous posts have good tips. I have little to add as suggestions. Remember that ukemi is about protecting your body, it should never be uncomfortable or dangerous, and it [typically] should not sacrfiice the ability to protect yourself.

bkedelen
01-18-2006, 01:12 PM
The benefit of the shoulder-hip roll is that you never actually fall down, you can stop the movement at any time and are not subject to your own momentum. In addition, the shoulder-hip roll moves you farther from nage, giving you time to avoid follow-up techniques. The shoulder-shoulder/hip-hip roll would certainly work as ukemi for standing projection throws, but there are many throws and throw variations which take your balance, crush you into the ground, and then project you. Some folks (at least here at Boulder Aikikai) can even do all three steps at once. In that case, and in my experience, your body is in no way capable of performing a shoulder-shoulder/hip-hip roll, and knowing only that variation could end disastrously.

senshincenter
01-18-2006, 01:44 PM
I agree with the points being made - about preference. I would go a bit further though and say that preference is very much determined by how nage has designed his/her architecture. I imagine that in the cases where someone prefers the shoulder/hip roll over the should-shoulder/hip-hip roll you are going to see a totally different nage architecture being utilized. For example, and just using some very common things (i.e. shared by a lot of practitioners/the dominant viewpoint) that Benjamin and Jon brought up: in our architecture's we don't have them designed so that uke can stop his/her own momentum at any time and/or where uke's body can go limp or mushy at will. In the end then, these things are not the kind of benefits that one can gain access to simply by seeking to take the should/hip line. What happens in our architectures, almost always as a result of the angle, degree of penetration, and timing of irimi-ashi, should one try the shoulder/hip line, is that uke is too "fulcrumed" off of their base of support (too displaced by nage's mass) to maintain that line through the trajectory. As a result, one always crashes more than lands.

As for catching oneself at the wrist, I can't really comment on that since we teach the roll so that one's hands are not at all depended upon for the ukemi to succeed. I did some "no handed" rolls to demonstrate this in the video. Rather than catching one's weight with the arms, we instruct that one's torso/head weight should be addressed by the legs and feet - which act as a counter-weight and that thus with the head mark the two poles of centered movement. I wouldn't dismiss the should-shoulder/hip-hip roll because someone catches their torso weight in the arms anymore than I would the should/hip roll because someone does the same thing - I would just chalk that up to bad form.

I think we also have different understanding about "follow-up" techniques. For example, should we practice such things, we do not seek to throw again, etc., but rather to strike, kick, ground-fight, cut, etc., the "opponent." As a result, it doesn't matter how uke is taking ukemi - once thrown he/she is vulnerable against such things (which for us is the whole point of throwing - since we would never tactically assume a throw, or any move, to be the end all guaranteed).

I do agree that if some one is throwing you in and down, this roll would be out of place. However, I would say that every roll would be out of place under such circumstances. What is need in such cases is a breakfall - not a roll.

thanks,
dmv

kokyu
01-20-2006, 08:02 PM
Very interesting video David. Thanks very much for your time and for sharing the information.

The roll looks similar to Ellis Amdur's proposed roll in his Ukemi DVD, where most of the body contact is with the back and not the shoulders or hip. I guess there's a growing consensus this is a better form of forward ukemi.

Although I've never seen this style backwards, I suppose the principles are the same. However, many people say one shouldn't do ushiro ukemi unless the projection is too strong. Taking one's eyes off tori (as in a backward roll) is dangerous.

senshincenter
01-20-2006, 09:58 PM
Well, if you keep the same principles and simply reverse the motion, you have your eyes no more off of Nage in the back fall than you do in the forward roll. However, personally, I'm not satisfied yet with this back fall version of this roll because I'm not sure yet how it might effect the lower back region (since the back may be better supported with the legs at a right angle to the pelvis). For me, the jury is still out. However, this might not be an issue with the contracting center back breakfall - which is the only way to truly take a back breakfall in our particular architectures. Like I said, I'm still working through it all. We'll see what I see. :-)

thanks,
dmv

Johan Nielsen
01-25-2006, 03:54 AM
I was watching Ellis Amdur's excellent DVD on Ukemi and he made 2 points which I'm still wondering about:
1) He encourages students to avoid rolling over the shoulder to the hip, but rather along the triceps to the back and then to the side just above the hip. This helps one to avoid rolling over our joints - i.e. shoulder + hip joints.
2) He encourages students in back rolls to avoid putting the back of the back foot flat on the mat, but rather to let the back foot stand on tiptoe. According to him, this allows uke to get up quickly if the opportunity presents itself. Putting the back foot flat on the mat makes it very hard to get up and basically means you have surrendered to tori.

I'm wondering whether anyone has tried (1) for lengthy periods? It seems very comfortable, but I don't see many people rolling that way. Also, I'm wondering about (2) because it seems to put some stress on the ankle.

Thanks very much.
Hello people,
I must start with telling you all that I don't actually train aikido. But I pop in for a visit once in a while to check out your forum. Anyway, as regards the questions, I can vouch for method 1 and 2. This is the way we do it in my dojo, and it works 100%. Perhaps I shall comment a bit further. As for 1) I can say that you roll more over the fleshy parts of the shoulder, back and hip. You want a diagonal roll that spare your bones from bruising. As for 2) I can say that if you keep your balance standing on your tiptoes for as long as possible until you loose your balance and fall, you can adjust the roll into what the situation requires. For example, you can stand up or you can change from a planned backwards roll into a forward roll, depending on the position you might be in. You get a lot more control of what you are doing and it suits better for non-dojo rolls. If you are on a harder surface you're not liable to hurt yourself as easily. This is not possible if you just have tucked your foot under your body and placed the ankle on the ground. I recommend trying these methods.

kokyu
01-27-2006, 08:26 PM
Hello people,
I can say that if you keep your balance standing on your tiptoes for as long as possible until you loose your balance and fall, you can adjust the roll into what the situation requires.

Thanks for the tip. I never thought of trying to keep my balance to such an exent. Will do it at my next keiko.

Johan Nielsen
01-30-2006, 07:37 AM
In the dojo it might not matter that much. But in a non-dojo self-defence situation all the control you can get is good for you. Therefore it's good to learn how to adapt your rolls and breakfalls if you would get pushed or need to avoid some object.

kokyu
03-02-2006, 08:22 AM
When I'm thrown for a forward roll or flip, I sometimes injure the side of my foot - in particular the side of the little toe.

I would be thankful if someone could tell me why this happens. It's something that happens when I'm thrown hard... It's probably due to the way I fold my leg - too slow?

Johan Nielsen
03-05-2006, 09:33 AM
I would love to help, can you please explain a bit more what happens? Like from taking falls in what techniques or so.

roosvelt
03-05-2006, 10:38 AM
When I'm thrown for a forward roll or flip, I sometimes injure the side of my foot - in particular the side of the little toe.

I would be thankful if someone could tell me why this happens. It's something that happens when I'm thrown hard... It's probably due to the way I fold my leg - too slow?


You didn't use live toes.

Most beginers are taught to use upper side of feet in forward and backward rolls. It seems to be easier at begining. When in faster action, it causes injuries.

Bad practice, bad instructor. It take longer to correct a bad habit than learning one.

Now go back to basics. Practice your forward roll slowly, and try to touch mat with your underside foot and get up. If you having correct intention, your body will automatically do the rest, like bending the feet inward.

Michael Varin
03-06-2006, 12:12 AM
Phoebus,

I was introduced to some of these guys a couple of years ago and it greatly affected my rolls. Although I made only small changes, the overall improvement was large. These guys deal with much greater energies than we encounter when being thrown. They routinely roll on concrete and gravel, sometimes after three story drops. The first link has an animated explanation of a forward roll, the others are actual footage.

http://www.parkour.x2hosting.co.uk/parkour/parkour_tutorials.html

http://ns33049.ovh.net/%7ebruno/parkour/flyers.wmv

http://ns33049.ovh.net/%7ebruno/parkour/thefirst.mpa

Ultimately, you must remember that rolling is about protecting yourself, so you must develop a level of comfort with your body that allows you to adapt your rolls for any given situation.

Michael

Johan Nielsen
03-06-2006, 07:17 AM
Phoebus,

Ultimately, you must remember that rolling is about protecting yourself, so you must develop a level of comfort with your body that allows you to adapt your rolls for any given situation.

Michael
Very importantnt info here. This is often forgotten in the dojo.You may hear about it but you dont understand the importance until you get thrown hard or fall hard outside the dojo.

So to protect your toes or the outside of the foot you may want to try to "flex" your foot upwards towards your knee so the foot is more L-shaped in relation to the leg. This enables you to take the impact from the floor on the fleshier parts of your foot. It will save your ankles and perhaps your toes too.

kokyu
03-06-2006, 08:39 AM
Roosvelt, Michael and Johan, many thanks for your kind advice. I think all of you have hit upon the source of my problems :D