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Dothemo 04-22-2018 01:18 PM

I learnt a valuable but unpleasant lesson
Hi folks,

So I learnt a lesson a couple of days ago that I won't forget. I was walking through the back service tunnels of a mall (shortcut in and out) with a friend of mine and without going into the embarrassing but funny details of how it occurred, I was unbalanced and tripped over.

Specifically it was the kind of trip where you run forward whilst knowing you're going down in a futile attempt to stay upright. Unfortunately for me there was a metal cladded concrete wall ahead and when I hit the ground hard, my forehead hit the wall. I jumped up quite embarrassed and quickly moved on a bit stunned for a few moments.

No exaggeration, my friend had a laughing fit for the next five minutes straight after watching me fall, scone myself and end up with a significant red lump on my forehead with the metal cladding pattern etched onto it. She said that it was the most comically dramatic fall that she's ever seen. I went to the doctors for a quick checkup for obvious reasons afterwards.

Anyways, this event has reinforced to me the importance of ukemi and how affective Aikido could be. Ukemi because I now believe that accidental falls may almost pose more of a risk that the threat of attack. How many times do we accidentally fall? I think lots, I've had three accidental falls in the last 5 years (and have never been attacked) and the other two I would have been a lot more injured if it wasn't for my ukemi training, I strongly believe this. The most recent fall, although I went down hard onto concrete, my head bump was the only injury, knees and hands are fine.

Regarding Aikido effectiveness, I was simply unbalanced (my own embarrassing fault) and I fell down hard. The floor (and walls) can provide a powerful and unforgiving blow when falling. Some Aikido techniques obviously include unbalancing and throwing an opponent. I think it is easy to forget how effective and dangerous aikido can be when practicing rehearsed kata onto soft mats using ukemi. The uke is not injured due to these factors.

What are your thoughts on ukemi and Aikido effectiveness? Have you ever had a similar epiphany?

Walter Martindale 04-22-2018 05:21 PM

Re: I learnt a valuable but unpleasant lesson
Well... Last time I had a "oh crap face-plant pending" incident was on the factory floor. Tripped over a skid of steel blocks. forward roll ukemi happened before I could think about it. Little tender on the spinous process of the left scapula but other than that, no damage. Surprised the heck out of the employer, who I very nearly landed on.
Fastest I've moved in about 5 years.
Never been attacked. 8 years of judo, and 17 years of aikido which ended about 6 years ago.

dps 04-22-2018 11:05 PM

Re: I learnt a valuable but unpleasant lesson
After a knee injury I had to stop practicing. Thirteen years later I was rolling skating with my 6 year old daughter. Had her in front of me pushing her when she stumbled and fell down. I reacted before I ran into her with with high breakfall over her. She was OK and I was OK. My left hand stung for a short while.


ChrisMoses 04-23-2018 12:22 PM

Re: I learnt a valuable but unpleasant lesson
Ukemi is the thing you're most likely to use "on the street" or "in real life." I tell that to everyone who trains with me.

jamesf 04-23-2018 03:26 PM

Re: I learnt a valuable but unpleasant lesson
My story about "real world" ukemi:

So, we have weekday-evening practices where I train. It was Christmas week, and my sempai (plural) who usually open the dojo were out, so that duty fell to me. Now, between our northerly latitude and cloudy weather, it was already very dark 30 minutes prior to practice, when I got there. I should also point out, at this time, that I almost always wear sandals on my way to/from practice.

I get the key from the combination-protected keybox, open things up, then go to return the key to the box. As I'm stepping back outside, I forget about one oddly place concrete parking bumper and kick it hard while striding foreward on my left foot. This sets me off balance, and scrapes my big toe deeply. The rest of the parking bumper is in front of my right foot, which I have to awkwardly bound over, sending my right sandal flying. So now I'm in a position, leaning way forward over my right foot, with my momentum wanting to twist my right shoulder under to the front-left shikaku, all this over concrete paving. I really didn't want to try my luck with the concrete and another parking bumper that was possibly in the landing zone, so I manage to get in two hops and a did a sprawling breakfall (sort of like the ukemi for ikkyo ura) into the dirt/grass at the edge of the parking lot.

So, I only ended up with two "injuries": my scraped up toe and my pride. I cleaned up and wrapped up my toe (which didn't really hurt much until the adrenylin wore off on my drive home), and, after having given my dojo mates a good laugh, I was able to train (mostly) normally that evening.

nikyu62 04-24-2018 03:54 PM

Re: I learnt a valuable but unpleasant lesson
I once tripped over a low cement step while dressed in Sunday finery, did a front shoulder roll, and was standing at the end of it, while onlookers gaped. Another time, i was working on our property, and climbing a steep bank about 15 feet tall.....nearly at the top, i slid down feet first facing the bank, then my feet caught and i was flipped upside down, still heading down the bank. I back rolled and landed safely at the bottom without injury.
I make a point of demonstrating front rolls on cement at least once for each new batch of students so they see it can be done without injury with good technique. ( I'm 55).

Rupert Atkinson 04-25-2018 06:03 PM

Re: I learnt a valuable but unpleasant lesson
I have had a few accidental 'trips' and generally, did a breakfall of some sort or another. Not as pretty as in the dojo, but ... unscathed. Sometimes, if I trip while walking up some uneven steps, before instantly falling flat on my face, I have managed to get my hands down first to take the shock, like doing the down part of a press-up. Not sure if that is just instinct, or from Aikido though, as I have seen other people save themselves likewise. Still, I think ukemi is excellent for self-preservation. 05-05-2018 02:15 PM

Re: I learnt a valuable but unpleasant lesson
I’ve not fallen flat on my face, however when i have tripped awkwardly im thankfull for the awarenes, practice and generally relaxed attitude i take towards it. More interestingly, i often ponder the reason why i tripped in tje forst place, and how or why my awareness was lacking in that moment.

Appologies for typoes, writing this in a phone.

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