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Michael Douglas 11-25-2006 08:43 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
A little aside here ;
Quote:

Dan Harden wrote:
Exerpt from an article in Aikido Journal online-
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=688
From Ikeda Sensei after hosting Karate teacher Ushiro at Aikido summer camp In Colorado for the second time.

From that article I find this confusing ;
"Ushiro shihan pointed out numerous times during training that the type of ukemi usually seen in aikido in which one slaps the mat with their hands, was dangerous. After some thought however, he said he could see the reason for such ukemi."

Anyone usually see such ukemi at Aikido practice?

DH 11-25-2006 09:42 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Quote:

Michael Douglas wrote:
A little aside here ;


From that article I find this confusing ;
"Ushiro shihan pointed out numerous times during training that the type of ukemi usually seen in aikido in which one slaps the mat with their hands, was dangerous. After some thought however, he said he could see the reason for such ukemi."

Anyone usually see such ukemi at Aikido practice?

Well, maybe Ushiro was talking about a singular breakfall Ukemi phenominon exclusive to the hundreds of people from all different styles he saw at summer camp and everyone else in Aikido is different.

Or Version two
We have all seen that anytime, anyone, anywhere, talks about anything in , about, or in reference to....Aikido.... we are all quickly reminded that each single, individual, from each, individual, school, from each, individual style, from each, individual country.....does it different. Then they cite Ueshiba's comment about making it their own, then we hear them tell each other they don't get what Uesiba was doing and just how they are each different.
Then...... when we see them at the Aiki expo.........

They all look amazingly the same.
And slapping the mat in breakfalls. :D
Or maybe you just do the softer style that gently rolls along

Maybe there is a different way to do Ukemi that is not ukemi but fighting back.It that has more connectivity in the body and both absorbs the impact and makes your body actively attacking while falling. That the intent was and is to always attack and NEVER to give up and receive that way. Maybe the idea was to never "take" ukemi in the first place. Thus the lessons in Karate and MMA are more real for Aikido to begin with.
Or maybe not.
I'm sure yours is different.;)
Dan

Cady Goldfield 11-25-2006 10:06 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
I've found ukemi to be helpful when getting thrown by a horse. But if I'm being thrown by a human, I'd rather take him with me and end up in control of the situation. If I could, I'd do that with the horse, too, but I've found that it's really hard to do sutemi waza on a horse. :D

Mike Sigman 11-25-2006 10:14 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Quote:

Michael Douglas wrote:
From that article I find this confusing ;
"Ushiro shihan pointed out numerous times during training that the type of ukemi usually seen in aikido in which one slaps the mat with their hands, was dangerous. After some thought however, he said he could see the reason for such ukemi."

Anyone usually see such ukemi at Aikido practice?

I'll bet he was talking about falling ukemi, not rolling ukemi (although I cringe when people slap on rolling ukemi). Because slapping with the hand can be detrimental in falls on concrete, stones, etc., many martial arts don't do it. They absorb the impact with the body so that they won't injure the hand (which they need to fight with). I've run into that several times in my life. I've stopped doing a hand-slap when I fall back into the Barca-lounger. ;)

Mike

Cady Goldfield 11-25-2006 10:22 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
It seems to me that a lot of people confuse the spreading out of force/impact (by extending the arms soft-side-down) with actively slapping the ground. Slapping makes no sense; it just adds to the impact force. To my eyes, it appears to be a misperception, by the students, of the ukemi exercise (for example, crossing the arms over the chest, then spreading them to take the fall) . They aggressively fling their arms open and slap the mats, instead of naturally just letting the arms open out. Do that on hard ground, and it's Ouch City.

DH 11-25-2006 10:31 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
I agree with Cady for surprising reasons.
But the other aspect usually ignored are the legs-particularly the feet. How you contain and absorb expresses itself all over the place.
I can't count the people I have seen who have dead legs in falling. You'd wind up with wrecked ankles in a flash. They do well on mats, but I just watch the energy transfer.... to the ankles. There are ways, then there are ways. The legs should be attacking while "taking" ukemi in the first place. Falling fr me is never a priority kicking the legs out from the person while pulling the top, tying their legs up, or kicking them in the groin is just a better way to fall. Then there is pulling them in the guard while falling. Slapping the ground just would not be on my priority list.

Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman 11-25-2006 10:37 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Quote:

Cady Goldfield wrote:
It seems to me that a lot of people confuse the spreading out of force/impact (by extending the arms soft-side-down) with actively slapping the ground. Slapping makes no sense; it just adds to the impact force. To my eyes, it appears to be a misperception, by the students, of the ukemi exercise (for example, crossing the arms over the chest, then spreading them to take the fall) . They aggressively fling their arms open and slap the mats, instead of naturally just letting the arms open out. Do that on hard ground, and it's Ouch City.

Well, actually slapping with the arm will subtract (on a vertical fall) from the amount of force the body has to absorb on impact. Think of it a sort of rocket jet that fires momentarily just before the main body hits. On a mat it's OK. I wouldn't recommend it for the street though.

FWIW

Mike

Cady Goldfield 11-25-2006 10:39 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
The foot/ankle part is crucial! I've learned that from painful experience. But as for the "what to do on the way down," in the context of aikido as it currently exists, which is "cooperative," ukemi involves passively taking the fall without attacking one's opponent/partner -- that is part of the aikido lexicon. It is not the same agenda as the jujutsu lexicon, where one would be using the Gift of Gravity "donated" by the opponent, along with the apparent "pause" in the combat action (when the opponent thinks he "has" you) to do lots of nasty things to said opponent.

Cady Goldfield 11-25-2006 10:40 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
Well, actually slapping with the arm will subtract (on a vertical fall) from the amount of force the body has to absorb on impact. Think of it a sort of rocket jet that fires momentarily just before the main body hits. On a mat it's OK. I wouldn't recommend it for the street though.

FWIW

Mike

If it's not good for the street, though, then what good is it at all? Unless you're saying that aikido is an artificial construct, with specific rules of engagement, that can successfully exist only in the dojo, on mats?

Mike Sigman 11-25-2006 10:53 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Quote:

Cady Goldfield wrote:
If it's not good for the street, though, then what good is it at all? Unless you're saying that aikido is an artificial construct, with specific rules of engagement, that can successfully exist only in the dojo, on mats?

No, I'm just saying someone should not be so ingrained with ritualistic habits that they know when to slap with the arm and when not to.

There's a cute passage in one of Robert Smith's books where he took a breakfall out on the street, slapped, and broke his hand on the curb. His let his instincts override his brain. ;)

The Chinese training involves using breath pressure to train the body over time so that the body can absorb heavy falls; the hand/arm is used to cup and protect the back of the head.

It's important to understand how to develop the body in ukemi training.

Mike

Cady Goldfield 11-25-2006 10:58 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
There's a cute passage in one of Robert Smith's books where he took a breakfall out on the street, slapped, and broke his hand on the curb. His let his instincts override his brain. ;)

Not "instinct," Mike, "conditioning." :)

Charlie 11-25-2006 11:03 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
...Because slapping with the hand can be detrimental in falls on concrete, stones, etc., many martial arts don't do it. They absorb the impact with the body so that they won't injure the hand (which they need to fight with)...

Oh brother!!! Falling on concrete and such is detrimental in and of itself. I get a chuckle out of reasoning like this because why would I be falling on concrete and rocks? If I get to a point where I have to be taking falls in these types of conditions probably means that quite a few more important things have gone Kapooy!

During this thread and many others on this site, there has been a vibrant debate as to the basic components of Aikido and whether or not people know or have been practicing them correctly. What makes ukemi any different? First off, if ukemi training is viewed simply as an additive to what constitutes a complete understanding of the basics then you pretty much have your answer right there.

Falling and slapping is a beginner's stage of understanding and execution. Ukemi is like any other part of a martial art…it is adaptive. If you think that there is just a singular response to a given situation is just incomplete.

That being said, however, to think that there is no strengthening measures to be found in the art of falling is incomplete as well. Falling and slapping strengthens the body so that one can take the falls outside of the dojo without harm being caused to oneself. It is no different than thrusting your fists into a giant pot of sand or punching water or even punching a thick wooden board wrapped in rope!

In fact, the quickest way to judge the quality of your ukemi is to get off the mat and do them on a hard surface. You will very quickly find the faults in your techniques. That's what we used to do. When the mats where too full in the Yokosuka dojo...beginners on the mats - seniors on the wood floor. And remember…boxes don't roll!

Regards,

Charlie

Cady Goldfield 11-25-2006 11:19 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Quote:

Charles Burmeister wrote:
That being said, however, to think that there is no strengthening measures to be found in the art of falling is incomplete as well. Falling and slapping strengthens the body so that one can take the falls outside of the dojo without harm being caused to oneself. It is no different than thrusting your fists into a giant pot of sand or punching water or even punching a thick wooden board wrapped in rope!

This is a basic example of a lack of understanding about what is going on in the body during training. Contrary to what so many martial arts students believe, there is no such thing as "conditioning and strengthening" the body through thrusting fists into pots of sand, punching boards, or falling and slapping the ground.

It is what we call, in Yiddish, a bubbe meise (old grandmother's tale). ;)

Slapping the ground does...nothing -- except to burst blood vessels and bruise bone. The long-term outcome of that "conditioning" is, at best, to deaden and kill nerves so you no longer feel pain when doing damage to your arms.

Same for punching makiwara (which, by the way, I did for 20 years when I was making an extensive and intensive study of punching and striking). Striking a hard surface does nothing for the hands, but it does do damage TO the hands, by rupturing the tissue around the knuckles and causing painful swelling that in later years can exacerbate arthritis. Punching into pots of sand does that too. Sand punching can callous and thicken the skin, but callous plays little or no role in protecting hands during punches and strikes. Except, maybe, to keep the sand you're punching from scratching the tender skin under the callous. ;)

What DOES help you "condition" yourself, is good technique itself. Form: the angle of the punch or strike, its acceleration, the way you hold and move your body: Those elements are what will determine whether you do or don't injure yourself.

In other words, it is not the hand or the skin that breaks the fall or the board; it's the correct application of technique and good form. Nothing more, nothing less.

Students of all levels mistake the superficial, external practices of striking or slapping hard things -- which is nothing but pseudo-science -- for actual practical method -- due to a misunderstanding of basic physical and physiological principles.

I group slapping the ground with punching bricks and sand. Just another misunderstanding of human physiology and of basic physics.

Cady Goldfield 11-25-2006 11:28 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Yeah, I'm sure you really took it to heart after giving it all of 2 minutes from the time I posted 'til the time you replied. :rolleyes: lol

Keep on slappin' the ground and punching walls, kid. Then let me know how your hands and arms are in a couple decades. I have a lot of old karate pals with big, swollen, sore knuckles from a mispent youth of pounding makiwara...until they learned that it was all about the hips and ground, not the hands. I've been training and observing for 30 years now, but I used to buy into the "conditioning" stuff when I was young.

Same for slapping hard ground. Go on out and hit the bricks. Literally! See what it does for you. But sooner or later you'll realize it's all about being soft and relaxed, and using good form -- not slapping.

Charlie 11-25-2006 11:41 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Mike already told you the reason for striking the mat. In addition to that it does condition the extremities as well as teach you a fundamental basic in the act of timing. If I was to be in situations where I had to be falling outside and needed to protect myself then I most certainly would want to have the added protection of "deaden arms". However, since we don't train to those kinds of extremes I don't think you have to worry about any supposed arm damage.

Either way...the way of the Yoshinkan is to strike which I have been doing for years with no such complications that you speak of. I can take ukemi from senior practitioners without missing a beat because there or very specific core elements to the art of falling. If you have to ask what the meaning is behind striking the mat pretty much says what your understanding is. If you further more think that striking the mat is the only way to do it and the fall then becomes to "heavy" and you don't adjust/account for that says a lot as well.

Would I slap on a very "heavy" fall, most likely not. Do I train to be able to fall correctly with specific drills...why yes I do. It is part of the basic curriculum of the Yoshinkan and is taught as part of kihon training. It is just as vital as learning the basic movements of offense.

Cheers,
Charlie

Charlie 11-25-2006 11:45 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Quote:

Cady Goldfield wrote:
Yeah, I'm sure you really took it to heart after giving it all of 2 minutes from the time I posted 'til the time you replied. :rolleyes: lol

Keep on slappin' the ground and punching walls, kid. Then let me know how your hands and arms are in a couple decades. I have a lot of old karate pals with big, swollen, sore knuckles from a mispent youth of pounding makiwara...until they learned that it was all about the hips and ground, not the hands. I've been training and observing for 30 years now, but I used to buy into the "conditioning" stuff when I was young.

Same for slapping hard ground. Go on out and hit the bricks. Literally! See what it does for you. But sooner or later you'll realize it's all about being soft and relaxed, and using good form -- not slapping.

Let's just whatch the whole kid thing...you don't know me.

This sums it all up!!!! Once they learned the CORRECT WAY then the began to practice it correctly. What a shock.

My falls are soft and relaxed. Why do you constitute slapping to mean stiff and hard?

Regards,

Charlie

Mike Sigman 11-25-2006 11:55 AM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Quote:

Cady Goldfield wrote:
Not "instinct," Mike, "conditioning." :)

Yeah... well, his hand broke because he didn't condition it enough. ;)

Mike Sigman 11-25-2006 12:02 PM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Quote:

Cady Goldfield wrote:
This is a basic example of a lack of understanding about what is going on in the body during training. Contrary to what so many martial arts students believe, there is no such thing as "conditioning and strengthening" the body through thrusting fists into pots of sand, punching boards, or falling and slapping the ground.

Cady.... if I agreed with you on this point, we'd both be wrong. ;)
Quote:

Slapping the ground does...nothing -- except to burst blood vessels and bruise bone. The long-term outcome of that "conditioning" is, at best, to deaden and kill nerves so you no longer feel pain when doing damage to your arms.
There is a clear distinction made between this type of "low-level" conditioning and proper conditioning, Cady.
Quote:

Same for punching makiwara (which, by the way, I did for 20 years when I was making an extensive and intensive study of punching and striking).
Heck... the most I could ever do was for 1 hour. You're tough, indeed, if you did it for 20 years. ;)
Quote:

What DOES help you "condition" yourself, is good technique itself. Form: the angle of the punch or strike, its acceleration, the way you hold and move your body: Those elements are what will determine whether you do or don't injure yourself.

In other words, it is not the hand or the skin that breaks the fall or the board; it's the correct application of technique and good form. Nothing more, nothing less.

Students of all levels mistake the superficial, external practices of striking or slapping hard things -- which is nothing but pseudo-science -- for actual practical method -- due to a misunderstanding of basic physical and physiological principles.

I group slapping the ground with punching bricks and sand. Just another misunderstanding of human physiology and of basic physics.
Oh Cady.... you don't understand about the "ki" and how it's developed. If you do it right, all those things you mentioned are fine. It's sort of like the guys that sit around and "deep breathe" for the oxygen... they're missing the point of what they're supposed to develop.

Regards,

Mike

Cady Goldfield 11-25-2006 01:09 PM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Quote:

Charles Burmeister wrote:
Let's just whatch the whole kid thing...you don't know me.

This sums it all up!!!! Once they learned the CORRECT WAY then the began to practice it correctly. What a shock.

My falls are soft and relaxed. Why do you constitute slapping to mean stiff and hard?

Regards,

Charlie

Sorry, Charlie, everyone is a "kid" to me at my age. If you'd like, I can just call you "sonny." Just kidding. In fact, anyone my age or older will remember what television commercial "Sorry, Charlie" came from. ;)
And I don't constitute slapping with "stiff and hard"... but with incorrect technique. You are accelerating and adding force to your own fall. Having been thrown from horses at a full gallop, onto hard pavement, I have both quantitative and qualitative data that illustrates the difference between breakfalling with and without slapping.

I don't have a problem with people doing this on mats, especially beginners who are just learning their left from their right. The trouble is, once this initial exercise is conditioned into the student, it is hard to break them of it. Then they take it on the streets with them. Falling on mats and falling on pavement or rocks are very different matters. Why not teach people correctly from the start...

It's just staggering that, surrounded by good data on physics, body mechanics and physiological data derived from good scientific method, so many people in Western post-industrial society still buy into pseudoscience. But, the papers still run astrology columns, so that's a good barometer for the state of public knowledge.

Just because a system has been taught a certain way for a while, doesn't mean it's right. Tradition sometimes is BAD tradition.

MM 11-25-2006 01:25 PM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Quote:

Charles Burmeister wrote:
Oh brother!!! Falling on concrete and such is detrimental in and of itself. I get a chuckle out of reasoning like this because why would I be falling on concrete and rocks? If I get to a point where I have to be taking falls in these types of conditions probably means that quite a few more important things have gone Kapooy!

Regards,

Charlie

I've taken more falls on concrete, rocks, ground, and hard surfaces than I ever have taken in a fight. I've had my legs go out from under me at a bowling alley when I accidentally went past the line, I've tripped and rolled over/onto rocks, I've fallen on an iced concrete parking lot, etc. So, there can be a lot of times where one gets to that type of condition. It doesn't necessarily mean that quite a few things have gone Kapooy. :)

Mark

MM 11-25-2006 01:45 PM

Re: To Slap the Ground or Not
 
IMO:

Falling (with or without the slap) is only a small portion of ukemi. Talking about ukemi in just that aspect is like talking about one individual player while watching a football game. You're missing the bigger picture. :)

We learn to roll and fall for safety reasons, not ukemi reasons. We initially learn to slap while falling for safety reasons, not principle. That's an important aspect to remember.

Initially, while performing techniques, people have to have a vehicle for safe practice. Rolling and falling are that vehicle. It's a beginner's tactic until the student progresses enough to start understanding ukemi. All this slapping the mat is just a beginning learning procedure such that students can use energy and intent in an attack while also learning ukemi (not rolling and falling).

We learn to slap because it gets the body into a safer position when landing. It supposedly also distributes the force when landing. Again, this is a safety tactic so that a student doesn't end up landing on their head and/or neck.

Ukemi isn't rolling and falling. If you're at that point where you are rolling and/or falling, you've lost most of your ukemi and you're basically in the last ditch effort to save your body.

Ukemi is receiving energy and manipulating energy. Sort of like what Aikido is about. When someone is trying to do something to you and giving you energy, how you receive that energy is ukemi.

When you attack someone and they use Aikido, most of what's coming back at you is your own energy. What you do with it is ukemi. Good ukemi means you can keep your center and effect the other person. You'll hear this called reversing technique. Bad ukemi means you were fairly clueless about the resulting energy coming back and now you're in that situation where you have to roll or fall.

For example, when Dan did the no inch punch, my ukemi sucked. I couldn't receive the energy properly so my last resort was to fall backwards, which I did. There was no slapping. Just a nice, soft backwards fall onto the ground. The former was advanced ukemi which I failed and the latter was basic ukemi which I passed.

When talking about rolling and falling, well, IMO, most of the true ukemi has passed by that point. What one is doing now is merely receiving the ground in a safe manner. Nothing special about that. Most beginners can accomplish that in a relatively short amount of time.

Mark

Mike Sigman 11-25-2006 01:47 PM

Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement
 
Quote:

Cady Goldfield wrote:
Sorry, Charlie, everyone is a "kid" to me at my age. If you'd like, I can just call you "sonny." Just kidding. In fact, anyone my age or older will remember what television commercial "Sorry, Charlie" came from. ;)

"Television commercial"?????? You're just a puppy. When I was a kid, if we wanted a drink of water, we had to make our own by combining Hydrogen and Oxygen.

Cady Goldfield 11-25-2006 02:10 PM

Re: To Slap the Ground or Not
 
You had oxygen when you were a kid???!!!! You're just a baby! We were still breathing methane in my day.

Rigel Keffer 11-25-2006 02:23 PM

Re: To Slap the Ground or Not
 
The week before Thanksgiving, I was to check friends' mail and feed both hamster and dog while they were out of town for several days. Late on Friday, 11/17, their dog burst through my ankles and knocked me down the concrete steps onto the concrete back patio. OUCH. I sprained the tar out of my right ankle (which took the twisting force of the idiot dog) and bruised/slightly-cracked a bone in my foot. I've also angered the problematic disk in my lower back, a chronic problem that often acts up at the least provocation. That said, I have great appreciation for aikido training and the way I automatically helped myself during the fall. I spun my body during the crazy descent down the stairs and was able to disperse the force of the impact along my entire right side. And, I kept my neck bent and did not hit my head on the concrete. It was basically a really goofy looking instinctual attempt at a break fall.

I did not slap out. I just unfolded and exhaled as I took the impact the full right length of my body. I ended up just laying there on my back looking at the sky shivering on the cold concrete. Oh yeah, and yelling, "You stupid dog! Now, I'm gonna have to miss aikido class!" Yup, aikido was the FIRST thing I thought of when the pain hit.

I cringe to think what would've happened if I had taken that same fall a year or two ago. I'd've probably ended up with one or both wrists injured and a head/facial injury on top of the almost given aggravated back injury and the dog-caused torn up ankle.

DonMagee 11-25-2006 02:58 PM

Re: To Slap the Ground or Not
 
We are forgetting a bigger picture. As i'm often preached about the dangers of the street, you should very well know the street is covered in broken glass, needles, and in most cases, lava.

Seriously though, I don't think the slap has to be hard, I've fallen a few times on the sidewalk and I slapped without any issues, but I don't slap hard. The bigger problem I see people do is that they hold their breathe, or they do not exhale forcefully when they hit the ground. The first time something lands on you when you get throw, you will have wished you exhaled.


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