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CarrieP 11-20-2008 11:15 AM

Ukemi off the mat
 
Where I live in Michigan, the winter season has descended upon us in full swing.

With the chances for falls increasing due to slippery and icy conditions, I was starting to think about how to take/use ukemi off the mat.

At least once every season, I lose my footing and have a near miss with the ground (alas, I don't fly).

Does anyone have any experience/suggestions/stories about experiences with ukemi off the mat? Yours or others? Are there things that need to be done differently/more gingerly/with more force, etc?

Unfortunately, last time I fell I utterly failed in my ability to take ukemi. I didn't get hurt, but I think this was due more to my surprise that I was on the ground than anything I consiously did with my body (had been training for about 6 mos at the time).

Eva Antonia 11-20-2008 11:34 AM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Dear Carolyn,

this summer I had the "opportunity" to take a mix of yoko and ushiro ukemi with my bike, when I was cycling on a slippery road and there was
a) a car just making an abrupt curve to park where I was and
b) a lorry just opened its back door (a horizontal trap; the guy just let it fall down in outside direction) to unload whatever merchandise.

I tried to get out of the way of both; swerving+braking+slippery road = loss of balance, and I found myself lying on the pavement, bike between the legs, arms slapping the ground and NOTHING hurt at all.

I'm sure I'd break my arms and legs if I tried to do that stunt consciously, but in that situation it just worked alone.

But I don't think you'd have to train off the mat in order to get this reaction; I suppose if you just do lots and lots of ukemi on the mat it would come automatically.

If you try to do ukemi on hard underground, you'd be tempted to be more hesitant because you are afraid of the impact. I tried once just to see if it works, I bent forward too gingerly and fell on my head. But after that bicycle experience I tried again with normal speed just to see if it REALLY works (without bicycle), and then it worked. But then I thought it was not necessary to insist more on this and just let it be.

So just assume if your ukemis are fine in the dojo when you ar thrown without being forewarned, then they should be fine outside also.

Best regards,

Eva

lbb 11-20-2008 12:59 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
In my experience, winter slips and falls usually happen to fast to think about, "Gee, how am I gonna take this ukemi?" But aikido is like that sometimes too. My ukemi ain't nothin' to write home about, but it is at the point where I don't have to constantly think, "Hmm, how am I gonna get to the ground without breaking?" I have had a couple of occasions where things were moving fast and I did too-fast-for-thought ukemi, which is a really rewarding experience: finding myself on the mat, having gotten there really fast, and having done it correctly and safely, makes me think I have a fairly good chance of doing the same if I slip on the ice. So I would agree with Eva, you can train for this kind of reaction on the mat.

Bob Blackburn 11-20-2008 01:46 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
The more you practice on the mat, the more you body will take over during a fall.

DonMagee 11-20-2008 02:16 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
I've had judo break falls safe me a few times during the winter months. In judo you only have time to think 'Oh Shit!', tuck your chin and exhale.

Those are the parts that matter the most anyways.

CarrieP 11-20-2008 02:34 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Thanks, all, for the responses so far.

Sam Turnage 11-20-2008 02:37 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Well…. Shortly after my son started in Aikido at 5 years old, he is now 6, my wife and I had just finished talking about whether or not he mite be to young or if he is really learning anything in aikido. We have a pine floor in the house and my wife had just moped it and it was very slippery and my son who was running in the house with socks on came by and did a perfect looking back fall.:)

Jon Shickel 11-20-2008 04:36 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
We had a member who was waiting for a ride in a parking lot when a car backed into her from behind. It knocked her forward and she rolled out of it. She was uninjured except a few scratches on her arms.

Janet Rosen 11-20-2008 06:07 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Left my orthopedist's office a few yrs ago, downcast about my knee and what I thought might be the end of my aikido training, decided to walk home instead of use the bus, as an attitude adjustment. It had drizzled and I slipped on one of those metal sidewalk doors some businesses have. My feet flew up in front of me, my body twisted to one sideso that my arm, lats and hip took the fall, and I rolled sideways and up onto my feet and kept walking - all to fast to have thought about it.

jennifer paige smith 11-20-2008 06:35 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Quote:

Don Magee wrote: (Post 219855)
In judo you only have time to think 'Oh Shit!', .

Hey, that's the part I'm good at, too!

Walter Martindale 11-21-2008 03:05 AM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Quote:

Don Magee wrote: (Post 219855)
(snip)
In judo you only have time to think 'Oh Shit!', tuck your chin and exhale.

(snip)

Depending on who you're practicing with you may be looking up from the floor before you realise the guy's attacking. Thousands of ukemi and his skill made safe landings possible (it was at Kodokan, I was an ikkyu, he was the smallest guy on the Japanese national team - how did I get to the floor so fast? What happened? - turned out he was using seioi nage all the time - it took about 5 minutes of repeated thumps to get my nervous system to realise he was attacking in time to move before the conscious brain realised it)

Have fallen off bikes and rolled out of it. Have been running for a bus, tripped, rolled, got up and kept running. Have run for a phone, snagged my foot on a tree root, rolled, got up, kept running before I realised what happened.

slipping on ice is another story - sometimes it's even faster than that national team fellow...
W

Harm-ony 11-21-2008 07:00 AM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Since I started practicing Aikido in 1994, Our dojo have no matt (Tatami), so we must ukemi on the floor directly.
That's why Sakamoto Sensei and Maeda Sensei called our dojo as Hell Dojo
Because there were no Tatami, we must practice correctly and learn 'sensing'. :)
We have simple tatami at mid of 2007. However, because there is tatami, many people falls incorrectly. because they don't worry about getting injured??? :D

Peace and Love, :ai:

Nathan Wallace 11-21-2008 09:45 AM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
try not to smack after the fall. on the mat its one thing on ice and snow its something different

DonMagee 11-21-2008 01:18 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Quote:

Paul Wallace wrote: (Post 219923)
try not to smack after the fall. on the mat its one thing on ice and snow its something different

I do not smack the mat anymore in the gym. I made a decision awhile ago that if you are going to throw me in randori then I'm going to take you with me. So now I simply hold on. It changes the dynamics of the fight and in many cases the throws are not as hard.

Nathan Wallace 11-21-2008 10:40 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
I can't say that you should always 'hold on' but i don't think thats what you mean. I think your saying you stay in tune and on the deffensive/offensive right down to the ground; and back up again. Either way the commitment to improve your training is always a good thing.

wideawakedreamer 11-21-2008 11:19 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Quote:

Paul Wallace wrote: (Post 219923)
try not to smack after the fall. on the mat its one thing on ice and snow its something different

I remember the first time I participated in a demonstration. We were near the edge of the mat when the nage threw me (I think it was a shihonage). I smacked my hand hard on the concrete floor next to the edge. OUCH!

Luc X Saroufim 11-22-2008 09:46 AM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
as i was walking down the stairs to my basement, i *started* to slip, and my body immediately went to a sitting down motion, as if to begin a backwards fall or roll.

nothing dramatic, but the muscle memory was a pleasant surprise :)

gdandscompserv 11-22-2008 10:38 AM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Quote:

Rafael Ayala wrote: (Post 219951)
I remember the first time I participated in a demonstration. We were near the edge of the mat when the nage threw me (I think it was a shihonage). I smacked my hand hard on the concrete floor next to the edge. OUCH!

lol. Been there and done that!

DonMagee 11-22-2008 12:33 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Quote:

Paul Wallace wrote: (Post 219948)
I can't say that you should always 'hold on' but i don't think thats what you mean. I think your saying you stay in tune and on the deffensive/offensive right down to the ground; and back up again. Either way the commitment to improve your training is always a good thing.

I think you put that better then I did. But that is exactly what I mean.

Kevin Leavitt 11-22-2008 01:13 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Quote:

Don Magee wrote: (Post 219929)
I do not smack the mat anymore in the gym. I made a decision awhile ago that if you are going to throw me in randori then I'm going to take you with me. So now I simply hold on. It changes the dynamics of the fight and in many cases the throws are not as hard.

I do the same thing. Slows down the fall. I think it offers a realistic/tactical approach to ukemi as well. It encourages nage to have good posture too.

In Judo, I struggle with this, because holding on can be detrimental to you and give Ippon to your opponent. But that is the strategy of the judo game.

I think holding on is the way to go most of the time. Once I have a grip on you, I am taking you with me, so you better have good awareness and posture.

gdandscompserv 11-22-2008 01:57 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Quote:

Kevin Leavitt wrote: (Post 219968)
I do the same thing. Slows down the fall. I think it offers a realistic/tactical approach to ukemi as well. It encourages nage to have good posture too.

In Judo, I struggle with this, because holding on can be detrimental to you and give Ippon to your opponent. But that is the strategy of the judo game.

I think holding on is the way to go most of the time. Once I have a grip on you, I am taking you with me, so you better have good awareness and posture.

My sensei would get upset if we didn't hang on.

C. David Henderson 11-23-2008 09:34 AM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Sometimes, oddly enough, "mountain-bike" ukemi I've done involved keeping contact with the bike. Sometimes it works; others...well not the time my feet stayed clipped into the pedals and I rolled twice. Still, only some bruises and a ripped fingernail.

When this kind of thing happens, it does call on what one really knows about falling, in one's body. Falling thousands of time on the mat really and truly changes the way you react, without thinking,off the mat. I don't know that anything special needs to be trained, other than just taking ukemi.

FWIW

DH

Nathan Wallace 11-23-2008 04:44 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Quote:

David Henderson wrote: (Post 219986)
I don't know that anything special needs to be trained, other than just taking ukemi.

FWIW

DH

taking ukemi right you mean. :p

C. David Henderson 11-23-2008 11:03 PM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
More, "in the right direction" from my perspective.

CarrieP 11-24-2008 07:36 AM

Re: Ukemi off the mat
 
Funny enough, we wound up talking about this in class this past weekend, through no prompting of my own.

Can't say I know enough about ukemi to speak knowledgably about "slapping," however it does seem to dissipate some of the energy of falling if done correctly.


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