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Unregistered 10-18-2002 06:05 AM

Hard Floor
I wondered how many people practice without tatami.

We're lucky enough that our Sensei is an Aikikai Shihan and one of our classes is held on bare floor.

Do you think this hinders or helps?

I've found sometimes that I find I have radically improved when I'm back on the mat but while on the hard floor I'm feel too concerned that I'll hurt Uke by dumping them on their back that it effects my concentration on the technique despite my confidence in their ukemi.

Ta Kung 10-18-2002 07:58 AM

How about breakfalls on concrete? That would look cool... :eek:

Nacho_mx 10-18-2002 08:26 AM

Aikido on a hard floor...? I pass thank you.

akiy 10-18-2002 10:02 AM

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stoker 10-18-2002 02:50 PM

We practive in a dojo that is 85% Judo -- green matts with red matts ringing the 'action area'. The red matts are stiffer than the green from having bodies pounded into them and the green matts in the action are softer than the few green matts used outside the action area. funny how we seek the softer matts :-)

Steve Bland 10-21-2002 02:38 AM

I was under the impression that we trained on (comparatively) soft mats for one main reason : To prevent injury.

Im a relative beginner at Aikido, and despite the fact my breakfalls are improving (slowly) I still take a bad tumble once or twice a session.

If that was on a hard surface instead of a mat im sure I would have more than a couple of twinges! Training on a solid floor I would place somewhere in the masochism category...

opherdonchin 10-21-2002 08:59 AM

I've done plenty of rolls on hard floors. They're not so awful and they get better with practice. I'm not sure I'd want to train that way non-stop and I think that as I get older it gets less fun but I'm not old enough yet to be sure.

Steve Mullen 10-27-2005 09:28 AM

Re: Hard Floor
I usually train on matted floors, however, at the university class where i began my training (and still train) the matts were or a very poor standard so it was pure pot luck wheather you landed in a bed of feathers or on a slab of granite. I was at a major course and the number of people who turned up on the day far exceeded the amount they expected to have. this means very limited mat space so the event organisers rolled out the stuff which kind of resembled a padded (or should i say slighlty padded) carpet. this made for a slightly softer landing but some very impressive friction burns

ian 10-27-2005 09:54 AM

Re: Hard Floor
Maybe once in a while it helps to bring some realism, but I wouldn't think it was good for training. Last week I was teaching a hip throw (from a choke) to some beginners who couldn't ukemi, so i decided to put 2 big fluffy mats (about 12 inches thick) down - it speeded up the training considerably and nages were really getting much more practise in. I would consider this approach again, even for advanced students.

James Davis 10-27-2005 10:33 AM

Re: Hard Floor
Our dojo didn't have mats for quite a while, and we got used to it. When we finally got mats, it was like a slice of heaven! :D

I have used multiple layers when teaching a high fall technique, and it did speed up training considerably.

Lan Powers 10-27-2005 03:59 PM

Re: Hard Floor
> have used multiple layers when teaching a high fall technique, and it did speed up training considerably.<

We just did that the other night. Lots of fun ! All the bigger guys who don't feel good about "big" ukemi yet were having a ball. :)
Kind of cool to get to really whip a big'un over into hi falls.

aikigirl10 10-27-2005 04:13 PM

Re: Hard Floor
:uch: Ouch... i dont even want to imagine aikido without mats.
But i guess it could better prepare you

James Davis 10-27-2005 04:24 PM

Re: Hard Floor

Paige Frazier wrote:
:uch: Ouch... i dont even want to imagine aikido without mats.
But i guess it could better prepare you

Learn ukemi on mats, then practice on hard floor. In that order. :D It's an eye opener.

aikigirl10 10-27-2005 05:04 PM

Re: Hard Floor
^^ im sure it would be

Upyu 10-27-2005 07:05 PM

Re: Hard Floor
then graduate to asphalt/gravel that's another eyeopener :)

ad_adrian 10-27-2005 08:05 PM

Re: Hard Floor
so here's a question
why dont ppl eva train on concreate? like if ur in a bar or what not im sure a fight will be there
i know mats r good for getting technique right but surely having some realisim cant hurt? why is training always on mats

markwalsh 10-27-2005 10:57 PM

Re: Hard Floor
I practiced for two years in a UK dojo with no mats. The floor was wooden but was upstairs and had some give as the room shook. The first night I went there (after 3 years on mats) I thought they were joking...

We practiced few foreword rolls, no break-falls, but all the usual techniques. I have no doubt that some mat-less practice improves both ukemi and nage waza. The latter through the more obvious connection to the floor and the feeling of pushing off the big toe. It also slows practice to a point where you can feel things through. The former through survival.

At the dojo we found that something was missing however and started training on mats once a week. Also worth noting is that students there, who have not trained elsewhere, think it's no big deal as they don't know any different (see also Sorinji Kempo).

Re injuries - I saw less injuries there than matted dojos - though long term I would watch the knees, and for those making a sudden change to mat-less there are definite risks.

Personally now, I'd recommend a spell of trying it, but I like the aerobic expansiveness that mats can provide - they're a nice privilege.


Sonja2012 10-28-2005 12:42 AM

Re: Hard Floor
We did a workshop with other martial artists the other day in a regular sports hall without mats. I think rolling would still be ok (for a while) and it would probably improve everybody´s rolling skills *very* fast, but what got me is the pain in the knees :hypno: I just wanted to avoid kneeling down whenever possible (it occured more often when taking ukemi), but I have very sensitive knee caps, so other people might not find it too bad.

philipsmith 10-28-2005 04:47 AM

Re: Hard Floor
I have on accasion used hard floors to teach ukeme. For example a couple of years ago I was teaching at a seminar where a lot of students where doing spectacular high rolls BUT landing on the outside of the ankle. After about five minutes practice on a wooden floor ukeme was drastically altered. Interestingly when I saw the same guys a year later they were still doing the "wooden floor" ukeme.

Dazzler 10-28-2005 06:13 AM

Re: Hard Floor
Interesting set of opinions.

Take a step back and consider the purpose of ukemi.

I can think of 2 things initially;

Firstly to enable ones partner to practice.
Secondly to experience what your partner is doing.

In allowing your partner to practice does it make any difference what he throws you on? No. Other than a softer surface should increase your chances of coming back for more.

In terms of the second - will a hard floor enhance your capacity to feel what your partner is doing....or divert your attention to self-preservation?

I have practiced ukemi on hard surfaces...I've practiced grappling on hard surfaces (and even a soft surface is not much fun without a gi on).

Its not something that you need to do a lot of.

Why don't we train on concrete? because its stupid.

Who knows of anyone that has used a forward roll in a fight.

Breakfall maybe...but not by choice.

I'd imagine there are exceptions..but they are likely to be in a very small minority.

In the heat of the moment a few concrete burns won't make a jot of difference. You wont even find them until later.

But they'll certainly get in the way of regular attendance at class.

anyway - I digress.

In this instance the focus should be on the thrower and not the throwee! If theres going to be trouble I'll not be volunteering for ukemi.




ps. Phil - you have a better physique than me for shock absorption anyway - I'll have to train a lot harder to catch you up!

Ian Upstone 10-28-2005 06:40 AM

Re: Hard Floor
I have to second Daren's opinion here.

You are as likely to need breakfalls in a fight as you are bowing skills. They are just a part of practise that allow us to continue training, an artificial element that is essential for repeated practise of techniques. Making uke fall is a by-product of techique, not the aim of it.

Regluar training on a hard surface will not add anything apart from increasing the risk of injury and forcing techniques to become less dynamic.

The only benefit I can think of by taking an occassional fall on a harder surface is that it may help you realise where your falls can be smoother. However, regular long-term training will iron out problems like this, and you're less likely to injure yourself along the way.

Ian (who admits to falling onto concrete recently ...accidentally I might add)

markwalsh 10-28-2005 09:43 AM

Re: Hard Floor
1. The most commonly used (physical) self defense technique of aikido is being able to take ukemi on a hard surface - particularly if you drink :) It's been said before that trips, slips and falls are more dangerous than axe-wielding lunies (for most of us).

2. I too am grateful for mats for allowing us to practice certain techniques and absorb more over time. I would again however stress how they can benefit nage by making the ground connection easier to feel - try practicing to the point of balance breaking on wood - that way you can feel the point without having to go to the doctors :) You may also find that turning on a hard surface is easier on the knees.

bogglefreak20 10-29-2005 06:49 AM

Re: Hard Floor

James Davis, Jr. wrote:
Learn ukemi on mats, then practice on hard floor. In that order. :D It's an eye opener.

:D Exactly!

We always train on mats and I remember that as beginners we were discouraged by our sensei to try it on hard floor for the first couple of months (most of us did it anyway ;) ).

Later, when we felt more and more comfortable with it (and our egos and bravado started kicking in), sensei proposed we all try it at home on wooden floor. "That'll set you back on the ground."

Nowadays I do it sometimes at home after morning stretching excercises. Quite comfortably, I might add.

ruthmc 11-02-2005 07:51 AM

Re: Hard Floor
I've done a few breakfalls on a wooden floor (usually due to missing the mats, occasionally falling off the skateboard) and the only difference is that it stings a bit when you slap your hand down.

Once the tingling goes away and you can feel your fingers again, it's ok. ;)

I agree that it's good once you've learned the basics to try to roll on a hard floor so you can find your remaining corners, and work on rounding them off :)


CoramR 11-03-2005 12:21 PM

Re: Hard Floor
I believe that when you are a beginner, you should practice on fairly soft tatame because it will prevent injury due to lack of experience with Ukemi. However once you become adeped in the ways of Ukemi you should train on hard tatame or with no tatame at all so that you have more of a reason to practice proper Ukemi. I have heard many stories of people who learned Ukemi very well because if they didn't, they would be in pain for several days. So, I beleve that the more experienced you are in Ukemi, the harder the falling surface should be.
In Aiki Spirit,

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