AikiWeb Aikido Forums

AikiWeb Aikido Forums (
-   General (
-   -   I need advice on rolls!! (

Adamas 03-16-2004 08:41 PM

I need advice on rolls!!
I need some help. I'm having trouble doing rolls. my forward rolls are ok but my back rolls are . . . well you know those pirate-ship rides at the fair where it goes back and forth and back and forth and then after a while it gets just to the top and pauses for a second and then continues the loop? . . . well thats kind of the idea you get if you ever see me go a back roll!! any assistance on this would help.

(yes i do try to practice at home and i have asked my instructor but i just cant seem to get it!)

giriasis 03-16-2004 09:39 PM

I used to have the same problem with just one side. I would just stop mid-way and flop over.

I did three things:

1. It helps to really make sure to roll in as small a ball as you can. The smaller the tuck, the less momentum you lose.

2. If you are doing the above, but just don't have enough momentum, use your arms to create a little extra. So if you are doing a right backward roll (right foot starting in front), sort of throw your arms over your right shoulder (you should be rolling left hip to right shoulder).

3. You know the warmup where you put your feet over your head? In yoga it's similar to "The Plow". Do that then tilt your head to one side and put your feet to the opposite side. Do this slowly. Look for your stopping points. Analyze what you are doing. You are looking to not put pressure on your neck and that both feet go to the same side. This helped me alot with my "bad" side as I realized I was going more straight back rather than diagonally.

You can alter the third one and practice the rolling halfway stand up exercise. Instead of rolling straight back, roll from your left hip to right shoulder, then stand up switch stance and roll from your right hip to left shoulder.

Hope that Helps,

Lan Powers 03-16-2004 09:59 PM

For me, the biggest hurdle to the backwards roll was the lack of momentum miss Giri mentioned .

It is actually MUCH harder to roll backward from a *static* position (kneeling) than from a standing start. The step back to lower your hip towards the mat, is where you gain a lot of the needed inertia.

It is great to use the "thrown arms" she described as well.

Are you having trouble when you are standing and starting? Or is it just when starting from a kneel?

Rolling will come. *next is breakfalls*

ikkitosennomusha 03-16-2004 10:16 PM

Form: When from kneeling, make sure you head goes to the opposite side of the knee that is up. Put your hands in a praying-type position on the same side of the knee that is up. Roll backwards across your shoulder blades. You neck should never touch the mat. Use the leg that was down to kick/thrust a 45 degree angle in the air and your hands to push on the mat for the follow through. It goes the same from standing.

As far as the rest goes, it sounds like you have a momentum problem. Start the roll with more energy and the leg thrust and hand will help with this as well.

Brad Medling

*Aiki*Jimmy_yan 03-16-2004 10:50 PM

um... are u talking about BACKFALLS or back 'rolls'?

Nafis Zahir 03-16-2004 11:08 PM

Go to the following websites: or

and purchase the ukemi tapes by Donovan Waite Sensei. This will be of great help. I've been doing Aikido for almost 9 years and these tapes have made a big difference. Hope it helps you out.

Adamas 03-17-2004 07:33 AM

I've Tried, while doing my backrolls, not to roll on my neck/head but i cant seem to get it right. *sore neck* I ment to mintion that in the origainal post!

giriasis 03-17-2004 07:48 AM


Adamas Orion (Adamas) wrote:
I've Tried, while doing my backrolls, not to roll on my neck/head but i cant seem to get it right. *sore neck* I ment to mintion that in the origainal post!

Then you're probably rolling more straight back. Try the third exercise I mentioned and really focus on turning your head to one side and putting your feet over on the opposite side. Then once you get the feel do the rocking exercise but try to go on a more diagonal. You are looking to train your body to roll from left hip to right shoulder and right hip to left shoulder.

This exercise is meant to teach you how if feels to roll on the diagonal and avoid rolling on your neck. It's something you can easily do at home.

Ian Upstone 03-17-2004 08:36 AM

One thing I find helps with avoiding head and neck contact when rolling over backwards:

If, for example, starting with right foot forward, extend the left arm out to the side (palm down). Put the back of the right hand on your left cheek/ear. As your back leg collapses and you roll over your left shoulder, try to touch the mat with the palm of your right hand. In doing so, this should force the diagonal line of contact others have already mentioned, and protect your head at the same time.

This is so hard to explain in words! The only bit I feel adds to what others say is by using your hand like this, but the best advice I could give is to ask your sensei or a senior to help you.

Paul Melsness 03-17-2004 12:12 PM

A lot of people in my class were having problems with the back rolls (esp. from a sitting/kneeling position). My sensei helped fix this by having us focus on the 45 degree angle leg thrust that Brad mentioned, along with a contracting of the ab muscles to provide extra momentum.

Hope this helps.


Ian Williams 03-18-2004 09:54 PM


Nafis Zahir wrote:
Go to the following websites: or

and purchase the ukemi tapes by Donovan Waite Sensei. This will be of great help. I've been doing Aikido for almost 9 years and these tapes have made a big difference. Hope it helps you out.

Can't find links to purchase these tapes on those two sites. any assistance would be gratefully received.

Had a horror night on the mat last night. I am still a white belt (jujitsu) almost finished the grading for my green/white. I was asked by one of the shodans to be the Uke for a higher student practicing leg reaping moves. I suggested I may not be ready for that as my ukemi is not strong but he asked that I give it a go anyway.

Well... After about 30 different takedowns (I do not exagerate) with perhaps 3-4 what I would call "successful" break falls, I was hurting quite badly and it was over.

Today, EVERYTHING hurts. My neck, my back, my ribs, my arms. EVERYTHING. Last night I was quite upset when I got home as I was genuinly scared during the last few takedowns/throws as I had landed badly a couple of times by then. I guess it's my own stupid fault for not saying something sooner but one does not want to appear "weak".

Oh well. chalk it down to another of lifes experiences and I hope these pains go away soon :confused:

I'm enjoying jujitsu but I do think that not enough emphasis is put on ukemi before ungraded students are asked to perform pretty nasty falls.. (A full leg reap when you go down on your back is damn scary, as I am sure you can remember from your beginning days)

stuartjvnorton 03-18-2004 10:17 PM


Jimmy Yan (*Aiki*Jimmy_yan) wrote:
um... are u talking about BACKFALLS or back 'rolls'?

Yoshinkan is a bit different to most other styles of Aikido in this.

The backroll they are talking about is where they roll over the shoulder in a "vertical" circle (sort of like a forward roll in reverse), where we usually do that 180 degree horizontal pivot on our back/shoulder blade.

Not the best description, but there you go...

Robert Rumpf 03-19-2004 01:02 PM

I would suggest that you corner a senior student before or after class. They can show you in person what we can only talk about.. If that doesn't work, than try a different senior student next class.

I personally have found that there are some people who can explain things in a way I can easily understand, and that there are some people who cannot. This doesn't seem to be correlated to rank, or to whether or not the person is an instructor.

At least with rolls you are presumably fortunate enough to have a significant number of people you can ask to help you..


actoman 03-19-2004 01:24 PM

On reverse rolls it helps me to make sure that I kick my rolling leg as far out as possible to get the most momentum. I hated Ukemi when I first started, I just did not have the coordination, then it just clicked.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:12 PM.

Powered by: vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.