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Irony 03-31-2001 11:38 PM

I train at a dojo where ukemi is given a great deal of consideration, a practice which I think is great. However that means that when we practice Koshinage we're focusing ourselves mainly on the ukemi (mainly because many of us literally suck at breakfalls).
Okay, that out of the way I have to say that today while practicing Koshinage I took a couple of particularly nasty falls. Apparantly I must have done something incorrectly, because now my ankle hurts; hopefully it's not fractured or anything. Doesn't feel that bad. Obviously I want to avoid this kind of thing in the future; I'd hate to limit my time on the mat by an injury, not to mention the effect it would have on my tap dancing career. :)
My question basically is this: Does anyone have any tips on falling out of Koshinage? My sensei is really beautiful in her ukemi, but I'm just not getting it. (I think I may be afraid of heights; at 6' 6" tall it's a long way down!) I know to let my weight fall over nage's hips for what should be a really soft breakfall, but when you weigh 250 lbs it's a little easier said than done to get hoisted up.

Can anyone help me to stop chickening out on my breakfall and landing in a sobbing heap on the floor?

Much thanks,

guest1234 04-01-2001 12:13 AM

funny you should ask, i was just talking about this to someone after class today. My first dojo had a great way of teaching breakfalls, and since i like flying anyway (yes, i'm a bit lighter than 250#) i was an eager uke for koshinage...but the only instruction i got was to stiffen my legs (i think that makes the throw cleaner looking, but not really sure)...and other wise i just went along for the ride (it was a school that did NOT grab the arm or gi of nage, everyplace else i've been has you grab something).
My last dojo had a great way of working up to koshi's...first we'd do the technique ending with uke rolling, essentially a kokyunage, nage kneeling next to uke. After a while we'd move on to the same technique, but nage would be kneeling almost in uke's way while uke would roll. Next, the same thing but uke has to roll over a crouched down nage's hips. Finally we'd get up and do the technique as a koshinage.
when i told my sempai (at now my current dojo) about this he wondered how that made nages better...i told him i thought what it really did was just make the ukes more relaxed and committed to the attack, which made both nage's technique and uke's fall better. If you are afraid of the fall, you tend to hang back, which complicates nage's throw, and either or both can get hurt. You actually have an advantage in the fall due to your size, in that you are not falling from 6'6 (or whatever) but from the height of your nage's hips (usually, although my very favorite is over the shoulder so it's a bit higher) so the reality of it is you could probably nearly roll over your shorter nages. Going slowly but with commited motion (no stopping or hanging back) through the entire technique and you'd probably have a much softer landing.
Finally, since you are lucky enough to be at a school that stresses ukemi (as did my first dojo) i'd recommend the obvious--get one of the seniors to work with you on those falls
hope you have a good flight :)

aikido4life 04-01-2001 01:59 AM

I'm not alone!
I remember when I first became interested in Aikido. I was nervous that my height of 6'6 might be a problem, so I emailed someone. If I'm not mistaken, it was the one and only Jun. I received a reply soon after full of encouragement, and I've been studying ever since. I've found some movements my being so tall, is a probelm to overcome, but on a few I think being taller than most makes things a tad easier. Keep working on the breakfalls.. (ukemi is my biggest issue too by the way).

And thank you to Jun, I owe you a favor I can never repay.

Oshinkan Dojo

aikido4life 04-01-2001 03:10 AM

Whoops! I realized half a second too late I forgot a n in our dojo's name!!! Sorry Sensei!

Onshikan Dojo

wildaikido 04-01-2001 03:37 AM

Hello, I am a little confused on what your koshi nage technique is. Is it like judos Ogoshi nage or is it a koshi gaeshi (Hip over turn). The difference being that in Ogoshi you are standing in front of uke and he goes over 1 hip and koshi gaeshi your basically side on to ukes front and he goes over both hips (almost over your back). The reason I ask is because we practice both throws and I have mostly only seen koshi gaeshi in aikido books (Aikido by Kisshomaru Ueshiba page 94-95).
Any info would be great.

Irony 04-02-2001 12:27 AM

Thanks for all the advice! It is a throw over both hips, for us, but we just call it koshinage. I'm not too sure but different variations might have different names. In response to an earlier post the gradual step up to koshinage as you described is something we practice; I just never quite get the earlier parts right so the full throw never works out! Most of what you said was familiar, but the idea of keeping your legs stiff was a new one for me. If I'd kept my legs more stiff they wouldn't have cracked into the ground like a whip, I bet. (though my foot's feeling much better today!)
The best thing I think my sensei teaches on that breakfall is to let your weight fall past nage's hips so that your're much closer to the ground before you rotate for the breakfall. If only I could get that far without panicking!
As far as being tall, it hasn't really hurt me that much; shihonages are hard to get low enough to go under the arm and I've yet to pull of a decent Koshinage as nage, not to mention getting bent over all the time on shorter ukes. But hey, there are plenty of large, very good aikidoka out there, so I guess I shouldn't complain.

Thanks everyone for the advice! It is much appreciated!

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