Sean Kelleher wrote:
I wouldn't suggest backwards rolls are for everyone or every situation but they do allow you to regain your feet very quickly and to dissipate energy when being drawn backwards.
Ok, this is the second time we've gotten this answer. The problem with it is that both these benefits also accrue to the other alternative I mentioned: the backward side roll, or 'ushiro yoko kaiten'. In fact, I think it is actually superior in both these respects. In addition, the backward side roll also has the benefits of less danger to one's neck, more control over one's trajectory, being able to quickly turn in the direction one is going and see what is ahead, and being able to get up in two different ways.
The disadvantage of follow-up is shared to some extent by both the back roll and the backward side roll. I personally think this is not a very good argument against either, for training purposes.
To start with, the follow-up lacks inherent logic: if nage wanted to ground and pound you, why did he just throw you away from him or her? If this was the aim, a smart nage would hold on and follow you down in the first place.
Second, both rolls are designed for safely resolving a single throw in practice, for the most part - a situation in which a surprise follow-up is outside the parameters of the practice scenario. If you think nage is going to keep coming, then you simply choose the half fall and get your feet in between you instead of doing either roll.
Even assuming some validity to this criticism, I still think the backward side roll is better, as the roll can be modified during execution in several ways to address the problem of a pursuing uke.
It is interesting to know that the back roll is considered dangerous and not used in other Aikido schools. I have only trained in Aikikai. However, I'm still looking for reports of actual injuries or fatalaties.