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Old 03-17-2002, 02:39 PM   #6
Greg Jennings
Dojo: S&G BJJ
Location: Springboro, OH
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 1,125
Re: Is training dangerous?!

Originally posted by Kat.C
The sensei demonstrated a breakfall and the we lined up and he pushed us so we fell backwards and slapped our arm on the mat. I guess the slapping part was to soften the fall?
Falling is one part of the art we call ukemi def. to receive with/through the body.

It's a little more complicated that "slapping is to soften the fall", but that's probably a good explanation for now.


I wasn't getting that part very well but it was fun. Ever notice most MA's like pain.
That you enjoyed it is a good sign! I personally don't know that I like pain. But I do like pushing the edges and pain often comes with it.


We also did a few techniques with a partner. I don't know what they were called. Anyways onto the questions.
That's kind of how things go in our dojo. We do some warm ups, some drills, ukemi practice, then techniques, a little multiple-partner "chaos" practice (randori) then finish up with a "polishing practice" called kokyu dosa or kokyu tanren ho. Then we clean the mats, chat and go home.


Is training dangerous? I can survive some pain
I always had bruises from karate and it didn't bother me, just part of the training.
But dying! In Class! never occured to me when I was in karate . I have been reading posts on this forum for a few days and I looked at some older ones and it was about getting killed in training. I'm assuming it doesn't happen all that much or there wouldn't be too many people doing it, but is it something to beware of each time you are in the dojo.
I've been training for over seven years. Mostly training in a pretty "edgy" way. I separated a shoulder when I first got started (being stupid), dislocated an elbow (being stupid) and injured my back (playing much, much too hard i.e., being stupid). See a pattern developing?

There have been a couple of people killed in Japan in college clubs. Basically, due to a hazing culture.

Another case was an aikidoist in CA being paralyzed from a broken neck when someone fell on her while she was in the middle of a rearward roll.

So, avoid stupidity, Japanese college clubs with a hazing culture and rolling up onto your neck in a crowded situation and you'll probably come out OK .

Seriously, practice with safety as your first priority and you'll very probably experience the same sorts of bruises, etc. that you experienced in your karate class.


How will I know if the sensei is concerned with his students saftey?
Watch how he/she controls the class. Does the sensei push people way past their limitations? (Tough to tell) Does he/she say things to some students like "Do you want to try, John? If you don't just roll out to the side".

The instructor should, IMO, should be guiding the students in growth. Sometimes that means letting them do what they're comfortable with, sometimes pushing them and sometimes holding them back.


How long do you practise breakfalls and rolls before people start throwing you around?
It differs. Mostly people can do sit-outs first, then rolls and later breakfalls. I have a positive feeling from a dojo that practices ukemi vs. those that don't practice it in class.

The policy in my dojo is that people do what they feel that want to try. Because our flavor of aikido is big on breakfalls, we start people on breakfalls as soon as they can roll.


Or do people throw you when you are learning breakfalls? My exposure to aikido was minute so I know absolutely nothing on how a beginner is taught.
Refer to above. It should be a progressive thing. Sit-outs, rolls, breakfalls. Some dojo practice in such a way that they never take breakfalls (i.e. high-falls).


Also I cannot do even a forward somersault will I be able to learn how to roll? Is a roll in aikido the same as a somersault?
Once in a while people come through that can't do rolls. Mostly, they have some sort of physical limitation; the most common being severe obesity.

I had the same concerns when I started aikido. It took me a month to get over that first time in a rearward roll. The separated shoulder mentioned above was from repeatedly throwing myself into the mat in an attempt to learn a front roll. I'm a stubborn cuss .

But I learned. Now I live to fall. The higher, the more blind, the better. I especially love the falls where it feels that the world dropped out from under me and I'm being sucked into a black hole. But I digress...

In short, if you're basically healthy and apply yourself, you should be able to learn w/o any problems.


Sorry to write such a lengthy piece I never was good at outlines. By the way we only have one aikido dojo near us and unless I see something really bad there I plan to go so could some of you give me and idea of what to expect and what to look for?
If it's the only one that's convenient, I'd give it a try and see what happens.

If you think something is weird, feel free to e-mail me. Heck, you can call if you like. My contact info is on our dojo website. I have the grand and glorious privilige of being the dojo secretary, go-fer, janitor and a couple of other jobs that go along with being the senior student in an ultra-small dojo.


You're very welcome !

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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