Re: Ukemi worried
Hi. I am failry new to Aikido (like 9 months) and yes Ukemi takes time to be learnt. I still have hard times taking forward rolls above all like following techniques like Kaiten Nage where I do not know from the beginning where I am thrown, but I am forced to follow the flowing of the movements.
When time comes to learn forward rolls you will probably start from your knees to move later on from standing position. Do not watch too many videos of Aikido where you see already expert Uke taking rolls. In a dojo Sensei or the nage throwing you will know you are a beginner and will give you time to get ready and take your fall at your pace. You will find many things that will make things hard to roll, but the main thing (for most beginners) will be fear...either you know it or not.
You have to learn to trust your body and not doubt it. Hesitation and tension will make things harder. Visualize yourself rolling and don't think about anything else. Follow the direction of your Sensei and don't think about broken neck or bad things coz they won't happen. Pain in the beginning will be normal also coz some muscles that take part to the rolling "game" need to get used to it.
One of the best suggestions that was given to me was to look where I am going. Like when you walk you just look where you go and don't think about the steps you take, so in a roll think about the final destination and put all your intent into it.
Jess, I was scared about high falls too. The idea of having to take a roll without "being a ball" where I know I have a free hand always available to put near my head if I need really terrified me.
One day Sensei was throwing me with Kotegaeshi and he started doing it faster and harder beyond the point I could take it on purpose. He suddenly stopped and told me the next kotegaeshi to turn with my center and take a high fall (giving me the details on how to do it). PANIC! But I tried anyway without esitations and didn't go that bad. I landed a little bit too much on the center of my back instead of the side, but I didn't even realize I was doing it. Sensei told me that unfortunately the best way to learn high falls is the hard way in a technique and I agree. There are exercises to learn, but doing it while keeping up with a kotegaeshi or another technique will lead you in doing it without thinking about it...not time to stop or to hesitate.