Enrique Antonio Reyes
I remember a friend who landed on the back of his neck. He's paralyzed now from the neck down.
I guess every now and then you get these freak Oh $#!t moments. In a way this is what I do not like about Aikido you get seriously hurt in an instant and you can't do anything about it when it happens.
I mean you can at least block strikes from the other arts and you can tap in bjj but when your tori (in Aikido) decides change directions while your on the air you can pay dearly for it and all he'd be able to do is say "I'm sorry".
Sorry to hear about your friend. Bad things happen to good people.
Nage has a respnsibility to not hurt their partner. To develop themselves well enough to know what they are prone to do and to understand their power. To simply say 'I'm sorry' is not enough. It is appropriate to reflect for long enough that they realize their mistake and then grow in responsibility and skill.
Ukemi is a method for learning to listen. The keener we get with our attention skills, which is built in each and every class, the better listener we will become. Just as you can anticipate what someone may say in words you can anticipate what someone will say in their body. One woud not want to assume, or jump to conclusions, what someone will say next. You can only stay in presence and respond when there is an opening. Maintain the most connection all of the way through. That is a clean way to have a conversation.
I'm no sranger to injury in ukemi. As a shodan, a hefty blue belt stepped on my hakama and then threw me in a koshi nage (pile-driver style) right on my head. I rotated my head into my center, like a snail, and managed to break only my collarbone. So, I was tuned in, but had misread the maturity of my partner at the time. He couldn't hear himself to know that his ego was intending to $#(+ -can me. I, in false faith, didn't anticipate it would happen. My mistake. If I had taken a pause before that last grab to check in with him....well, no regrets, only lessons.
The other collarbone, that's a story for another day