Enrique Antonio Reyes
I remember wen I was starting out with the art I had this feeling that as I become better in Ukemi ---- I become better in Aikido ---- I become better as a martial artist ---- I become tougher...
(In retrospect) I feel that a lot of the other guys whom I trained with feels that way...some of them acted brash (yes, because they can do good ukemi). They feel superior because they can do breakfalls on the mat, on wood and some even on cement flooring (these guys had the biggest egos)
Does any of you ever felt/observed the same thing?
When I was young and beautiful aikido beginner I was fascinated with high flying break falls. Some of my friends were really good, they could do it on the wood and concrete - not because of egos, but in those times, it was difficult to have tatami in the dojo. I learned slowly, and finally I could also do it.
Then I started wondering, what is the real reason to repeat it hundred times/hour, again and again, many years. Now I think if it is well taught, it will be the main tool to develop flexible and powerful
I don't think that doing only aikido techniques as a nage will produce such result. Even doing rolls forward and backward is not enough. Nage must smash you with all his power regularly to unify you with tatami. Then, as by miracle, your body will transform itself. You need such external stimulus that you can't control. So the brain will work very hard to find the best way to protect the body against a pain and danger. After the thousands and thousands of tray/fail experiences, your body will become conditioned in very special way -- instead of tension, the muscles will extend. Whole body will relax and become flexible, and in the same time, will be able to generate a lot of power.
Even now, when I stop practice for vacation, first class is difficult; I need about 50 high flying break falls to regenerate the same body state.