I wish people would learn to listen their bodys, it is one of the oldest tricks in the book to prevent injury by relaxing as you fall, or FALL SOFTLY.
I am glad that Donovan Waite has brought it to your attention, but sometimes that is the way of the world. The very thing your friends, or sensei has been telling you for weeks, months, years, suddenly comes to realization with a flash if intelligence at a seminar, or when another teacher explains it in a different way.
Maybe from the rough and tumble childhood I had I learned that relaxing was the best way to fall in any number of situations from play, to accidental falls from ladders, play equiptment, trees, or even low roofs we used to climb upon to rip off the shingles so we could throw them like frizbee's. Mean widdle kids we were. Before I was ten years old I knew just how easy it was to put my hand through various types of glass, or what it took to smash windshields with safety glass.
As for falling ... isn't it obvious that quieter falls are easier to redirect motion and they create less trauma and stress on the human body? Well I thought it was ... since the 1950s when I first started falling from higher and higher heights?
Anyway, if you look as the louder sounds of higher falls, they are an attempt to disburse the energy being generated by the fall to relieve pressure that will cause injury. Hence, the harder a fall is the louder the sound from trying to equally counter that force.
Problem is, we all overcompensate and create more force than needed. That creates the stiff body, and the louder slapping sounds.
When we are relaxed, taking in the energy of the throw, or fall, we are the absorbing cushion that flexes, and moves with the energy of the fall or throw. This either comes out as a SOFT FALL, or a ROLL THROUGH the fall. It makes for some very easy to rebound Ukemi.
The fact that Waite sensei has used it in his video's is a tribute to stunt men/women around the world who have used this age old acrobatic rebound in their profession.
It may be a knock to Donovan Waite in my tone of writing, but I mean no disrepect. I have not had a chance to train with him yet ... although I do give him enormous credit for bringing it into the face of normal ukemi training with the hard falls, and louder slaps.
If this is what it takes to make you aware of the relaxing technique for martial arts, I say "GO for it!"
Just remember, the greater history as you give credit to those who teach you new things.
Of course, if you have gone to a class with Donovan Waite, and have a video, you now a great memory, and video notes.
I just gotta move him up on my ten things to do this year list.