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Old 01-13-2009, 10:14 AM   #5
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,568
Re: Need help in Ushiro ukemi waza

I have had students who had a great deal of trouble with ushiro ukemi. Generally, this is because they resist falling. The effect of this is like toppling a tree, so that the resistance to collapsing the bottom of the structure makes the top of the tree hit the ground very much faster -- because it is actually falling for longer -- Gravity acceleration being a constant -- the longer the fall -- the harder you hit. The only reason most people step away backward is to keep balance -- and you are falling -- so why bother ? The only other reason to step away is to clear the range of a weapon, and that's what projective breakfalls and diving rolls are for (and sacrifice throws -- but read on) .

Some simple rules (most of which can be correctly broken in one way or another, but a good general guide nonetheless) :

First rule of falling down: Fall DOWN -- not back, not out -- DOWN! Shortest fall is the easiest fall. Get it over with. It is not your job to make spectacular tosses for your throwing partner. Don't step back to fall rearward, just drop.

Second rule: You are not a tree, you have joints -- use them -- crumple up as you fall down, and shape yourself into a good moving circle as you make contact.

Third rule: See the first rule. If your backside is not briefly touching your heel on the folding leg when you hit the ground -- you are still not falling straight down.

When you get this right the difference between ushiro ukemi and yoko ukemi is essentially the amount of twist you use on the way down. Even if you find you still feel the need to make that rearward step, make it -- and THEN fall straight down. Don't topple over the rear straight leg, and try avoid folding it while you are pivoting over it with weight on it. Recipe for injury. It still just adds the acceleration of your step to your fall If you want that and can use it, then do, but if not -- don't.

For more advanced consideration -- make sure your orientation is right, (almost) always face the attacker and fall on the side that keeps him to your front -- even though you are on the ground.

Falling is not a loss, and even can be made an advantage -- You are down -- not out.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-13-2009 at 10:16 AM.


Erick Mead
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