Re: Ueno Chimp Rolls
A lot of great comments. I especially like Jonathon's last post, a good summation. I have worked with a lot of beginners on rolls, in both Aikido and Systema classes. Here are my current thoughts.
The cause of the vast majority of problems in rolling comes from a lack of flexibility and strength in the spine.
Rolls in response to techniques are majorly overused. Donovan Waite type ukemi work is better. Basically, instead of taking a front roll, turn and do a side or back roll.
Solo front roll practice is an excellent method to improve your health.
Pain is a signal you are doing something wrong. Don't put up with it. George Ledyard has written here that half of the sixth dans he knows cannot take even simple ukemi anymore due to physical problems.
Donovan Waite's videos are absolute must haves. Bruce Bookman's and Ellis Amdur's ukemi videos are excellent. Buy them all, work on all of it everyday, and think of how much money and pain you will save when you are old and not have to being making regular hospital visits and riding around in a wheelchair.