During my years of Judo training.high breakfalls were the norm and got quite good at it as well BUT years of doing this on a consistent basis definitely took a toll on my body.Today in my day to day Aikido training i breakfall as necessary and as close to the ground as possible.
Amen. No matter how safe or comfortable your ukemi might seem after a high breakfall, each one jars your body a little bit, and you only have so many of those in you before they start to mount up. For the most part, they only serve to provide a bit of unnecessary flash in an instructor's demonstration (often delivered by an instructor who has long since ceased to take ukemi himself/herself). In my opinion, taking such falls serves no useful purpose for the student.
If a student is properly trained in ukemi, the decision as to whether or not to take a breakfall at all usually belongs to uke, not nage (the exceptions being those rather painful-looking throws that involve nage loading uke up on his shoulders and dropping him). If uke does elect to take a breakfall (such as in ukemi for shihonage and kotegaeshi), uke can learn how to properly position himself so that every breakfall occurs close to the mat.