After a decade long break, I've had about 2 years back on the mat. My ukemi isn't coming back. Rolls still hurt, I cant seem to install better ukemi, and adjusting technique is difficult. Am I too well programmed? I wont roll unless I am actually thrown, I am stepping out and tapping out of techniques, and generally being a lame-assed wuss training partner.
Any words of wisdom, kicks in the pants, commiseration, training tips, etc.?
I try to look at ukemi as the final part of the technique that nage is executing. In other words, the ukemi is not someting that uke is doing in response to nage, but that the ukemi is the completion of nage's technique. The end result is less of a "clash" of two opposing bodies/forces. This also results in less of a clash with the mat. I like Phi's description of his love affair with the mat. Of course, this is all so much easier to describe than to actualize. Perhaps the approach to take is to consider taking ukemi like landing a airplane. As long as you can walk away from it, it is a good landing, so less of a focus on correct form and more what your body wants/needs to do to survive the ukemi. I have seen high-level shihan with this approach. Their ukemi is not very elegant, but it gets the job done, it works for their body, and they get back up.