Berhn - What I'm saying is something different. Proper ukemi requires the proper use of breath, relaxation and the like. These are skills that are inherent in developing the aiki body. So quite apart from the "osmosis effect" - my term for absorbing, unconsciously, some of the skills through contact with the teacher, and consciously "stealing the technique," there is another level of basic physical culture, which Sagawa used - suburi, sumo stomps, etc. On that level, ukemi can be a component.
Reminds me of an old teacher after some hard Ukemi pounding me in the chest while smiling saying, "Some students need the Dharma beaten into them!" LOL
Great Column and it goes along way towards fleshing out some of the chats we've had over the years.