Something that I pass along to my students who are learning backward rolls is to use your arms/hands to form a "frame" that keeps your head/neck from contacting the mat while rolling.
I'm not very good at describing how you do it in writing, but here goes. If you're in a left hanmi stance (left foot forward), as you begin the backward roll, hold your left arm out like you're making the "left turn" symbol (left arm out to the side, elbow bent at 90 degrees with hand pointing up). Then position your right arm so that your forearm crosses in front of your face with your right and left hands touching. This will result in a square shape if done properly. Keep your arms in this position as you roll, and in doing so, your head will not touch the mat, preventing damage to your neck/shoulders.
If your right foot is in front, your right arm would make the "left turn" symbol and your left arm would cross in front of your face.
Like I said, it's tough to describe in words.
Last edited by lt-rentaroo : 11-06-2002 at 04:50 PM.