what the big deal is about how high a rank someone's been tossed by? I've been Uke for just about everyone in our dojo except sensei for a technique demo. Some of the higher ranking people are clumsier than the lower ranking people and those that aren't, if they go at full speed all i'm left with is a memory of a blur. I certainly dont get any insight into how to do the technique myself when it's done that fast.
I'm begining to wonder how many people around here are studying Aikido simply because they get a thrill from being hurled through the air. The roller coaster is that way folks. (*points off toward the state fair*).
Maybe we should use that for a poll question.
If you had the chance to take ukemi from one of the greats you wouldn't have to ask that question. I have had the great fortune to take ukemi from many of the finest instructors in the world over the years.
Saotome Sensei and Ikeda sensei have been my teachers for over twenty years and my experience with them is extensive. But I have also taken ukemi for Chiba Sensei, both the older and younger Osawa Senseis, the Former Doshu, Watanabe Sensei, Koroiwa Sensei, Kobayashi Sensei, Mary Heiny Sensei, William Gleason sensei, and Tom Read Sensei. There are probably others that i am forgetting.
Each of these teachers was unlike any other. Each had an effortless precision that made resistance impossible. Osawa Sensei and the former Doshu were elegant, their Aikido was that of the gentleman. Saotome Sensei and Ikeda are like lightening in their explosive power. One instant of inattention and you 've been struck. Chiba sensei on the other hand is like a tornado or a hurricane in his irresistible power. Mary Heinyt is illusive while Tom Read is absoultely unpredictable.
There is so much taking place in Aikido that can't be seen ether by observers or on video. If you are lucky enough to get to take ukemi from a real "master" you recieve instruction on a whole different level. It is direct and intuitive, not to be comrehended totally with the conscious mind but rather felt in the body. That is why there is so much emphasis on the senior students taking ukemi from the shihan and why you are very lucky when and if you get a chance to take ukemi from someone who is really high ranked. It's a great gift!