Re: When to introduce breakfalls
My senior instructors take the attitude that breakfalls are seldom necessary and can just be picked up gradually as you go along. What actually happens is that the sempai quietly teach them to the kohei when they express an interest. It means, though, that I don't have names for the ones I know, nor do I have a clear idea how to teach them. I think more formal attention would be a good thing.
I think our main concern as students is that at a seminar, or even in regular training, we might get thrown in a way for which our rolls aren't adequate. I did my first breakfall in a regular class totally by surprise ("gosh, look how far down the mat is! I don't think my arm is getting down there....") and my next several at a seminar. I was surprised how well I did, just from rolling experience, but I would have felt a lot safer with training. And I've proven painfully to myself that while I know the breakfall from koteoroshi in theory, I don't know it well enough to launch into it without hesitation. This means that if someone torques my arm hard in koteoroshi (our kotagaeshi variant)--which we are not supposed to do, but accidents happen--I'll probably get injured. The ikkyu just fling themselves out of this, but I'll never get that down without a lot more practice.
I think if I were revising our curriculum I'd teach rolling, then breakfalls as a progression from there, and try not to make a big deal of it. I'd be reluctant to start with them right away. We're a dojo of mainly older people, and we have enough dropouts just with rolling...