View Single Post
Old 07-12-2004, 11:55 AM   #14
Dojo: Aikido of Silicon Valley
Location: Fremont, CA
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 248
Re: When to introduce breakfalls

Yann Golanski wrote:
Ian, did you notice as well how most UK folks start doing forward rolls over their neck. What I mean by that is put both hands on the floor and roll, you neck being the first point of impact. I hear this was how school were teaching forward rolls. Insane if you ask me...

So, my question is how do you get people out of that habbit?
Hi Yann,

I used to practice karate and that was one of the ways I was taught to do forward rolls - over the head onto your neck (actually not on your neck, but more on your shoulders).

I would not call that insane since if you are taught correctly you can do such rolls w/o pain. At the end I was able to jump over a chair and do that roll.

Anyway. But you are perfectly right that it was really hard to learn how to roll the way we do it in Aikido. I'm still practicing and my memory is pretty fresh, so I would like to share my experience.

First mistake I was doing is I was jumping over my shoulder instead of rolling. To improve that you should not hurry. Do that technique slowly and do not jump.

Second problem - I was bending my elbow after I start the technique (you do that when you do the forward roll on your neck - to compensate your jump and to land on your shoulders). Solution - after you placed your forward hand on the mat keep it round and do not bend more.

Third - face backwards all the time (even when you finish the roll). I can't explain why this helps doing the technique right, but it helps a lot.

When I started Aikido after couple of days I had terrible pain in my shoulders. Even small impact was a lot of pain. I asked my teacher. He gave me time to rest doing rolls on a much softer mat. He pointed the main errors and the rest I figured out myself by experiencing. Then I moved on a regular mat and was doing rolls from the position on my knee and now I can do it w/o having any pain in my shoulders.

I did not mention the last problem - the fear of pain. After you have that shoulder pain you can't imagine doing the roll w/o having it so you instinctively are afraid of it. Solution - after doing it right on a soft mat, ask your teacher to watch you on a regular mat and he will be able to point your errors. If you listen to his words and understand them you will be able to correct them after experiencing about 10 times (at least that was my case). Of course I felt the same pain couple of times during my experiments, but finally I was awarded by doing it w/o ANY pain!

If my teacher weren't so responsive I would probably quit Aikido not to injure my shoulders, but I'm lucky to have O'Quin Sensei teaching me Many thanks to him.

I hope this will help other beginners to overcome that problem.
  Reply With Quote