Michael Neal wrote:
I never understood why breakfalls were not taught earlier on in Aikido. Just trying to learn them as you go can be dangerous and develop phobias in people about taking falls. I saw a few injuries in Aikido because of this phobia, people start sticking their arms out to brace themselves and stuff.
It also keeps people from wanting to learn koshinage. Rather than having separate classes for Ukemi I think it is a good idea to borrow from the Judo class structure and integrate breakfall practice consistently into the warmup session.
This is also a good example of one of the faults I see with how Aikido is sometimes practiced. There is too much emphasis on doing things in a traditional manner rather than being practical. There needs to be some evolution. The way O' Sensei did it is not necessarily the best way for most other people to learn it.
two problems with this from my experience.
1) some people are not physically able to take breakfalls because for example they are not yet fit enough or some other reason to make the mistakes that are inevitable when learning breakfalls or because their bodies are already broken up because (as in a couple of cases I can think of) for example they are older judoka whose bodies are too battered up to take the kind of warmup you are suggesting.
2) most of the throws we do don't require breakfalls except for dealing with weapons. Not only do we not start new students on something like
O-goshi, koshinage is not even in our syllabus. Also our breakfalls are based on our rolls. There is supposed to be a seamless continuity between the two and thus the progression. Trying to go splat without understandingthe mechanics of our rolls would likely just teach bad habits. by the way, by the time my students are doing breakfalls, they understand the mechanics in their bodies both because of well practice rolls and simple exercises. They don't have phobias because it's continuity with rolling. Except for one guy who started elsewhere and wasn't even taught to roll properly. Just thrown in (that's a pet peeve of mine when I see it - non-teaching). Of course the way we do things is hardly the way what you are talking about in terms of tradition.
It would be kind of pointless to train judo style warmups on the off chance a student might want to go spar a judo player.
Nailing people into the mat is not exactly consistent with our Aikido philosophy anyway.