Re: When to introduce breakfalls
In the Aikido style that we practice, after the students are comfortable doing their front and back rolls we gradually introduce breakfalls. Initially, we ask them to do a standing roll into the finish position of a breakfall. This is to teach them the proper way of landing from a breakfall. Afterwards, we hold them one handed and "throw" them over the held hand by the neck. The sempai who is doing the throwing makes sure that the neck and head of the student is safe from hitting the mat. After a few sessions of this training, majority of the students can perform standing breakfall.
The more advanced students practice breakfalls over obstacles, e.g. kneeling students, 1 up to 3 students, depending on the skill level of the person taking the breakfall. We also practice doing breakfalls from suwariwaza techniques or kneeling breakfalls.