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Old 12-27-2004, 01:31 AM   #19
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
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Re: What is good ukemi?

I started out trying to take falls as soon and as soft as I could, out of fear. Didn't lead to very nice ukemi. Then I got a bit more confident, not to say arrogant, and began resisting throws. It was fun! But one day I was practicing tanto-disarm shihonage with a favorite senior student. I managed to regain my balance and stand pat through his shihonage, and felt very smug for about two seconds until he popped the tanto out of my hand and poked me all over with it. Of course I was flatfooted, stiff, and completely unable to defend myself. We had a good laugh about it, but I thought, hm....

So I'd like to be like the senior students: light on my feet, quick to move when necessary, not giving throws for free but never stiff or stuck in place either. They can turn into a mountain and somehow still move when they need to. Or, as a sensei from another school told me, "Go down 100% to come up as quick as you can: don't do things halfway."

There's a more serious answer, though, which involves a story about that same senior student. Twice I've been in the position mid-throw of realizing he's about to throw me into an ukemi I'm not altogether sure I can do. But we have a level of trust between us such that both times I've been able to relax and go into the fall, knowing in my heart that he wasn't going to hurt me. That's at the heart of ukemi for me--the rapport between partners that allows you to really stretch your abilities, confident that the other person is there with you.

I think the first of those experiences was the moment I knew I was going to stick with aikido.

Mary Kaye

Last edited by MaryKaye : 12-27-2004 at 01:35 AM.
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