Mitch Kuntz wrote:
So, rolling/breakfalls/backrolls are vitally important to developing into a good martial artist. Ask your instructor if you can practice ukemi more than you usually do....
Definately intrinsic to practice. When you are practicing any technique in Aikido, there are two partners practicing at the same time. Tori is practicing the actual technique, uke is practicing his/her ukemi, therefore you should effectively be practicing ukemi for much of the class.
When I teach, I often break the technique down to the point that shows what may seem like a big flying ukemi, is actually only a simple mae (forward) ukemi or ushiro (backward) ukemi, just a little more dynamic. I will ensure that at lower grades the tori will relase uke at a relative point allowing them to stop and do a basic mae/ ushiro ukemi, even to the point of dropping to their knees and doing it at this level if it makes them feel more comfortable. As confidence grows, the need to do this reduces.
As far as ukemi goes, you are the only one who can do it for you, people can show you how, but you can only learn by doing and building your confidence. As others have said above, some pick it up relatively quickly, others take a little longer. This is not a problem unless you make it so, Aikido is there for you to learn at a pace dictated by you. Enjoy the practice, keep working on the ukemi, don't get caught in a race to do it, don't worry about the next grade, and you'll be fine