Re: Practical use of ukemi
My husband and I were trail riding when his saddle came loose and dumped him. He did the judo roll he was taught as a kid and came up on his feet. The trail guide was freaked. Apparently once you learn ukemi you never forget them completely.
I haven't been as lucky. The one time I needed an ukemi (tripped over a tree root) I had just time to think "If I do a forward roll with this bulky backpack I'm gonna die" AND "Darn it, an aikido student should be able to do better than this" before taking a faceplant ukemi on the gravel.
No, actually, it has helped once. I was bodysurfing and had badly misjudged the size of the waves. A large wave hit me and took me over backwards. I curled into a ball and did back rolls, rather than trying to straighten out, and I think this kept me from getting badly pounded and probably injured. At it was, I was honking sand out of my sinuses for the rest of the day.