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Old 01-26-2007, 07:44 AM   #51
Freerefill
 
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Dojo: North Country Aikido
Location: In my dojo. Where else?
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Re: Backward Roll - Risks and benefits

Two months ago, after we had completed testing, Sensei got this marvelous twinkle in her eye and a smile on her lips that anyone who's known her for more than 5 minutes knows that something is up. She carefully eyed all of us and spoke in a low voice, "Roll tag." Immediately all the students splintered up and shikko-ed to the farthest corners of the mat, but no one got very far... no more than 10 seconds in, I look around and I see everyone staring at the corner of the mat that I had my back to. I swivel around and I see one of my senpai, one of the most advanced students in the class, flat on his back.

To clarify, Roll Tag is what you might expect it to be: tag, but you're only allowed to move around using rolls and shikko. It's great fun. Anyway, when Sensei called it, she dubbed herself "It" and set her sights on the nearest student, which happened to be senpai. He back-rolled out of the way, and since I wasn't looking I can't tell you exactly what he did, but Sensei said that he tried to alter his motion in mid-roll as well as stop short from rolling off the mat. Long story short, he broke his collarbone.

So even after 6 years of rather hard training and performing a simple ukemi, awareness is still the biggest player in safety.

After seeing the look on Sensei's face after the incident, I swore to myself that I would never let myself get hurt.

Adults are just outdated children, and the hell with them. - Dr. Suess

It's senpai's fault. - Andy-senpai
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Old 01-26-2007, 09:07 AM   #52
natasha cebek
 
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Dojo: MMA Academy,VT and Budokai M.A, MASS
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Re: Backward Roll - Risks and benefits

Quote:
Mark Mercier wrote:
Two months ago, after we had completed testing, Sensei got this marvelous twinkle in her eye and a smile on her lips that anyone who's known her for more than 5 minutes knows that something is up. She carefully eyed all of us and spoke in a low voice, "Roll tag." Immediately all the students splintered up and shikko-ed to the farthest corners of the mat, but no one got very far... no more than 10 seconds in, I look around and I see everyone staring at the corner of the mat that I had my back to. I swivel around and I see one of my senpai, one of the most advanced students in the class, flat on his back.

To clarify, Roll Tag is what you might expect it to be: tag, but you're only allowed to move around using rolls and shikko. It's great fun. Anyway, when Sensei called it, she dubbed herself "It" and set her sights on the nearest student, which happened to be senpai. He back-rolled out of the way, and since I wasn't looking I can't tell you exactly what he did, but Sensei said that he tried to alter his motion in mid-roll as well as stop short from rolling off the mat. Long story short, he broke his collarbone.

So even after 6 years of rather hard training and performing a simple ukemi, awareness is still the biggest player in safety.

After seeing the look on Sensei's face after the incident, I swore to myself that I would never let myself get hurt.
What a great drill!!! My sensei did something similar, during randori ...I was in the center and the students were to attack me-mid ukemi. I remember thinking..OMG, what do I do? It was difficult, but very interesting and valuable in understanding the importance of awareness. I like the idea of roll tag, but I think for safety reasons, I would only use that drill with more advanced practioners.

Last edited by natasha cebek : 01-26-2007 at 09:09 AM.

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Old 01-27-2007, 05:05 PM   #53
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
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Re: Backward Roll - Risks and benefits

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
That's the kind of thing I was looking for. Whatever that incident was, or any others like it, apparently no one else who has read the thread remembers, no one knows any details. I suspected there would be accounts of a few incidents. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell whether the lack of such information indicates the rarity of backward roll injuries or simply a lack of information.
Janet was correct as far as I recall. I think it was back in 1994 or so that a woman (not part of the USAF-WR, but another organization altogether) who was teaching the class, and showing a student how to do backwards rolls had someone roll into her by accident. Her neck was broken and she was paralyzed. There was an outpouring of help from the aikido community but then this incident disappeared into the archives.

At the time that this happened, I was practicing in a WR dojo, and our teacher let us all know that Chiba Sensei had informed his students and dojos, that ultimately he would like to have all that were teaching in the dojo become certified teachers. From what I understoood, it had to do with placing a level of legitimacy of certification in each dojo, and ensuring certain quality and safety standards. The woman who was injured was a shodan (correct me please if I have faulty memory here) who was not certified as a teacher and there were issues regarding insurance covering the injury because of the lack of some verifiable teaching license??? Anyway, in our dojo at the time, this was the impetus for pushing to become certified teachers within the organization.

Anyone else who was around at this time and remembers the incident, please chime in.
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Old 01-27-2007, 06:48 PM   #54
Dan Rubin
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Denver, Colorado
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Re: Backward Roll - Risks and benefits

Excerpt from "Tragedy and Hope in Sacramento," by Donald Hoffman, Aikido Today Magazine, August/September 1994:

The misfortune that befell Anne Sasaki could befall any of us who practice Aikido.

Practice was just beginning on the morning of March 14 at Aikido of Sacramento. Simple techniques were being explained and demonstrated. The experienced were helping the novices with basics; no over-energetic techniques were being performed. The environment was as safe as in most dojos.

A shodan with 10 years of martial arts experience, Anne Sasaki was working with beginners on backrolls at one end of the mat as other students were practicing basic techniques at the other end. Anne was in the middle of a back roll, upside down with her body over her neck, when a beginner who was completing ukemi veered to his blind side to avoid the dojo wall. The beginner collided with Anne, dropping his full weight on her. Anne's body went limp, numbed by a completely dislocated vertebra.

Anne was diagnosed as having a broken neck. She was placed on a breathing apparatus, and later a trachea tube was inserted. Doctors were pessimistic and said Anne would be a quadriplegic for the rest of her life.

There were other complications after neurosurgery -- some bouts with pneumonia....

Anne is regaining some movement and sensation in her body. She is going through physical therapy to strengthen her muscles. She is able to sit up with the assistance of therapists. Friends and family have been working to keep her spirits high.

Dan Wold Sensei, Anne's instructor at Aikido of Sacramento, has had a difficult time with the entire ordeal. According to Wold, the students of Aikido of Sacramento are also having a difficult time. But they are holding up well, and they visit Anne as often as possible.

The misfortune of Anne's accident has rippled through the Aikido community of Northern California like a pebble tossed into still waters. Safety, always important in the Aikido community, is now being stressed even more.
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Old 01-29-2007, 01:10 AM   #55
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
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Re: Backward Roll - Risks and benefits

Thanks. That must have been the incident I first heard about. The interesting part is that it wasn't even during an intense throwing situation, but merely during a slow demonstration. I've always felt like that was a dangerous position that I simply did not want to be in.

Even though it's only one, since I have yet to hear of a compelling benefit to the ukemi vs. the 'yoko' alternative, I'd say it's one too many. The only other case of a broken neck during Aikido training I've heard of is from the post a few months ago, describing an accident during a high koshi-like shoulder throw on a wet slippery mat. That's another situation I intend to avoid... along with letting someone repeatedly smash my head into the mat during shiho nage. Actually, to me, these all seem pretty obvious, which is why I find the popularity of the backward roll puzzling.
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