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Old 04-08-2008, 10:42 PM   #1
marky musashi
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fear of ukemi

sup all..

for some reason(s) lately I have a fear of ukemi. over the past couple months my shoulders have been hurting me alot. almost to the point i cant even move my arms at times. no broken bones no torn tendons, just a very unusual pain in both shoulders. I think I hurt them doing ukemi. I have been taking aikido for 2 years and i consider myself very athletic. I am 255 pounds but I move like a cat to be honest. But, I have a very hard time with ukemi. sensei tells me everything looks fine most the time but to me its hurting my body. now everytime I fall I have a fear of getting hurt. my shoulders hurt so I try and get them out of the way quickly during ukemi, but when I do (this happened tonight) I end up landing flat on the smal lof my back. now I strained my back. no matter how well I do a roll I find a way to hurt my shoulders or back, sometimes I tweek my neck. its scary. I think an option is lose some weight. I would like to be down to 220 maybe less. Im working on that. mentally is there any advice you guys/gals might have for me. or even physically...i would appreciate any advice..thx
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Old 04-09-2008, 12:18 AM   #2
Shany
 
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Re: fear of ukemi

Mabye the ukemi that you do (the one your teacher is teaching) has some flows that causes your injuries? or maybe you don't do it right?

Ukemi doesn't suppose to hurt the shoulders unless you fall directly on them, which means the movement of yours is wrong in the beginning.

think of Ukemi roll as a ball. U do not put stress on one side, but on the entire body. u do not roll on the back rather on the side. u do not start the ukemi by rolling on the shoulders, rather from the plam on the hand moving up to the shoulder than to the torso than on your lengs. in a one ball rotation movement.

you also didn't mention what kind of ukemi you take that u feel pain in, seating, standing, half sitting, backward ukemi.. (?)
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:53 AM   #3
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Try suwariwaza

Hard to say what might be wrong. Maybe you should try out ukemi in suwariwaza, from a kneeling position. Such a low ukemi you should manage fine, even if there is something wrong with how you do it. You increase your comfort, and you might find what it is you do wrong.

When people hurt their shoulders in mae ukemi, it is my experience that they do not make a distinct curve with their forward arm, so the shoulder takes too much of the force. But I have no idea if that is the case with your ukemi.
Try suwariwaza, and when that feels good, do some standing ukemi from a very low position - taking as long a step forward as you can (your back foot not following the least), before you begin the roll.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 04-09-2008, 05:18 AM   #4
Beard of Chuck Norris
 
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Re: fear of ukemi

I weigh around the same as you (266 lbs ish) and i'm fairly tall (6' 3") ukemi is one of my big big aiki worries. Like you I can be surprisingly agile or a guy of my size but there is still this knowledge that I am this size and if something goes wonky in the roll then something is going to break!

My main concern is that I am a big pussy! I can roll to a reasonable degree on my left (reasonable degree meaning that i am 'safe') but on the right it's a different story. I used to think it's because i'm right handed and i want that hand free / don't want to injure it but now i think the problem lies in my legs (my right leg is weaker) and i can't get into a starting position where i feel comfortable to begin the roll.

I spend a lot of time rolling from kneeling: doing the 'baby' style where you reach back to touch your toes in seiza/kisa, the slightly higher (usually one knee down, one knee up-think proposal of marriage) then in a crouched position (ape-man!)... Using the arms as a guide, sometimes trying to "miss out the arm" to help me realise that my arm does nothing only gives slight help in guiding the movement, sometimes break falling sometimes doing it "properly" (standing up at the end).
I'd advise all larger peeps to learn how to break fall... in fact, all people should know even if they never have to!
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:08 AM   #5
Buck
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Re: fear of ukemi

ummm.....sounds like you weight isn't be despersed over your shoulders properly. Your shoulders are taking much of the impact. This may be due to your weight. Your not getting over fast enough.

Really, I don't know because I can't see what is happening you take ukemi. I would be very careful, you may have already done some damage to your shoulders. Avoiding shoulder pain may also be causing you to do bad ukemi, causing new pain or injury. It wouldn't be a bad idea to see a doctor, and discontinue training.

Mentally, I don't think there is much you can do until the point you can due ukemi without pain. You being concerned and having a mental stop is something good. I wouldn't over ride that.

Good luck.
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:29 AM   #6
Shany
 
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Re: fear of ukemi

just let someone capture a footage of you taking the ukemi and upload to youtube for us to see.
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:30 AM   #7
Marc Abrams
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Re: fear of ukemi

Mark:

Ukemi is a function of conforming and acceptance. Fear creates tensions, which result in injuries.

I start my students off on the ground to learn how to move softly on the ground. I then work on how people can relax in order to move closer to the ground. Think of the forward roll as becoming a tire. You soften your entire spine so that your spine becomes circular. You allow your head to rest where the axle of a wheel would be. Feel yourself extend soft energy and hold that soft circular form. If you allow your hips to soften backwards, you will begin to fall forwards. Hold your form and allow the momentum to guide you into a soft, circular roll.

Marc Abrams
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:04 AM   #8
dragonteeth
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Re: fear of ukemi

Have you had them looked at by an orthopedic or sports med doc? There are a couple of things that are pretty easy to fix possibly without surgery that might be going on. There's a little tiny muscle that goes through your shoulder from the humerus to the underside of the scapula (shoulder blade) that can get pinched, especially if the bone where it attaches on your arm has a hook shape to it. If you get any inflammation in the joint (and it sounds like you have), the little guy (supraspinatus) can get really jammed up. Decreasing the inflammation in the joint either with meds or a cortisone shot really helps. Sometimes they have to go in and file down that little hook shaped acromion to give the muscle more movement space, but not often.

Another issue can be a muscle imbalance in the groups that stabilize the shoulders. There's another small muscle group that we don't use very often - the serratus - that helps stabilize the joint in certain directions, some of which we encounter when taking falls or rolls. If that group is a little weaker than the other groups in the area (pecs, delts, traps, etc), then the force of the fall plus the stronger pull of the bigger groups can allow the head of the humerus to shove up into the joint, smashing the heck out of the bursa. The result is a nasty case of bursitis, which then gets worse every time it twinges (like when you roll over on it in bed). A physical therapist can test the muscle group strength, and give you some really odd looking exercises to help.

I had a combination of both issues in my shoulders, and have dealt with it for almost a year now. Three months ago I got the cortisone shot in my left shoulder, which is much better. It's still easy to jam it if I fall wrong, but it doesn't stay that way. Hurt for a day or so afterward, but part of the reason was that I had to go back to work right after the shot (and was doing something where that arm couldn't move much for the next 4 hours). I need to find a time to get the right one done.

I did take some time off from taking the ukemi that irritated it (kaiten nage and ikkyo were the worst), and did weenie sit-out falls on some others (like kote gaeshi). It helps I'm also practicing in a different dojo doing a completely different style of aikido too, having gone from an independent dojo with an almost hapkido/shotokan flavor to a Ki Federation group. My new sensei has also changed the way I do rolls (and the way I sit, stand, walk, breathe, etc....running joke with him) and they have become much more comfortable. As they've gotten better, I've relaxed more, and I definitely don't get hurt as often when I am relaxed.

Good luck, and be patient! Shoulders take a long time to heal.
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:08 AM   #9
dps
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Re: fear of ukemi

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Mark:

Ukemi is a function of conforming and acceptance. Fear creates tensions, which result in injuries.

I start my students off on the ground to learn how to move softly on the ground. I then work on how people can relax in order to move closer to the ground. Think of the forward roll as becoming a tire. You soften your entire spine so that your spine becomes circular. You allow your head to rest where the axle of a wheel would be. Feel yourself extend soft energy and hold that soft circular form. If you allow your hips to soften backwards, you will begin to fall forwards. Hold your form and allow the momentum to guide you into a soft, circular roll.

Marc Abrams
Go slow, if no momentum is provided by tori let gravity pull you over when you begin to fall, don't throw yourself into the ukemi.

David
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Old 04-09-2008, 10:57 AM   #10
Nick P.
 
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Re: fear of ukemi

A trick I learned from another (non-aikido related) forum....
Take a short video of yourself
Post it on youtube
Include the link in this thread

That way, we can all see, and the chances of offering helpful advise increases. Just a thought.

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Old 04-09-2008, 11:06 AM   #11
Jennifer Yabut
 
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Re: fear of ukemi

Quote:
Nick Pittson wrote: View Post
A trick I learned from another (non-aikido related) forum....
Take a short video of yourself
Post it on youtube
Include the link in this thread

That way, we can all see, and the chances of offering helpful advise increases. Just a thought.
If you decide to post something on YouTube, I would also advise you to disable comments and "show links" option.

It's hard to add any other input without watching what exactly you're doing...

"The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them." - Miyamoto Musashi
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:18 AM   #12
charyuop
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Re: fear of ukemi

I would like to say that in my opinion weight has very little relevance. On the contrary for big people like me it is kinda easier to keep thr roll shape during Ukemi.
When I started Aikido I had problems with front Ukemi. My shoulders would kill me. With time I have learnt to take Ukemi a little better and passed the problem. Yes, most of the time if the shoulder hurts during Ukemi is because the shoulder is taking most of the hit from the fall.
In my case the problem was that I was not doing long enough Ukemi, but kinda falling down at my feet. Visionizing a more long stretched Ukemi helped me alot to solve the problem.

But if you have problems with your shoulders you should limit your training. I recently injured my shoulder and noticed that certain things are a real "shoulder murderer" to do. In my case the worst of all is Ikkyo or a real sharp Shihonage.
Try to notice what bothers you and ask kindly your Sensei to spare you from doing it.

Oh one last thing...shoulders damage can take a very long time to heal. For me it has been over 5 months now and still fighting against it.
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:19 AM   #13
Ron Tisdale
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Re: fear of ukemi

Get a copy of Ellis Amdur's Ukemi from the Ground Up. Excellent DVD on ukemi, and it will give you some different perspectives on ukemi in general as well as specific methods of "falling".

Best,
Ron (Going to a seminar with Ellis was the start of me finding some ways to stay off my shoulders during falls)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 04-09-2008, 12:25 PM   #14
Don_Modesto
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Re: fear of ukemi

Weight is definitely a factor. When I'm lighter, my UKEMI is far less stressful.

For forward rolls, a lot of people sort of leap over their extended arm when they "roll". Are you doing this?

I suggest, as above, beginning on one knee with the other leg extended behind. Put the arm on the same side as the forward knee down, elbo about even with knee, hand back toward groin. As you roll, concentrate on feeling every moment of contact from the tip of your little finger to your hand blade to the side of your arm all the way down.

Then concentrate the same way when you try standing. If you don't feel the mat on your finger and arm, your probably leaping onto your shoulder.

You can feel self-conscious doing this during training as you may feel as if you're slowing down NAGE. Go ahead and slow him/her down. You're both practicing aikido, not just the person throwing. This is important and can/will prevent injury.

Good luck.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 04-09-2008, 01:37 PM   #15
marky musashi
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Re: fear of ukemi

thx for replies. I couldnt go to work today because my lower back hurts so much. It took me 5 minutes to get out of bed
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Old 04-09-2008, 02:08 PM   #16
edtang
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Re: fear of ukemi

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Get a copy of Ellis Amdur's Ukemi from the Ground Up. Excellent DVD on ukemi, and it will give you some different perspectives on ukemi in general as well as specific methods of "falling".
I will second this recommendation. Great DVD!
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Old 04-09-2008, 02:47 PM   #17
Jennifer Yabut
 
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Re: fear of ukemi

Quote:
Lori Snidow wrote: View Post
The result is a nasty case of bursitis, which then gets worse every time it twinges (like when you roll over on it in bed).
Ugh...I recently had bursitis in my left shoulder. Seems like it resulted from good ol' fashioned overuse, not from any one particular incident. Took about two weeks for the pain to go away completely, and another 2-3 weeks for the rest of the soreness to recede.

Seriously, though...shoulder injuries majorly suck - even minor ones. Mark, if you are losing mobility in your arms, definitely see a doctor (or better yet, a physical therapist) ASAP. Definitely don't want any possible injuries to get any worse!

"The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them." - Miyamoto Musashi
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:15 PM   #18
lbb
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Re: fear of ukemi

Quote:
Mark Manchini wrote: View Post
thx for replies. I couldnt go to work today because my lower back hurts so much. It took me 5 minutes to get out of bed
Sounds like you might need a visit to the doctor more than you need tweaks to your ukemi right now.
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Old 04-09-2008, 05:01 PM   #19
Aikibu
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Re: fear of ukemi

Like some of the folks here suggested if you have ANY pain that is causing you discomfort on the morning please see a doctor FIRST and follow the doctors advice....

I am a big dog and the mat thunders everytime I execute Ukemi LOL...

Technique has only so much to do with it when you're a big dog...

how's your Core Fitness? Are you strengthing it with specific exercises like crunches and leg lifts? How about Yoga? As I get older I find that if I let my Core Fitness (aka Abdominal and Hip Flexors along with mid and lower back muscles) slack... It is not too long before my Hara (aka Belly Button Center) starts to move back into my chest and I become top heavy on my rolls which results in extra stress in my shoulders and arms when I roll in am attempt to compensate for my weak core muscles...

What works for me is Yoga and Specific Core Building Exercises developed by my personal trainer...

First things first Heal Up and do some Physical Therapy if you need to...Then get thee to a gym and explain to an experianced Personal Trainer that you want to work on building your Core Muscle Groups...and

Please Lose as much weight as you can to get your BMI (Body Mass Index the ratio of fat to muscle) down which in conjunction with your Core Exercises will make you a Light Footed Break Falling Cool Dude.

Good Luck

William Hazen
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:22 PM   #20
1student
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Re: fear of ukemi

I am sorry that you are having so much trouble with your shoulder and back with the falls. I think speed is important. I was perfoming forward rolls yesterday and found that if I had a little momentum it was easier to get my body to roll forward more than down.

On your back please note that if your back does not feel better in a day or two you should see a Chiropractor to prevent futher injury to the back.
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:05 PM   #21
marky musashi
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Re: fear of ukemi

again thanks for advice. I need to stop procrastinating and lose some kilos. I am 255 right now. by september 220 is very reasonable. all my fat is around my stomach. my legs are 31 inch solid rocks. maybe by x-mas i will be under 200. a core program and steamed fish n veggies will do it. enough of these bags of doritos at 1am. ..worst part is I hate being out of the dojo. I feel like I let my senseis down. later
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:52 PM   #22
Shany
 
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Re: fear of ukemi

you can alway join "the biggest loser" show ... fast diet and fun no the way!
but first things first, go check your back.
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:16 AM   #23
charyuop
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Re: fear of ukemi

Hee hee we are the exact copy one of the other. Even my lower back kills me and unfortunately it has very little to do with Ukemi.
A compression of the lower back is normal for everyone and it is much more increased in people overweight like us.
What gets worse is that the compression will get nerves involved and in the long run it will start effecting your legs (trust me at times it gets really painful, worst than cramps). A chiropractor can help fixing the problem (temporary, go to a doctor for better dyagnosis), but if there is a strong inflamation sometimes shots in the back are needed.

Now said that, you can think about your Ukemi and how they afftect your back too (I am talking always comparing to what happened to me). My shoulders where hurting coz my front roll more than an actual roll was a downward drop on the shoulders. So I tried to compensate to save the shoulders and instead of landing on them I started landing on my lower back. Can't even describe how this + my chronical condition made me feel, not only in the morning, but all day long. It was enough to sit for 5 minutes and when I had to get up I would walk bent in 2 coz I couldn't streighten up my back.

First things first. Go to a doctor and have your lower back checked (if it already got into the legs probably an MRI will be done to check the situation). Start working on losing some weight. I use a diet called Provida (there is a site online) which is very similar to a diet I got in a gym in the past. You get all kind of nutriments, you don't lose weight by eliminating nutrients factors that your body needs.
Then I suggest restart with Ukemi from scratch, as before me suggested from kneeling down position. This time the pain already existing will let you know if you are doing it right or not. Absolutely avoid to create a loud noise sounding like a BAM on the mat. Good Ukemi are basically noiselss.

Just 2 cents from a person who has been there before and still is there...

Last edited by charyuop : 04-10-2008 at 06:18 AM.
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Old 04-10-2008, 11:02 PM   #24
Janet Rosen
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Re: fear of ukemi

To add to what folks have said: PLEASE JUST STOP for now. Acute injuries that are not allowed to heal properly become chronic injuries. Many of us have gone this route, please learn from our experience, and before you start trying to correct your rolls just stop rolling altogether and let your soft tissues heal (while seeing somebody to find out exactly what you have injured, and yes, starting to work on general weight loss and fitness...)

Janet Rosen
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Old 04-11-2008, 02:34 AM   #25
erikmenzel
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Re: fear of ukemi

Of course we cannt see here what you are doing so all we say is based on assumptions.
First of all, listen to Janet. Take time to heal
Second, one of the things I have observed in people is that when I tell them to roll like a ball people seem to automatically include bounce like a ball. Bouncing is bad, it hurts.
Third, listen to Janet. Take time to heal

Erik Jurrien Menzel
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