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Old 11-20-2008, 10:15 AM   #1
CarrieP
 
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Ukemi off the mat

Where I live in Michigan, the winter season has descended upon us in full swing.

With the chances for falls increasing due to slippery and icy conditions, I was starting to think about how to take/use ukemi off the mat.

At least once every season, I lose my footing and have a near miss with the ground (alas, I don't fly).

Does anyone have any experience/suggestions/stories about experiences with ukemi off the mat? Yours or others? Are there things that need to be done differently/more gingerly/with more force, etc?

Unfortunately, last time I fell I utterly failed in my ability to take ukemi. I didn't get hurt, but I think this was due more to my surprise that I was on the ground than anything I consiously did with my body (had been training for about 6 mos at the time).
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:34 AM   #2
Eva Antonia
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Dear Carolyn,

this summer I had the "opportunity" to take a mix of yoko and ushiro ukemi with my bike, when I was cycling on a slippery road and there was
a) a car just making an abrupt curve to park where I was and
b) a lorry just opened its back door (a horizontal trap; the guy just let it fall down in outside direction) to unload whatever merchandise.

I tried to get out of the way of both; swerving+braking+slippery road = loss of balance, and I found myself lying on the pavement, bike between the legs, arms slapping the ground and NOTHING hurt at all.

I'm sure I'd break my arms and legs if I tried to do that stunt consciously, but in that situation it just worked alone.

But I don't think you'd have to train off the mat in order to get this reaction; I suppose if you just do lots and lots of ukemi on the mat it would come automatically.

If you try to do ukemi on hard underground, you'd be tempted to be more hesitant because you are afraid of the impact. I tried once just to see if it works, I bent forward too gingerly and fell on my head. But after that bicycle experience I tried again with normal speed just to see if it REALLY works (without bicycle), and then it worked. But then I thought it was not necessary to insist more on this and just let it be.

So just assume if your ukemis are fine in the dojo when you ar thrown without being forewarned, then they should be fine outside also.

Best regards,

Eva
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Old 11-20-2008, 11:59 AM   #3
lbb
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

In my experience, winter slips and falls usually happen to fast to think about, "Gee, how am I gonna take this ukemi?" But aikido is like that sometimes too. My ukemi ain't nothin' to write home about, but it is at the point where I don't have to constantly think, "Hmm, how am I gonna get to the ground without breaking?" I have had a couple of occasions where things were moving fast and I did too-fast-for-thought ukemi, which is a really rewarding experience: finding myself on the mat, having gotten there really fast, and having done it correctly and safely, makes me think I have a fairly good chance of doing the same if I slip on the ice. So I would agree with Eva, you can train for this kind of reaction on the mat.
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Old 11-20-2008, 12:46 PM   #4
Bob Blackburn
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

The more you practice on the mat, the more you body will take over during a fall.
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Old 11-20-2008, 01:16 PM   #5
DonMagee
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

I've had judo break falls safe me a few times during the winter months. In judo you only have time to think 'Oh Shit!', tuck your chin and exhale.

Those are the parts that matter the most anyways.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 11-20-2008, 01:34 PM   #6
CarrieP
 
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Thanks, all, for the responses so far.
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Old 11-20-2008, 01:37 PM   #7
Sam Turnage
 
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Well…. Shortly after my son started in Aikido at 5 years old, he is now 6, my wife and I had just finished talking about whether or not he mite be to young or if he is really learning anything in aikido. We have a pine floor in the house and my wife had just moped it and it was very slippery and my son who was running in the house with socks on came by and did a perfect looking back fall.

"If we are wise, let us perpare for the worst."

George Washington
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Old 11-20-2008, 03:36 PM   #8
Jon Shickel
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

We had a member who was waiting for a ride in a parking lot when a car backed into her from behind. It knocked her forward and she rolled out of it. She was uninjured except a few scratches on her arms.
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:07 PM   #9
Janet Rosen
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Left my orthopedist's office a few yrs ago, downcast about my knee and what I thought might be the end of my aikido training, decided to walk home instead of use the bus, as an attitude adjustment. It had drizzled and I slipped on one of those metal sidewalk doors some businesses have. My feet flew up in front of me, my body twisted to one sideso that my arm, lats and hip took the fall, and I rolled sideways and up onto my feet and kept walking - all to fast to have thought about it.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:35 PM   #10
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
In judo you only have time to think 'Oh Shit!', .
Hey, that's the part I'm good at, too!

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 11-21-2008, 02:05 AM   #11
Walter Martindale
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
(snip)
In judo you only have time to think 'Oh Shit!', tuck your chin and exhale.

(snip)
Depending on who you're practicing with you may be looking up from the floor before you realise the guy's attacking. Thousands of ukemi and his skill made safe landings possible (it was at Kodokan, I was an ikkyu, he was the smallest guy on the Japanese national team - how did I get to the floor so fast? What happened? - turned out he was using seioi nage all the time - it took about 5 minutes of repeated thumps to get my nervous system to realise he was attacking in time to move before the conscious brain realised it)

Have fallen off bikes and rolled out of it. Have been running for a bus, tripped, rolled, got up and kept running. Have run for a phone, snagged my foot on a tree root, rolled, got up, kept running before I realised what happened.

slipping on ice is another story - sometimes it's even faster than that national team fellow...
W
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Old 11-21-2008, 06:00 AM   #12
Harm-ony
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Since I started practicing Aikido in 1994, Our dojo have no matt (Tatami), so we must ukemi on the floor directly.
That's why Sakamoto Sensei and Maeda Sensei called our dojo as Hell Dojo
Because there were no Tatami, we must practice correctly and learn 'sensing'.
We have simple tatami at mid of 2007. However, because there is tatami, many people falls incorrectly. because they don't worry about getting injured???

Peace and Love,

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Old 11-21-2008, 08:45 AM   #13
Nathan Wallace
 
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

try not to smack after the fall. on the mat its one thing on ice and snow its something different

Northern Virginia Tenshinkai Aikido
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Old 11-21-2008, 12:18 PM   #14
DonMagee
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Quote:
Paul Wallace wrote: View Post
try not to smack after the fall. on the mat its one thing on ice and snow its something different
I do not smack the mat anymore in the gym. I made a decision awhile ago that if you are going to throw me in randori then I'm going to take you with me. So now I simply hold on. It changes the dynamics of the fight and in many cases the throws are not as hard.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 11-21-2008, 09:40 PM   #15
Nathan Wallace
 
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

I can't say that you should always 'hold on' but i don't think thats what you mean. I think your saying you stay in tune and on the deffensive/offensive right down to the ground; and back up again. Either way the commitment to improve your training is always a good thing.

Northern Virginia Tenshinkai Aikido
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Old 11-21-2008, 10:19 PM   #16
wideawakedreamer
 
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Quote:
Paul Wallace wrote: View Post
try not to smack after the fall. on the mat its one thing on ice and snow its something different
I remember the first time I participated in a demonstration. We were near the edge of the mat when the nage threw me (I think it was a shihonage). I smacked my hand hard on the concrete floor next to the edge. OUCH!

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Old 11-22-2008, 08:46 AM   #17
Luc X Saroufim
 
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

as i was walking down the stairs to my basement, i *started* to slip, and my body immediately went to a sitting down motion, as if to begin a backwards fall or roll.

nothing dramatic, but the muscle memory was a pleasant surprise
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Old 11-22-2008, 09:38 AM   #18
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Quote:
Rafael Ayala wrote: View Post
I remember the first time I participated in a demonstration. We were near the edge of the mat when the nage threw me (I think it was a shihonage). I smacked my hand hard on the concrete floor next to the edge. OUCH!
lol. Been there and done that!
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Old 11-22-2008, 11:33 AM   #19
DonMagee
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Quote:
Paul Wallace wrote: View Post
I can't say that you should always 'hold on' but i don't think thats what you mean. I think your saying you stay in tune and on the deffensive/offensive right down to the ground; and back up again. Either way the commitment to improve your training is always a good thing.
I think you put that better then I did. But that is exactly what I mean.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 11-22-2008, 12:13 PM   #20
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
I do not smack the mat anymore in the gym. I made a decision awhile ago that if you are going to throw me in randori then I'm going to take you with me. So now I simply hold on. It changes the dynamics of the fight and in many cases the throws are not as hard.
I do the same thing. Slows down the fall. I think it offers a realistic/tactical approach to ukemi as well. It encourages nage to have good posture too.

In Judo, I struggle with this, because holding on can be detrimental to you and give Ippon to your opponent. But that is the strategy of the judo game.

I think holding on is the way to go most of the time. Once I have a grip on you, I am taking you with me, so you better have good awareness and posture.

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Old 11-22-2008, 12:57 PM   #21
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I do the same thing. Slows down the fall. I think it offers a realistic/tactical approach to ukemi as well. It encourages nage to have good posture too.

In Judo, I struggle with this, because holding on can be detrimental to you and give Ippon to your opponent. But that is the strategy of the judo game.

I think holding on is the way to go most of the time. Once I have a grip on you, I am taking you with me, so you better have good awareness and posture.
My sensei would get upset if we didn't hang on.
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Old 11-23-2008, 08:34 AM   #22
C. David Henderson
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Sometimes, oddly enough, "mountain-bike" ukemi I've done involved keeping contact with the bike. Sometimes it works; others...well not the time my feet stayed clipped into the pedals and I rolled twice. Still, only some bruises and a ripped fingernail.

When this kind of thing happens, it does call on what one really knows about falling, in one's body. Falling thousands of time on the mat really and truly changes the way you react, without thinking,off the mat. I don't know that anything special needs to be trained, other than just taking ukemi.

FWIW

DH
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:44 PM   #23
Nathan Wallace
 
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Quote:
David Henderson wrote: View Post
I don't know that anything special needs to be trained, other than just taking ukemi.

FWIW

DH
taking ukemi right you mean.

Northern Virginia Tenshinkai Aikido
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Old 11-23-2008, 10:03 PM   #24
C. David Henderson
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

More, "in the right direction" from my perspective.
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Old 11-24-2008, 06:36 AM   #25
CarrieP
 
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Re: Ukemi off the mat

Funny enough, we wound up talking about this in class this past weekend, through no prompting of my own.

Can't say I know enough about ukemi to speak knowledgably about "slapping," however it does seem to dissipate some of the energy of falling if done correctly.
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