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Old 12-11-2008, 01:33 AM   #76
Dojo: Stockholms Aikidoklubb
Location: Stockholm
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 601
Re: Are breakfalls really necessary?

This demo of Jorma Lyly and Jan Nevelius contains some of the softest ukemi I´ve seen live. The soft falls starts from ca 1:35 in Nevelius part of the demo.

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Old 12-11-2008, 02:23 PM   #77
Russ Q
Dojo: Shohei Juku Aikido Gibsons
Location: Gibsons BC
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 192
Re: Are breakfalls really necessary?

Hmmm..., I'm working on landing softly and silently from tobu ukemi. I usually slap the mat pretty hard and I know that wouldn't bode well on concrete. As for the need for tobu ukemi a couple of thoughts:

Was at a seminar where Ellis Amdur was the instructor. We were all around 2nd to 4th kyu so he was showing us "proper" ukemi for most of the weekend (as he often put it "from an aikido training POV). He was of the opinion that learning tobu ukemi was important. He mentioned he was training at a seminar and the instructor demonstrated shihonage. Amdur sensei then proceeded to practise with one this instructors high ranking students. As uke he began turning into the throw (which would result in tobu ukemi). His partner said: "You don't need to do that, I'm a nice guy" presuming, I guess, that he meant he would not crank the cut down hard and fast. Of course, as soon as Amdur sensei relaxed, tori cranked down hard and fast. Amdur sensei recieved the energy via tobu ukemi and saved himself a nasty injury. This is the example as I remember it told. My apologies to Amdur sensei if I have taken any liberties.

Secondly, I was at a seminar with George Ledyard Sensei this past weekend. I was lucky enough to be uke for a considerable time. We were doing some ryotedori sumio toshi and there was one instance where he led my movement in such a way that I was in the air (tobu ukemi style) and on the way down before I felt him touch me. No way that could've resulted in any other kind of ukemi (as far as I'm concerned...:-)

So, from a training POV, I think tobu ukemi (conditional upon your body being able to "get there") is necessary and useful.


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Old 12-12-2008, 09:40 AM   #78
Dojo: Yoshinkan Würzburg
Location: Würzburg (de)
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 68
United Nations
Re: Are breakfalls really necessary?

Just for the fun of it, here's one of my favorite aikido clips which contains a couple of throws that require a little skill in breakfalling. Then and when.


Of course, the instructor demonstrating there is considered kinda extreme by some, but I don't think that invalidates the point
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Old 12-12-2008, 11:43 PM   #79
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 498
Re: Are breakfalls really necessary?

Dan Harden wrote:
Maybe the OP's question is more to the point than the follow-ups.
Why is it that under full resistance-breakfalls aren't usually needed?
Huh? Full resistance to what, empty handed techniques? What about an attacker armed with a Jo?

Dan Harden wrote:
I think considering the dynamic in grappling is a smart place to start. There, breakfalls are more difficult to get. I think there is a great deal of fallacy in the Japanese nage / /Uke training model that states that Many of the more dangerous techniques had to either be removed or practiced slowly.
I would agree. When I hear that, I know someone is just repeating something they heard, not something they actually researched to any real depth.

Dan Harden wrote:
I've suggested or flat out stated in several threads that fighting back "changes" the dynamics in the human frame and mindset that greatly affects how the body responds. Under stress many of these supposedly "deadly" and "dangerous" techniques actually prove to be highly improbable and in many cases a practical impossibility. When you consider these waza were supposedly meant to work when tried against the "supposedly equally trained warrior" the improbability goes not from the how effective "it is" but whether "it ever was."
True, and I wouldn't have thought different until I saw am interesting demonstration regarding Nodo-Tsuki-Age (forward lunge to the throat). This technique is very easy to resist when applied by most Nage in most cases. However, replace that same attack with a good lunge to the throat using a wooden Jo and the break fall not only makes sense, it is about the only way to not have your windpipe damaged.

Dan Harden wrote:
I think a lot of these waza. were invented after and between any war, by an older version of bored farmers and suburbanites with Japanese names. Most experienced grapplers-which was what these warriors were supposed to be-would never let you get that joint that way, the body dynamic, would for the most part, deny the opportunity. And their response to an atemi, would never be to jump or roll away from it, but to counter and throw or punch, kick, and head butt the crap out of you for trying.
Again, true, but most bushi were well armed and trained to disarm their opponent or attack them when they were off guard as part of their attack.

Dan Harden wrote:
If folks are having fun thats great, but its nice to have fun and maintain a more level headed understanding of the probablities in using waza as a cop, or as a defense against an ever growng "grappling-aware" public so that in a self-defense situation you're not expecting something that isnlt going to happen and are at least more aware of what and who you may be actually playing at and with.
Very true, again. However, the higher level goal of martial arts is to learn to avoid attacks all together. Ukemi as an exploration of ones own fears, along with the physical training required to open up the hip power required for some of the higher level ukemi certainly can lead to one's own improvement. Additionally, learning to relax and be open, as opposed to "fighting back" all the time for the sake of "changing the dynamic" is the way of Aikido. Ukemi is about receiving the waza as a means of transmission of the gokui, as only the uke, not the spectators can really get a sense of what the Nage is really doing to any real depth.



I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 12-14-2008, 07:03 AM   #80
mickeygelum's Avatar
Dojo: Warren Budokan, Ohio USA
Location: Youngstown, Ohio
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 502
Re: Are breakfalls really necessary?

Y'all forgot about armor and antiquated battle methodologies. Modern interpretations fail, akin to a Amish IT conglomeration...

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Old 12-14-2008, 10:30 AM   #81
John Matsushima
John Matsushima's Avatar
Location: Miura, Japan
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 226
Re: Are breakfalls really necessary?

I think that the ability to do breakfalls is not necessary to training. In my experience, a skilled Aikido practitioner will make me do a breakfall whether I like it or not and if he wants to make it hurt, then it's gonna hurt.

What I think is more important is the ability of the nage to get someone to do that breakfall. And that is part of an even greater ability; the ability to control one's own technique and power. Being able to throw someone into a hard breakfall is one thing, but I think that being able to determine when, where, and how your uke will fall is really skillfull.

As far as injury, I'm not sure that knowing how to do a breakfall could protect one's self from injury. In my experience, when someone got a good one on me, my head still popped back and hit the mat even though I had it tucked and slapped the mat and did everything right. The force was just to great and my neck couldn't take it. I wasn't injured, but I don't want to do that again. I read somewhere, maybe it was Aikido Journal, that there are a number of recorded cases in Japan of deaths from serious breakfalls where uke's head hit the mat so hard and died from brain injury.

-John Matsushima

My blog on Japanese culture
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