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Old 05-19-2009, 01:09 AM   #1
Blake Evans
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 7
Australia
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Grr! Taking a fall - trouble with left side

hey guys,
I have been doing Aikido for about 2 months or so, with 2 lessons a week. and I seem to be having problems with the basics! I can't roll from my left shoulder!!!

seriously I just cant! I try many many times. My right hand roll is "perfect" (or at least good enough to take most throws) but my left I seem to be coming down HARD on my hip or lower back. I have has Sensei and 3 other high ranking (all Nidan or above I believe) members take me aside for 15 min or so and just drill the rolling but by the next lesson I cant roll on my left again!

any one else have this problem when starting out? I know that I am doing wrong (I need to keep my arms "stronger" during the entrance to the roll and need to cross to my right hip smoother) but my body just wont do what I want it to! so very frustrating!
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Old 05-19-2009, 02:23 AM   #2
Eva Antonia
Dojo: CERIA
Location: Brussels
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 211
Belgium
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Re: taking a fall

Dear Blake,

don't worry, I think it's quite normal to have some difficulties with rolls/ falls at the beginning, and for most people one side is more difficult than the other. It took me a YEAR to learn mae ukemi without falling on my head , and it's only recent that I start to do ushiro ukemi more or less decently, but I still hate it.

We have lots of white and yellow belts in our club who cannot do all the falls, some of them are training since some weeks, and others since two years. So what? One or the other day there will be a breakthrough, and suddenly it works.

Best regards and good luck,

Eva
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Old 05-19-2009, 06:57 AM   #3
philippe willaume
 
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Location: windsor
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 317
United Kingdom
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Re: taking a fall

Quote:
Blake Evans wrote: View Post
hey guys,
I have been doing Aikido for about 2 months or so, with 2 lessons a week. and I seem to be having problems with the basics! I can't roll from my left shoulder!!!

seriously I just cant! I try many many times. My right hand roll is "perfect" (or at least good enough to take most throws) but my left I seem to be coming down HARD on my hip or lower back. I have has Sensei and 3 other high ranking (all Nidan or above I believe) members take me aside for 15 min or so and just drill the rolling but by the next lesson I cant roll on my left again!

any one else have this problem when starting out? I know that I am doing wrong (I need to keep my arms "stronger" during the entrance to the roll and need to cross to my right hip smoother) but my body just wont do what I want it to! so very frustrating!
Yes it normal, it just take time. Those being said get use to not getting it.

Aikido is the art of making simple thing look complicated.

As well you will notice that aikido is very bad for your short tem memory. You are sitting kneeling seeing a block doing something that you perfectly understand, you get up and you can not remember a thing
Phil

One Ringeck to bring them all and in darkness bind them,
In the Land of Windsor where phlip phlop live.
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Old 05-19-2009, 08:18 AM   #4
ruthmc
Dojo: Wokingham Aikido
Location: Reading, UK
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 393
United Kingdom
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Re: taking a fall

Hi Blake,

Yep, I struggled with ukemi when I began Aikido, and continued to struggle with it for many years

When you perform a movement that leads to pain, your body will tense in anticipation of that pain every time you attempt to repeat the movement. It will do it regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not, and repeated roll - pain re-enforces this response.

See if you can get hold of a large inflatable gym ball. In the dojo, lay across the ball as if you are about to roll. Have an assistant roll you and the ball over together, keeping your head tucked well in. The ball prevents you from collapsing during the roll, and will encourage a new feeling of roll - NO pain

Good luck!

Ruth
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Old 05-19-2009, 08:49 AM   #5
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Dojo: Jiki Shin Kan Utrecht
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 562
Netherlands
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Re: taking a fall

You know the warming up exercise where you sit on the mat, then roll back and kick/stretch your legs over and behind your head until you just touch the mat with your toes? In other words you end up lying on your back but bent sort of double with your legs over and behind your head? (Hard to describe movement, I hope it's clear...).

Now, try this but aim both your feet to a spot on the left side of your mid line, so you end up touching the ground somewhere a way behind your left shoulder. See if there's a difference between aiming to a spot to the right of your midline, too, it might be that you're more flexible to one side.

Once you can do this easily it's a small step to give it a bit more momentum and roll backwards over your shoulder. I know, I know, your problem was forward rolls... do the backward roll in this way a couple times just to humor me, ok?

Now, from seiza, put your left shoulder on the mat. If you could do the previous exercise, you should be able to reach the mat with your shoulder, at least reasonably well. Point the left arm backwards along the left shin more or less. Now you're in a little ball, left hand and both feet pointing backwards, head to the left and facing back, butt in the air. If you now push with both feet, you're going to end up in pretty much the same position as in the previous warming up exercise or back roll. Notice when you are in that position. With enough momentum, you have a very small compact forward roll.

I find that if you can do the previous exercise well, bigger rolls are easier to do after that, because your body has learned to be more round. Plus you learn to really feel and be friends with the mat, which helps you relax.

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 05-19-2009, 10:45 AM   #6
Janet Rosen
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Location: Left Coast
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Re: Taking a fall - trouble with left side

Many of us are strongly "sided" so don't stress over it.

One suggestion I had yrs ago and value is: always start and end with a roll (or technique or whatever) on the "better" side so you start and end with success.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 05-20-2009, 03:50 AM   #7
Maarten De Queecker
Dojo: Aikikai Gent, Brugse Aikido Vereniging
Location: Bruges
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 139
Belgium
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Re: Taking a fall - trouble with left side

Quote:
Blake Evans wrote: View Post
hey guys,
I have been doing Aikido for about 2 months or so, with 2 lessons a week. and I seem to be having problems with the basics! I can't roll from my left shoulder!!!

seriously I just cant! I try many many times. My right hand roll is "perfect" (or at least good enough to take most throws) but my left I seem to be coming down HARD on my hip or lower back. I have has Sensei and 3 other high ranking (all Nidan or above I believe) members take me aside for 15 min or so and just drill the rolling but by the next lesson I cant roll on my left again!

any one else have this problem when starting out? I know that I am doing wrong (I need to keep my arms "stronger" during the entrance to the roll and need to cross to my right hip smoother) but my body just wont do what I want it to! so very frustrating!
I used to be in the same situation as you are now. I did pretty decent ukemi over my right shoulder but I couldn't pull it off on the left side (which was kind of strange since I'm a lefty).

Here's what I did for a couple of weeks: I started doing mae ukemi from suwari waza. Have your legs be in a 90 position, one leg pointing in the direction you want to roll to. Next, place your left hand at about the same height as your forward leg and move your right hand between your left hand and your forward leg. Pretend wiping the floor with your hand and keep moving it further until your shoulder hits the ground. At this moment, all you have to do is lift your hind leg into the air and make a roll. Repeat this until you are comfortable with it.

The next step is doing this Tachi-waza. Even though this seems more difficult, the steps you have to follow are exactly the same as suwari-waza. The most useful thing about tachi-waza is that you can choose the height of falling. You can fall low by bending your knees, or you can go all-out and jump-and-roll. It all depends on how comfortable you are with your ability to take ukemi.

Something I also did but which I don't really advise is to only work on the left side as uke for a couple of training sessions, so your brain and body get used to doing things they instinctively try to avoid. The biggest disadvantage to this is that you might put too much strain on one arm/joint, increasing the chance of (serious) injury.

Do note that these tricks are only the tip of the iceberg. The most difficult thing, in my experience, was not learning how to use my left side per se, but learning how to do it instinctively without thinking. My body still has some reluctance to roll over its left side during some techniques (e.g. shiho nage). I found that the best way to do this was just "no mind", relax and go with what tori gives you without of course giving tori too much. This results in pretty spectacular rolls and breakfalls, and people asking you if you're not hurt .

Also don't forget to breathe out when falling. This helps the body relax. The more tense you are, the higher the chances of getting injured are.

Good luck and be safe! Never overestimate your falling abilities. You have to learn how to walk before you can start to run.
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:33 PM   #8
shakou
 
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Dojo: Ronin Aikido Association
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 43
England
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Re: Taking a fall - trouble with left side

Hey Blake, like most people have said above me, try not to stress it as this is going to set you back. I am in exactly the same situation after 18 months nearly, I struggle to go over the top in a breakfall from ski-koda-gishi (correct spelling)? It is so frustrating as sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't and when the technique goes on I just stiffen up. I'd say it puts me back weeks. This is more prevalent on my left side also and I can often be found with a lip on in the corner moping about it lol. Give it time, just keep practicing and it will come,concentrate on what you do well and try not to beat yourself up about getting something wrong.

Good luck bigman

Kris
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:42 AM   #9
Michael Varin
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 567
United_States
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Re: Taking a fall - trouble with left side

Hello Blake,

It's very normal to favor one side, not only in rolling, but with techniques also.

One "trick" is to use your strong side to teach your weak side. Concentrate on exactly what your body is doing when you roll on your right side, then try to mimick that feeling on your left side.

You don't have too many hours of training under your belt, so I wouldn't worry too much.

Here is a shameless plug for my friend's website that will likely help you out.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:26 AM   #10
shakou
 
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Dojo: Ronin Aikido Association
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 43
England
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Re: Taking a fall - trouble with left side

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
Hello Blake,

It's very normal to favor one side, not only in rolling, but with techniques also.

One "trick" is to use your strong side to teach your weak side. Concentrate on exactly what your body is doing when you roll on your right side, then try to mimick that feeling on your left side.

You don't have too many hours of training under your belt, so I wouldn't worry too much.

Here is a shameless plug for my friend's website that will likely help you out.
Very good tutorial man
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