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Old 01-12-2012, 10:18 AM   #1
dapidmini
Dojo: Surabaya Aikido Dojo
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correct ukemi?

I have always done ukemi by bending my arm inwards so that it form a large arc which acts like a wheel. but recently I realized that it takes a little bit of arm strength to support the body for a moment before rolling forward. I thought ukemi doesn't require any arm strength at all? or is my view wrong?

in another forum, someone told me that they do ukemi not just by lowering their arm but they lower their arm and then moving it backwards so that it feels like their back is sweeping the mat.

how do you do ukemi? is it different for each dojo?
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:53 AM   #2
mathewjgano
 
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Re: correct ukemi?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
I have always done ukemi by bending my arm inwards so that it form a large arc which acts like a wheel. but recently I realized that it takes a little bit of arm strength to support the body for a moment before rolling forward. I thought ukemi doesn't require any arm strength at all? or is my view wrong?

in another forum, someone told me that they do ukemi not just by lowering their arm but they lower their arm and then moving it backwards so that it feels like their back is sweeping the mat.

how do you do ukemi? is it different for each dojo?
I'm not sure how to picture the description, but in doing forward rolls, my arms are bent, more or less like I'm holding a big ball in front of me, but with palms facing a bit outward. My understanding, which is low-level, is that whatever part touches the ground first (for example: hand, elbow, shoulder), I make sure my weight is on the other side so I can roll over and around that point of impact, using my structure's roundness to "gradually" disperse the energy...if that makes any sense.
...Hopefully people with deeper understanding will chime in.


Here's a quick example that looks similar to how I do it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wV49Q9mpUI

Last edited by mathewjgano : 01-12-2012 at 12:06 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:41 PM   #3
Janet Rosen
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Re: correct ukemi?

There is no one right way but there are a few common mistakes.
Should not require arm strength per se as body weight should not be on the arm - rather it requires the ability to maintain unbendable arm, just extending relaxed arm as the body forms a wheel. Unfortunately, this is beyond the abilities of most newbies, or it isn't explicitly said so, so they figure they need to bear the weight of the body on the arm and then it collapses and they crash into the mat. Or the leap to avoid bearing weight and crash into the mat, doing a shoulder separation.
Yes, one of the ways to avoid this is the second option you mention: to turn further so the first thing to touch the mat is the part of the shoulder that forms the upper back (rather than the top of the shoulder by collarbone which should never ever be touching/hitting the mat). In some dojos basic kneeling forward rolls are taught this way but in most dojos I've seen this method is not encouraged. I find it a safe alternative.

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Old 01-12-2012, 02:54 PM   #4
Alex Megann
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Re: correct ukemi?

For many years I have found it helps when teaching forward rolling ukemi to think of the weight being supported not by the arm but by the front leg - as you start rolling, the leg straightens so that it can support your weight for much longer. This way your weight only really comes onto the back of the shoulder (as Janet says), rather than being carried by the arm for any length of time.

I think this also helps with beginners who may have anxiety about their arm not being able to support their weight, as we are far more used to carrying ourselves on our legs.

I would agree with what you say about the arm forming an arc, or as Matthew describes it, the shape of a ball, but not that it needs to be particularly strong. The "unbendable arm" feeling comes with practice, in my experience.

When I teach beginners I always start from a half-kneeling position - from there, you can really get the feeling of the front leg extending to tip you over. The other important thing, of course, is to keep your chin tucked into your chest so you don't land on top of your head.

Alex
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:46 PM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: correct ukemi?

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
The other important thing, of course, is to keep your chin tucked into your chest so you don't land on top of your head.

Alex
The best teaching tip I ever got on this was: always keep your eye on the person throwing you (even if rolling solo) - to keep your vision on the person back there, your head will automatically go into the right position.

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Old 01-12-2012, 06:08 PM   #6
kewms
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Re: correct ukemi?

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
The best teaching tip I ever got on this was: always keep your eye on the person throwing you (even if rolling solo) - to keep your vision on the person back there, your head will automatically go into the right position.
Not only that, but it helps to get your feet out of the way.

Turn your head and look where you're going, and there's a good chance your feet will be directly behind you, in perfect position to get caught in your partner's hakama. (Leading to all kinds of badness when your nice smooth roll is interrupted.) Keep your eyes on your partner, and your feet will naturally go off to the side.

Also useful for more advanced situations, like when your partner has just taken your weapon away and may be about to strike you with it.

Katherine
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Old 01-13-2012, 03:24 AM   #7
graham christian
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Re: correct ukemi?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
I have always done ukemi by bending my arm inwards so that it form a large arc which acts like a wheel. but recently I realized that it takes a little bit of arm strength to support the body for a moment before rolling forward. I thought ukemi doesn't require any arm strength at all? or is my view wrong?

in another forum, someone told me that they do ukemi not just by lowering their arm but they lower their arm and then moving it backwards so that it feels like their back is sweeping the mat.

how do you do ukemi? is it different for each dojo?
There you are, just another example of unbend-able arm in application.

Regards.G.
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:28 AM   #8
Mario Tobias
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Re: correct ukemi?

The reason why you need your arm to be an unbendable arm is because there are situations wherein you need to do flying forward rolls, either because you were thrown very high (koshi nage for example) or there's an obstacle in front of you that it's dangerous to do the typical front fall and you need to jump over it.

If in those cases, the arm were to bend then most likely the elbow will be the first one to contact the ground which will either break your elbow, shoulder or something much worse. The 2 arms need to be acting as a connected wheel.

You need to condition your arm strength via doing hundreds or thousands of ukemi. This exercise doesn't only help in your ukemi but your techniques as well. You can only get better in aikido if you get better in ukemi as they say.

Last edited by Mario Tobias : 01-13-2012 at 04:33 AM.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:41 AM   #9
kewms
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Re: correct ukemi?

Quote:
Mario Tobias wrote: View Post
The reason why you need your arm to be an unbendable arm is because there are situations wherein you need to do flying forward rolls, either because you were thrown very high (koshi nage for example) or there's an obstacle in front of you that it's dangerous to do the typical front fall and you need to jump over it.

If in those cases, the arm were to bend then most likely the elbow will be the first one to contact the ground which will either break your elbow, shoulder or something much worse. The 2 arms need to be acting as a connected wheel.

You need to condition your arm strength via doing hundreds or thousands of ukemi. This exercise doesn't only help in your ukemi but your techniques as well. You can only get better in aikido if you get better in ukemi as they say.
Thinking of this as an application of arm strength is misleading, IMO. After all, I suspect that very few aikidoka can do one-handed handstands, and so very few aikidoka can *really* support their full weight on just one arm.

There are also applications where uke is fully airborne and doesn't touch the floor with their hands or arms at all.

I do find that telling beginners to think of their arms as forming a wheel is helpful. You need extension to keep the "wheel" from collapsing, but thinking in terms of strength seems to cause stiff arms and square rolls.

Katherine
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:26 AM   #10
dalen7
 
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Re: correct ukemi?

heh - not sure I can help with how to do proper... comments above are nice pointers, but I can tell you how you will know its 'bad':

Couple years back at our 'daughter' dojo in another city the instructor there had people practice ukemi on the gym floor... tatami can give a false sense of 'success'. [Definitely not recommending this, and no Koshinage was not practiced on the gym floor - albeit the small puzzle mats was next to it, and required good ukemi skills in order not to feel like your body was shattered... needless to say, at the time, I saw how weak my ukemi actually was.]

Peace

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