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Old 01-16-2013, 03:25 PM   #1
Krystal Locke
Location: Phoenix, Oregon
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Teaching front rolls

So, in the kids' class, there's this one guy. He is a really good student, in the universe of the kids' class. He has progressed well over a couple years or so of training. His technique is on par, and he can back roll well.

Thing is, he will tie himself in knots to do a back roll rather than to figure out how to front roll. He will do just about anything to avoid a front roll and roll backwards. Other thing is, he has done this long enough that it is almost functional for him.

Anyone else ever have a student that had just programmed himself into back rolls? Anything I can do as an only occasional instructor for that class? Yah, I'm gonna ask sensei about it before I try anything, just looking for some tips on dehardwiring someone who is all of 11 years old.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:56 PM   #2
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
So, in the kids' class, there's this one guy. He is a really good student, in the universe of the kids' class. He has progressed well over a couple years or so of training. His technique is on par, and he can back roll well.

Thing is, he will tie himself in knots to do a back roll rather than to figure out how to front roll. He will do just about anything to avoid a front roll and roll backwards. Other thing is, he has done this long enough that it is almost functional for him.

Anyone else ever have a student that had just programmed himself into back rolls? Anything I can do as an only occasional instructor for that class? Yah, I'm gonna ask sensei about it before I try anything, just looking for some tips on dehardwiring someone who is all of 11 years old.
Krystal:

A front roll is a back roll done backwards. What I do, is have the child hold onto a zafu. The head goes to the outside middle and the arms form the tread of the "tire". The roll then follows the form.

Good Luck!

marc abrams
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:59 PM   #3
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Sorry if this seems like a commercial message, but I would actually recommend my own DVD - because it's got a very fine-grained progressive method of training for front rolls, and it actually teaches tobu-ukemi (break falls) in a safe manner before front rolls.

For higher levels of ukemi, and for what I think is the best instruction, there is Bruce Bookman's.

Where mine is of particular value is for people who are having a hard time learning ukemi, are dealing with injuries or the like.

Best
Ellis Amdur

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Old 01-16-2013, 04:23 PM   #4
Keith Larman
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Re: Teaching front rolls

FWIW, I have Ellis' video on ukemi. Worth every dollar times 10. Good stuff. Carry on...

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Old 01-16-2013, 05:54 PM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
FWIW, I have Ellis' video on ukemi. Worth every dollar times 10. Good stuff. Carry on...
Another fan here....

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:39 PM   #6
phitruong
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Re: Teaching front rolls

years ago we had a guy who could do backward rolls like nobody business, but for the life of him, he couldn't do forward roll. we tried all kind of approach and nothing work. the forward roll, even at kneeling level, freaked him out. there was an incredible amount of fear that he could not overcome.

maybe try blindfold then let your student do forward roll at sitting level. or try the systema approach https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGfuK9H1RKk

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:41 PM   #7
Janet Rosen
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Re: Teaching front rolls

I should mention that as a newbie I would not even *try* a forward roll for over a month, beyond getting down onto the mat in starting position, out of terror of "going over."
Spent a very informative and fulfilling month working mostly on suwariwaza shomenuchi ikkyo, sumiotoshi and maybe IIRC a little nikkyo and kotegaishe. Finally on my own terms, in my own time, alone on the mat, started practicing - same way I taught myself to swim a year after everybody gave up on teaching me. Some of us are ... different....

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:07 AM   #8
Eva Antonia
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Dear Krystal,

in our kids classes we tried teaching forward rolls with big gymnastic balls when we had lots of beginner kids at the same time. I have one big green ball for the big kids (1,40 m or so) and a smaller blue one for the smaller ones (1,10 - 1,20 m). Kids hug the ball and turn the head to the side and then roll with the ball. That worked fine with all kids, until they all learned mae ukemi well and started throwing the ball around...

Then there is a guy who is afraid of forward rolls (a grown-up), even kneeling ones. He always turns his hips to the side and makes a weird side roll over the hips. Or he turns brusquely over and falls on his back. But there is a very, very small roll that makes you roll without having the possibility to make anything wrong. You start like a kneeling roll, but then you make yourself very small, like a ball, and instead of making a circle with the hand over which you roll, you put it between your legs and reach out far behind your feet. Your head looks into that direction, and once you reach out really far you loose balance and roll directly over your shoulder. Shoulder is already on the mat, so it doesn't hurt. And since all body parts are practically on the floor, this roll doesn't frighten beginners. You don't even need to be very flexible to do it. So this roll works for the guy in question, although it doesn't solve the problem how to get him gradually upright. By the way, it also works greatly for mae ukemi from suwari waza. But unfortunately I don't have a link and I'm not sure if the explanation is worht anything...

Wish you much success with the kids classes!

Eva
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:20 AM   #9
lbb
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Quote:
Eva Röben wrote: View Post
You start like a kneeling roll, but then you make yourself very small, like a ball, and instead of making a circle with the hand over which you roll, you put it between your legs and reach out far behind your feet. Your head looks into that direction, and once you reach out really far you loose balance and roll directly over your shoulder. Shoulder is already on the mat, so it doesn't hurt. And since all body parts are practically on the floor, this roll doesn't frighten beginners.
I think that quite a few people have the problem with looking in the wrong direction. They try so hard to get down low, put the hand on the mat, unbendable arm, et cetera...but their head and shoulders are still up and facing forward. You're never going to do a safe forward roll while you're looking forward; you just can't get your head out of the way properly and get the roll going over the back of the shoulder and diagonally across the back, and every roll is going to be a scary and bumpy and painful experience, no matter how hard you try. I combine the posture Eva describes, plus the advice to "reach between your feet and look between your feet", and that seems to do the trick most of the time.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:30 AM   #10
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Actually, I'd suggest looking over your off-side shoulder. Two reasons:
1. that pulls you around more, so that the "track" of the roll is over the shoulder-blade (meat) rather than shoulder (rotator cuff).
2. It's more congruent from a martial standpoint. At minimum, you are looking back at the person you attacked you, and it leads you naturally into a position for kaeshi-waza.

Ellis AMdur

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Old 01-18-2013, 09:12 AM   #11
lbb
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Hi Ellis,

I think you're right, but I'd distinguish further between the average person's look-over-the-shoulder, accomplished with a head turn (basically pivoting on the spine), and the cyclist's look-behind, accomplished by ducking the head down and looking past your shoulder/upper arm, with your head sideways to upside down. I don't think the head-turn looking over the shoulder is what you want to prepare for a roll, while the cyclist's head-duck seems like the right thing.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:22 AM   #12
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Mary, I disagree with you (on paper, because I've not seen you or your students actually roll). I recommend a full pivot - not only a turn of the head, but the spine, and therefore the hips as well. This way the shoulders are entirely turned and cannot impact the ground. This is exactly what happens in a good breakfall, in a sense, lowered to ground level.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 01-18-2013, 12:24 PM   #13
Basia Halliop
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Another I remember finding useful for myself was to roll forward and back (initially from kneeling) and forward and back several times in the same spot, on the same side, trying to retrace the same movement in forward and reverse (like doing it on 'rewind' ), and I sometimes show that to people when they seem to get the idea of one direction (whether forward or back) better than the other. It tends to be more once you have at least some kind of basic start on both, though.

I also like the starting-with-shoulder-already-on-the-ground thing, too...
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:13 PM   #14
lbb
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Mary, I disagree with you (on paper, because I've not seen you or your students actually roll). I recommend a full pivot - not only a turn of the head, but the spine, and therefore the hips as well. This way the shoulders are entirely turned and cannot impact the ground. This is exactly what happens in a good breakfall, in a sense, lowered to ground level.
Using the method I describe, your body comes into contact with a ground along a diagonal line beginning at the back of the shoulder and going diagonally to the opposite hip. It is NOT a breakfall, and is not intended to be. It is a forward roll. There is absolutely no harm in having the back of the shoulder touch the ground briefly, and certainly it seems less likely to injure than the sort of sideways-across-the-ribs roll that would seem to result by "turn[ing]...the spine, and therefore the hips as well". But I'm sure that I'm misunderstanding what you're describing just as you misunderstood what I described.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:09 PM   #15
Brian Beach
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Ellis,

I have the DVD and also have kids that lead with their rear that I'm trying to help "fix". I learned a similar way you teach the rolls in another art but they find a way to twist themselves into knots.

My method is: feet together. Feet shoulder width apart. Take a step forward (right for this example). Place your left hand down palm flat (like a three point stance in American Football) Place your right hand inside with fingers pointing back at your left foot. Look over your left shoulder. Watch your left foot go straight over your head. Pancake landing and all that entails.

Usually they can get into position but it all breaks down when they start to move. The head holding actually exasperates it. Everything but the head tries to rotate to the front lead by the rear. The front leg knee hits, then usually the elbow and around comes the rear.

Any ideas on a fix?
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:23 PM   #16
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Brian - what I would suggest is what I think I call "horses" - the patterning of break falls. Do that for several months if necessary - don't even consider front rolls.

Do the head hold while doing "slither" break falls.

Do low koshi-nage. (that's how judo kids start)

When you start with the rolls, challenge the kid to count your fingers, look you in the eye and tell you her birthday, etc.

Also, they should be so used to breakfalls/hip falls, that the arms do not feel like you are "putting them on the ground to roll" - rather, they literally feel like they are wrapping their arms around the invisible body that is throwing them, just as in koshi-nage.

I think that being "thrown" by the arm is neurologically confusing, compared to being "thrown" by the core. The latter feels like its happening to you, whereas the latter is too far away. One doesn't know what is happening to one's body, unless you really get torqued from wrist to core - and that can be dangerous for kids, both due to the bone-plates not being sealed, and in not being able to read the threat and take the ukemi.

That's why I've always tried to teach that one should keep one's hand/arm close to the body. (aside from how dangerous it is to allow one's arm to be twisted and extended).

Nage should therefore be training on kaeshiwaza from day one - this positions their body correctly for ukemi.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 01-23-2013, 07:47 PM   #17
Brian Beach
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Brian - what I would suggest is what I think I call "horses" - the patterning of break falls. Do that for several months if necessary - don't even consider front rolls.

Do the head hold while doing "slither" break falls.

Do low koshi-nage. (that's how judo kids start)

When you start with the rolls, challenge the kid to count your fingers, look you in the eye and tell you her birthday, etc.

Also, they should be so used to breakfalls/hip falls, that the arms do not feel like you are "putting them on the ground to roll" - rather, they literally feel like they are wrapping their arms around the invisible body that is throwing them, just as in koshi-nage.

I think that being "thrown" by the arm is neurologically confusing, compared to being "thrown" by the core. The latter feels like its happening to you, whereas the latter is too far away. One doesn't know what is happening to one's body, unless you really get torqued from wrist to core - and that can be dangerous for kids, both due to the bone-plates not being sealed, and in not being able to read the threat and take the ukemi.

That's why I've always tried to teach that one should keep one's hand/arm close to the body. (aside from how dangerous it is to allow one's arm to be twisted and extended).

Nage should therefore be training on kaeshiwaza from day one - this positions their body correctly for ukemi.

Ellis Amdur
Thanks,

I'll give you a report in a couple months.

On a side note, the solo exercises on the DVD is there a place I can find more?
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:55 PM   #18
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Hi Brian - there is this article the pictorial represenations are not exactly what I would prefer (and the group is now training in quite a different fashion these days), but the text reflects my thinking back then. If I were to work on that in depth, from this point, I would want to harmonize my work with the information in this wonderful article entitled Kajo

Also, see PM

Ellis

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Old 01-23-2013, 08:09 PM   #19
Brian Beach
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Hi Brian - there is this article the pictorial represenations are not exactly what I would prefer (and the group is now training in quite a different fashion these days), but the text reflects my thinking back then. If I were to work on that in depth, from this point, I would want to harmonize my work with the information in this wonderful article entitled Kajo

Also, see PM

Ellis
Again, thanks! They are both very generous. I look forward to wading in.
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:21 PM   #20
Brian Beach
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Tried the head holding again with one troublesome case, it seemed to work. I reviewed the DVD and used a more gentle approach. From a kneeling position. I also told him to put the v of his arm and torso on the mat with his chin on his shoulder and plop right over. I don't know if this is helpful but I tapped the part I wanted him to put on the mat. I'm not sure if it was redundant, telling him and then tapping but the tactile reinforcement seemed to help.

Thanks!
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:23 PM   #21
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Teaching front rolls

Brian - that's great. Yeah, the head "hold" is more a very light support/guidance - you help them properly position the head. Similarly, tapping or touching the part you want the person to pay attention to - or in this case, touch down - is great. Kinesthetic feedback rather than a visually imagined goal.

Ellis

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