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Old 09-04-2017, 06:37 PM   #1
Shadowfax
 
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Dojo: Allegheny Aikido, Pitsburgh PA
Location: Pittsburgh PA
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Does your ukemi work in the real world?

Everyone is always talking about whether or not aikido works in the real world or on the street. But what about your ukemi?

I work with horses and have had a number of experiences in which my ukemi has saved me from injury or worse injury than I got.

The latest experience was this week. I was out on my weekly hike in the park with a dojo friend. We Were just going along talking and enjoying ourselves. Both of us use ski-walking poles on our hike and those poles are attached to our wrists with velcro straps.

Anyway as we were going along up a slight grade I managed to not lift my left toe off the ground enough to take a step. I caught it on a small projection of stone and went flying. Now my friend and her dog were directly in front of me and as I started to go I had all of these thoughts. "Cant land on Susanne, oh god my hands are tied to these sticks. Cant take a front roll because Susanne, tuck the leg, tuck the sticks!!" I managed to go down in a slightly inelegant sidefall, uphill. this all happened in about a second and as I hit the ground my friend spins around and looks down at me and breaks into a big grin and says. "Nice fall!.

My walking pole is a little bent where I landed on it. Otherwise I got back up with barely a mark on me and we went on with our hike.

You never know where or how your training might be tested.

So tell me.

Does your ukemi work in the street?
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Old 09-04-2017, 08:48 PM   #2
Dothemo
Dojo: Canberra
Location: Canberra
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Australia
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Re: Does your ukemi work in the real world?

Oh wow, that sounds like your ukemi really helped out there.

Yes I had a similar experience with my limited ukemi (relative beginner here). I actually had a before and after fall for comparison. A few years back I hadn't started training yet and was doing a tradesman job for a client. Anyway I was walking into his back yard holding a mag torch walking down this dangerous DIY Stone steps, shockingly uneven with stones jutting up everywhere. So my foot caught a jutted edge and I fell badly spraining my ankle chronically and grazing elbows and hands. I got up and finished the job on an ankle swollen the size of a grapefruit.

Anyway, recently whilst I had started training with some ukemi practice under my belt I was living in a new house but it had some minor defects. From the living room to foyer there is 4 steps with no Balustrade handrail and I found out on the day, the lip of the top step juts up enough to catch toes. The floor is all tiled concrete slab so hard. Anyways it was after a birthday and I had gotten a piece of left over cake on a plate and was walking to the porch to eat it. When I walked from the living room to foyer my foot caught the step lip in an akward manner and I tripped down the flight of steps onto the hard foyer floor landing on my back. Instinctively I had break fell with my free arm and had landed gracefully with my head tucked to my chest. It was a significant distance but I didn't have a single bruise or injury from it and was still somehow holding the plate with cake. I got up and walked to the porch, sat down and ate that cake! Needless to say that night I installed a Balustrade handrail in case that happened to someone else.

So yes, ukemi is fantastic and it saved me from injury.

Last edited by Dothemo : 09-04-2017 at 08:54 PM.
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Old 09-04-2017, 08:57 PM   #3
RonRagusa
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
Location: Massachusetts
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Re: Does your ukemi work in the real world?

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Does your ukemi work in the street?
Two instances come to mind. The first occurred in the summer around 5 years ago shortly after my 65th BD. Mary and I are avid cyclists. We ride rail trails and at the local cemetery. This incident happened at the cemetery. We were going down one of the gentle downgrades, got our signals crossed, she went left and I stayed straight. I managed not to hit her but was unbiked in the process and found myself running downhill in full possession of the momentum I had just prior to our mishap. My legs were moving way faster than they had a right to and as I veered off the road onto the grass I noticed I was headed directly at a rather large headstone. Unable to stop in time and losing my balance, I just let go and launched myself into a big front roll that ended up being a break fall. I lay there a moment or two, got up none the worse for wear and we continued our ride.

The second incident occurred in winter a couple of years later. We have a small hill at the end of our front steps that gets icy in the winter. Walking down that hill on my way to the car I took a step and my feet went out from under me. There was no time to do anything but fall, and I did, landing on my back. I took some time to assess the situation after landing and determining nothing was broken or even bruised I got up and went on my way.

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
You never know where or how your training might be tested.
You hear an awful lot about how Aikido doesn't "work on the street" or "in real life". I think that's mostly because people don't think in terms of ukemi as being as much of a defensive tool as any technique. I've never had anyone physically attack me in all the years I've been training but I have had the "real world" present me with situations where self defense involved simply surviving a nasty fall, on more than one occasion.

Ron

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Old 09-05-2017, 09:42 AM   #4
MattMiddleton
 
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Re: Does your ukemi work in the real world?

Yup! I've taken a few falls on the sidewalk in the winter, and just the focus on keeping my head off the ground probably saved me from a concussion.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:36 PM   #5
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
Location: Oceanside, California
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Red face Re: Does your ukemi work in the real world?

Thankfully, YES !!! I was ice-skating with a bunch of friends a couple of winters ago in downtown San Diego and lost my footing. I was probably about two feet off the ice in a horizontal position. I did a breakfall and suffered no injury at all. BTW, that was my second time ever on an ice-rink and I am a terrible skater.

A couple of months ago I was trimming some trees in my steeply sloped backyard. As I was walking down the slope with a chain saw in my hand, my feet shot out from under me and I was probably around four or five feet off the ground (very steep slope). Again, a breakfall and no injuries at all.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 09-06-2017, 07:57 AM   #6
Derek
 
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Re: Does your ukemi work in the real world?

I find that aikido students tend to want to throw more and fall less. At some level, the assumption is that they've "learned" ukemi and don't need to work on it. I encourage my students to constantly polish their ukemi and revisit it just like they do ikkyo and kotegashi. I tell them they are much more likey to trip and fall than be attacked by a sword on the street!

Derek Duval
Yondan
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Old 09-07-2017, 10:23 AM   #7
GMaroda
Dojo: Allegheny Aikido
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Re: Does your ukemi work in the real world?

As soon as I saw this subject I thought of a certain someone and a certain horse, but it's not my story to tell. Cherie knows what I'm talking about though.

Me, I haven't had anything too exciting. Twice I've slipped on ice and didn't fall like I would have liked. Though I didn't suffer any serious injury either.

I've seen more of an increase in balance. I've found in situations where the ground has shifted or I have otherwise slipped that my center realigns with where it should be instead of where it just was a moment before.
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Old 09-07-2017, 10:40 AM   #8
jamesf
Dojo: Kitsap Aikido, Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Does your ukemi work in the real world?

It's off-season right now, but one of the other activities I enjoy is alpine skiing. I'm only a mid-level skier, so I mostly ski the blue runs, but I occasionally dare to ski the blacks. In skiing, I take the attitude of "if I'm not falling, I'm not pushing myself to be better." Having good ukemi from Aikido makes this approach to skiing immensely more enjoyable.
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Old 09-07-2017, 04:05 PM   #9
robin_jet_alt
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Re: Does your ukemi work in the real world?

Quote:
James Frankiewicz wrote: View Post
It's off-season right now, but one of the other activities I enjoy is alpine skiing. I'm only a mid-level skier, so I mostly ski the blue runs, but I occasionally dare to ski the blacks. In skiing, I take the attitude of "if I'm not falling, I'm not pushing myself to be better." Having good ukemi from Aikido makes this approach to skiing immensely more enjoyable.
I think we have a very similar approach to skiing. I was once skiing with someone that was very proud of themselves for not falling over going down a run. I must have fallen over at least 10 times in the same period, but I am the much stronger skier. I just get bored easily and don't mind falling over.
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Old 09-08-2017, 11:48 AM   #10
eadavis
Dojo: Allegheny Aikido
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Re: Does your ukemi work in the real world?

The most recent time ukemi has saved me from injury was at a metal concert a couple of months ago.

I generally like to be right up at the front of the stage so I can see the band and mostly avoid the mosh pit. I was hanging out at the front of the stage, headbanging and enjoying the music (if you're of the metal/punk/heavy music persuasion, check out Iron Reagan, they're awesome), and I happen to look up and a guy (much larger than myself) is launching himself into a stage dive. Directly into me. I had maybe half a second to think and the thought process was: "Oh crap. He's going to hit me. Then land on me. I don't want that to happen." I didn't have time to get out of the way, so as he collided with me, I extended with my arms, took a back fall, and did some sort of weird kokyunage that resulted in him landing next to me rather than on top of me. I was pretty surprised when I got up and nothing hurt. .

Thank goodness for ukemi!

Last edited by eadavis : 09-08-2017 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 09-08-2017, 03:48 PM   #11
Robert Cowham
Dojo: East Sheen Aikido and Kashima No Tachi
Location: London, UK
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Re: Does your ukemi work in the real world?

I've fallen several times with no effect due to aikido, e.g. off bike on ice when front wheel locked and slid. When walking and stepped off pavement into unexpected hole. Down steep stairs when tripped at station. But also recently did an embarassing backwards fall off my son's hover board and jarred wrist not so long ago... Keep up the practice and remember you are not immortal!
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Old 09-09-2017, 03:05 AM   #12
Dazzler
Dojo: Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
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Re: Does your ukemi work in the real world?

Quote:
Robert Cowham wrote: View Post
I've fallen several times with no effect due to aikido, e.g. off bike on ice when front wheel locked and slid. When walking and stepped off pavement into unexpected hole. Down steep stairs when tripped at station. But also recently did an embarassing backwards fall off my son's hover board and jarred wrist not so long ago... Keep up the practice and remember you are not immortal!
Hows your ukemi from tables working?
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Old 09-26-2017, 11:40 AM   #13
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Israel
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Re: Does your ukemi work in the real world?

Most of these "real life ukemi" experiences were in the long past:
- Have fallen multiple times front first, due to army boot getting caught up in something, and used Ukemi front breakfall to come out of these with only a bit of sand.
- Fell off stairs once, while running down them only with socks, found myself flying on top, took soft Ukemi and continued sliding down, ended up feeling post back massage, no damage at all
- a few years back - simple sliding on sidewalk, friends look at me take Ukemi and get up with no injury ...

My brother who was practicing with me, had multiple incidents in which he rolled out of serious injury, including flying off a bicycle.

Amir
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:09 AM   #14
Mario Tobias
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Re: Does your ukemi work in the real world?

Ukemi is a life saving skill. It is not useless in the real world.
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