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Old 01-02-2009, 02:28 PM   #1
Dojo: Pula
Location: Pul,Croatia
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1
Smile Need help in Ushiro ukemi waza

Hi !
My name is Alexander Kovachevich from Croatia.
I am 50 years old and practice aikido for almost 2 years.
At the beginig it was very hard for me but now is more and more better but only thing I cant do it. USHIRO UKEMI WAZA.
Probably because I am not relax.
Coold any body help me with advice or any literature.
Thanks in advance and Thank You very much!!!
Best regards!
I live in the city Pula on Adriatic coast.
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Old 01-02-2009, 03:23 PM   #2
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
Re: Need help in Ushiro ukemi waza

Aleksandar Kovachevich wrote: View Post
Hi !
My name is Alexander Kovachevich from Croatia.
I am 50 years old and practice aikido for almost 2 years.
At the beginig it was very hard for me but now is more and more better but only thing I cant do it. USHIRO UKEMI WAZA.
Probably because I am not relax.
Coold any body help me with advice or any literature.
Thanks in advance and Thank You very much!!!
Best regards!
I live in the city Pula on Adriatic coast.

This has been discussed just recently. Good luck.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:02 AM   #3
dalen7's Avatar
Dojo: Karcag Aikido Club
Location: Karcag
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 750
Re: Need help in Ushiro ukemi waza


I see that this is your first time posting.
Stop by the Introduction section and say hello to everyone.

The link above did not give any specific links to your query - so I will add my 2 cents in here.

Caveat: I don't know what Im talking about, and I take no responsibility for anyone getting hurt for trying anything I say.

Seriously though, your not the only one who has an issue with Ushiro Ukemi. I don't like it at all.

There are different ways to approach this technique, and one may be better for you than the other - of course, best to talk it over with your 'qualified' instructor and go from their.

(Enough of the disclaimers...)

1) From a sitting position.
One leg in front and one leg kind of tucked under you to give you some 'spring' as you flip over.

2) From lying down flat on the ground. (I find this one hard, probably need a good set of stomach muscles.)
Put one hand straight over your head...(flat on the ground, not in the air)...and then pull your lower body up over you.

3) Sitting, with legs out, grab one side of your leg gi and pull up as you flip over.

How I do it:
Kind of a mix of 1 and 2...not saying its 'right', but its about the only way I can get myself to flip over. (Ushiro Ukemi is not what I consider a 'fun' past time.)

Hope this helps -



dAlen [day•lynn]
dum spiro spero - {While I have breathe - I have hope}


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Old 01-13-2009, 03:10 AM   #4
Eva Antonia
Location: Brussels
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 211
Re: Need help in Ushiro ukemi waza

Dear Aleksandar,

I'm doing aikido since a bit more than two years, so we're more or same at the same level, and me too, I HATE ushiro ukemi, although I can do it (not very elegantly, but it's enough for me).

I just wanted to add two other things to Dalen's text:

It helps if you use the second leg, which you don't fold when going down in order to kick upwards. For one, it's an additional atemi to the person who brings you down , and secondly, it gives you an impulse to roll back (kicking upwards-backwards, not upwards-forwards, obviously).

Secondly, there are a lot of techniques where you can escape ushiro ukemi. You can

a) spin out of it at the moment of being thrown and do mae ukemi, yoko ukemi or a strange thing like dorsal fall, which is something like yoko ukemi but more backwards. That works fine for kote gaeshi, shiho nage, tenshi nage, even the ura form of irimi nage, and it needs just a small adjustment of the direction of your body, mainly of head and shoulders in the forward or sideward direction. I don't know if I expressed it well, but it works. That's my preferred escape.

b) you can just do half of it until rolling onto your shoulders and then come back. That's what I do when a) doesn't work because my head is locked, uke blocks the escape way or I just don't manage. It has the inconvenient that it just ends in ushiro ukemi if the throw is really dynamic. But then you can escape it rolling from the shoulder to the side instead of doing the real ushiro ukemi.

c) when there is absolutely nothing to do, and you are brutally jerked backwards like in most forms of irimi nage omote, just do the fall on your back slapping with the arms to buffer it, and turn the head to your side in order not to fall onto it.

Then again, all these tricks don't save you from LEARNING ushiro ukemi, but at least you can escape it if you really fear it when being thrown. I don't know your prof's attitude to this issue - I know people who even encourage it and others who say that it's too risky, and you don't always have the opportunity to escape, so just stick to good old ushiro ukemi...

Best regards, and happy training!

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Old 01-13-2009, 11:14 AM   #5
Erick Mead
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,619
Re: Need help in Ushiro ukemi waza

I have had students who had a great deal of trouble with ushiro ukemi. Generally, this is because they resist falling. The effect of this is like toppling a tree, so that the resistance to collapsing the bottom of the structure makes the top of the tree hit the ground very much faster -- because it is actually falling for longer -- Gravity acceleration being a constant -- the longer the fall -- the harder you hit. The only reason most people step away backward is to keep balance -- and you are falling -- so why bother ? The only other reason to step away is to clear the range of a weapon, and that's what projective breakfalls and diving rolls are for (and sacrifice throws -- but read on) .

Some simple rules (most of which can be correctly broken in one way or another, but a good general guide nonetheless) :

First rule of falling down: Fall DOWN -- not back, not out -- DOWN! Shortest fall is the easiest fall. Get it over with. It is not your job to make spectacular tosses for your throwing partner. Don't step back to fall rearward, just drop.

Second rule: You are not a tree, you have joints -- use them -- crumple up as you fall down, and shape yourself into a good moving circle as you make contact.

Third rule: See the first rule. If your backside is not briefly touching your heel on the folding leg when you hit the ground -- you are still not falling straight down.

When you get this right the difference between ushiro ukemi and yoko ukemi is essentially the amount of twist you use on the way down. Even if you find you still feel the need to make that rearward step, make it -- and THEN fall straight down. Don't topple over the rear straight leg, and try avoid folding it while you are pivoting over it with weight on it. Recipe for injury. It still just adds the acceleration of your step to your fall If you want that and can use it, then do, but if not -- don't.

For more advanced consideration -- make sure your orientation is right, (almost) always face the attacker and fall on the side that keeps him to your front -- even though you are on the ground.

Falling is not a loss, and even can be made an advantage -- You are down -- not out.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-13-2009 at 11:16 AM.


Erick Mead
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:20 AM   #6
dps's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,354
Re: Need help in Ushiro ukemi waza

Think of ushiro ukemi as sitting down and rolling backward instead of falling down.


Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events not of words. Trust movement. --Alfred Adler
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