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Old 10-10-2006, 11:02 AM   #1
graham's Avatar
Dojo: Northampton Ki Aikido Club
Location: Northampton
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 134
United Kingdom
Out of breath whilst rolling

I'm a complete Aikido newbie (white belt, for a couple of weeks more), so I'm sorry if this is a stupid question.

When doing the backward-roll breakfall, during warm-up exercises or actual techniques, I get severely out-of-breath. I had put this down to just being un-fit, but the last couple of weeks I've noticed that I hold my breath while rolling. So, during warm-ups, we do 8 backward rolls (4 per side) from sitting and 8 from standing. At the end of that I'm about ready to collapse having just stolen a few quick gasps between rolls!

Has anyone else had a problem with this? Is there right way to do it (e.g. breath in when going back, out when going forward)?

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Old 10-10-2006, 11:09 AM   #2
dps's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,353
Re: Out of breath whilst rolling

Don't hold your breath. Inhale before you roll, exhale whilst you roll.

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events not of words. Trust movement. --Alfred Adler
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Old 10-10-2006, 11:27 AM   #3
James Davis
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Dojo: Ft. Myers School of Aikido
Location: Ft. Myers, FL.
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 716
Re: Out of breath whilst rolling

Basketballs that are full of air bounce; we don't like to bounce.

David's got it. You'll also find that BREATHING will make a lot of difference everywhere else in your aikido training, not just ukemi waza.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 10-10-2006, 11:35 AM   #4
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,654
Re: Out of breath whilst rolling

As Dave said. Important thing is not to have breath in your body when you roll because if it is a throw, it stops you getting winded. (obviously applies in both directions).

Also, it sounds like you are very unfit. We do 50 rolls at a time - from one side to another. Makes you bloody dizzy but you no longer care whether you are the right way up or up-side down

P.S. that's not a dig. Try doing some fitness training as well (skipping, running or something using your legs to improve ukemi)

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 10-10-2006, 12:44 PM   #5
Location: Indiana
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,311
Re: Out of breath whilst rolling

Take a step back in your falls. Go back to a rolling from the knees, or even closer to the ground or even just laying on your back and working your breakfalls from side to side. Focus on proper breathing. Then when you have that down, move up to the next level of falling.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 10-11-2006, 10:07 AM   #6
Janet Rosen
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Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,340
Re: Out of breath whilst rolling

hmmm...I don't think you need to "step back". If you are doing a short series of small rolls, that is a good format to start practicing your breathing rhythm. Many of us started with the "hold your breath" syndrome and this is actually a very good place to start replacing it with healthy breathing patterns you can carry both into the rest of your training and also off the mat.

Janet Rosen
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 10-12-2006, 04:16 AM   #7
Dirk Hanss
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Dojo: Aikidoschule Trier
Location: Merzkirchen
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 471
Re: Out of breath whilst rolling

Hi Graham,
there is nothing stupid in your question. You might have asked your sensei first.
I had the same problem, worsened by my (slight) asthma.

What helped me is
1) Do it slowly. It is better to do just four good rolls than 8 bad ones.
2) Breath calmly but breath - as a second step, try to inhale into your stomach (or even heels) rather than into your chest. Well it might be a metaphor, but it helps.
3) If all that worked and you can do some more rolls before running out of breath, spare energy by using the speed of falling down to get up again.

4) Last but not least take your time. It might last one or two years for getting the impression of being able to roll permanently - not at full speed, but calmly. And in the end it is crucial for all your aikido. In practice, you need to spare energy as uke in order to have enough breath to perform the technique, even if you don't need power. And all the points are valid for good techniques as well: stay calm - breath correctly - save energy.

And after being able to do that - forget it all again and DON'T DO a technique but just let it happen.

Best regards

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Old 10-13-2006, 06:56 AM   #8
Dojo: aikido dojo nippos Crete
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 75
Re: Out of breath whilst rolling

Graham, when I started Aikido I faced the same problem. During warming up I soon run our of breath and my heart was beating like mad. In Aiki taiso I also run out of breath and actually had to sit down for a minute or two in order to regroup strength. At first I blamed that it had been ages since I trained any sort of aerobic exercise being a bodybuilder (where anaerobic exercise is mostly the case). Then, with time, as the thing was not getting any better I decided to take a full physical & blood biochemical exam. To my surprise the results showed that my haematocrit had dived well below living standards and as the doctor poetically put it I ought had been dead long ago. I had a haemorrhoid problem that I had neglected for quite some time (eating and drinking like a pig) and at that time I was passing a glass of blood a day! (not joking). After I got the results I spent a week in hospital, was transfused with fresh blood a couple of times and started a sensible diet. The problem diminished, the haematocrit started charging and I was able to return to my Aikido classes without any more problems.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with you, but an occasional blood test on the basics and a cardio ultrasound is never a bad idea. I never did any before I started Aikido but if I had had one I would have established and cured the problem a lot sooner.
A few thoughts...
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Old 10-14-2006, 03:43 AM   #9
graham's Avatar
Dojo: Northampton Ki Aikido Club
Location: Northampton
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 134
United Kingdom
Re: Out of breath whilst rolling

Thanks, folks. Janet, Dirk, it's good to know that others have been there!

Ian, dig away. I am very unfit. I hadn't done any exercise for about 16 years, until I started Aikido a few months back.
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