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Old 01-20-2007, 07:51 AM   #1
statisticool
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Using the hand in ukemi

Apparently some people think using the hand to slap in ukemi is inferior to using the hand to come behind the head and cradle the head.

Can they defend their claim?

Can they give a reason why the vast, vast, vast majority of throwing-related arts use the hands to slap?

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 01-20-2007, 08:29 AM   #2
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Using the hand in ukemi

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
Apparently some people think using the hand to slap in ukemi is inferior to using the hand to come behind the head and cradle the head.

Can they defend their claim?

Can they give a reason why the vast, vast, vast majority of throwing-related arts use the hands to slap?
Mats and tatami are not as hard as wooden flooring, concrete, or even most dirt surfaces.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 01-20-2007, 01:18 PM   #3
charyuop
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Re: Using the hand in ukemi

I personally use the slapping hand when I am thrown too fast for my capability...I find it very useful to avoid that nasty feeling in my brain of going pinballing in my cranium. Rolling on my side instead of slapping the hand also helps alot.
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Old 01-20-2007, 01:20 PM   #4
statisticool
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Re: Using the hand in ukemi

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote:
Mats and tatami are not as hard as wooden flooring, concrete, or even most dirt surfaces.
Yes.. I quite agree.

I think anyone can agree that injury can occur on wooden flooring, concrete, etc., regardless of type of falling method.

The issue with the hand behind the head, is that in ukemi we are trained to tuck the head anyway.

Second, it seems nice theory, but when getting thrown in reality, does one have time to put the arm behind the head? Is it even possible because centripetal force will throw your arms out?

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 01-20-2007, 01:34 PM   #5
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Using the hand in ukemi

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
Yes.. I quite agree.

I think anyone can agree that injury can occur on wooden flooring, concrete, etc., regardless of type of falling method.

The issue with the hand behind the head, is that in ukemi we are trained to tuck the head anyway.

Second, it seems nice theory, but when getting thrown in reality, does one have time to put the arm behind the head? Is it even possible because centripetal force will throw your arms out?
Well, I speak only for why the slap is not a good idea. And I'm a slapper who's trying to break the habit.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 01-21-2007, 12:36 AM   #6
PeterR
 
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Re: Using the hand in ukemi

I've taken Judo throws on old style (1910) tatami - about a quarter inch thick on a wooden floor recently. In fact by the time they finished shooting I had been tossed about 2 dozen times. When they said make it real it was.

So the first one hurt like hell because I slapped like I always do.
Then I tried not slapping - winded every time (almost puked).
Eventually it morphed into sort of a pre-body-hit arm flop and that worked like a charm. Yes it still hurt, yes I felt winded, but it was doable.

I've been thrown on wood before that but only once and I've done roles (where there is no need to slap) on any number of surfaces. I think the slap has its place.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-21-2007, 04:27 AM   #7
Amir Krause
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Re: Using the hand in ukemi

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote:
Mats and tatami are not as hard as wooden flooring, concrete, or even most dirt surfaces.
This is exactly the reason you may wish to slap them a correct and in timely manner - to reduce the hit your body receives and the tremor for your skeleton.

Slapping the hand must not replace trying to round your body and dissipate the impact energy as much as possible. The slap is in addition to the energy redirection, not instead of it, and it is of particular importance if you are thrown directly from top down, or start roling towards your head.
Slapping the hand correctly is not similar to premature hand throw which hits the ground in incorrect angle and may break the weakest joint (seen more then one person do that ).

On the other hand, there are situations in which slapping a hand might not e the best solution. For example if the hand slap location would be on much harder surface then the rest of your body, or if
you have something in your hand that may break/damage you, or if the fall direction might cause damage to the hand immediately after the slap.

The most important thing about break-falls is that break falls are just like any other M.A. situation. You have to be experienced enough to judge the correct response for a situation immediately. There is not one absolute truth, rather a case by case analysis.

In my experience outside of the mat, I fell more then once, on hard surfaces, on my front with my legs locked in place and/or no place to roll and used slapping of the hands to save my face and body, the most damage I had was minor scratches. I remember falling on a staircase, deciding no to slap and not to try and hold the staircase (if you ever reach this situation - remember this recommendation) and arrived down by sliding on my back, again, with no damage (except for my mother almost getting a stroke from her panic).

Amir
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:15 PM   #8
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Using the hand in ukemi

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
Apparently some people think using the hand to slap in ukemi is inferior to using the hand to come behind the head and cradle the head.

Can they defend their claim?

Can they give a reason why the vast, vast, vast majority of throwing-related arts use the hands to slap?
If you need the hand to slap, than how can you use it for other things while you are falling? I tend to use my hand to "look" behind my head when I take falls to check out what is back there, to distribute force in other ways, or to act as or maintain a tool to attack with.

I'm not sure how slapping is dealt with if it is needed when there is a weapon in the hand.

I've never cradled my head with my hand when I fell, but I guess that could have its uses.

There are many people I've met in Aikido who have had ukemi training in other arts before they get to Aikido (typically Judo, or Jujitsu). I haven't known them to be more or less likely to slap than Aikido people - so I disagree that this is standard training. It seems to be a function of how you were raised in your specific dojo.

I do admit that I think slaps on forward rolls are gratuitous.

I just don't see any reason to slap if you can avoid it.. but if you can't... well, then slap away. I slap sometimes on breakfalls, but only when I have to. I used to slap less often, when I was in better shape, and was more confident in my ukemi and conditioning.

I've consistently found the slap useful for measuring height off the ground (and so timing landings) in koshinages or other "long" breakfalls.

However, in general I don't slap hard even when I slap because it makes my hands hurt, and my hands are more fragile than my back, thighs, etc. I guess I could condition them to be otherwise, but that is a low-priority item for me.

Rob
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:28 PM   #9
Princess Rose
 
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Re: Using the hand in ukemi

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
it seems nice theory, but when getting thrown in reality, does one have time to put the arm behind the head? Is it even possible because centripetal force will throw your arms out?
Ok first centripetal force would be the force of tension holding your arms in. Your arms would fly out due to inertia… don't get me started.

I've never seen anyone put their arms behind their head in ukemi. Are there any videos on you tube or anything? I don't know what cradling the head looks like, but from the sound of it, I'd say you'd be more likely to break your arm, neck, elbow… than if you just tuck your head round your body and keep your arm out of the way.
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Old 01-23-2007, 09:51 AM   #10
statisticool
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Re: Using the hand in ukemi

Quote:
Rosemary Wulf wrote:
Ok first centripetal force would be the force of tension holding your arms in. Your arms would fly out due to inertia… don't get me started.
Ooops, thank you! I think I was talking about centrifugal force?

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 01-23-2007, 02:57 PM   #11
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Using the hand in ukemi

If you are talking reality...like on the street...or in a non-compliant situation.

rarely will you get a clean solid throw where you are not grappling or the guy is holding on to an anchor or something.

The best place to be in holding on to Nage so when you are thrown, you basically ride it down to the ground.

Been thrown on wooden dojo floors a bunch....sucks and your hand goes numb when you slap it. I prefer to ride nage down as I go.

If you do get thrown cleanly like in practice, well you do the best you can..there is no easy answer.

Tucking the hand behind the head. I'd have to see what you are talking about...but don't visualize or can't ever see where I'd ever do something like that..seems kinda dumb to me especially when you land on your elbow when you misjudged your path.
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Old 01-23-2007, 09:49 PM   #12
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Re: Using the hand in ukemi

As far as I know one protects the back of the head when falling by tucking the chin to the chest to keep a curvature in the neck and upper spine to distribute force in the event of impact. I see a lot of problems with someone trying to put a hand to the back of their head to protect it from the effects of a fall.

Regarding slapping of the surface, it depends on the situation one is in. There are times when it is necessary and if done properly does not hurt very much at all imho.

LC

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Old 01-24-2007, 04:42 AM   #13
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Using the hand in ukemi

I had to take ukemi on real ground a few times.

Not in 'street fights' but in accidents. Only two I recall o look like a roll. Once with a bicycle, once with roller blades getting on soft soil.
The first time I had to hold the bicycle in order to not get hit by it. In the other case I just held my one arm in a kind of bow, just to get formed like a ball and roll over my soft parka's backside through the little bushes.

On black ice accidents (again bicycle), where I could not move free and fell frontside down, I slapped with both forearms in order to protect my face.

I cannot say exactly, when to slap, but on rough ground I would generally avoid it, as the danger to get the hand or arm broken is too big.

Nor would I put my hands on the head as I trust in my ability to keep my chin close to the chest without hand support and for the hit itself the skull can take much more than my fingers.

Only If I have to go head foreward into bushy area, full of twigs, I guess it is very useful to protect your face - especially the eyes - with both arms, then yound hands ar on your head and the elbows in front of your eyes. But only if I cannot turn and go backwards into the mess.

I have some experiences from my time before I learnt ukemi and after that. Having the reflexes trained helps a lot. But I am far away from being an expert.

My first two days on a snowboard (2 years ago) were a ukemi desaster. Neither mae ukemi nor ushiro ukemi worked, not even the basics, which had nothing to do with my feet being fixed.

I should take more snowboard lessons to improve my ukemi, but I hate the headache.


Cheers


Dirk
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Old 01-24-2007, 11:34 AM   #14
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Re: Using the hand in ukemi

Quote:
Dirk Hanss wrote:
My first two days on a snowboard (2 years ago) were a ukemi desaster. Neither mae ukemi nor ushiro ukemi worked, not even the basics, which had nothing to do with my feet being fixed.

I should take more snowboard lessons to improve my ukemi, but I hate the headache.


Cheers


Dirk
Funny you mention it, I had very different experience with my snow. Of course not mae or ushiro ukemi, but weird side-half-ukemi, I did maybe 100 time in first two days. Even on iced surface which is very hard. Every time my body somehow knew that surface is hard so I never slapped, it wasn't conscious decision. My body just did it every time.

After the while, when snow was fresh I loved to fall down just for fun, it became so exciting. Twice I had no time do fall properly, but it was at very high speed, my snow entered under surface that stopped me deadly right away and my head hitted hard the ground. Some headache later, I still love snow

Nagababa

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Old 01-24-2007, 12:12 PM   #15
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Using the hand in ukemi

You should have cupped your head with your hand and elbow...see????

B,
R

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