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Old 07-19-2000, 03:01 AM   #1
Pete
"Pete"
IP Hash: 22791998
Dojo: Shinwakai Aikibudo
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Wink

OK, here is something for y'all to ponder!!

As some of you may or may not know, I ma of the, shall we say, larger persuasion. (ie 350lbs ish fo all you across the pond!!)

I have been doing Aikido 3 and a bit months now and have yet to get into ukemi properly.

Rear ones I can do a little of, but feel my toes may well suffer a lot if I get into having them bear the weight as I drop, and forward rolling ukemis are stopped by the great spare tyre I carry around. (Even a basic forward roll like you used to do in play school/kintergarden is difficult!!)

At present my Sensei has told me I cannot do the rolling ukemis until he says I am ready and my confidence in falling backwards is such that those are few and far between!! My dojo mates are very understanding and very supportive which helps a lot, but I kinda feel I am 'cheating' or missin gout on what is a fundamental part of Aikido!!

Have any of you taught people like me these things and how did you go about it? Or have some of you come from the direction yourself and how did you overcome these things?

Pete
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Old 07-19-2000, 03:52 AM   #2
Simone
Dojo: Augsburg/Haunstetten
Location: Germany
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Hello Pete!

The problem with foreward ukemi is that you, if you don't do it right (which is very likely as a beginner, I know this from myself), you can get much pressure on your collar bone. The more a persuative person you are, the more preassure you get and at a certain point, your collar bone may break.
So, I don't want to insult you, but did you think of getting less persuasive? I think this is what will help you most with your ukemi, also the backwards and will cause less injuries.
I'm sorry if I should have upset you with my suggestion.

Simone
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Old 07-19-2000, 04:06 AM   #3
Pete
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Talking

Not sure what you mean by less persuasive, however, I am in the process of losing weight!! In fact it is one of the reasons I started Aikido!! As a way of exercising and using my brain at the same time!!


Pete

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Old 07-19-2000, 04:10 AM   #4
Pete
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Cool

Oh, and people, please don't worry about upsetting me or offending me in your replies!!! there is absolutely nothing you can say about large folk that I haven't heard before!! And believe me, at 30 now, I have heard plenty!! Some rude, some funny, some ignorant and a couple quite inventive!!

So, again, I am very thick skinned when it comes to comments on my weight etc. so please don't hold back and say what you mean, cos sometimes I don't get subtle innuendo y comments!!

I thank you!!

Pete

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Old 07-19-2000, 08:47 AM   #5
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
Location: Harrisburg, PA
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Cool I'm a big guy too...

Pete,

I'm a big guy too -- about 315 -- and I'm not having much trouble at all with ukemi rolls and falls. I've been studying Aikido for ten months, but it wasn't until I had been studying for six or so months that I really got forward rolls down. Actually, I used to train with a guy (until he moved) who was skinny and short, and he had trouble with forward rolls for almost a year. I've actually found breakfalls easier than forward rolls at times. It wasn't until two or three months ago that I performed a good backwards roll.

What I'm trying to say is that ukemi is a skill that takes a while to master. Don't let your weight be an impediment, even skinny people have trouble with it at first. Let it take as long as it needs to take for you to learn the skills. As long as you're giving it your best shot, you'll be fine.

In fact I don't really feel that I've mastered ukemi. I am just good enough that I probably won't get hurt when I'm thrown. I can now focus on the other part of ukemi -- being a dangerous, committed, and sensitive attacker.

Like I said before, just practice and it will come.

-Drew A.

P.S. I've lost 30 or so pounds since starting Aikido from a combination of the exercise and Weight Watchers.
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Old 07-19-2000, 09:20 AM   #6
BC
Location: Chicago, IL
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I agree with Drew. There is a student in our dojo who is pushing around 300 lbs. and has been practicing on and off for a few years now. This guy falls and like a feather - his ukmei is so soft and smooth that you can hardly hear him hit the mat! Just keep up the practice. Your ukemi will only get better, and that's where you'll also get the strong aerobic workout which can help you slim down.
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Old 07-19-2000, 11:14 AM   #7
Guest5678
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Thumbs down

Pete,

Please, take your time! Practice and time. I'm just over 200 lbs and have been at it for a little over four years. I was in great shape when I started and still had problems rolling from shoulder to hip and straight up. It's just not something the average person can automatically do (perhaps someone in gymnastics could). Let's not kid ourselves though, your weight will be a factor but it should NOT prevent you from learning to execute proper ukemi. I've seen many large people doing great ukemi. Just keep at it and your body will adjust!!

Best of Luck,

Mongo
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Old 07-19-2000, 02:52 PM   #8
brian jones
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Hi Pete,

I'm 6'4 340lbs perhaps I can give you a few pointers.

1) Become comfortable with the ground which is really your friend. Start practicing your ukemi from a crawling position- yes, on all fours just like a baby. Once you comfortable taking ukemi from a crawling position do it from a sitting position, seiza (start practing your back rolls from seiza also). Now you ready for standing ukemi.

2) MAKE SURE that you are breathing OUT the air from your lower abdomen- use a short forceful breath (in the begining).

3) When doing standing fwrd roll/ukemi PUSH off with the rear leg (same with back roll too). Try to get as close to the ground as possible before you tuck and roll. I have seen many beginers "crash" because they tuck and roll from a position that is too high.

4) Pete, once you have made it this far start working on side rolls and ukemi with weapons. Some dojo practice jumping dives&rolls but I don't really see the need for a 300 pound person to do so- I used to do them in yudo and hapkido training though.

5) Get some help from the senior students/assistant instructors.

6) My sensei in Japan ALWAYS told us that ukemi should be quiet, there should be no sound from your body hitting the mats, and that ukemi is a weapon just like a shuto or a sword (treat it with respect).

7) Do 200 crunches per day to help protect the spine.


Good luck!!!

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Old 07-19-2000, 04:00 PM   #9
Erik
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I used to train with a guy who was probably 5'6" and 300 pds or more. I won't be much help because I have no remembrance of how he learned to roll. All I know is that he did and he was a damn fine training partner because he could make my life hard.

For what it's worth it took me 6 months to get comfortable rolling. Before that I got through them but it was with something other than flair and style.
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Old 07-19-2000, 04:10 PM   #10
DJM
Dojo: Two Rivers Dojo, York
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Smile

Umm around 230 pounds, 3 1/2 months and, well, I'm getting a grasp of rolls from a crouched position, just...
As they say, practice, practice, practice....

My biggest problem I think has been my height - 6'2". Way too high to be comfortable falling just yet..

Peace,
David

Sunset Shimmering,
On Water, Placid and Calm,
A Fish Touches Sky
--
David Marshall
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Old 07-19-2000, 05:42 PM   #11
Pete
"Pete"
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Thanks all for your replies!!!

It is nice to know that i am not alone in this!!!

Once I move house (soon I hope!!) I will hae space to practice gently at home to build my confidence!!!

My teachers and Sempai are very understanding and all very supportive so I may ask for some time before or after a class to go through it more privatel!! I think one of my biggest fars is looking daft in front of everyone when I try it!! More so because I am the only beginner!! Everyone else has done ths for at least a year or more!!

Still, lots there for me to think about so thanks ver much!!

Pete

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Old 07-19-2000, 05:45 PM   #12
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
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you'll look daft? We all do at one point... heh I usually do on a weekly basis .

-Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 07-19-2000, 05:59 PM   #13
akiy
 
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I think that what Pete just said about looking "daft" is, actually, one of the most important things to get over in one's practice. It sure was (and still very much is) for me...

-- Jun


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Old 07-19-2000, 06:25 PM   #14
Erik
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The other night we were doing, gasp, shiho-nage. Once a month we do technique whether we need to or not. Anyway, I was messing it up royally. I was working with a guy who was relatively short and I had to get way under his arm. It just wasn't working the way I wanted it to. I was frustrated, beating myself up and thinking all the usual crap.

So what happens? We're asked to demo the technique in front of everyone and everyone is to offer opinions or suggestions. I'm actually pretty direct in my assessments so I was going right down the line with everyone: leaning, not enough presence, more extension, etc. So my turn comes up and I do something that to my mind is barely passable. I felt awkward, slightly off balance, it seemed as if I didn't have uke's center and well just name whatever could go wrong. When I was done, I was actually shaking because I just knew I was going to get drilled (don't know why I felt this way but it was sure out in force that night) because I sucked.

Anyway, to make a long story short I got nothing but praise. Either they were being exceptionally supportive or just maybe it wasn't really that bad. Maybe it was pretty good actually. Because as I think back on it, uke was falling down and pretty much right where he should have.

A saying my instructor has is "you don't need self-defense from the other guy, you need self-defense from yourself."
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Old 07-19-2000, 06:41 PM   #15
DJM
Dojo: Two Rivers Dojo, York
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Erik,
I know what you mean about shiho nage with a shorter person.. Just started to learn how to bring them up onto their tip-toes to reduce the amount I have to lower myself to get under...
(Normally a lot of lowering for me )

Peace,
David

Sunset Shimmering,
On Water, Placid and Calm,
A Fish Touches Sky
--
David Marshall
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Old 07-19-2000, 09:18 PM   #16
bodly
Dojo: StillPoint Aikido
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Smile

Definitely keep with it, it'll come with time. Today was actually my first day back in the dojo after a 5 year absence. I'm a big guy too, about 330, down from 350+. I was very worried I would have to learn to roll all over again, but they came back extremely quickly. I guess it's like riding a bike. I did a few backwards rolls from a seated position, then from standing. They went pretty well. I was nervous about front rolls though. Sensei reminded me about using an unbendable arm and that helped a bit. Then I tried some forward rolls and soon I was with the rest of the class being thrown all over the mat. I had forgotten what fun it is to be tossed to the ground. :-)

Bodly
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Old 07-20-2000, 12:37 AM   #17
akiy
 
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Welcome to the Forums, Bodly. Please send my regards to Ross sensei; it's been a while since I've talked to him.

I'm lucky to have one of those "built for aikido ukemi" bodies, I guess. I'm small (5'6"), light (~140 pounds), and flexible.

One thing that I think about rolls, at least, is that it may help that it's more a forward motion rather than a downard one. When I watch "big" people roll really well, they look like they're "skimming" the mat rather than diving into it...

-- Jun

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Old 07-20-2000, 09:39 AM   #18
Nick
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I agree with Jun. Seeing as how I'm not even 14 yet (in a month, yay!) I'm about 5'7 or 5'8, weigh about 145, and my ukemi is still horrible . I have tried to *not* crash into the mat when I roll... it's not the rolling that's a problem, it's the getting up from a roll.

-Nick

---
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"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 07-20-2000, 09:47 AM   #19
Nick
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Quote:
DJM wrote:
Erik,
I know what you mean about shiho nage with a shorter person.. Just started to learn how to bring them up onto their tip-toes to reduce the amount I have to lower myself to get under...
(Normally a lot of lowering for me )

Peace,
David
I am one of the shortest (and smallest) people in my dojo, which gives me trouble on shihonage, because I don't havta duck so far down, it kills my lead, but if I do duck down, when I cut their weight seems to fall on me, and I drop to hantachi.

Any help with this (though it is kind of OT)?

-Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 07-20-2000, 06:08 PM   #20
DJM
Dojo: Two Rivers Dojo, York
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Nick,
One of the people at my dojo is quite small (smaller than you ) and was advised to bring the 'tall guy' down to her level.. Breaks our balance more than you trying to reach up high!
From a more practical point of view, trying leaving uke bent over more from the initial irimi...
Hope this helps, even a little..

Peace,
David

Sunset Shimmering,
On Water, Placid and Calm,
A Fish Touches Sky
--
David Marshall
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Old 07-20-2000, 06:19 PM   #21
akiy
 
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Uke's balance should be already taken (no matter their size) at or before the point of first contact...

-- Jun

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Old 07-20-2000, 07:31 PM   #22
Nick
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Ack, something else I can't argue my way out of because it's true. Another good point, Jun-san.

-Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 07-20-2000, 11:08 PM   #23
akiy
 
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Just repeating something that my teacher and just about all of the rest of my teachers have said...

-- Jun

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Old 07-21-2000, 12:24 AM   #24
Nick
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While we're on that subject...

who were your instructors? Totally OT I know, but I'd kind of like to know...

-Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 07-21-2000, 07:15 PM   #25
Mike Collins
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Talking

Ukemi fer a fat b###tard is it???

I say that in jest, cause I am a 300 pounder meself. And I haven't got the excuse that I am just starting Aikido and I'll get smaller as I train. I've been doing it about 10 or 11 years, and I've only gotten bigger. I train less than I'd like, cause I'm busy making millions (or possibly less). I love taking falls. I also love to eat!!

I love taking falls from the really high powered guys who look at me and smile, like they've just seen fresh meat. Oddly, these usually are of the Japanese persuasion.

Take your sweet time learning the ukemi, but keep at it hard, that's the meat of the art, and if you get to love it, you start to make great leaps both literally and figuratively.

Being enormous has it's distinct advantages and its' distinct drawbacks. Just like being skinny, tall, short, or even, yes, athletic and slender (people expect a lot from them, and poor things, they're usually not too bright :;-))

Have fun, cause that's the point- and hang in there. And work at creating a wonderful crash, none of that silly silent falling nonsense, thats for those who need to be quiet.

Good Luck
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