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Old 03-01-2008, 06:14 PM   #1
nomi
 
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Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Hi fellow aikidoka, I have a question:

I've been training for about a year, and recently I started cross training in a different (harder--in the physical sense) style. They want me to throw myself into a breakfall in this particular style (just myself--no uke / nage situation), and I find I'm having a lot of difficulty doing so. It's not so much fear as my general incompetence, I think. I have problems getting enough height and with throwing my head at the mat (I'm betting that the two problems are interrelated). Anyway, I'm finding myself really, really frustrated by this, so if anyone has any advice, info, or the like, please send it my way.
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:41 PM   #2
Bronson
 
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

You could try starting out a little smaller.

Do a standing forward roll but keep you back leg straight and end in the breakfall position on the floor. Be careful about trying to roll back up. As you get more comfortable with that you can give it a little more oomph

I've had pretty good luck with using a big yokomen-ish strike that I let carry through which carries the body up and over.

Good luck, practice safe.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 03-02-2008, 12:29 PM   #3
giriasis
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Learning breakfalls like this was hard for me, too.

I agree with Bronson start lower and work your positioning on the landing first.

Also, look for the ceiling as your go over. By doing this your will be tucking your head and your body will follow your head. Try not to think about throwing your head to the mat but to the ceiling. Also push up (not out) with your feet to give yourself more height.

Last edited by giriasis : 03-02-2008 at 12:30 PM. Reason: grammer

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 03-02-2008, 01:22 PM   #4
Eric Webber
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Study forward ukemi. Low and slow at first, then a little bigger, higher, and so on. Breakfall (the type used to "flip" out of shihonage, kotegeishi) is simply a heightened form of the forward ukemi. Focus on the timing and extension of the legs, slap early so your hand takes the brunt and not the rest of your body (hips, knees, ankles)
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:29 PM   #5
DCP
 
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

I can't put myself into a breakfall! I need a fixed pivot-point provided by nage.

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
- Aesop
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:37 AM   #6
Bronson
 
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Quote:
Daniel Pierson wrote: View Post
I can't put myself into a breakfall! I
Yes you can, you just haven't done it yet

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:00 PM   #7
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

The key to hayaku zenpo kaiten ukemi {breakfall} is the front leg. You must get a good push off so that you can achieve the height required otherwise you will hit your head on the mat. This push off is also required if nage is throwing you really far. If you don't push off far enough, then you won't land out of the kotegaeshi and could get seriously injured.
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:35 PM   #8
nomi
 
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Thank you! The (above) post about the front leg made a lot of sense...I'm pretty sure that's my problem. We'll see, I'm going to dojo tommorow. Thanks all for the good advice, though!
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Old 03-09-2008, 06:42 PM   #9
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Here's an old thread where my husband and I talked about a good drill for this (in the last 2 posts) . . .

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7255

Sunny

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Old 03-09-2008, 08:20 PM   #10
Connor Haberland
 
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Every Tuesday and Thursday I go in to train, I always practice my rolls, and my break falls, every one of them. Then after that warm up, I go on to the basic techniques, then Bokken kata's, and Jo kata's, then move on to my Shodan requirements. All that if I have enough time.

Connor

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Old 03-09-2008, 09:08 PM   #11
Al Williams
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Firstly, I find it worrying that people think you need to jump into a break fall. If you are throw properly, that is you have no conscious choice to break fall, then you won't have time to jump. Excepting that high tempo techniques should only be done with experienced Aikidoka, when an effective throw is executed nage has completely captured uke.
This is not able being hard or brutal. It's about effective cutting. To throw, we cut. Therefore, our hand, hips and centre and going DOWN. A true throw will only occur if nage is under uke's hips and centre. If this is the case- why do we need to jump over something that lower then we are. If you are being asked to break fall and you don't feel you need to- then just say you don't feel you need to. When receiving the ground is our friend, the ground is safe. Once your there you can't fall any further. Why then jump away from the thing that makes us safe?
Secondly, a break fall is simply a dynamic roll in whatever direction. To think of it any other way complicates matters. When we roll our head goes down towards the mat. So it is with break falling. Head goes down, trunk is relaxed and our hips flick over. If you jump- head goes up, body doesn't bend and our hips, legs, arms and head all flatten out half a second before you HIT the ground.
Finally, an uke only needs to break fall if their centre line is cut. If uke is completely extended, off balance and nage does not cut uke centre line then no break fall should occur, only a simple fall. If nage allow uke to regain balance and then break fall the technique was staged.

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Old 03-10-2008, 08:24 AM   #12
creinig
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Quote:
Nomi Dehart wrote: View Post
I've been training for about a year, and recently I started cross training in a different (harder--in the physical sense) style. They want me to throw myself into a breakfall in this particular style (just myself--no uke / nage situation), and I find I'm having a lot of difficulty doing so.
Forward or backward breakfall? It might also help if you identify the particular style.
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:55 AM   #13
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

I think there are two essential aspects to ukemi training. One is solo training, where the student learns the basic essentials of the ukemi: where he/she is at any point, in relation to the tatami. The other is partner training, which is solely focused on ukemi and not on the effectiveness of the waza. It has the same aim as solo training, but adds the other essential element of someone throwing you.

The goal for solo training is an exercise taught by one of my earlier teachers (Yoshinkan to begin with, later Aikikai). If you stand in shizentai (natural posture, feet apart), you should be able to roll or breakfall (depending on your physical flexibility) from either foot, using either arm or neither arm (where appropriate) in any direction in front, sideways, behind, or diagonally (like in happo-giri). The form will be mae-ukemi, not ushiro-ukemi.

It seems obvious, but quite difficult, but you need to know where you are, what your body is doing, in relation to the mat or to opponents, at any point. I found that the solo training described above was very helpful for this.

I think this topic has been discussed before, since I recall making a similar post.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:17 PM   #14
rob_liberti
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Quote:
Alistair Williams wrote: View Post
To throw, we cut. Therefore, our hand, hips and centre and going DOWN. A true throw will only occur if nage is under uke's hips and centre. If this is the case- why do we need to jump over something that lower then we are.
In general, my center had been going up underneath uke for koshinage. The idea is that you throw them up and gravity brings them down. I agree that jumping is a bit off the mark. But I do take control of the movement as the uke. Heck I've throw Gleason sensei who decided to change things up and do a full rotation in the air, land softly on his knees, while throwing me over him. That was just fun - and no I can't describe it much better than that. I have no idea how he did it.

Rob
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:24 PM   #15
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Blush! Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Hi Nomi, thank you so much for opening this thread, for I am in the exact same boat as you are. I will try some of the advice provided to you by the previous posters.
Please do not think that I am trying to hijack you thread, but I wonder if it would be necessary to open another thread on such a similar subject. So my question is:
Isn't there an age limit for breakfalling?
I started at forty five, and I thought that breakfalls were for the young people. Like, when you start training in Karate around age fifty, you can make it to black belt without having to be able to execute a jumping spinning back kick.
Well, after one and a half year of training, Sensei is adamant that I will learn it. He says that I can. How he can tell that, I do not know, but since Sensei is always right, here I am, scared out of my head, trying to breakfall.
I'm working on falling forward without using my supporting hand, only the te katana. It seems to me that the next step would just be to add a jump, but I do not feel confident that will know the exact moment to slap the floor, and, if I cannot do that, I will simply not get up.
Help!
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:52 PM   #16
Jennifer Yabut
 
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Quote:
Marie Noelle Fequiere wrote: View Post
So my question is:
Isn't there an age limit for breakfalling?
I started at fourty five, and I thought that breakfalls were for the young people. Like, when you start training in Karate around age fifty, you can make it to black belt without having to be able to execute a jumpin spinning back kick.
I've never heard of an "age limit" for learning how to breakfall. If anything else, I think that one's overall physical condition (i.e., how well they are able to take hard falls) would be more of an issue. I started training in Aikido at age 34 (will be 36 this April). Since I thought breakfalls looked "cool", I wanted to learn how to do them too. About a year and a half later, I can breakfall decently - or at least good enough to *not* land on my head during koshi-nage.

I've also seen folks well into their 40's and 50's still taking breakfalls. On the other hand, I think quite a few of them started training when they were younger.

You alone know what your physical limitations are. If you're still in good physical condition, I don't see why you can't learn how to breakfall. It's kinda hard getting around it when you're learning koshi-nage.

"The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them." - Miyamoto Musashi
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Old 03-13-2008, 01:12 PM   #17
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Quote:
Marie Noelle Fequiere wrote: View Post
Hi. So my question is:
Isn't there an age limit for breakfalling?
I started at fourty five, and I thought that breakfalls were for the young people.
Hi Marie,

At the dojo I practice, there is a woman who is over 60 ( I think she is 63 or 64) and started Aikido over 50. Her breakfalls are amazing. People throw her with all Aikido nage techniques.

And she has NO previous experiences in martial arts...
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Old 03-13-2008, 02:33 PM   #18
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Hi Marie,

This'll probably be long but I'm going to attempt to tell you our method without using pictures... wish me luck This if for a more judo-esque breakfall. If your dojo is using the newer soft breakfall style this probably won't help you.

1) Start lying on the ground in whatever position your sensei wants you to land the breakfall in. Make sure it is corrected by a senior student or your sensei because everything builds off this landing position being correct.

2) Lift and lower the slapping hand/arm and the lower leg. Practice slapping the mat with the hand at the same moment the lower leg contacts the ground. Exhale as you slap. Have your postition checked each time. Repeat 10-15 times then switch to the other side.

3) Once you get the hang of step #2 start alternating right and left sides with each slap. You'll be rolling from side to side. Exhale as you slap. Have a senior watch to make sure your finishing position is correct. Repeat 10-15 per side.

4) Once your hitting your finishing position correctly on a consistent basis start adding some height. Do this by kicking your legs up then landing on your side. This is tough without pictures but it is a little like a URL="http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDlQ6ExGHgk"]"kip up"[/url] but you're just trying to get your legs and eventully hips up off the floor so you can let them tip over to the side and practice your landings. Think like you're trying to put both feet flat on the ceiling, tip to one side and land in your Sensei's approved position. As long as your landing position is correct keep kicking up higher until you're getting all the way up onto your shoulders. Make sure to exhale as you slap and have a senior watch you.

5) Now we start the rolling and landing portion. Get in position for a right side kneeling roll. SLOWLY bring your right knee all the way to the floor, leaving your left leg stretched out behind you. SLOWLY bring your right shoulder and right side of your head to the floor and reach deep under your body with your right arm like you're reaching for your left foot. Keeping your left leg straight bring it up and over your body and land in the correct position. Exhale on the landing and have a senior watch to make sure your landings are correct. And remember this isn't rolling practice it's practicing your landing from a rolling motion. Repeat 10-15 times then switch sides.

6) Get in position for a right side standing roll. Do your roll as normal EXCEPT keep your back leg straight and land in correct breakfall position. As always exhale on the landing and have a senior watch your form. Repeat 10-15 times and switch sides.

7) Get a senior student and grab each others wrist right hand to right hand. Explain to your senior that they are to be your support, they're NOT throwing you. Have them stand 90 degress to your left, you right arm should be crossed in front of you. Now, start tipping forward over your right leg and lifting your left leg to keep a straight line from the top of your head to your left heel. Continue going deeper and deeper until you start to reach your disbalance point. Repeat on the other side.

8) Same position as #7. Once you AND your senior know where your disbalance point is tip forward three times like step #7. On the third tip forward you need to be sure to be all the way to your disbalance point. At this point your senior will help guide you over the disbalance point and you will go over your arm like a child flipping over a bar on the playground, and land in the position you've been practicing all this time

This all sounds like it would take weeks but in truth I've run people with no previous experience through this in less than one class time. Some of the stages can be shortened or even skipped depending on previous experience or just how fast somebody picks up on it.

I hope it helps, be safe.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 03-14-2008, 10:30 AM   #19
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

Loads of thanks to you all, especially Bronson. In fact, during Wednesday's class, a senior student had us practice the first three steps of your method (Sensei wasn't teaching). I'm going to print this and practice it.
Sensei keeps telling me that the only thing that keeps me from "flying" - tha'ts what Haïtian Aikidokas call breakfalling - is my fear. What I need is probably to get progressively accustomed to the idea of leaving dear earth for a second or two, and your routine is going to help. It might take time, but I'm not going to let a sixty four year old beat me on this!
Arigato!
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:18 PM   #20
rob_liberti
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Re: Free Breakfalls and Frustration to Boot

I basically initially learned by means of Bronsons method, and I'll say this. After learning the method I described in a different thread (linked to by sunny upthread) I will say I wish I had started with my current way. YMMV -Rob
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