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Old 08-20-2008, 11:11 AM   #1
mari
Dojo: Green Bay Aikikai
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Having Choice in One's Ukemi

I think most people here would agree that ukemi is more than just falling. But do you think breakfalls are more than just showing off, flashy and impractical? Doesn’t that imply that you breakfall by choice and not because you have to?

For the past few years, I’ve practiced under Sensei Robert Graebel who has over 40 years in Aikido. When I take ukemi for him, I feel that I don’t have a choice over how and where I fall. Sometimes he sends me across the dojo flying, sometimes doing the same technique but different approach I find myself rolling slowing on the matt. I am 110 lbs, but does size matter? I don’t feel the same way when I practice with my dojomates, I don’t feel the same control over my ukemi.
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:11 AM   #2
JeremyAhouse
 
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Re: Ukemi

For me, ukemi is like the wind that nage, the sailboat, will use for their aikido. I agree, ukemi goes beyond falling elegantly or safely, it is a lot about bringing the energy to the partner and to the techniques.

This conception also suggest how the roles can shift throughout the encounter... if nage ever finds herself/himself to be doing a technique to uke (e.g. doing nikkyo to someone) then they have (inadvertently?) become uke and the dynamic shifts. This clearly over simplifies the thousands of aikido practitioners encounters across the globe as we practice each evening/morning and move back and forth across these lines...

The thing about practicing ukemi for me, is that the safer I feel, the better I energy I seem to provide to my practice partner. When I tighten up in mid shihonage, or hesitate on the fall or roll, now there is a grinding of gears (sand in the vaseline?) and if nage decides to push on through, where are we?

I heard someone say that we all get a finite number of breakfalls and so we should use them sparingly. Clearly some people like the acrobatic feeling of the high fall, and certainly some of us collude in making others of us feel very powerful. Having the amazing tumbling runs and amazing diving at the Olympics as background, I am in awe of the tumbling... breakfalls must also serve some of that purpose for some of us.
Still for me, ukemi practice leads to a sense of safety, which in turn leads to better intention with my partner which in turn gives them something good to work with. - Jeremy
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Old 08-21-2008, 02:09 PM   #3
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Having Choice in One's Ukemi

Quote:
Mariya Cacheva wrote: View Post
I am 110 lbs, but does size matter?
Yes size does matter. More you have contact, more your weight/size is important. You can compensate weight with speed, technique, timing and rythm, but still.....
Once I had an uke almost 300lbs for koshinage That was very good experience, for sure!! I think O sensei was something 250lbs when he was young, all muscles. So please eat more

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-21-2008, 04:29 PM   #4
eric_lecaptain
 
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Re: Having Choice in One's Ukemi

To me ukemi is like a beautiful rainbow, with golden sunlight streaming through. Silvery butterflies flitting about nearby. We use the rainbow to transfer energy from the leprechauns to the fairy princess who is the keeper of our ki, err….

Ok, I'm making it up.
It's just a fall to me. A means of getting from my feet to the ground without getting hurt.
Oh, and it looks cool when done properly…

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Old 08-22-2008, 04:09 PM   #5
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Having Choice in One's Ukemi

Quote:
Mariya Cacheva wrote: View Post
But do you think breakfalls are more than just showing off, flashy and impractical? Doesn't that imply that you breakfall by choice and not because you have to?
I think breakfalls are very practical. My favorite example is when, for whatever reason, I cannot disengage from nage. It might be impossible to roll away and that's when I think they become particularly useful. I would say that we have a choice in how we move in our ukemi, but that it's based more on subconscious efforts. I don't think we have time to think in words...it's more of a matter of perceiving that a roll will put me into an obstacle and then acting accordingly. I can extend my rolls or shrink them up to some extent. Real tight connections give less time to perceive and adjust than ones which have more slack...as I understand it, anyway.
Quote:
I don't feel the same way when I practice with my dojomates, I don't feel the same control over my ukemi.
My impression is that this has to do with the nature of the connection. A clear ("pure") action by nage will help the ukemi sort itself out; a less precise action by nage makes ukemi less obvious...again, per my impressions.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 08-22-2008, 09:36 PM   #6
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Having Choice in One's Ukemi

Nice. The process of aikido, all of it, is a process of active engagement. Nage's job is to remove choices. So, no, you don't get to be in control. You get to be actively engaged.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 08-23-2008, 11:01 AM   #7
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Re: Having Choice in One's Ukemi

Tori (nage) should be able to control the ukemi of uke - what kind of ukemi, what direction, what ending, and so on. I also like the idea that tori makes the throw so that uke automatically does the correct ukemi, even if uke has not learned it beforehand.
Not easy, but still a good ambition

Stefan Stenudd
My aikido website: http://www.stenudd.com/aikido/
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Old 08-23-2008, 01:48 PM   #8
Shany
 
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Re: Having Choice in One's Ukemi

well, depeds, Ukemi for me is a way for the uke to finish off a technique with love and responsibility to my uke, as appose to a real fight, where the technique would probably end the conflict (If there is no other way).

A good stance and posture reflects a proper state of mind
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Old 08-24-2008, 03:02 AM   #9
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Re: Having Choice in One's Ukemi

90% of the time I do breakfalls is to make uke look good. There're very few times that I had to do a breakfall to save my @$$... and my wrists, one of them is from a 6th kyu kid, fancy that...
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Old 08-24-2008, 10:29 AM   #10
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Having Choice in One's Ukemi

Quote:
Duy Trinh wrote: View Post
90% of the time I do breakfalls is to make uke look good. There're very few times that I had to do a breakfall to save my @$$... and my wrists, one of them is from a 6th kyu kid, fancy that...
Did you mean to make Nage (Tori) look good?

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 08-24-2008 at 10:41 AM.

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 08-24-2008, 02:52 PM   #11
Tinyboy344
 
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Re: Having Choice in One's Ukemi

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Did you mean to make Nage (Tori) look good?
Yes... *hahah*
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Old 08-30-2008, 10:54 AM   #12
Mato-san
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Re: Having Choice in One's Ukemi

As Uke offer a solid attack and enter nages sphere, and where he or she sends you is where you go, it may be a gentle release of energy or it may be a huge tornado, every nage is different. I suggest you prepare for everything.

If you train with a lot of gentle people, the breakfalls will be for showtime. If you don`t train with gentle people, tuck your chin and slap that mat!

(I love a huge, flying fall but I believe that kind of fall is an answer to a huge technique, not an answer to every technique)

Breakfalls are very practical and should be learnt by all! If you don`t add them to your arsenal you will be overwhelmed by some peoples Aikido.

Before you drive or steer your vehicle, you must first start the engine, release the brake and find gear!
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Old 09-01-2008, 02:03 PM   #13
Lyle Bogin
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Re: Having Choice in One's Ukemi

Sometimes breakfalls are necessary. However, doing many techniques in such a way that uke must breakfall is not.

Most of the breakfalls I have done have been out of ego rather then necessity ("see how tough I am!"). Usually I am trying to prove something to myself. When my mind is right, I use breakfalls to convince other people that they don't have to if they don't want to in most cases. (first I do a big fancy fall, then a small fall that is just as effective and possible on the NYC street).
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Old 09-02-2008, 03:00 AM   #14
Eva Antonia
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Re: Having Choice in One's Ukemi

Hello,

I suppose the choice you have in your falls increases with the experience.
In my case, with not yet two years of experience, the choice is limited. If tori performs slowly and gently, then, for example in the case of kote gaeshi, there are three choices:
- slow and gentle ushiro ukemi if tori twists the hand directly onto the forearm
- slow and gentle mae or yoko ukemi without arms if tori twists the hand more laterally
- do a breakfall just for fun, but it works not very well if no one really throws you.

But if tori is strong and quick, the breakfall just comes by itself and I don't have the least choice (being a lightweight easy to throw around), especially on:
- kote gaeshi
- sumi otoshi
- juji garami
- all sorts of kokyu if you don't disengage your hands...

Surprisingly, those falls never hurt until now, although if repeated too often they cause some blues - but self-induced breakfalls are much more clumsy.

Best regards,

Eva
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Old 09-14-2008, 08:26 AM   #15
deathlinenetworks
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Re: Having Choice in One's Ukemi

i'll do it as often as i can but of course the nage has to really throw. the feeling of flipping and hands slapping the floor then body follows is just wonderful.

+momentum/power=super ukemi
-momentum/power=simple ukemi
hahaha
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Old 09-15-2008, 03:48 PM   #16
Diane Stevenson
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Re: Having Choice in One's Ukemi

Quote:
Eric LeCaptain wrote: View Post
To me ukemi is like a beautiful rainbow, with golden sunlight streaming through. Silvery butterflies flitting about nearby. We use the rainbow to transfer energy from the leprechauns to the fairy princess who is the keeper of our ki, err….

Ok, I'm making it up.
It's just a fall to me. A means of getting from my feet to the ground without getting hurt.
Oh, and it looks cool when done properly…

roflmao

...not as evil as I could be
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