Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 04-26-2009, 05:13 PM   #1
Conrad Gus
 
Conrad Gus's Avatar
Dojo: Victoria Family Aikido
Location: Victoria, BC
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 243
Canada
Offline
Officially done with mat-slapping forever

Hi all,

I know this has been discussed in depth, but I would just like to announce that I am officially DONE WITH MAT SLAPPING.

Over the past 14 years I have trained with many teachers, half of whom expect students to roll quietly and half of whom want to hear the thunder after every single throw. I've been flip-flopping back and forth to please whichever teacher is in charge.

Well, now I have my own club and we don't have very many mats. It was crowded and I was demonstrating something to a student during keiko. She threw me off the mats and I decided mid-throw to just go with it, throwing in an impressive mat-slap (partially from instinct).

OW MY THUMB!!!

Okay, so nothing got broken. Okay, so maybe after all these years my mat-slapping technique is all wrong (somebody send Donovan Waite Sensei to my dojo for a free seminar please). But all I can think about is that it is a good thing we were not outside and there happened to be a root or rock or piece of glass where my hand came down. That would have been bad.

Seriously though, my Sensei says my breakfalls are fine. I don't smash the mat as hard as I can when I breakfall, why would I do it during a roll? My students will be learning nice gentle rolls and elegant absorptive breakfalls from now on (assuming I have the skill to teach them). If mat-slappers at seminars think I am wimpy they are absolutely welcome to their opinion.

</mat-slapping-rant>

Conrad Gustafson
Victoria Family Aikido
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2009, 05:26 PM   #2
Voitokas
 
Voitokas's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 377
United_States
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

Ha ha! Good for you - I keep forgetting to reach for a soft breakfall, or to not slap, and then I think of it in mid-air, vacillate in my mind, and then land in some ridiculous way...

I am not an expert
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2009, 09:10 PM   #3
Buck
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 950
United_States
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

Yea know, I never paid attention to that. But that is so true, there are generally, two ways of doing ukemi; A) hard or B) soft. I look at it this being in the same situation of various dojos and requiring A) or B) I guess, am just end up in the middle. Not every dojo has the same floor under the mat. Some places I have been too have wood, others concrete. Not every dojo has the same type of mat. I have been to dojos which have a mix of mats. My issue was those thin gymnastic folding mats upon of concrete, especially if they are broken in. You really had to adjust to the way you took ukemi. I never slapped hard and really tried to displace myself over as much surface as possible. If say, if my hips hit first before the rest of my body and by legs weren't aligned properly ...holy guacamole! Or if my acute leg (that is what I call it since it is at an acute angle), being on the left, is too much of an acute angle that is tucked too close to my left glute would kill me when I hit the ground. The force/shock would travel back up to the knee, and the knee being stressed as it was due the acute angle of the legs, play havoc on the knee upon my foot and glute impact.

I had my share of slapping hard and hitting something other then the mat. The only reason I can think of that why this is done is a learning aid for beginners, plus an audible cue to the Sensei who could tell if a student's body is hitting before the hand.

I think over time you start off with hard slaps etc. and overtime develop softer more effective slaps and ukemi.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2009, 02:15 AM   #4
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 643
Israel
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

Do not make decision based on a single anecdotal experience.

Slapping the mat is just one variant of a technique. As such, it can be done correctly at correct opportunity and timing, but, one may also miss one of the above. As a varient, you should use it when appropriate and know when it is not.

I recall falling back on stairs (I am so talented I repeated this experiance twice on the same staircase, at my parents house) - my legs flying ahead of me, I used sof ukemi without a slap and kept my hands with me until I finished sliding down.

I also recall falling face first with my legs trapped (I said I am talented) - Had I not slapped with my hands, I would have stopped that fall with my face.

In some instances (strong enough forcefulll throw), a slap is a must, even if the rest of your Ukemi is soft.

The way we do it, slapping in a roll does not occur at the first contact, but only after the head and shoulder are past the ground, and your back and hips start taking the roll. At that point, we may slap with hands (and in some cases of strong throws legs too, shortly after). I was given some explenations on why slapping at first contact is wrong, but, over time I learned one should not over-explain the things he does not do.
When you slap at the end of a roll, it is definitly optional. You should decide if the momentum is too large and a slap is required, and if it is, align your body properly, be sure all your fingers support each other (less important on a mat, very important for any slap on an unpaved road) and slap.

Amir
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2009, 04:03 AM   #5
Eva Antonia
Dojo: CERIA
Location: Brussels
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 208
Belgium
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

Hi,

I always thought the "hard" and "soft" version were related ???
I mean, if you do the soft breakfall you still reach out with your hand, only that you just start the roll with the hand instead of violently slapping. And if it's harder and faster, then you slam your hand/ arm/ side of leg to the floor in order to soften the impact. And the transition is fluent.

I also had already the nice feeling of slapping vigorously on the hard floor; someone had just thrown me out of the mat area but I still had to land, so there was no choice, and although it didn't hurt on the slapping arm and leg, it hurt quite badly on the inner knuckles of the second foot (from the leg that came second).

But last week we did some exercises on the soft breakfall for warming up, and I managed to land on my fist, which was even worse.

And, last but not least I have to admit that even if the soft breakfalls are much more elegant, there is a strong FUN element in the hard ones...

Best regards,

Eva
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2009, 09:06 AM   #6
RED
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 903
United_States
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

My Sensei wants it quiet. She won't freak out if you slap though... unless I slap my uki-- which I have, I'm working through these issues though. 0_0
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2009, 09:10 AM   #7
Bob Blackburn
Location: PA
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 71
United_States
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

I let the throw dictate. If you are running out of room and would end up in the wall, you have to hit the brakes a little harder.

  Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2009, 10:35 AM   #8
Ben Eaton
Dojo: Loughborough Uni
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 27
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

I was taught that if you're heading towards the mat too quickly for you to handle, slapping the mat spreads the impact and takes the power out of something else hitting it, e.g. your back.

If you are able to roll out of a technique, why not? It reduces the impact on your body. If you're heading earthwards too fast for you to do the roll, stop yourself from getting hurt by using your hand to slow the impact a bit.

Don't decide during the technique what you're going to do, because if the situation changes, you'll end up with an injury. Go with it, and do whatever comes naturally/instinctively at the time.
If rolls don't come instinctively at any time, practice more.

Seems to make sense to me!
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2009, 11:04 AM   #9
Ketsan
Dojo: Zanshin Kai
Location: Birmingham
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 860
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

Quote:
Conrad Gustafson wrote: View Post
She threw me off the mats and I decided mid-throw to just go with it,
I got thrown out of the dojo once. We used to practice in a really small room and I think we were doing tenchi nage. Anywho I got thrown, went straight through the double doors at one end of the dojo and landed in the entrance hall to the church hall which was filled with a mother and baby group at the time.

Slightly embarrasing.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2009, 12:43 PM   #10
Kevin Karr
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 41
United_States
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

Slapping happens naturally; it is not a premeditated action. If one is thrown very hard, they most likely will have to slap out to some degree; with at least one hand if not both. One may be thrown very hard straight down or projected outwardly. In both cases, some form of a slap will probably be required. However, if one's skill level has advanced to the point that their ukemi allows them to take hard throws without slapping, I believe that is possible, as well. I have seen it done and I can do it to a certain degree.

Where I train, we do Donovan Waite Sensei's style of ukemi and, at my current skill level, I must slap out a great deal of the time. I am just traveling too fast in a downward or outward fashion. To not do so would mean taking the full force of the fall on my shoulder or back. That is pain I wish to avoid.

Last edited by Kevin Karr : 04-27-2009 at 12:45 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2009, 12:49 PM   #11
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

Wish I could have seen that!

I've just been thrown into walls, not nearly so dramatic (at least not for the passers by...)

Best,
Ron
Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
I got thrown out of the dojo once. We used to practice in a really small room and I think we were doing tenchi nage. Anywho I got thrown, went straight through the double doors at one end of the dojo and landed in the entrance hall to the church hall which was filled with a mother and baby group at the time.

Slightly embarrasing.

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2009, 01:26 PM   #12
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

Since you have your own dojo-how about training ukemi in different ways...then...training to not take ukemi anymore, and teaching people to absorb the energy and redirect it while standing there?
Failing that, or in addition to that- how about doing ukemi wih the energy held in the body so the ankles and hands stay supported and you fall and keep your body more like a ball while issuing energy back?
There are lots of options to people doing things to you that do not involve falling down. The idea of needing, wanting, preparing, or making the choice of falling down when someone does something to you is entirely yours.
There are other options.
Cheers
Dan
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2009, 02:28 PM   #13
James Edwards
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 76
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

we slap on the mats but we seem to know when to slap and when not to. When we know we're near the end we can also do without, for example absorbing using the upper arms only or slapping with one hand and not slap with the one over the floor.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2009, 03:30 PM   #14
ninjaqutie
 
ninjaqutie's Avatar
Dojo: Searching for a new home
Location: Delaware (<3 still in Oregon!)
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,003
United_States
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

I used to take Aikijitsu and I was told to slap everytime. That way, when you needed it, you would do it without thought. I had no problem with slapping. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. I did have a few times where slapping did hurt me though. One time I was forced to do face falls, back falls and slide slaps off of the mat for a demo in our dojo. Since I was a higher ranker... I had the "privelidge" of being off the mat. I slapped carpeted cement. It stung... but it was bearable.

In the aikido place I take now, you see slappers and non slappers. My sensei actually is an advocate of slapping, but doesn't force you. Eventually, as you get higher in rank, you begin to sense when a slap is and isn't needed. So, I slap sometimes..... and I don't slap others. I tend to slap more on a fall then I do a roll.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2009, 04:59 PM   #15
ninjaqutie
 
ninjaqutie's Avatar
Dojo: Searching for a new home
Location: Delaware (<3 still in Oregon!)
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,003
United_States
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

Oh... and I forgot to mention the really gross time while slapping doing a forward roll I slapped a cricket! UGH! There was nothing left but green goo on my hands and the mat...... poor little thing.... if I didn't slap like I tend not to in aikido... the little thing would have lived!
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2009, 11:17 AM   #16
Phil Van Treese
Dojo: Tampa Judo and Aikido Dojo, Tampa, Fl
Location: Tampa, Florida
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 174
United_States
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

I always slap the mat, hard. On a roll out slapping the mat helps to push yourself so you can stand up easier. When getting thrown where you can't roll out, the slap takes up a lot of the shock from the sudden impact/stop. There were times when I got thrown off the mat and slapped the floor. It stung for awhile but we all have incidents like that. However your sensei dictates to you on how to slap, or not to slap the mat, do it his way.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2009, 09:21 PM   #17
mwible
Dojo: Aikido of Suenaka-Ha in Greater Richmond
Location: virginia, U.S.A.
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 136
United_States
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

Haha, i completely understand. just to slap for the sake of it is a complete waist of energy; the only time that i slap is when thrown HARD, and i usually only have to when its by my Sensei or the chief student at my dojo.

-morgan

"When you bow deeply to the universe, it bows back; when you call out the name of God, it echoes inside you." - O' sensei
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2009, 02:43 AM   #18
Maarten De Queecker
Dojo: Aikikai Gent, Brugse Aikido Vereniging
Location: Bruges
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 139
Belgium
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

Quote:
Morgan Wible wrote: View Post
Haha, i completely understand. just to slap for the sake of it is a complete waist of energy; the only time that i slap is when thrown HARD, and i usually only have to when its by my Sensei or the chief student at my dojo.

-morgan
Slapping your hand really requires hardly any effort so I don't see why it should be a waste of energy. It's actually a good way of softening your fall that is somehow looked somewhat down on in aikido. One of my teachers once said to me that I should stop doing since "I was doing aikido, not judo". I never quite got this since I don't know why falling in aikido shoud be any different than the falling techniques taught in judo. I even find the latter somewhat superior since judo teaches you how to fall in a vertical rather than a horizontal way, something that already saved me from breaking some limbs quite a few times.

On slapping: I practiced judo when I was between 9 and 11 years old and was taught to always slap. When I began practicing aikido eight years later, that reflex was still there. It was easily unlearned for mae ukemi but a tad more difficult for ushiro ukemi, but I got there eventually.

I still slap but, just as Morgan, only when thrown hard enough. When doing ukemi on Koshinage I even let out some sort of kiai to get all of the air out of my lungs before hitting the ground. That also seems to help break the fall.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2009, 08:40 AM   #19
DonMagee
Location: Indiana
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,311
United_States
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

I stopped slapping the mat a while back as well. Even in judo I have found that it matters very little and the few times I've fallen on the street it has seriously tore up my hand.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2009, 09:10 AM   #20
Shany
 
Shany's Avatar
Dojo: ISTA
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 163
Israel
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

slapping the mat??? am I missing something?

Do you "hit" the mat with a bang, and than do an ukemi ? (bend -> hit the mat [creates noise] with your hands -> pause -> farward roll) ??

eek? why would you do that?

A good stance and posture reflects a proper state of mind
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2009, 01:03 PM   #21
Suru
Location: Miami, FL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 453
United_States
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

I learned to slap the mat with force equal to the power of nage's throw. I don't believe slaps soften ukemi at all. As was mentioned though, I agree slaps may expedite the recovery process.

Drew
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2009, 01:59 PM   #22
John A Butz
Dojo: Itten Dojo, Enola PA
Location: Carlisle PA
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 45
United_States
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

In the dojo I only slap on an ukemi if it looks like I am about to be thrown into a wall or off the mat.

A few years ago I did a demo on an outdoor stage that had been set up for the local theater company. I was uke, and as I had been trained I slapped on my first ukemi. That was the last time I trained to slap. It just wasn't worth it; the minor reduction in the force of the throw was not worth the trade-off of damage to the arm and hand.

The other danger-point in ukemi, in my opinion, is the ball of the ankle. I know off people who "slap" with the part of their body. I once took a hard high fall on a surface that was identical to that off most offices - concrete with a thin carpet over top - and because of my trained habit of loud "dojo ukemi" I "slapped" with my ankle. That ankle bone still hurts me, and it has been close to a decade since I did that particular bit of stupidity.

Like Don, I have not encountered any falls that require me to slap, and I am happier having trained that out of my system. It still comes in handy to avoid John-shaped holes in the drywall of the dojo, but outside of that minor usage I don't slap anymore.

Shany: The slap in most peoples ukemi actually comes near the end. As you reach the point where you are in the second half of the roll and your rear hand/shoulder are coming down, thats about where most folks slap. My description sucks, but if you look at a Kodokan Judo book you will most likely see a frame-by-frame reference that shows the roll and the slap.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2009, 02:14 PM   #23
Walter Martindale
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
Location: Cambridge, ON
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 656
Canada
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

When practicing judo we were taught to have the arm slap the mat shortly before the body so that we could transfer momentum to the slap and reduce the impact of the body. The act of accelerating the arm towards the mat from takes some of the momentum out of the body (the muscles need something against which to accelerate the arm, that happens to be the body).
My hands are getting a bit arthritic now - I half think that the right hand's a bit worse off than the left one - most of my mat-slapping was done when being bashed around by a left-throwing sempai..
There MAY (not for sure, but there MAY) be long term consequences of banging mats for years and years.
W
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2009, 07:53 PM   #24
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,133
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

In my training I was taught that the structure of the body was the same no matter if I was thrown hard or soft and that the hand was the first part of the body to touch the ground. Not only can the hand contacting the ground dissipate energy, I think more importantly the hand touching the ground first helps your mind orientate your body in relation to the ground for a safer fall.

Also it would depend on the angle that you contact the ground with. A steep angle (90 degrees straight down for example) there is no chance of rolling out. A shallow angle closer to horizontal would allow you roll out.

If you take a fall off the mat in the real world you can expect to receive some kind of damage. Just because you can fall safely on a mat does not mean you will fall safely off the mat. Consider the amount of damage to your body from a fall on a hard surface if you did not know ukemi.

David
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2009, 08:21 AM   #25
Maarten De Queecker
Dojo: Aikikai Gent, Brugse Aikido Vereniging
Location: Bruges
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 139
Belgium
Offline
Re: Officially done with mat-slapping forever

Yesterday during training I did a whole lot of slapping the mat. It was a class mainly on redirecting energy and sending it back and since I always attack quite enthusiastically, I was thrown back and forth. We even did some koshinage. After class me and a friend both did another 10-15 koshinages each and at the speed we executed and underwent them, we had to slap. We didn't exactly do them slowly. It was attack-get thrown-get up-repeat.

Point is, if you attack with a lot of energy, you will be sent back with that same amount of energy, which can result in quite some spectacular ukemi in which I just slap because it softens the fall a bit (every bit counts) and because having an idle hand isn't very useful.
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Aikido DVDs and Video Downloads - by George Ledyard Sensei & other great teachers from AikidoDVDS.Com



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:17 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate