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Old 03-17-2002, 02:07 PM   #1
Arianah
Dojo: Aikido of Norwalk
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When should forward rolling be introduced?

I was wondering: how long into training do you think is the proper time to learn rolling? In a beginners' class, do you often introduce rolling right away, wait a few weeks, wait a few months . . . ? I learned forward rolling about two months into my training, the reason being too small a mat space, and mats that were not sufficient for it. I fear that had I not been completely hooked on aikido by the time we started, I would have most certainly quit (I endured much pain before learning how to roll properly.--hmm . . . there's no smily to express "hurts like hell." This one will have to do: ) However, since we have gotten new mats, the newbies at my dojo have started to learn rolls their third week of classes. I wanted a few opinions about when the optimum time to start this is. My personal (and very inexperienced) opinion is that it should wait a bit. I just think it might be too overwhelming to throw it all out there at once. The beginners already feel inferior (I assume) because they can't really throw, they can't really fall, they don't know the etiquette, they don't know the language, and they don't really know what is expected of them. I just think that adding on more before they become grounded and things start catching on is not the best approach to take. Especially since rolling is scary! So how do the instructors out there deal with this?

Sarah
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Old 03-17-2002, 02:45 PM   #2
guest1234
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That's interesting, ukemi is what hooked me into my class! A new student was told to arrive 30 minutes before class. A senior met them, taught them to take off their shoes, sign the attendance book, tie their belt, and bow in, in that order before class started. Once class started, you were the senior student's for that hour. He took you to a corner of the mat and taught you front and back rolls and back falls. At the end of the hour, you had a pretty good sense of what was needed. Of course, our sensei, perhaps due to his time under Chiba Sensei, felt good ukemi was essential to survival on the mat and expected us to learn it.

Every class started with ukemi practice...don't know what the beginners would do then if they didn't know falls. Besides, putting it off, to me, just makes it seem harder than it is, some folks could have real anxiety over it after a few months of not having to do it. Kind of like how some folks are about breakfalls; I learned after a couple of months and it has always been fun, those who wait years seem to really have a great deal of fear.

This having been said, my last dojo is also a college credit class, and is now not teaching rolls in the beginner's class. In some ways I think that is good as there are really no techniques taught in the beginner's class that require rolling, and it is hard to give 40 brand new beginners the kind of individual attention needed to get their rolls up tp speed (like the solid hour of rolling with a first kyu instructor I got at my first dojo).

I think if you are not in that college class situation, then rolling is important as sometimes students get launched into a roll, especially if the technique requires one, even if nage didn't mean to do it. Better to know how to roll (I have seen a 6th dan throw someone who didn't know how to roll into a forward roll...it didn't kill him, but it didn't look enjoyable, either ) So the sooner taught the better, for safety's sake.
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Old 03-17-2002, 02:51 PM   #3
Greg Jennings
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Re: When should forward rolling be introduced?

Quote:
Originally posted by Arianah
I was wondering: how long into training do you think is the proper time to learn rolling? In a beginners' class, do you often introduce rolling right away, wait a few weeks, wait a few months
Our dojo has been described as "invigorating" (Paul Clark, are you reading this?). A lot of people don't want to train that way, so take this with a grain of salt.

We teach people to do sit outs and rolls right away. We teach the rolls from a kneeling position first, then standing (unless they're very athletic).

The basic rolls are followed by a multitude of rolling drills. E.g., back-and-forths, front-blend-to-back, back-blend-to-front, jumping rolls over a partner, cross-footed rolls.

When they can roll OK, we let them participate in a drill we call "the flop". That's their first intro into break falls.

Our instructor is very concerned that students develop really good ukemi skills. We spend a lot of time on it.

Best,

Greg Jennings
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Old 03-17-2002, 06:08 PM   #4
shadow
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hello arianah (I don't know how to do any of the other smileys)

My sensei doesn't put any special emphasise on learning ukemi, he teaches the way his teacher (Saito sensei) taught him. Which is you seek out sempai on your own to teach you ukemi. So people start rolling when they feel comfortable. I had to find someone to show me how to roll after class. I can't remember how long it took me, but I find ukemi comes naturally. The more you train the better your ukemi gets of course. Then once you can roll, you try to roll out of everything you can, and then suddenly...breakfalls happen. Although there are the people who are petrified at falling, there is this big guy in our class who just doesn't like falling, he is so hard to throw cause he just doesn't want to fall over! And then I tell him to practice his forward rolls after class and he wont! hehe

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--damien--
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Old 03-17-2002, 08:11 PM   #5
nikonl
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There isn't a fixed time for learning forward rolls, depends on how ready the individual is. Anyway, i think 2 months should be fine...
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Old 03-17-2002, 08:56 PM   #6
Edward
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I think 50% of Aikido is about Ukemi. So if you're not good at that, then you're not doing Aikido.

If I ever teach a class one day, beginners will have to do exclusively Ukemi for the first 3-4 weeks or untill they become good at it, before they can start anything else.

If someone's afraid from falling, or if yone doesn't fall well, he's both a very bad Uke and a very dangerous one.

Cheers,
Edward
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Old 03-17-2002, 09:25 PM   #7
dc20
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Just to throw in my $.02, I started on rolls in my very first class, I believe. If not the first class, then I know it was the second. Our dojo is big on ukemi, and it's part of every beginner's early training. I just took my first promotional exam, and part of the test was to demonstrate ukemi...sitfalls, forward rolls, backward rolls. We are also observed during the testing for our ability not only to execute the attack as nage, but also to correctly deliver the attack and receive the technique as uke. So like I said, we're pretty big into ukemi. And I started learning rolls almost immediately upon beginning training...and I'm grateful for it!
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Old 03-18-2002, 01:41 AM   #8
Erik
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ASAP with a variable for the person. If you've got a person who can barely do a simple sitting back fall then forward rolls probably won't be happening soon. Otherwise, as fast as they can take them.
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Old 03-18-2002, 02:25 AM   #9
Duarh
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well, @ our dojo we get rolls from the very first lesson - I think it's okay that way; I was scared for the first ones, but got used to them quickly afterwards. It's much harder when an assistant instructor gives the beginner class (in which I, after 8 months, still am) breakfalls - *g* they sometimes still seem a bit scary to me, but to someone who's been around just for a few weeks. . .

Btw, a somewhat irrevelant question - is your arm supposed to hurt lots in breakfalls? I still haven't got a definite answer for myself on whether breakfalls in aikido mean falling flat-out so that surface area is maximized, or falling into a roll - different people give different answers too .
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Old 03-18-2002, 04:54 AM   #10
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I look at breakfalls as a roll without your leading arm...but how high off the ground you do that roll can vary according to you and your nage.

I think in most situations you can be very very close to the ground as you 'unroll' so little force is transmitted to the parts of the body touching the ground (you get that low by bending your knees). Sometimes nage has your hand held high (say shihonage and he remains standing, or the koshinage that involves him throwing you over his shoulder rather than across his hips, or even a true koshinage over his hips in a very tall nage)...I(at least) tend to 'unroll' out of those in the air and the landing is more like a high side fall in feel. But my arm doesn't hurt in either, and I don't think it should.

I'd have someone watch and critique those falls, pain is usually a good indication something could be improved. I'd just be guessing, but it may be you are turning out slightly in the fall so that your arm is taking the brunt of your fall. Good luck!
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Old 03-18-2002, 06:28 AM   #11
Duarh
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Thx. Thing is, I'm REAALY a beginner on breakfalls, and, if my arm doesn't hurt, something else will so I choose my arm.

Done 1 somewhat OK breakfall so far. . .ah well. Gotta practice. And gotta finally test to get out of "beginners'" class.

Ps. In case you wondered, those ""s were there for the sake of those here who'd just LOVE to jump in and start talking about the meaning of 'beginner'. . .
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Old 03-18-2002, 08:30 AM   #12
thomson
 
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Rolling and Falling

Duarh,
I would say that Colleen is right, if your arm hurts, there is something that needs to be corrected. I personally prefer back breakfalls to anything else, when done properly there is NO pain for me. I land primarily on the full of my back followed immediately by my hand(s) slapping the mat. If you do a back breakfall incorrectly and land on your arm or elbow first you take the chance of serious injury, (shoulder dislocation, elbow, etc.). Talk to your sensei, maybe he or a sempai can point out what you need to improve to take the pain out of it.

BTW, in our club everybody starts on rolling and falling in the very beginning, and when they feel comfortable with basic ukemi, then they can participate in the arts being practiced.

Mike

To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. - Sun Tzu
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Old 03-18-2002, 09:20 AM   #13
Bruce Baker
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ukemi rolls?

What kind of rolling? Gymnastic rolls, breakfall rolls, barrel rolls, or bakery rolls?

I have heard so many different absolute terms for people who have learned to roll one particular way ... and there always seems to be another school of how to do something? But all in all, we are not anyone else but ourselves and it is from this viewpoint we try to explain what we know or do?

You cannot go into and come out of a roll without balance, I know. I have a balance disease that takes away balance at the damnest times! Sometimes it is just like having the flu and a hangover on a ship in a hurricane ... try rolling in those conditions.

So, I have great compassion for people who have fear, or great difficulty learning to roll/ breakfall from fully committed techniques. It is a skill that is learned like any other. Sometimes quickly, and sometimes very slowly.

Have you ever been wiped out by a wave that just totally took away all your balance, very nearly drowning you? Sometimes, that is what it feels like when you don't get into the harmony of throw's power and miss the ukemi ... crash! This is the fear of those having difficulty with falls, rolls, and blending with the power of technique.

Sometimes, we forget that in our experienced time of training the attained skills we have now did not come in a day, a week, or a month, but with many hours of training and programing body/mind?

Just my nickel, but there are many types of exercises besides telling, and showing others our proficientcy in rolls or falls? Sometimes we must talk to each other to find the fears and capabilities of each other before helping to teach each other the necessary skills needed for having fun in Aikido practice? Slowly, carefully ... allowing the skill to develop at its own pace.

If you didn't know it, there are a number of simple vestibular exercises to help the body regain balance, or improve balance. Either these, or simply learning to slow down certain exercises we already do for warmups will help those having difficulty begin to improve steadily. Vestibular exercises are one way.

What is the hurry? There are many ways to get there from here.
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Old 03-18-2002, 06:41 PM   #14
Lenocinari
 
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Rollin'...rollin'...rollin'....

Dear All-
I guess you could say I'm fairly new to aikido, 6 months to be exact. When I was first welcomed to the dojo I started on front and back rolls the very first day. The instrurtor told everyone to practice their rolls and took me over to the corner He started me on rolls from a sqatting position. Once I got over my fear of the ground I was able to do forward rolls and backward rolls from a standing position. Although I am in the kids class (I'm only 13 for Pete's sake) I presume the ritual is the same for the adults class too. Hope this helps.
Cheers-
Ben

In order to see the stars, you first have to turn off the lights.
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Old 03-19-2002, 04:07 AM   #15
shadow
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward

If someone's afraid from falling, or if yone doesn't fall well, he's both a very bad Uke and a very dangerous one.

Cheers,
Edward
who is yone? Is he russian? Sounds like his ukemi is a bit erratic.

happiness. harmony. compassion.
--damien--
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Old 03-19-2002, 08:40 AM   #16
Edward
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Quote:
Originally posted by shadow


who is yone? Is he russian? Sounds like his ukemi is a bit erratic.
Sorry for the typo
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Old 03-19-2002, 02:02 PM   #17
erikmenzel
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Hi,

forward role is learned/practised every class.
First some Aiki Taiso and then some ukemi practise.

Just wondering, is there another way?

Erik Jurrien Menzel
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Old 03-19-2002, 02:20 PM   #18
JPT
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Try practising the standing up breakfall on a crash mat first, until you get the hang of them, then progress to the normal mats...... After you have been training for a few years you'll get that crazy urge to start doing them on allsorts of surfaces, carpet, grass concrete etc. Remember to empty your pockets ouch!!!!
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Old 03-20-2002, 01:18 AM   #19
shadow
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward


Sorry for the typo
don't worry, just me being a smartass. :d

happiness. harmony. compassion.
--damien--
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Old 03-20-2002, 10:34 AM   #20
jimvance
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
I look at breakfalls as a roll without your leading arm...
Interesting observation, but I can do a roll without both arms and still call it a roll. We all know ukemi is a receiving and dispensing of energy. A roll ("zenpo kaiten") is the ballistic releasing of energy caused within the human body by gravity and proper stimulus. You fall down and stand back up all in one fluid motion. If a roll is the transition of your center of gravity across distance, I think that "sute ukemi" (breakfall) is the fixation of that center of gravity while your body relieves the same amount of stress. Fixed or transitory, the mechanics, as Colleen says, are all the same.
Quote:
...but how high off the ground you do that roll can vary according to you and your nage.
I think where the fall happens depends less on relative height between uke and tori, and more on manipulation of that common center of gravity. If the common center is high enough, then uke may want to thrust up and over it. Perhaps that is what was meant, but I took it to mean tall people throw "tall" and short people throw "short". I think short people can throw "tall" and vice versa, it all depends on where the common center is and what it is doing.

The goal of slapping with your arm is to take stress away from the torso and all the organs it holds. Please don't hurt it Mr. Kreicbergs. :smiling Going as slow as gravity will let you and breathing out will help to relieve most other stresses.

Jim Vance
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Old 03-23-2002, 04:36 PM   #21
erikmenzel
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As a little sidestep:
why do people often make so much noise doing breakfalls?

My simple brain thinks that if you can hear it you (can) feel it.

Other question:

Why do people often confuse doing ukemi with trying to look good?

Just confused about other people

Erik Jurrien Menzel
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Old 03-23-2002, 05:49 PM   #22
guest1234
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Quote:
Originally posted by jimvance
I think where the fall happens depends less on relative height between uke and tori, and more on manipulation of that common center of gravity. If the common center is high enough, then uke may want to thrust up and over it. Perhaps that is what was meant, but I took it to mean tall people throw "tall" and short people throw "short". I think short people can throw "tall" and vice versa, it all depends on where the common center is and what it is doing.

The goal of slapping with your arm is to take stress away from the torso and all the organs it holds. Please don't hurt it Mr. Kreicbergs. :smiling Going as slow as gravity will let you and breathing out will help to relieve most other stresses.

Jim Vance
Yes, Jim, you did misunderstand me. If I meant it was the height of nage, I'd have said "this depends on nage's height" NOT "how high off the ground you do that roll can vary according to you and your nage." I meant just that: if nage throws high, it is difficult to roll low. If nage tries to throws low, uke might be able to lead it and roll high, or if not will will forced to roll low. The timing and interaction between the two, plus where nage plans to throw and how skilled he is at it, determines how high uke will breakfall.

Erik, my first sensei could do silent breakfalls. Not sure how he did it, knowing what I know now I'd like to see him do them again, I'm thinking he took the fall low. The closer to the ground, the less noise a fall is going to make. My rolls have always been silent, and my breakfalls noisy (the exact opposite of what sensei wanted---sigh) but it gives me something to work on. My breakfalls are less noisy if I try to get lower (which I'm not fond of doing), and with some techniques and nages (OK, the big guys who like to add energy) quite a bit louder.
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Old 03-24-2002, 06:32 PM   #23
akiy
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
Erik, my first sensei could do silent breakfalls. Not sure how he did it, knowing what I know now I'd like to see him do them again, I'm thinking he took the fall low.
There are at least a couple of methods in doing a "silent" breakfall, both of which pretty much involve "reaching" for the ground with your "slapping" (or, in this case, non-slapping) hand and using it as a sort of hydraulic spring to "lower" your body to the ground.

Although I'm not the best at doing it, maybe I can show you at Summer Camp, huh?

-- Jun

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Old 03-24-2002, 06:53 PM   #24
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I would really appreciate that, thanks! He told me that I needed to tighten my abdominal muscles to be quieter (more quiet ??) but that just made me 'levitate': the first night I learned to breakfall, we did a lot of kote gaeshi, I think he was trying to cement it into my head...

one of my partners was a woman whose VERY effective kote gaeshi is what made me beg to learn breakfalls (you just could NOT do a backfall fast enough). I don't know if it was my tightening my abs, or she was 'holding' me up, but when I worked with her it seemed like I just hung in the air for an extended time... we weren't allowed to talk on the mat, but after a few throws she whispered as she pinned me "how are you doing that?".. "I'm not," I said, "you must be..." She replied "No, it's not me, I'm going to tell sensei on you for levitating..." at which point we both got reprimanded for our whispering... and the cause remained a mystery...
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Old 03-24-2002, 09:05 PM   #25
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rolling? when>

ca wrote:
Quote:
my first sensei could do silent breakfalls
Breakfalls are rolling by touching the ground with your shoulder first: you have to be round and get your head very, very low before your feet go overhead. No magic there.

Arianah wrote:
Quote:
I just think that adding on more before they become grounded and things start catching on is not the best approach to take.
Teaching rolling right away is a good way to get rid of a student who is not determined to learn aikido. Better to weed out the least earnest before wasting hours and hours on technique, I say.

--Chuck
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