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Old 10-22-2010, 04:17 PM   #1
Dave Plaza
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Being a good uke.

OK, not sure what section this should be in but some advice would be most appreciated.

A couple of days ago my lesson was, how to be a uke. A wonderful lesson and a good and welcomed look at what I can only describe now as an art in itself.

So the next day I wake for work... I wake but can't move, "why can't I move my neck?"...

Probably because I hit the mat incorrectly so many times... Well, that's the reason for sure. It was a combination of too much fear and age, and a lack of knowledge and skill... that led me to feeling this way...

Now! I so want to be a good uke, and now I totally understand the difference in a good and bad breakfall... I know now that I must blend and I know kind of how to flip over... but because I got injured (nearly better now) I still have fears..

So what I'm asking is... Could any of you peeps be so kind as to point me in the direction of good youtube vids that you think show a good uke? And hopefully I can get some tips pointers from it.

Many thanks

Dave
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:53 PM   #2
carina reinhardt
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Re: Being a good uke.

Perhaps somebody can show you a good video, I cannot learn from a video, I must practice to learn.
I think you must forget your fears and try to relax your body as much as possible
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Old 10-22-2010, 05:31 PM   #3
Janet Rosen
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Re: Being a good uke.

Because each style of aikido has its own version of "appropriate ukemi", generally with good reason because they each have their own version of the appropriate angle for a particular throw, I'd suggest
1) search on youtube by videos by the shihan most closely affiliated with your dojo or under whom your instructor studied the most
2) ask your instructor.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:08 PM   #4
patf
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Re: Being a good uke.

I presume you are focussing mostly on the falling aspect of ukemi here so...

I think videos are a great way of learning, especially ukemi, but of course you have to practice what you see.
I think you are doing the right thing. Unfortunately many dojos don't really teach ukemi, outside from a few short digressions from the main training. Some people are naturally good at it, some people like me have to work hard at it. I myself had my ukemi eyes opened when I attended Jeff Sodermans Ukemi Seminar in San Diego. I came away from that seminar realizing that theres so much more to it than tuck&roll and my ukemi improved significantly (by applying the techniques I learned at the seminar) over time.

Don't worry about making your ukemi too specific to your style, a good sound base will work in any situation. The important thing is do something you are comfortable with and to avoid injury. You can always adjust your ukemi later when you are comfortable with what you have.

Some good search words for youTube...

Ukemi Core training (search for this text)

any of the Guido videos (by MusicNazis) search for (Musicnazi falls)

That Guido guy is amazing, I especially love the way he stands up in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uZLKvhWCqA, looks almost unreal. It's nice to see such a big guy being so soft.

Good luck and be patient.

P.S google also for makko ho, it's a set of Japanese stretches, most of which will be familiar to you as warmup stretches. Doing these at home before going to bed will help keep your body supple and will help with your ukemi practice.

Last edited by patf : 10-22-2010 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:25 PM   #5
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Being a good uke.

The most useful videos I found were one called The art of falling volume one and some of the utube videos by Donovan Waite sensei. But really the best thing I did was spend a lot of time rolling around on my living room floor trying to teach my body to move right.
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:31 AM   #6
danielajames
 
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Re: Being a good uke.

Quote:
Patrick Fitzpatrick wrote: View Post
any of the Guido videos (by MusicNazis) search for (Musicnazi falls)

That Guido guy is amazing, I especially love the way he stands up in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uZLKvhWCqA, looks almost unreal. It's nice to see such a big guy being so soft.
I got the 'music nazis' to put pen to paper - along with other contributors for a series of articles, rants and assorted video clips here
http://www.aikidorepublic.com/aikido-ukemi

dan

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
ph 0413 001 844, 1593 Logan Rd, Mt.Gravatt, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:57 AM   #7
patf
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Re: Being a good uke.

Quote:
Daniel James wrote: View Post
I got the 'music nazis' to put pen to paper - along with other contributors for a series of articles, rants and assorted video clips here
http://www.aikidorepublic.com/aikido-ukemi

dan
Just finished visiting your link.

Excellent, well done.
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:34 PM   #8
Dave Plaza
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Re: Being a good uke.

Thanks everyone for your input

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Because each style of aikido has its own version of "appropriate ukemi", generally with good reason because they each have their own version of the appropriate angle for a particular throw,.
Wow, i didn't know that ukemi was specific to the style of aikido... I just thought that ukemi was the safest/most effective way to take a fall, and regardless of whatever style of aikido, a fall would always be a fall, and the safest way would always be the safest way.

Quote:
Patrick Fitzpatrick wrote: View Post
That Guido guy is amazing, I especially love the way he stands up in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uZLKvhWCqA, looks almost unreal. It's nice to see such a big guy being so soft.
Ha, that's pretty cool stuff... That's definately what I aspire for

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
But really the best thing I did was spend a lot of time rolling around on my living room floor trying to teach my body to move right.
Now the neck is better I'm gonna drag the mattress out into the living room tomorrow and give this a shot

Thanks

Dave
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:14 PM   #9
patf
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Re: Being a good uke.

Quote:
Dave Plaza wrote: View Post

Ha, that's pretty cool stuff... That's definately what I aspire for
You know now that I've looked at that video a few times, I'm convinced that it's clever camera trick, where it's actually a backwards fall played in reverse. (based on the way the hakama seems to slide up his legs). The rest of the video is then in normal forward motion. The sound was all messed up for me so I couldn't based on that.
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:17 PM   #10
Janet Rosen
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Re: Being a good uke.

Quote:
Dave Plaza wrote: View Post
Wow, i didn't know that ukemi was specific to the style of aikido... I just thought that ukemi was the safest/most effective way to take a fall, and regardless of whatever style of aikido, a fall would always be a fall, and the safest way would always be the safest way.
Glad you are on the mend!
In principle you are right...but....
some dojos insist the "inside leg" should go down first, others that the "outside leg" should go first, and each will instruct you on why. some dojos insist the foot should go down "toes live" and others "toes tucked under" and each will instruct you on why. some insist turning into front roll or breakfall is optimal way for any throw, others that it is rarely needed and backfalls are optimal, and each will instruct you on why.
And what I've found is...there is a reason, based on how in each dojo techniques are applied or the trajectory of throws, for the preferred ukemi.
So, yeah, the BEST thing is to have all the above in your repertoire so that "when in Rome" you are always safe... but when working on learning ukemi the best thing is to learn based on the convention taught within your dojo/style.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 10-24-2010, 04:59 AM   #11
lbb
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Re: Being a good uke.

In our dojo, learning ukemi is pretty much a continual thing. When someone is brand new, sensei may have the whole class go through a basic backward fall, or may not, but when we pair off to do the first technique, the new person will be paired with the most senior student, and the focus will be on the ukemi rather than the technique...details elided because, as Janet says, our "right way" could be some other dojo's "wrong way". Then, on every successive technique, the new person will get help from their partner, who will work at an appropriate level. When you're working with a new person, the technique never becomes the focus until the ukemi is safe and reliable.

Usually, fairly early on (often in the first class), the new person will also become introduced to ikkyo and the ukemi for it, and often also introduced to a forward roll -- sensei's got a whole series of progressive exercises for that. And then, as sensei is demonstrating techniques, he will point out correct ukemi and will watch for problems as students are practicing. If someone's doing ukemi incorrectly, it's time to stop, ditch the technique and go back to basics.

So, in summary, I guess I don't have any specific tips for how to do ukemi, given that I don't know how it's supposed to be done in your dojo...but I do like our dojo's approach to teaching and learning ukemi. I find that our new students are very clear and very specific on the mechanics what they're supposed to do -- they lack the practice of actually doing it, sure, but that's why we practice with them the way we do. And they don't have vague ideas like "I know now that I must blend and I know kind of how to flip over", which to be honest kind of scares me. I want my uke to know what they're supposed to do, no matter how unpracticed at it they are -- we'll just work at their speed or in a progression that works for them. I don't want an uke who wings it because they're not very clear on what they're supposed to do.
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:37 AM   #12
carina reinhardt
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Re: Being a good uke.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
In our dojo, learning ukemi is pretty much a continual thing. When someone is brand new, sensei may have the whole class go through a basic backward fall, or may not, but when we pair off to do the first technique, the new person will be paired with the most senior student,.
In our dojo we usually start after warming up with ukemis like the video I put in" neko ukemi" and one of our nidan or shodan takes a corner of the dojo to practice ukemis with the brand news.
Beginning with the techniques the teacher expects from all of the higher grades to go voluntarily and be tori an uke for the newbies. Our teacher dislikes the 3, 2 or 1 kyu guys who always are looking for higher grades to train, thats why sometimes he does an excepcional class like I described in " Breaking the will of the ego".
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Old 10-24-2010, 02:49 PM   #13
Dave Plaza
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Re: Being a good uke.

I think that my basic forward and backward ukemi are okay... need some work, but there's a pretty good foundation there to build upon... What's killing me is, for example, taking ukemi from kote-gaeshi...

Okay, how to explain this?!?

When I'm taking ukemi from kote-gaeshi what I tend to do is fall backwards and slap the mat rather than twisting into the movement and mirroring tori, then flipping over my arm... hope i've explained this well enough to understand.

The flipping over the arm part, I just can't grasp this... I've tried and tried. I'm not sure how I'm ever going to get this right in my head.

Thanks to everyone for the input...
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Old 10-24-2010, 03:17 PM   #14
carina reinhardt
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Re: Being a good uke.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKlKtIkcl1Q

I hope this will help you..
have a nice evening
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Old 10-24-2010, 03:29 PM   #15
Dave Plaza
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Re: Being a good uke.

Quote:
Carina Reinhardt wrote: View Post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKlKtIkcl1Q

I hope this will help you..
have a nice evening
it kind of helps, thanks

I just need to watch it a billion times to burn it into my brain.

Have a nice evening too.
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Old 10-24-2010, 04:44 PM   #16
ramenboy
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Re: Being a good uke.

haven't read through all the replies, but i'm sure someone's mentioned that being a 'good uke' isn't just learning to breakfall...

there's some great videos of nice looking falls, but ukemi itself, or like you've said ( and i agree) the 'art' of ukemi isn't just that.

here's a great article/interview with the instructor whos' taught me learn what ukemi is.

http://www.stagesekisensei.com/Interviews/Uke_gb.pdf

good luck!

practice hard
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:05 PM   #17
lbb
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Re: Being a good uke.

Quote:
Dave Plaza wrote: View Post
I think that my basic forward and backward ukemi are okay... need some work, but there's a pretty good foundation there to build upon... What's killing me is, for example, taking ukemi from kote-gaeshi...
I think that the ukemi for kotegaeshi typically is a backward fall. It's just more demanding than the backward falls from some other techniques, because nage is holding onto you. Thus, you can't just topple like a tree (which is not good for any technique, but really a bad idea for kotegaeshi) -- you have to learn to stay close. And, honestly, I think you're going to make out much better learning from your instructor than trying to teach yourself with videos on the internet. Presumably there are seniors at your dojo who can demonstrate good ukemi for kotegaeshi and can also look at what you're doing and give you some good pointers to improve your ukemi.
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:13 PM   #18
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Being a good uke.

I really like the break fall out of kotegaeshi more than the back fall. Of course which I use depends on the situation at hand. I only just learned this ukemi a few months ago. One thing that helped me to get it dowen was to take forward rolls out of it at a slower speed in order toget accustomed to the pattern. Just have nage drop your hand lower instead of holding you up for the break fall and let you take your own roll out of it. Of course discuss this with your sensei first and see if he/she approves and can help you with this.
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:19 PM   #19
lbb
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Re: Being a good uke.

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
I really like the break fall out of kotegaeshi more than the back fall.
Back fall, break fall, I don't much care about what terminology is used. Good safe ukemi is good safe ukemi, and I don't think the best way to learn it is over the interwebs.
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:40 PM   #20
raul rodrigo
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Re: Being a good uke.

Jerome, you beat me to it. The Seki article sums up for me what good ukemi is.
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:07 PM   #21
patf
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Re: Being a good uke.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Back fall, break fall, I don't much care about what terminology is used. Good safe ukemi is good safe ukemi, and I don't think the best way to learn it is over the interwebs.
I agree completely. The best way is for someone at your dojo to teach you step by step. It's important to have the person instructing you, be able to give feedback and correct bad habits you may not notice yourself developing.

That being said, for a lot of people, it takes a lot of time to learn the more advanced ukemi properly and a lot of learners or senior class members don't always have the time to spend doing that during regular classes. Many dojos are strictly time limited so there isn't often the luxury to practice before/after class. Also not all senior students make good instructors. I've seen many naturally gifted senior students who do great ukemi but just can't break what they do down into suitable form/steps for a beginner to learn. To them it just worked from day 1.

Good instructional videos can really help and motivate you to practice at home. IMO as an uke you need to take personal responsibiity to ensure your ukemi is at the appropriate level to prevent yourself from getting hurt and if practicing at home using instructional videos works for you, then that's great. Just make sure you get someone to eyeball your progress for at least a few minutes every few classes or so, at your dojo.

Don't take a kotegaeshi breakfalls if you aren't comfortable with them, and even if you never feel comfortable with high breakfalls, don't worry, just don't do them.
The goal is to practice long and practice safe. No one will fault you for never doing a high breakfall.

Last edited by patf : 10-24-2010 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:37 AM   #22
carina reinhardt
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Re: Being a good uke.

Quote:
Dave Plaza wrote: View Post
it kind of helps, thanks

I just need to watch it a billion times to burn it into my brain.

Have a nice evening too.
I know that feeling, I either don't learn from a video, but pls be patient, if I could learn it, everybody can
I'll ask you in a year again, then you will do great ukemis..
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:10 AM   #23
Eva Antonia
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Re: Being a good uke.

Dear Dave and others,

when thinking about "being a good uke" I wouldn't limit that to good ukemi. I'm doing brilliant ukemi on most throws except ushiro otoshi I somehow didn't get the clue how to do it, and still I wouldn't think I'm a good uke.

There are many other errors you should avoid for being a good uke:
- bad attacks (wrong distance, wrong angle, not focussed...)
- just stopping in front of tori when being supposed to do a dynamic attack
- not reacting appropriately to tori's movements, turning to the wrong directions or whatever
- understanding wrongly tori's movements and responding wrongly (for example, thinking he threw you while he had something else in mind...)
- resisting too much or being too compliant

I commit them all, so even with the safest and most beautiful ukemi I still have much to learn to become a good uke...

It's a long journey!

Best regards,

Eva
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:11 AM   #24
amoeba
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Re: Being a good uke.

I second Eva's post - I guess I can do breakfalls without problems from most techniques. But that's just such a small step on the way to become a good uke! I've traines with a few brilliant ukes and it's just the whole package that makes them so good: from the attack to the fall, and especially everything in between. And the it's just fun to traing with them...
For me, this is the most interesting part of Aikido at the moment... I think I'm getting better at it (e.g. not be too light as an attacker, that's a problem I've always had...), but it's still a long way to go!
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:28 AM   #25
ramenboy
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Re: Being a good uke.

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
Jerome, you beat me to it. The Seki article sums up for me what good ukemi is.
hahaha raul, i guess all filipinos think alike :P

at any rate, anyways, seki sensei is a great teacher. for the first three years at least, that's all i did was take ukemi for sensei at summer camp. he helped me realize that ukemi isn't just falling.

being 'good uke' is giving a good, sincere attack, always being in good hanmi and absorb tori's technique with your whole body.

practice hard
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