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Old 05-28-2003, 07:09 AM   #26
Alan Drysdale
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Ron said:

"I find the most difficult ukemi I take is for Ikkyo [ura]. When I am circling nage and headed sometimes my knee will hit first. This is really painful, and even put me out of training for a week last year. Does anyone else have problem ukemi? and any suggestion on landing backside Ikkyo better?"

I expect there are people in your dojo that have figured this problem out, but you might try falling flatter so that your knees don't hit hard, landing on your outside hand as you go down and letting the legs float around to where they want to be.

Alan
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Old 05-28-2003, 07:38 AM   #27
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
Hi Jun,

Being an absolutely tiny dojo, we don't have an classes devoted to ukemi. I do however, spend about as much time working on teaching ukemi in class as I do nagewaza. Also really try to focus on connection between partners and to giving a good committed attack. As we are still at a really base level (longest training student is now 7 months), we are still focusing a lot on just putting the correct foot in the correct place, and not diving out of techniques (and relaxing!).

Your class sounds excellent, and I'd be really interested in hearing how folks who take these classes perceive them, and what they feel is the best things they have learned. Also, it would be beneficial to hear from some of the newer students who post on this site, what they have found as helpful in learning to take ukemi (and I'm not talking so much about the falling part, but the following and being a "good uke" part that started this thread).

Thanks, and BTW; good thread!
Hello Rachel,

I think my post will throw a dash of cold water on the other posts. My own dojo is similar to your own, in the sense that my students are total beginners, having been training two days each week since April last year.

For my total beginners, we spend on average 60% of each session on ukemi: how to do it, where to put your feet, where to look, where the various parts of your body should be, etc etc. Absolutely no breakfalls, and we teach no more than the most basic kihon waza up till the first (5th kyu) grading.

In my opinion this comes close to the traditional training schedule of teaching ukemi well before techniques.

So I totally disagree with the general idea that mastery of ukemi (understood in a very general sense) somehow parallels mastery of techniques. I see this illuistrated every week in the university class here. The ukemi of the 20-year-old students are very good, but their knowledge of techniques is quite another matter.

So, Rachel, can your students execute ukemi completely straight? Can they do ukemi without looking where they are going? Can they execute ukemi without turning their bodies in the direction of the throw? Can they change feet (and direction) in mid-air? Are they comfortable doing ukemi when the leading arm is held, as in sumi-otoshi? How about koshi-nage? I mean, do you explicitly teach these aspects?

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 06-05-2003, 06:26 PM   #28
Dave Miller
 
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Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
...can your students execute ukemi completely straight? Can they do ukemi without looking where they are going? Can they execute ukemi without turning their bodies in the direction of the throw? Can they change feet (and direction) in mid-air? Are they comfortable doing ukemi when the leading arm is held, as in sumi-otoshi? How about koshi-nage? I mean, do you explicitly teach these aspects?

Best regards,
Wow. I thought myself to be pretty good at ukemi untill I read your post, Peter. We have a drill for "front rolls" that we go through that I thought to be pretty thorough. I includes breakfalls, rolls to standing, rolls to the side and front rolls to the back (or any other direction). I'll have to play around with the "no look" ukemi. Do you have any more info on exactly what you mean by that? I have always been taught to look where you're going.


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Old 06-06-2003, 03:59 AM   #29
Peter Goldsbury
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Try this exercise as a sort of test, which I first practised in England at Ryushinkan.

Stand in shizentai, with feet slightly apart and enough space fore, aft and sideways to execute ukemi. Now, focus on the eight directions you have available for ukemi; directly forward, directly aft, sideways left and right, and also diagonally in four directions.

You are in shizentai, which means you can start from either foot or arm. In theory, you should be able to do ukemi, and I mean what is commonly understood as mae or yoko ukemi here, not ushiro ukemi, in any of these eight directions, starting from either hand and either foot and ending up with the same hand/foot or the opposite hand/foot.

Of course, some combinations are more difficult than others and it is a solo training exercise, which, moreover, can be done with the eyes open or closed. There are others that can be done with a partner.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 06-06-2003, 06:09 AM   #30
rachmass
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Dear Mr. Goldsbury,

Thank you for your post, and to answer your question let me start with what I had said earlier:

"As we are still at a really base level (longest training student is now 7 months), we are still focusing a lot on just putting the correct foot in the correct place, and not diving out of techniques (and relaxing!)"

No, I am not teaching anything much other than trying to follow along properly at the moment with a good connection, meaning to me, keep attacking through a grab; keeping the little two fingers and palm connected to nage on a grab; not diving out of a technique too quickly; trying to keep uke's center connected to nage; keeping attention on nage; not turning your back to nage, etc. We are practicing falls, but no high falls, just basic forward and backward ukemi. I know that you spent a good deal of time training under Chiba Sensei, and my background is from that lineage too, and I am trying (at a very beginning level) to impart that style of ukemi to my students. So, in answer to your question: "can your students execute ukemi completely straight? Can they do ukemi without looking where they are going? Can they execute ukemi without turning their bodies in the direction of the throw? Can they change feet (and direction) in mid-air? Are they comfortable doing ukemi when the leading arm is held, as in sumi-otoshi? How about koshi-nage? I mean, do you explicitly teach these aspects?", no, we don't do that yet, or anytime soon (hey, I can't do that either!). I do have to say though that these students are doing remarkably well and are showing amazing spirit and are taking pretty decent ukemi for the short time they have been practicing.

Best regards,

Rachel
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Old 06-06-2003, 06:59 AM   #31
Peter Goldsbury
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Hello Rachel,

Thank you for your reply.

There is one thing we do here that I forgot to mention, which also has a bearing on ukemi.

When demonstrating a technique in our beginners classes, the instructor almost always changes roles with uke and also shows the type of attack and the type of ukemi required.

In my experience this does not usually happen. The instructor shows the technique with a good uke then people begin to practise.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 06-06-2003, 07:06 AM   #32
rachmass
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Hello again Mr. Goldsbury,

Actually, I do that too. I show the technique four times, then the uke/nage roles switch and I take ukemi two to four times. As the most experienced has 7 months practice (and is my husband, so sometimes is not the best to demonstrate on), this has made most sense, and has helped the students pay better attention as they know that they are going to have to demonstrate next. My friend Shawn who comes up once a month (and is a supberb uke) also demonstrates or co-teaches the class so that we get a wider view of ukemi. She's very animated and physically talented, while I am very solid and strong but not flexible. It gives a good view of the different styles of ukemi and allows folks to follow what is more comfortable for them.

best,

Rachel
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Old 06-06-2003, 09:56 AM   #33
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Hi Peter,
Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
Stand in shizentai, with feet slightly apart and enough space fore, aft and sideways to execute ukemi. Now, focus on the eight directions you have available for ukemi; directly forward, directly aft, sideways left and right, and also diagonally in four directions.
Good exercise and one I've been doing in the ukemi class for a while now.

Any other exercises of this type you can share?

As far as the instructor taking ukemi during demonstrations, many of the instructors here will say, "And for the ukemi..." and be uke. Also, some of them will walk around the class and throw people and then, subsequently, take ukemi from them. Our main instructor also usually trains one-on-one with his demonstration uke for a while, taking ukemi when it's his turn, too...

Regards,

-- Jun

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Old 06-06-2003, 05:43 PM   #34
Dave Miller
 
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Shizentai:

Pardon my ignorance but what is shizentai?


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Old 06-06-2003, 07:36 PM   #35
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Shizentai:

Quote:
Dave Miller wrote:
Pardon my ignorance but what is shizentai?

自然体 literally translates as 'natural body'. It is not hanmi, but has the hips straight. In the exercise I mentioned in an earlier post, the feet are side by side, arms at the side.

Best,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 06-07-2003, 05:36 AM   #36
PeterPhilippson
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We put a lot of time into teaching people how to be uke, because we can only develop our nage skills to the extent that people can take the ukemi, and attack properly.

We have separate ukemi practices for beginners until they feel confident enough to not injure themselves. More advanced ukemi training: I hold a jo diagnonally, people take hold across their bodies and do a forward ukemi. Or ukemi over people kneeling or more than one in a line.

We sometimes teach people to punch, sometimes with a pad. One of our sensei has a background in karate, another in Muy Thai, which is a help.

Yours in Aiki,

Peter

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Old 06-07-2003, 10:51 AM   #37
Charles Hill
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A number of times, I have seen Shihan from the Aikikai take or demonstrate ukemi. It is always both powerful and beautiful. However, I know for a fact that these people rarely take ukemi anymore. This says to me that years of daily practice of correct ukemi results in it becoming part of one's self, kind of like riding a bicycle.

Mr. Goldsbury writes that a mastery of ukemi does not equal a mastery of technique. This makes sense to me, but I do think that a mastery of ukemi is a prerequisite to the mastery of technique.

Charles
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Old 06-07-2003, 07:08 PM   #38
Chicko Xerri
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refined Ukemi is the greatest technique.
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Old 06-11-2003, 01:22 AM   #39
Kelly Allen
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I tend to place great importance on my Ukemi for three reasons.

1: It tends to be a good cardio vascular, and abdominal, exersize for me.

2: I have found the more relaxed I am a Uke the better I am at it. This relaxed train of practice flows over to my ability to perform better as Nage.

3: The more advanced my ukemi gets the more suttle nuiances I can pick up from my sensei when he throws me. Explinations of what I am doing wrong in spacific technique tends to make more sense to me as well because I can feel the differences while being thrown.
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Old 06-11-2003, 11:57 AM   #40
Dave Miller
 
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Re: Re: Shizentai:

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
literally translates as 'natural body'. It is not hanmi, but has the hips straight. In the exercise I mentioned in an earlier post, the feet are side by side, arms at the side.

Best,
Thanks, Peter. That's what I thought, based on the context. I'm definitely gonna try that.

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Old 06-11-2003, 02:05 PM   #41
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Quote:
You are in shizentai, which means you can start from either foot or arm. In theory, you should be able to do ukemi, and I mean what is commonly understood as mae or yoko ukemi here, not ushiro ukemi, in any of these eight directions, starting from either hand and either foot and ending up with the same hand/foot or the opposite hand/foot.
A few of us stayed after class last night and worked on this for the first time. It was fun I think I must be doing it wrong though because, to be quite honest, it wasn't really that difficult. Once I got over the idea of starting the ukemi in a "weird" position and realized that if I just did it my feet would follow and I'd end up ok it wasn't really that bad.

We did change one thing though. We didn't worry about ending up with opposite foot foward. Our normal ukemi training works very hard to get us to end up with the same hand and foot forward and we didn't feel like messing around with that just yet

Overall a fun exercise and a good practice.

Thanks for posting it.

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 06-11-2003, 05:12 PM   #42
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Bronson Diffin (Bronson) wrote:
We did change one thing though. We didn't worry about ending up with opposite foot foward. Our normal ukemi training works very hard to get us to end up with the same hand and foot forward and we didn't feel like messing around with that just yet

Bronson
This is not really a change. In the original post, I stated that you can do either: same foot or opposite foot.

Best regards,

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Old 06-11-2003, 11:46 PM   #43
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Quote:
This is not really a change. In the original post, I stated that you can do either: same foot or opposite foot.
Aaaah, my mistake. I thought we were supposed to both. So even by my previous understanding it wasn't really a change but an omission.

I would like to ask for clarification on a couple terms. Mae ukemi and yoko ukemi. We don't use these in our dojo. We use zempo kaiten ukemi to mean a forward roll and either ushiro ukemi or, more usually, koho ukemi for a backward roll. Everything else (side rolls and whatnot) is "a variation" on these two...unless we're talking about breakfalls. Breakfalls are designated in english ie, forward, backward, side, rolling etc.

While practicing the exercise you described we were doing zempo kaiten ukemi (forward rolls) with either same hand/foot or opposite hand/foot in all directions. Is this what we should have been doing or are you looking for more of a breakfall.

Thanks again,

Bronson

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Old 06-12-2003, 07:26 AM   #44
Peter Goldsbury
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Well, 'mae' means forwards, 'ushiro' means backwards and 'yoko' means sideways. The names you use are variations of these and I have found that many dojos have preferred names. What you call zenpo kaiten ukemi is a mae ukemi with a fancier name (forward direction rotary ukemi).

All the exercises in my previous post are with this type of ukemi.

If you think of the two basic patterns of ukemi we teach our students here, both are in fact mirror images, with a vast spectrum of variations, which students do as they become increasingly proficient. Here students start in seiza, or hanza, and roll forwards, ending up in seiza or hanza, in the same hanmi as before they started. They then reverse the process and execute a backward roll, ending up in the same way. However, the more variations you add, the more the two types of roll become similar. Thus, you can do a mae ukemi, but facing backwards or sideways, as one might do from shiho nage, or do an ushiro ukemi, but facing forwards, as one would do from a direct irimi nage, with the body horizontal and the feet at eye level. The possibilities are many.

Best regards,

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Old 06-12-2003, 07:37 AM   #45
Peter Goldsbury
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Further to my last post, one possible way of distinguishing a roll and a breakfall is the contact of the body with the ground. Thus, the ukemi from koshi nage or ganseki otoshi cannot really be described as a roll, in my opinion. You fall, and you break your fall in a certain way. As with running vs. walking, there is a period where the whole body is in mid-air. But one can do this either forwards or backwards, given the flexibility of this general distinction I suggested in my last post.

As for whether the 8-direction exercise is of rolls or breakfalls, this depends among other things on one's physical flexibility. A mae ukemi directly backwards might be hard to execute as a roll because it is difficult for some to bend their backs so far. Thus the roll will in fact be a breakfall. Another factor with breakfalls is that they are probably best done with a partner who is doing the throwing.

Best regards,

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Old 06-12-2003, 09:46 AM   #46
Charles Hill
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Peter,

I don't understand what you mean by "mae ukemi directly backwards." Until your last two posts, I thought you meant the roll was proceeded by pivot to the rear. Now, I'm confused. Could you expalin it a little more?

Charles
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Old 06-12-2003, 09:55 AM   #47
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To me, at least, the exercise that Peter describes is done without moving the feet at all when going into the roll. Rather, the front rolls are done in all eight directions are done from shizentai without pivoting. This makes some of the angles (eg southeast, south, and southwest especially (if you start out facing north)) pretty tricky...

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Old 06-12-2003, 03:41 PM   #48
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Peter,

I don't understand what you mean by "mae ukemi directly backwards." Until your last two posts, I thought you meant the roll was proceeded by pivot to the rear. Now, I'm confused. Could you expalin it a little more?

Charles
Well, let us take an example. You are in shizentai and are going to do a mae ukemi (aka 'forward' roll) directly behind you. You have several choices, assuming either arm or either foot. You can roll directly backwards on the right arm, which will involve a slight body turn to the right, as you might do with an ukemi from a direct sumi otoshi. Or you can make a large pivoting movement overhead and backwards with the left arm, but still turn to the right. So, too, for the left hand side, and with a choice of hanmi for landing.

I would not think you would need to use such a movement in a technique (and beginners should not attempt either way described), but the 8-direction rolls are exercises designed to increase body awareness, flexibility, and overcoming fear.

By the way, I sent you a private mail a few days ago on a different topic. Did you receive it?

Best regards,

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Old 06-15-2003, 12:02 AM   #49
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Thanks for the clarification Peter. Turns out we were doing it right after all

Bronson

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Old 06-15-2003, 08:31 AM   #50
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Thank you, Peter, for both your email and explaining the exercise further I think I understand it, so now I'll have to try it.

I have a question that I think fits this thread.

Some teachers teach that a front breakfall in response to a technique that requires uke to pivot toward the direction he/she is going in is not correct. The thinking is that it takes time to pivot, and nage should never give uke that much time to move. For other teachers, it is a fundamental part of such techniques to have uke take a forward breakfall. Right now, I'm thinking of breakfalls out of kotegaeshi and shihonage, but I'm sure there are others that are similar. What do people think?

Charles
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