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Old 02-27-2005, 08:25 PM   #1
AaronFrancher
 
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A sudden fear of the floor

I am somewhat new to this site, but i've been reading articles and forum posts for quite some time now. I have been teaching a 5-12yr old beginner class and I would like some advice on a situation that seems to appear every now and then. Every student learns to fall and how to do rolls, and some of them learn very quickly. I have one student who was exceptionally good at rolling; however, one day his rolls were completely off and steadily progressed to becoming worse. Over a period of time, I realized that he had become afraid of hitting his head on the floor. He'd never been so before, and I can't seem to understand why this would happen or how i could assist him in overcoming this newfound fear.

Any and all assistance would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

It is not simply a fight to the finish, it is knowing what to do once you have won.
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Old 02-28-2005, 01:19 AM   #2
DaveO
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Re: A sudden fear of the floor

That used to be me - not rolling; jumping from the swing. Great fun up at the lake - climb onto the boathouse roof for a really big swing, then let go into the water. 'Till one day, I just couldn't let go - took a while before I could let go again.

Go back to basics with your student. If he is having trouble with standing rolls, go right back to kneeling rolls or if that's still too intense, to ushiro-ukemi, or rolling practice. (Sitting, rolling to the back, back to sitting.) Backward rolls are easier to deal with for many; so work on them.

This is actually a brilliant chance to work on technique, so go slow and easy and work on the mechanics of the roll. Putting it into a technical frame may get his mind off "Floor coming!" and onto doing it properly IOW, his mind'll be busy enough not to deal with the fright. Soon, as youngsters will he'll be getting bored with your slow pace and start wanting to go full steam ahead again.


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Old 02-28-2005, 03:23 PM   #3
AaronFrancher
 
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Re: A sudden fear of the floor

Ok, thank you. I want to work with him on it, but unfortunately he moved up in rank and I am no longer his instructor. However, I do have another student that is starting to develop the same thing. I'll try it out and see how it goes. Thanks again!

Any other advice would still be greatly appreciated, I'm always trying to be open to new ideas.

Last edited by AaronFrancher : 02-28-2005 at 03:29 PM.

It is not simply a fight to the finish, it is knowing what to do once you have won.
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Old 02-28-2005, 04:08 PM   #4
ChristianBoddum
 
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Re: A sudden fear of the floor

Hi !
I sometimes teach a forward roll that is not so much forward as it is "inward" - towards the navel,
this is a way of getting the rolling started.
But as it is only a good roll where space is limited , I'll move on to real forward rolls as soon as possible.
If the idea of the floor coming towards you helps,then fine.
In ushiro ukemi sometimes it helps to sweep the leg that is behind you - forward , so you accelerate the motion.

I hope this helps - Chr.B.
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Old 02-28-2005, 06:02 PM   #5
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Re: A sudden fear of the floor

If the kid was doing well at rolling and then developed a fear of it, it may be that he smacked his head a bit and is too proud/embarrassed to admit it. Kids and young adults often get too big for their britches.

I can't really give much advice (what was given above sounds good to me), other than preach and practice safe keiko and demand that even the slightest injury be reported to the instructor.

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
- Aesop
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Old 03-01-2005, 08:54 AM   #6
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Re: A sudden fear of the floor

IMHO, fear is a mental fantasy about a negative outcome. Fear is a choice. Ask the student if they want to stay afraid. If they do, there is nothing you can do. If they don't, go back to basics (relax and breath), mentally rehearse a positive experience, and have them focus or distract the mind on anything else (sing, whistle, or humming is good and is processed by the other hemisphere of the brain).

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-01-2005, 09:10 AM   #7
Ed OConnor
 
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Re: A sudden fear of the floor

The other folks here have aready provided some good suggestions. Here are a couple more.

Tell them forward rolls are about getting away quickly & safely. I was going to say tell them they're NOT about falling but that's negative programming ; )

Have them look at their obi knots when rolling.

Trace a line (with your hand) from their pinky finger tip up their arm, across their shoulder, down their back to the opposite hip, prior to having them execute the roll. Be sure to keep contact with them at every point on the line. This tactile programming will help them roll along the proper axis of their body. We even do this with beginning adults in our dojo.

If they're really having trouble you can cradle their head while facing them in seiza (not for standing rolls).

HTH.

Peace,
eD

http://www.aikidocenters.com/
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Old 03-01-2005, 07:55 PM   #8
Qatana
 
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Re: A sudden fear of the floor

You might ask him to have his doctor check his ears. A middle ear infection or dysfunction can throw one's equilibrium off suddely, and can sometimes go undiagnosed.I had severe ear infections as a child, and when I recently had a bout of sinus trouble it threw my rolls all to hell.

No pun intended...

Q
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"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 03-04-2005, 11:36 AM   #9
AaronFrancher
 
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Re: A sudden fear of the floor

Again, I'd like to thank everyone who posted. It's seeming to work out on its own. His parents told me he was practicing at home and the next day he came in, his rolls were back to the way they were. If not better! I know this won't be the only time this could happen, so I'll try to remember everything you all have said. However, this time he resolved it himself, and I find that quite inspiring. Thanks again.

It is not simply a fight to the finish, it is knowing what to do once you have won.
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Old 03-05-2005, 02:51 AM   #10
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: A sudden fear of the floor

I know exactly how this is.

I used to do BMX bicycling and i would go off the craziest jumps you've ever seen. Some of them nearly approaching verticle.

Then one day i just couldn't go off them anymore. For some reason I was just scared to. No idea why. It took me till i was 13 to be able to do it again. When i did, it felt very liberating.

It's funny that i was just reflecting on this experience right before i saw the thread. Maybe there ARE no coincidences *x-files music plays in the background*

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 03-05-2005, 06:28 AM   #11
DaveO
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Re: A sudden fear of the floor

Quote:
Aaron Francher wrote:
Again, I'd like to thank everyone who posted. It's seeming to work out on its own. His parents told me he was practicing at home and the next day he came in, his rolls were back to the way they were. If not better! I know this won't be the only time this could happen, so I'll try to remember everything you all have said. However, this time he resolved it himself, and I find that quite inspiring. Thanks again.
That's great - us 'big people' sometimes forget just how resilient kids are - glad to see he bounced out of it!

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