Re: Ukemi in grading and training.
I think that ukemi is very important. IMHO, you have to be on both sides of a technique to really understand it. I know for me what has helped me improve "being uke" is just to take as many throws as possible. Even though i still stiffen up sometimes, i have become alot more relaxed and i think that is because for sometime i just tried to take as many throws as possible. Just whenever someone in the dojo needed someone to throw i would volunteer. Also, maybe it would help working on a punching bag or something to practice giving good attacks. What is interesting to me about ukemi is that you have to give a good dedicated attack and at the same time not be so stiff that you break yourself. Ajjjj...and one more thing i was going to say...at least in my opinion, being a good uke is not jumping for your partner or let them "get away" with sloppy technique...granted, you do not have to criticize every mistake...but i know i always appreciate it when uke let's me know that i am not taking his balance or that the technique did not feel correct. As my instructor would tell me, getting attacked by 2 guys at the ATM at 11:30 pm is a bad time to realize you have been practicing kote gaeshi incorrectly.
Anyways, that is my thought on ukemi.