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Old 07-07-2005, 11:09 AM   #1
Steven Tame
Dojo: Hombu Aikikai /North London Aikido Dojo
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Advanced Ukemi

I very recently passed my 2nd kyu test and have been told I need to start working on the more advanced ukemi's such as the (kaiten-ukemi?) from kote-kaeshi. I mean the one where you kind of somersault over your own arm. For some reason I can't seem to picture what I'm supposed to be doing and how I break the fall. I've tried watching when the teacher demonstrates etc. but it all happens so quickly I can't pick anything up.

I think it is probably dangerous for me to receive a hard kote-gaeshi and attempt to do the ukemi without knowing what I'm supposed to be doing.

I was wondering if anyone can explain the ukemi in more detail and/or suggest some tips on how to practice the ukemi with a partner or alone without receiving a full-power kote-gaeshi.

Many thanks in advance
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Old 07-07-2005, 11:20 AM   #2
aikigirl10
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

You are 2nd kyu and u have never practiced hard falls? Your teacher has waited too long to teach you. I've been doing hard falls since i first started when i was 8 yrs old. Thats really weird , but anyway, all a hard fall is , is a roll in the air. Just flip over your arm just as you would roll over your arm. Its really not hard. When i first started learning hard falls , my sensei would throw us over his knee and stuff w/Judo throws , (he used to do judo), And that kind of prepares you for learning how to flip yourself. If you know anyone who takes judo , i suggest letting them throw you a little, (nothing too extreme) Just a few throws over the leg or knee.

Also just a tip for guys... dont cross your legs when you land , as my sensei has told the men in our class "You'll be singing soprano" Not that i know much about this , but this is what he tells the guys.

hope i could help
-paige

p.s. didnt mean to sound like a butthole in the beginning , just very strange to me.
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Old 07-07-2005, 11:39 AM   #3
Steven Tame
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Yeah I kind of think it is strange that we never practice it too. The only hard fall I have experienced is from Koshi-nage but in koshi nage you are supported and you just need to take the break-fall since you already land in the correct manner.

Do you land on your back / side / front or does it depend on nage/tori?

I asked a yuudansha about this before and I was told I would be expected to know it when I test for Shodan. Maybe it is something to do with the grading sylabuses cos when I train in England many white-belts take this kind of ukemi but in Hombu it seems to only be higher kyu's and yuudansha that take this ukemi.

I'm training on a tatami and not gym mats or the like so the fall is very hard. Which parts of the body are supposed to absorb the shock?
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Old 07-07-2005, 11:51 AM   #4
Adam Alexander
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Start very low...on a mat. You'll figure it out.

Also, I'm pretty sure that Shioda's "Total Aikido: The Master Course" and "Dynamic Aikido" both outline directions pretty well.
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Old 07-07-2005, 12:02 PM   #5
aikigirl10
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

You land on your side, which side depends on the throw. The leg you land on will be straight and flat on the ground , and the other will be bent at the knee with the foot flat on the ground. slap w/the hand closest to the mat. Also dont let your head hit. And dont cross your legs as i stated above.

paige
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Old 07-07-2005, 12:10 PM   #6
Steven Tame
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Ronjon: Thanks 4 reply. Are those books or videos? I have 3 books written by "Doshu" and none of them outline this ukemi at all. The closest thing I can find is something called yoko-ukemi which I believe is meant for koshi-nage.
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Old 07-07-2005, 12:22 PM   #7
Steven Tame
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

So using kote-gaeshi as an example, if the kote-gaeshi was performed on my right wrist. I'll land on my left side and thus my left leg will be flat and my right leg bent at he knee and right foot on the floor and my left hand slaps the mat?

I think hitting my head on the floor or landing on my face is my biggest fear about this ukemi. It must seem very natural though if you started practicing at 8.

I've practiced something like this once where we did a fowards roll like normal hand, elbow, then shoulder touching the mat but instead of completing the roll and standing we stopped in the position you described above.
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Old 07-07-2005, 12:22 PM   #8
DustinAcuff
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

a book that might help is "Aikido and the dynamic sphere" by westbrook & ratti.

for kote gaeshi as your wrist is turned outward you kinda want to pivot on one foot so you center faces your elbow and roll/flip over your own arm. you land in the same position as you do when you fall on your back.

if you have some free time in the dojo, afterhours or whatever or you know a friend who has a mat you can go through your techniques as uke either with a partner or by yourself and just learn to fall. stop before you get sore. it is all about a building up of comfort/lack of fear with falling. possibly go to a public pool and do flips and stuff off the diving board to get you comfortable with the motion of going head over heels.
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Old 07-07-2005, 12:26 PM   #9
aikigirl10
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Exactly steven. That is exactly how u should land . And as long as you stiffen your neck a little right before you hit, you head wont touch the ground.

The roll you described is a sticking roll ( thats what we call it) and yes you land the same way in it.

im glad i could help you.
-paige
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Old 07-07-2005, 12:28 PM   #10
aikigirl10
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

And dustin has a good point about practicing in a pool , i do this alot to help w/my ukemi.
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Old 07-07-2005, 12:28 PM   #11
DustinAcuff
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

!!!! here's a good way to practice on your own, just remembered:

kneel (kyoshi) with one arm across your body with your wrist touching your opposite shoulder. extend yourself over/out beyond your foward knee and start bending over. keep your chin to chest. when you can bend no more your rear leg/foot should start coming off the ground - when this happens push forward/up with your toes and just roll over your spine and slap before your feet hit the ground. this wont feel smooth and soft like a roll normally would and it may hurt your back a bit but this is basically the fall for kote gaeshi.

before someone actually throws you get them to take you through the technique a few times right until the throw and visualize what you are about to do. if you dont you will instead rotate around your arm at the elbow and shoulder which swings you stiff as a board into the ground at an angle ....kinda like opening/slamming a door.
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Old 07-07-2005, 12:41 PM   #12
akiy
 
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Hi Steven,

I would see about talking to someone at your dojo to see if they can help you in learning the fall that you mention as there are many different approaches to taking the fall. For example, some people land in the manner that Paige mentions, whereas others will land differently. (I think I know at four different ways off the top of my head to land in a "forward jumping breakfall".) There are many exercises that people can show you to help you learn the correct way to land, the body mechanics involved in maintaining the correct body shape during the fall, and many other aspects of this fall. As such, I think it's more helpful, in this case, to ask someone qualified at your dojo who can help you through learning this particular method of falling.

Any way, just my thoughts.

-- Jun

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Old 07-07-2005, 12:55 PM   #13
Choku Tsuki
 
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

The first time I did a high fall was a surprise. I thought I'd do a forward roll; my teacher held onto me and after spinning 270 degrees in the vertical plane later I was fine.

Now all I try to do is
keep my forward foot on the mat as long as possible
keep my head as low as possible
(once in the air) fan out my legs so all of me doesn't hit the mat at once.

I was taught high falls are to save yourself; they're a last resort. I can't know when I'll need air to get out of a technique, and since I can't plan, a roll is always the idea, with the least amount of time and space between leaving and meeting the mat as possible.

--Chuck
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Old 07-07-2005, 01:00 PM   #14
Steven Tame
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Thanks for the great advice guys. I have practice tomorrow so I will try out Dustin's advice for the solo practice from kneeling and if possible I'll try to get the help of a yuudansha to practice the breakfall.

One problem I do have is the language barrier. Being at a Japanese dojo most of my learning is done by observation and while my Japanese is quite reasonable it is really difficult for me to understand more detailed explanations about the techniques clearly.

Well, I've decided that I've come to the stage in my training where I think I should learn how to do this.

As a side note it is rather embarassing when I train back in England and say that I'm ni-kyu but have to admit that I can't do the ukemis that everyone else is doing. I also feel I'm creating a bad impression of my dojo in Japan (which happens to be the Aikikai headquarters) I'm thrilled to bits with the dojo and intend to continue my training there full-time after I graduate.

Last edited by Steven Tame : 07-07-2005 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 07-07-2005, 01:08 PM   #15
Jeff Sodeman
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

I second Jun's comment that this is best learned from someone at you school. While generally safe, you can seriously hurt yourself taking falls like this without proper instruction.

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Old 07-07-2005, 01:13 PM   #16
akiy
 
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Hi Steven,

I'm sure you can always grab one of the "foreign" yudansha or such who can speak English. There should be a good number of them there.

Don't feel bad that you're still working on your ukemi. I sure am...

-- Jun

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Old 07-07-2005, 01:24 PM   #17
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Its unclear to me from your post what skills you possess in ukemi, so I'm going to list a progression that I have seen work and you can start with whatever you don't know. I think there may be some intermediate skills missing that would help build up your confidence in this style of ukemi.

You should probably learn to do the following first:
- Take a forward roll
- Take a forward roll over a jo on the mat
- Take a forward roll over a partner lying down, and/or on hands and knees
- Take a forward roll without using any hands (off the shoulder)

At that point, you can start practicing break-falls with a more senior partner from this state: cross-hand grab at the wrist or forearm, the more senior partner standing still as an anchor. It tends to help if this partner is heavier, has held people for this before, and is roughly the same height.

Standing in hanmi, with the side of the arm grasping theirs being forward, start rocking forward and back, letting the clasped arm drop as you go forward. Eventually, when you are ready, push off and do a standard forward roll over the shoulder that owns the grabbed arm. Have your partner let go of your hand as you go over to allow for the forward roll. This roll may come off the shoulder, and may involve some air time, which are the reasons for the above practice steps.

After you feel comfortable with that, do the same thing but with the grip maintained throughout the fall. The roll begins as it always does, but because you're holding onto his arm, your roll unwinds into a breakfall landing. As you go faster, this landing happens more at once.

The formation you land in should be similar to what you land in from koshinage. I personally find that the landing position changes over time. Agreed - crossing your legs can be painful. Beyond that, there are many variations. One thing that I think about is making sure my whole body connects to the ground at once.

Some people slap, with the ungrabbed hand. Some don't.

Once you can do breakfalls from cross-hand arms clasped, you're pretty much at where you need to be to do kotegaeshi breakfalls.

Quote:
I've been doing hard falls since i first started when i was 8 yrs old.
That would be a nice way to start. Not very far to fall, and not much mass to fall wrongly on, so little force to be applied to any awkward or potentially damaging position. Lots of flexibility, too. Not only that, but when you've likely never been seriously hurt or seen anyone seriously hurt, you don't know the potential for injury and so are relaxed and unafraid. I doubt any eight-year-old thinks about potentially becoming a paraplegic every time they get thrown in a breakfall. I envy that ease. It would have made learning falling much simpler for me.

Rob

Last edited by Robert Rumpf : 07-07-2005 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 07-07-2005, 01:26 PM   #18
Steven Tame
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Hi Jun, Thanks for the encouragement. I guess we are all still learning at our own level. I guess even "Doshu" himself probably learns new things sometimes although it is hard to imagine since his Aikido always looks so perfect....

I'm gonna make a real effort to train with someone after class tomorrow.

Gotta get some sleep guys, I'll check this thread again tomorrow.
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Old 07-07-2005, 01:40 PM   #19
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

I remember the gentlman who first endevoured to teach me this fall...I didn't speak to him for a week after my first attempt! Man, that hurt....

Ron

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Old 07-07-2005, 02:16 PM   #20
aikigirl10
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Quote:
Take a forward roll - Take a forward roll over a jo on the mat - Take a forward roll over a partner lying down, and/or on hands and knees - Take a forward roll without using any hands (off the shoulder)
This is a very good idea. I never really thought of doing it this way.
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Old 07-07-2005, 02:19 PM   #21
aikigirl10
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Quote:
Quote: I've been doing hard falls since i first started when i was 8 yrs old.

That would be a nice way to start. Not very far to fall, and not much mass to fall wrongly on, so little force to be applied to any awkward or potentially damaging position. Lots of flexibility, too. Not only that, but when you've likely never been seriously hurt or seen anyone seriously hurt, you don't know the potential for injury and so are relaxed and unafraid. I doubt any eight-year-old thinks about potentially becoming a paraplegic every time they get thrown in a breakfall. I envy that ease. It would have made learning falling much simpler for me. Rob
Interesting , never thought of it this way
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Old 07-07-2005, 02:25 PM   #22
Philippe Cox
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Advanced ukemi, is facing and protecting yourself.
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Old 07-07-2005, 02:38 PM   #23
bkedelen
 
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Jun's advice is spot on. Even if you are hampered by the language barrier, use the experience of watching tobu ukemi often and closely as a means of learning it in order to strengthen your ability to learn by watching in general. It is often said that one of the first things a beginner in Aikido must do is learn how to learn. The process seems to involve being able to watch the demonstration and collect an idea of essentially what is being performed, and then noticing nuances in the technique that you had not previously grasped. This type of learning is often (rightly) known as "stealing" technique from the demonstrator. I think it is healthy and fun to have an attitude that you will be getting what you want out of the demonstration whether the demonstrator wants you to get it or not. Perhaps this type of observation may help you circumnavigate the language barrier at Aikikai Hombu Dojo.
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Old 07-07-2005, 03:04 PM   #24
Nick Simpson
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Everyones given excellent advice already Steven, ive only got one little thing to add: Once you get the hang of this ukemi, try and seek out some good yudansha and then take this ukemi from them as much as possible. It is amazing what you will learn this way

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 07-07-2005, 05:02 PM   #25
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Advanced Ukemi

Quote:
Steven Tame wrote:
I very recently passed my 2nd kyu test and have been told I need to start working on the more advanced ukemi's such as the (kaiten-ukemi?) from kote-kaeshi. I mean the one where you kind of somersault over your own arm. For some reason I can't seem to picture what I'm supposed to be doing and how I break the fall. I've tried watching when the teacher demonstrates etc. but it all happens so quickly I can't pick anything up.

I think it is probably dangerous for me to receive a hard kote-gaeshi and attempt to do the ukemi without knowing what I'm supposed to be doing.

I was wondering if anyone can explain the ukemi in more detail and/or suggest some tips on how to practice the ukemi with a partner or alone without receiving a full-power kote-gaeshi.

Many thanks in advance
Hello Steve,

I can understand some instructors space out ukemi teaching. I have two students who are 2nd kyu, who have not yet practised ukemi from koshi waza. However, they can easily take mae ukemi with arms folded, or holding obi, or held, as in kote gaeshi.

Here is a very basic exercise (you need a partner). Stand in ai hanmi and grip wrists in a double katate-dori. You grip your partner's wrists; your partner grips yours. Your partner initially throws you by turning in the direction of the throw and leading you down to the mat and you roll, using the arm being held, which you roll over. It is very important that (1) your partner throws you; you do not throw yourself and (2) you do not use the other arm at all.

Once you have got used to this, your partner can initiate the ukemi at a progressively higher level and also pull you up, after you have started to roll. In this case the roll becomes a break fall.

Best regards,

PS. Of course, if you come down to Hiroshima, I can show you personally!

P A Goldsbury
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