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Old 01-23-2006, 06:12 AM   #1
doronin
Location: Canada
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Mae Ukemi - advice needed

This is about two month since I started Aikido, and the thing I mostly regret about (no, not really) is that it happened this late (I'm 31).

I think people coming to Aikido may be easily divided into two categories: those who roll, instantly; and those who don't. Well, the minority - those who don't -- they eventually start rolling, but after months of beating about the bush. The problem is that for those who roll, being unable to start doing so is, well, strange, and because of that it's sometimes difficult to understand what's exactly his/her problem just get into a crouch, bend knees, push the proper leg… and roll… what can be easier?

Well, that's my case. This is not about how to roll correctly, but how to start to roll at all. When I'm in seiza, on my four, or just in crouch, I'm always told to push myself with rear or/and forward leg. But I'm feeling so "bottom-heavy" so anticipation to collapse blocks my ability to do this "push".
I seek an advice from those who managed to help such not-rolling beginners, or managed to overcome such a problem himself. Of course I read everything I found on this forum about forward rolls. I even got Ellis Amdur's ukemi DVD which contains priceless information, but for more advanced stages.
Are there any exercises that prepare mind and body to rolling, without pushing/throwing myself for meanwhile? I found one suggestion to raise the rear leg while in crouch to get gravity to do the job, but I couldn't really figure it out.

Any ideas will be appreciated!
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Old 01-23-2006, 06:38 AM   #2
rottunpunk
Dojo: koteikan aikido centre
Location: great britain
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Re: Mae Ukemi - advice needed

heyo. ive only been practicing for a few months so i dont know if my advice will be good enough for you, but here goes...

perhaps you are worrying too much about going wrng and its inhibiting your roll.

i have problems with a left handed backwards roll because i think about it too much

if you feel bottom heavy, think about where your upper body is meant to be going, and put it there.
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Old 01-23-2006, 08:10 AM   #3
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: Mae Ukemi - advice needed

I had a lot of trouble with this too; it took me five months to learn to forward roll, and my teachers tried all sorts of tricks on me in vain.

What I found in the end was that I needed to roll from standing, or even better from a throw; starting nice and low in kneeling position was (and is) more difficult for me. This seems like a more dangerous way to learn and I am reluctant to recommend it, but for me it was the only thing that worked. A useful way to mimic being thrown is to hop in place and then roll.

For the "bottom-heavy" feeling, an exercise that might help: Ask someone else to be a "horse" (braced on hands and knees). Lean forward over the horse's back with your stomach on their back, and then curl forward. You are trying to get your head right under them and look at the knot on their belt. As you keep curling forward, your feet will come off the floor. Put an arm out behind you on the floor to "roll" on, and try to keep your movement slow and controlled as you go over. Be sure to look for the belt knot as this keeps your head tucked and off the mat. This lets you feel how much push it takes to get your feet over your head, without the fear of instantly crashing to the mat.

I also found it helpful to do situps. I hate them, but abdominal strength is really useful in rolling.

Stick with it! Lots of people have this problem, and I haven't yet known one who couldn't lick it with practice.

Mary Kaye
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Old 01-23-2006, 09:34 AM   #4
Trish Greene
Dojo: Aikido-Kajukenbo Self Defense Center
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Re: Mae Ukemi - advice needed

OK..here is my issue.. I can get the rolls down but, after doing a couple in succession during rolling exercises, I get really dizzy!

I've tried the trick of just focusing on one spot but that isn't working... any other ideas?
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Old 01-23-2006, 11:03 AM   #5
cconstantine
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Re: Mae Ukemi - advice needed

If you feel "violently" dizzy, you should check (with your doctor). Some people have something called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) which is an inner ear problem that results in short lasting, but severe, room-spinning vertigo:

http://www-surgery.ucsd.edu/ent/Pati...info_bppv.html
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Old 01-23-2006, 11:15 AM   #6
ARC
Dojo: Aikido School of Central Ohio
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Re: Mae Ukemi - advice needed

Demetri - you might want to try to think about bending over and looking at your forward foot when you roll. This movement gets your head close to the ground for a smaller turning axis and also might help with the bottom heavy problem - meaning, when you bend over to the level at which your forward foot is closer to your head that motion will bring your bottom over the top. This helped me at first anyway.

Trish - sometimes I get real dizzy when taking roll after roll either as uke or just practicing ukemi. I usually find it to be a breathing issue. Breathing in quickly, holding my breath during the roll, and then exhaling only to repeat the process usually defeats me pretty fast. Be sure to be relaxed and conscious of normal breathing while rolling.
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Old 01-23-2006, 07:08 PM   #7
James Kelly
Dojo: Glendale Aikikai
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Re: Mae Ukemi - advice needed

Quote:
Craig Constantine wrote:
If you feel "violently" dizzy, you should check (with your doctor). Some people have something called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) which is an inner ear problem that results in short lasting, but severe, room-spinning vertigo:

http://www-surgery.ucsd.edu/ent/Pati...info_bppv.html
but if you're just moderately dizzy, keep rolling, you'll get used to it.
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Old 01-23-2006, 09:54 PM   #8
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Mae Ukemi - advice needed

Quote:
Dmitry Doronin wrote:
because of that it's sometimes difficult to understand what's exactly his/her problem just get into a crouch, bend knees, push the proper leg… and roll… what can be easier?

Well, that's my case. This is not about how to roll correctly, but how to start to roll at all.
Any ideas will be appreciated!
I usually start beginners in a crouch, but in a special configuration.
Crouch down with knees apart, and place your shoulders inside of your knees, with hands on the ground near your feet, fingers turned toward the centerline. If this feels tight, then it is right. You should be able to grasp your insteps without difficulty.

Rock onto your leading knee, rolling more forward than sideways and proceeding to let the roll progress over your shoulder and down your back onto your opposite hip. If you do it carefully, and slowly, you should be able to balance with your toes, knee and shoulder all on the mat at the same time, basically one-third through the roll with the head tucked in. Then, push forward from this position

The thing is not to let your opposite shoulder leave your knee. You should be able to maintain this same position all the way over. The tightness of the position and very low CG helps alleviate anxiety about falling awkwardly.

The knee at the shoulder maintains the circlular form. If you let the lagging shoulder leave the opposite knee, you are no longer a circle but become a cam (egg shape) essentially trying to roll over the narrow end.

Hope it helps,

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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Old 01-24-2006, 01:23 AM   #9
Janet Rosen
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Re: Mae Ukemi - advice needed

some of us never get over getting dizzy with rollafterrollafterroll...and yknow what? I realized that, outside of going it as an exercise, it is not something I'd ever do either in regular training or in life...so I stopped doing the darn exercise :-)
yeah I'm gonna burn in aikihell

Janet Rosen
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Old 01-24-2006, 09:33 AM   #10
doronin
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Re: Mae Ukemi - advice needed

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Crouch down with knees apart, and place your shoulders inside of your knees, with hands on the ground near your feet, fingers turned toward the centerline. If this feels tight, then it is right. You should be able to grasp your insteps without difficulty.
Oh, do you have a picture of such a position? How my legs should be there: straight, bent, or fully kneeled? I'm not really slender and flexible, so I have difficulties to imagine the right way to place my sholder to ground... may be I should unfasten it, the shoulder...
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Old 01-25-2006, 04:39 AM   #11
Johan Nielsen
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Re: Mae Ukemi - advice needed

Trish, try to breath out when you roll. It is said to reduce dizzyness.

Dmitry, try to pretend to be a ball. Be as round as possible, so you breath out too. It helps you to get as round as a ball as possible. A ball is never bottom-heavy.
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Old 01-25-2006, 05:55 AM   #12
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Mae Ukemi - advice needed

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
some of us never get over getting dizzy with rollafterrollafterroll...and yknow what? I realized that, outside of going it as an exercise, it is not something I'd ever do either in regular training or in life...so I stopped doing the darn exercise :-)
yeah I'm gonna burn in aikihell
That's probably the more sensible approach....

I get very dizzy if I've eaten something that I'm intolerant to, it's one of my symptoms. So far, feeling dizzy hasn't killed me yet. Seriously, I've discovered that unpleasant as it is, that's all it is, it's unpleasant. That's all.

What helps me is taking care that I finish each roll completely and not go into the next one before I've completely stood up and had a moment of stillness.

What helps even more is watching what I put in my mouth.

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 01-25-2006, 08:21 AM   #13
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
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Re: Mae Ukemi - advice needed

Dimitry

I'll try and help you on Thursday, on the mat. You should have asked sooner. I hope you kept practicing to roll your back as I have asked. Make sure you warm your back up well before the practice.

See you
Amir
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Old 01-25-2006, 09:04 AM   #14
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Mae Ukemi - advice needed

Amir is giving you the best help...on the mat. Ellis Amdur has some exercises he described in a seminar on how to physically help beginners get through this by supporting parts of the body while the beginner rolls. It was one of the best things for this I've ever seen...I don't know if it's on the DVD. Maybe if you send him an email through his profile, he can describe the method I'm speaking of, and give good hints.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 01-25-2006, 11:22 AM   #15
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Mae Ukemi - advice needed

Quote:
Dmitry Doronin wrote:
Oh, do you have a picture of such a position? How my legs should be there: straight, bent, or fully kneeled? I'm not really slender and flexible, so I have difficulties to imagine the right way to place my sholder to ground... may be I should unfasten it, the shoulder...
Detachable shoulders- Hmmmmmm.-- usually this happens at the end of practice -- not the beginnning.

I'll get a couple of series photos at the dojo this week and post them. With Jun's acquiescence, of course.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
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