Forward roll

Free form ukemi training

o-sensei,throw,Training in how to safely receive technique (ukemi) is something that is particularly emphasised at our dojo.  In every class time is set aside to develop and refine our ukemi skills.  Everyone participates, however, the level and intensity of the practice varies consistent with each student’s experience and skills.

One form of ukemi practice  that we have a lot of fun doing is what we call “free form ukemi training”.  Basically the uke repeatedly receives different variations of the same technique which, depending on the variation, result in unpredictable and different falling outcomes.

Ian Grant - Aikido UkemiRyotadori seoi otoshi is a favourite technique for this sort of training. Subtle changes in the application of the technique result in the uke having to unpredictably roll or breakfall from the left or right hand side while in an unbalance position.  They also result in alterations in the space between the uke and nage, as well as the extent to which the some or all of the nage’s body operates to sever the uke’s connection to the ground.

The use of ryotadori seoi otoshi  for this sort of training is demonstrated in the video below.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Video Library: Falling and uke arts

For further videos and posts on ukemi training, including how to forward roll, see Video Library: Falling and uke arts.

 

  • Ryotadori seoi otoshi – the basic elements

In the below video, Peter Kelly Sensei, International Instructor for Aikido Yuishinkai, demonstrates the shape and footwork for ryotadori seoi otoshi as practised in our school. As noted in the lead-in commentary for the featured video, in order to produce different ukemi outcomes for training purposesparticipants made subtle (and maybe at times not so subtle) amendments to the execution of the technique.

 

  • Training methods for learning to breakfall

For examples of training methods that we use to develop our breakfalling skills (one aspect of ukemi) see the below video.  More detailed information on ukemi training can be found in the Video Library: Falling and uke arts.

 

Have a great week.

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo

Exercise – Forward rolls and learning to relax

UkemiFor many beginners to Aikido, learning to forward roll is one of the most challenging and frustrating parts of Aikido training.  Further, once the mechanical skills of rolling are learnt, first from a kneeling position and then from a solo standing position, the next challenge is to learn to relax when rolling.  The more one relaxes the easier rolling is to do. The lumps and bumps that also come with learning this skill also quickly disappear.

In the below video Master Koretoshi Maruyama, Founder of Aikido Yuishinkai,  demonstrates a fun way to learn to relax when solo forward rolling.  Essentially, it involves the practitioner pretending to stumble and walk around relaxed (as if drunk) prior to executing the roll.

As bizarre as it may seem, this exercise actually works.  In fact, at our dojo the exercise is done as part of our regular solo ukemi practice at the beginning of each class and has proven beneficial to both seniors and newcomers in developing relaxation in not only forward rolling but also other forms of ukemi (e.g. backward rolling and opposite leg rolling).

 

Needless to say this exercise should never be practised by people actually under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

ADDITIONALO NOTES

  • Other ukemi articles and video

See: Video library: Falling and uke arts

  • Maruyama Sensei’s comments on receiving ukemi from O’sensei 

Ueshiba 5“After I became a full-time instructor in 1967, Ueshiba Sensei used me as his uke. As a deshi (student), it was important to take ukemi. One deshi didn’t know how to take ukemi from O-Sensei and went down with a bang. I already knew that Ueshiba Sensei used ki. I wondered, “How to take ukemi from O-Sensei?” So I decided to extend ki to him. He said, “Come, Maruyama!”, and I attacked him.

After taking ukemi from him, Ueshiba Sensei looked at me, and said, “Good ukemi!” He then asked what rank I held and I told him I was a 5th dan. He gave me a 6th dan and told me to go to the office to get the certificate! I thanked him but I never picked up my certificate. However, I had learnt an important lesson, “Extend ki to your opponent!””

Source: http://www.shinsei-dojo.co.uk/koretoshi-maruyama-sensei

Have a great weekend

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo

Rolling with a bokken on your tail – An exercise in spatial awareness

Bokken ukemiMaintaining spatial awareness of your nage and  general surrounds when rolling away to escape an attack is a critical skill in Aikido.  Like any skill it requires practice and commitment.

Part of the culture of our dojo is to look at new ideas and methods to improve our practice, including ukemi (receiving technique).  To help practise spatial awareness when forward rolling, one of our seniors (Jeremy) recently suggested an exercise where a bokken (wooden sword) is used as a training aid to sharpen the uke’s focus.

An informal recording of the exercise can be viewed below.  Just to clarify, the sword being used in the exercise is not a real blade!

All the best

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo

Ukemi options – Shiho nage

ShihonageUkemi (falling arts) is something that we give a lot of emphasis at our dojo.  Apart from the training insights it gives us into our Art, learning to safely receive technique is critical.

As we progress in our studies and begin to receive techniques in a more fluid training environment, the need to learn more options to receive techniques becomes paramount.  In short, we need to be able to safely fall regardless of the technique variation that is applied or the fact that it may not be strictly text book in execution.

By way of example, the below informal video shows seniors at our dojo receiving various forms of ukemi from yokomenuchi shiho nage (4 corners throw), including rolling and breakfalls.

Have a great day.

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo

 

Good to be back – Aikido Warrior Dojo class album – 28 June 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter 6 weeks of usually being no more useful than a ceremonial hood ornament at the dojo and finally on Friday getting a medical clearance for “light admin duties”, today was the day I had been waiting for –  the chance to get back on the mat for an attempt at some serious training.

I wasn’t sure how I would go after 2 abdominal surgeries and some major scar tissue still on the mend, but I figured it was time to give it a go and give things a test.  Muscle memory combined with some strategic ukemi landings and the occasional gritting of the teeth, kept me in one piece and I had a great time.  Big thanks to everyone for making sure I didn’t end up on the receiving end of a front or awkward breakfall, let alone an unexpected strike to the stomach!

Those who were there know that Eden dropped down to take some photos. While I think by looking at them I appear to have aged 10 years in 6 weeks – they make a nice addition to the dojo’s photo memorabilia.

All the best

Ian

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo

 

Training Notes – Ukemi (Fundamental principles)

This video training note refers to the first in a new series of training videos prepared by Peter Kelly Sensei (7th Dan Aikido Yuishinkai) dealing with the topic of ukemi and uke arts in Aikido Yuishinkai practice.

Peter KellyThe Founder of Aikido Yuishinkai, Master Koretoshi Maruyama, has asked that the development and advancement of high level ukemi skills be given a priority  focus in our Aikido training in Australia this year. To this end Peter Kelly Sensei, Technical Director for Aikido Yuishinkai in Australia, has been travelling the country to give ukemi (and other Aikido) training to Aikido Yuishinkai members.

In support of this training, Peter Sensei has prepared a series of training videos to assist instructors and students in developing the requisite skills. The below video is Part 1 in the series.  Topics covered include:

  • What is ukemi?;
  • Responsibility of the uke to give a tangible attack so that the nage has something to work with;
  • The folly and danger of acrobatic/circus rolling in Aikido practice;
  • The importance of rolling “like a cat”
  • Exercises to develop good ukemi skills;
  • Responsibility of the uke to not anticipate attacks, stay connected and remain centred for as long as possible;
  • Remaining relaxed when taking ukemi, including when breakfalling.

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo

Training Notes – A breakfall is just a roll

Snapshot 1 (14-08-2015 5-52 PM)The below video examines the structural similarities between a forward roll and a breakfall and includes a training exercise whereby students learn to appreciate that a breakfall in substance is nothing more than a roll.  The video is from a class given by Peter Kelly Sensei, Chief Instructor, Aikido Yuishinkai Australia, at our dojo on 17 May 2014.

At our dojo we have a tailored program for new students that allows them to learn to breakfall in a fear-free and safe environment.

The program has proved particularly successful.  For further information on the program and the types of exercises that are include see – Learning to breakfall: Its a lot easier than it looks.

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo