posted 6 Feb 2010, 03:48 by Unknown user
Seniors must admit at some point in our ukeing roles many of us have been up the front and if you're like me you feel obliged to be a great uke for the purposes of the demonstration.  It doesn't mean falling at Sensei's feet at the slightest nudge, but I want to be confident enough to be safe AND look spectacular :)  I believe there is a balance and it's just as important to focus equally on the uke role as it is to be nage and do techniques.  At times the balance swings back and forth, with focusing on gradings and then going back to enjoying training again and looking for the next challenge.  I respect anyone who chooses not to uke as that is ultimately their choice.

One thing I was really getting into recently as uke was the "slide" back fall ukemi  (usually from ki-cut or kokunage under movement, Hashimoto sensei-style) which is awesome when you first get it and even though less impact and risk than breakfalling, it was worth all the mat burn and tight muscles afterwards to have so much FUN!  So are we seeking more adrenalin buzz?  If something is fun - we usually are good at it and if we are good at something it makes it more fun.  How do we get good?  We know the answer.

To breakfall, or not to breakfall, that is the question!  In the past I have found big cushy mats a good thing and a bad thing to learn on, because anyone can throw themselves around on a soft surface but then back on the real mat you have to adjust an extra 20cm or so to the ground.  So for me the best breakfall training has been to learn soft ukemi and soft breakfalling on the nice blue acromats, together with repetition and building up gradually.  If you want to practice rolling out all the bumps and pain in a safe environment, try regular jigsaw mats (concrete and back decks are too extreme for me).  After hitting these mats hard (I mean that in the softest sense of the word, with vigour and enthusiasm) I really noticed a difference in my ukemi confidence when back on the acromats.

I enjoyed every moment of the few times I can almost count on one hand where I've had breakfall instruction.  Even the pain and the massage afterwards.  But like any new skill you need get the muscle memory happening and if you dont use it (with some regularity) you can loose it, so end up back at square one the next time you get an opportunity to practice.