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Ukemi and the art of spraining ankle by Alison Lane

reprinted from Kiai - Ki Society Australia Newsletter 2000 (7)pp15

’Ukemi is’s like flying!’ .... words of wisdom offered to nervous beginners and reluctant tumblers. Easy to say when you took to it like a duck to water, never, ever hurt yourself falling, and have utter confidence in your ability to land as gracefully as a butterfly and as softly as a falling leaf. HAH! Well they say that hindsight brings wisdom. As I sit with my bandaged ankle propped on cushions and a pair of crutches leaning against the desk, I reflect that perhaps I was just a little too sure of myself.
The doctor at the hospital summed it up nicely as I was wheeled away for X-rays. “What happened?” “I do a martial art called Aikido and fell badly” “Oh, you mustn’t be very good at it then”. Even though it hurt in more ways than one, I had to laugh and agree whole-heartedly. Sometimes we don’t need an Aikido Master to tell us the spectacularly obvious!
Confidence is one thing, blind recklessness is another. So as the bruising creeps relentlessly up my leg, the message creeps through my dense noggin... Sure, ukemi is fun, it is like flying ... but even butterflies have to pay some attention to whether their wings are still flapping! It is with a little more care and awareness that this little black duck will be hurtling through the air in the future (now I just have to master the art of patience!).