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Another Ukemi to Work On

by on October 20, 2012

On October 6th I went to a seminar at Portland Aikido featuring Sensei Claude Berthiaume. A good portion of the seminar focused on ukemi, and we covered a bunch of Aikikai ukemi that I had never learned formally. In this episode I discuss a fall that I liked and which Berthiaume sensei presented quite well. I was already somewhat familiar with the fall because a memorable example was already imprinted in my brain from the 2005 Internationals in Katsuura.

BTW if you know the name of the fall (I don’t recall it) or how to correctly pronounce Berthiaume sensei’s last name, please let me know. Thanks!

From → Video

  1. Oshi taioshi uses a front fall. Usually a person is just holding one arm.

    In our style the side fall, roll, and breakfall are all expressions of the same movement In my humble opinion. I do not separate them in my mind.

    I use a type of this fall, but my teachers did not teach it to me. It came from me doing back falls in an oval around the spine. I was trying to see if I could do ukemi without my spine touching the floor.

    The thing I dont like is that he is turning his back and legs away from the person throwing him. Uke has to be protecting himself on the ground. Have tori kick uke on the ground and see if this is as good idea in this situation.

    The over the back ukemi at 8;43 was groovy


  2. Yeah, I’ve seen Nariyama do that technique a few times in demos.

    You have a good point about not turning the legs away to protect yourself from further attack. I think the place for this particular fall is when the greatest danger is the initial fall (as it was for Nishii sensei in the video). Because a fall this big is not typical, there’s not as much reason to include it in the curriculum.

    Do you typically take oshitaoshi with a forearm style front fall? We usually put the hand down first, similar to what we called the “pretty fall” In fact, when done in tachiwaza we only take oshitaoshi to a hand and a knee. I’ve been told that this is not for any martial reason, but just that it took up less space in the crowded shodokan… I’ve never seen an oshitaoshi in shiai.

    I also like your point about the front roll, break fall, and side fall all being expressions of the same thing. I’ve had similar thoughts, but about the roll and break fall (and feather fall). One advantage to learning the Tomiki lineage roll is that the footwork is the same as the breakfall. I’ve seen many aikikai shodans who can’t breakfall very well because their feet are trying to do the aikikai roll. My aikikai instructor in Japan usually used me as uke for the hardest throws, not because I was generally more skilled (I wasn’t!) but because I was well accustomed to taking breakfalls.

    These days I’m trying to do both styles of rolls – aikikai when it’s softer and tomiki when it’s harder. I have to concentrate to do the aikikai version though. That’s probably for the best.

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