Click here for FREE aikido video clips – UKEMI (#1)
Literally translated “receiving with/through the body,” therefore this is the art of falling in response to a technique. Mae ukemi are front roll-falls, ushiro ukemi are back roll-falls. Ideally, one should be able to execute ukemi from any position and in any direction.
The development of proper ukemi skills is just as important as the development of throwing skills and is no less deserving of attention and effort. In the course of practicing ukemi, one has the opportunity to monitor the way one is being moved so as to gain a clearer understanding of the principles of aikido techniques. Just as standard aikido techniques provide strategies for defending against physical attacks, so does ukemi practice provide strategies for defending against falling (or even against the application of an aikido or aikido-like technique).
Ukemi, or “receiving with the body,” is the method of receiving an aikido technique. Ukemi can refer broadly to all study of recieving an aikido technique (e.g., the appropriate footwork and fit), but often colloquially refers only to breakfalls. Breakfalls can also be used as part of a warm-up (see video clip) and as a form of body conditioning.
Sensei Thackeray, from Reading, UK is famnous for his “200 ukemi warm-ups”. Glad I live in New Zealand!
Types of Ukemi
Back breakfall – Non-rolling methods of falling backwards. (Ushiro Ukemi)
Front breakfall – Non-rolling methods of falling forwards. (Mae Ukemi)
Side breakfall – (Yoko Ukemi)
Backwards roll – Rolling backwards from a throw. (Ushiro Kaiten)
Forwards roll – Rolling forwards from a throw. (Zempo Kaiten)
Side roll – (Yoko Kaiten)
High fall or jumping breakfall – A breakfall that does not require the arms to be free or to touch the ground. Usually considered a more advanced, higher-impact breakfall for difficult throws.