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Never satisfied with ukemi, a New Year’s resolution

January 6, 2011

“We find it absolutely necessary to acquire new modes of doing, that is, to make adjustments and allow our growth in directions that were previously barred for us or simply neglected.” Moshe Felenkrais, Higher Judo – Groundwork

I want to put into words a resolution that I’ve had for a while. Ukemi is the door to meaningful paired practice, counters, stealing techniques, etc. Some of the aspects of ukemi I’ll be working on:

  • Meaningful attacks
  • Sensitivity
  • maintaining physical integraty through the whole technique (including falling and regaining posture)

I’ve two main motivations for this:

  • Improving skills to gain more from practice.
  • Avoiding chronic injuries that some older practitioners have.

I think it’s an important time for me to make this resolution as:

  • I still have a young body that can learn new skills.
  • I’ve practised for long enough that there’s a danger of becoming complacent.

In the coming year I’ll work on some of the more gymnastic styles of falling like feather falls.

here’s a link to some other posts I made about ukemi (excuse the format, they’re transcribed from an online discussion)


From → martial

  1. Hey Mr Ukemi,

    can you tell me a little more about the injuries that can be sustained??
    Interesting piece of info: Moshe Feldenkrais was also a physiotherapist….


    • There’s a discussion about injury in aikido on aikiweb (
      Here’s a brief list.
      hip and shoulder in shoulder rolls (Ellis Amdur’s “Ukemi from the ground up” has changed the way I think about them)
      hips and knees in suwariwaza (I think)
      neck from roles and techniques on the head like some iriminages

      neck injury from vigorous shihonage and iriminage (Fumiaki Shishida’s report reproduced by aikido journal which can result in fatalities
      shoulder and elbow injury from shihonage (again see Amdur’s DVD)
      limbs getting tangle in clothes mid throw (Tonight I changed a gentle iriminage into a more vigourous dropping version when my foot got caught in a hakama.)
      collisions on the mat with other practitioners in due to poor attention (responsibility of both tori and uke)

      In fairness the chronic injuries are less than in some other martial activities. It’s common to have people practise regularly in their 50’s. There doesn’t seem to be the same level of problem as some old judoka have with knees, etc.

      My first aikido teacher was interested in the Feldenkrais method, it’s interesting stuff. There’s cool story about Feldenkrais’s time in Palestine organising guys to fight with limited instruction.

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