Fumio Toyoda Shihan on Ukemi, Monday, May 18, 2009 6:54 AM

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Fumio Toyoda Shihan on Ukemi, Monday, May 18, 2009 6:54 AM

Post  Admin on Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:49 am

The actual word in Japanese, is receiving with your body or to catch with your body. That's the direct translation. Some people believe that ukemi means going down to the mat or ground, and that in the falling you've already failed--or else you wouldn't go down to the mat. Yes, that is one point. But for training purposes, if that's your philosophy, then you'll hurt yourself all the time [laughs]. That's why you have to train in the martial art of ukemi. To catch yourself, you have to be fully under control--whatever the conditions, however nage is applying the technique. You have to survive, you have to be safe.

That principle is important when you begin with a student. An instructor who doesn't emphasize ukemi cannot develop their aikido's defensive techniques and skills highly. That is my understanding of ukemi training. If you know a technique well, you must also be able to take the ukemi well.

When your ukemi improves, you become more sensitive. So you're safe, plus you're going to have the advantage of learning more precise technique. Even if you don't know what's coming, or if you're having trouble losing your balance, you can still quickly get back to your strength and center and energy.

That's why traditionally, being the sensei's uke is an honor. When you have enough skill to be receiving the instructor's technique, it means you're getting closer to being able to copy the technique.

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