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Mats of concrete

I don’t recommend this, though it can be very educational if you decide that you want to do it once or twice…
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I had a roommate in college that was doing aikido with us and he was not content to practice his rolls only on the mat. He would dress in boots, jeans, and a sweatshirt to protect himself a little, then practice his rolls on the sidewalk. Or on the ground. Or through bushes. Or on a brick sidewalk.
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I’ve done some of this, and it is certainly not something that you have to do a lot to get some pretty good feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your ukemi forms. The worst surface I've found is brushed textured concrete or stairs.  It also gives you a newfound appreciation of just how much a 1.5” mat absorbs the consequences of wrong ukemi.
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I suspect if everyone would do a little bit of concrete ukemi, we’d see less of the ankle-hammering cross-legged landing and the sitting-on-the-top-of-the-foot backfall.

2 comments:

  1. I remember as a beginning student of aikido and after learning a beautiful jumping forward roll I attempted it in the corridor outside my dorm room. Imagine my surprise when the corners of my body came into contact with the hard hard merciless floor. I have since had the good fortune to have variations of the forward roll shown to me and am now happy doing them plus in-the-air breakfalls on concrete. But yeah, mats give you a lot of false confidence, don't they?

    Colin

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  2. While not even close to aikido's falling mastery, I had the dubious honor of learning to fall and roll on a hard wood ballet floor.

    Let's just say it is very hard on the body. The good news is when you get a chance to roll on a matt it's a cake walk!

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