I am interested in the finer technical points of ukemi waza. Ukemi seem to be something taught briefly to beginners until one is passable at them then never really mentioned again, which I find curious since I have it on good authority that there is considerably more to them than the "relax, keep your head tucked in and slap the mat (etc.)" that people start out being taught, and also because they are kinda important; though practically speaking it's not difficult to understand why this would occur... So, as a matter of intellectual curiosity and one of practical interest, a) am I correct in my hypothesis that there is more to ukemi waza than the obvious and b) if so, what are these details?
If I didn't know better I would suspect you have been asked to write these posts
Your posts strike a chord with me that I find stimulating and interesting also rather irresistible not to reply to.
Ukemi is a large and complex subject. Ukemi are both a physical and psychological exercise and their practice cannot be stressed enough.
The obvious lesson to be taken from ukemi is safety, to learn how to accept a fal with a degree of safety. The other deeper less well understood reason for learning and practicing ukemi is the psychological factor.
As we grow through the formative months and years of life we are taught to stand up, walk then run etc. Now we join a judo dojo and the teacher is telling us to break a persons balance and throw him on the floor? Hello, to a five year old he or she has just spent the first 5 years trying NOT to end up on the floor.
There is nothing natural to being thrown, immobilised, strangled or joint locked? Judo is a foreign practice to our body and psyche.
To the bones of the matter.
Ukemi not only allow us to land safely after being thrown they develop 'judo self confidence'
Why does the sensei ever lesson request the new pupil to relax and not hit the mat like a tin soldier? Its because the pupil is correctly consciously afraid of being thrown, its just not a normal 'normal' act.
Ukemi are the reaction to this abnormal act in teaching the pupil how to accept and receive such a foreign act. Ukemi not only protect the body but also strengthen the mind.
lets dig deeper. When thrown on judo we get up. Life should be like that even though I still struggle to get up on tomes after one of lifes bashings.
Ukemi need to be practiced every lesson after taiso every lesson for the rest of one judo life. Give me a pupil who appears cared to attack or fight in judo and I NEVER look at the technique I teach them ukemi and the rest often falls into place. The tatami is a very alien place. We, as judoka, have to normalise the tatami and actually become friends with it and the environment we practice in.
The best sensei I know have the gift of keeping in touch with their own novice days and memories.
There is the school of thought that if ukemi are taught the pupil will be so comfortable with being thrown they will not fight their hardest to avoid being thrown. I reply to this that judo has kaeshi waza and the pupil knows that and with kaeshi waza in mind lack of ukemi can lead to a pupil being stiff and not learning to attack for fear of being countered.
Ukemi keep us as safe as possible by dissipating the force generated from a throw, The idea being we hot the mat with our total arm before the rest of the body arrives. his strike dissipates the force and is what enables us to stand up and continue to work. Ukemi also dissipate the natural fear of being thrown. Become expet at ukemi and ones judo grows commensurately.
This is a start, lets see what feed back you have. It is indeed so nice to debate such matters with you. You should open more threads.