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  • "Το budo δεν είναι το να ρίχνουμε τον αντίπαλο με τη δύναμή μας. Ούτε είναι ένα εργαλείο για να οδηγήσουμε τον κόσμο σε καταστροφή από τα όπλα. Το αληθινό budo είναι να δεχθούμε το πνεύμα του Σύμπαντος, να κρατήσουμε την ειρήνη στον κόσμο, να παράγουμε, να προστατεύουμε και να καλλιεργούμε σωστά, όλα τα πράγματα στη φύση" Μorihei Ueshiba
  • "Θεωρώ πιο γενναίο εκείνον που κυριαρχεί στα πάθη του από εκείνον που κυριαρχεί στους εχθρούς του. Η δυσκολότερη νίκη είναι εκείνη ενάντια στον ίδιο σου τον εαυτό" Αριστοτέλης
  • Keep One Point
  • Relax Completely
  • Keep Weight Underside
  • Extend Ki

USHIRO UKEMI - από κο Κεράνη

If I am not mistaken three or four years ago I heard that a girl died in a dojo in California during a training while she was taking a traditional ushiro ukemi. She broke her neck. In my 20 years of training this was the first time I’ve heard of a lethal accident. It happened the moment she was rolling over her body backwards. From that point ushiro ukemi changed completely. In the new way of falling backwards there is no rolling over, so the danger of breaking the neck does not exist. Of course, we adopted this new way immediately in our teaching in order to avoid any accidents. But because I like the traditional teaching of basics very much, I started thinking why this happened. What was exactly the mistake that caused it? At the next advanced class in FUKUSHINKAN dojo, Athens, I paid attention how the senior students were doing it. Also I watched a lot of videotapes from seminars with aikidokas from different countries. I noticed that all of them were taking ushiro ukemi the same way I was. Let’s suppose they had a left posture. They were looking straight ahead, rolling over their left shoulder while falling backwards. All the time they were breathing out and they pushed the mat with their hands to stand up. When I tried it myself very slowly I realised that my body was making a circle while rolling over. Also, that my head was inside this circle. So, if my body would stop while rolling over, it would land on my neck. Obviously there was a danger of a serious injury on my nape or even a breaking of my neck! Of course that is a very rare possibility but still a possibility. So I wanted to neutralise this risk. I realised the mistake was the place of the head. If I could find a way to keep my head out of the circle of my body I could take the fall safely. At that point I analysed the meaning of ushiro ukemi which is to roll over BACKWARDS. But everybody was looking STRAIGHT AHEAD. That is a contradiction to the theory that we have to look the same direction we take the fall. So, I did. I took the fall with my head turned backwards during the rolling over. This was it! My head was out of the circle without touching the mat at all. Also I could stop my body at any moment of the rolling with no danger of injury. I could use my lower abdomen muscles more and concentrate there, so I could touch the tatami first with my toes, not with my knees. I did not have to push so much the tatami with my hands to stand up because my head was not stopping the continuous movement of my body. My standing up became easier and faster and I could continue without getting dizzy. I wanted to see and check all these new points on someone else. I asked an advanced student to take an ushiro ukemi paying attention to these details. I reconfirmed then that to roll over backwards from a left posture we must:

  1. a)put both hands palms facing up over our left shoulder,
  2. b)concentrate on our lower abdomen muscles,
  3. c)breath out all the time,
  4. d)TURN THE HEAD AND LOOK BACKWARDS FROM THE RIGHT SIDE, CONTINUOUSLY DURING THE FALL (there is only one way to turn the head backwards without spoiling our posture)
  5. e)take the fall rolling backwards over our LEFT shoulder
  6. f)push the mat with the hands helping our standing up.

By taking ushiro ukemi this way, even in the case of a strong push there is no danger of injury or breaking of the neck or the nape. I know that a lot of people like to practice also the traditional way, so I hope all the above will help them to continue safely.                  

BABIS KERANIS
4TH DAN, SHIDOIN AIKIKAI
PRESIDENT OF THE HELLENIC AIKIDO ASSOCIATION
MEMBER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AIKIKAI