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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

BREAKFALL - από κο Κεράνη

 During my 20 years of aikido life I have seen many aikidokas take breakfalls during training from different techniques. A lot of them did it successfully, but also a lot of them (including myself) were injured on the shoulders or elbows. So every next time a breakfall had to be taken an instinctive fear would appear stiffening both mind and body making the uke hesitate in taking the fall. The inevitable result of this was that the nage would not be able to execute the technique and the uke would feel awkward. Some people stopped training aikido for this very reason. In a way I understand how they felt watching these extremely fancy and impressive breakfalls with a loud slap on the mat, especially taken from a high position of a shihonage or a koshinage. This is an often obvious problem with people over 35-40 years of age regardless of rank or with beginners after they have learned to take mae or ushiro ukemi. In the last 5 months I have had some cases like these so I had to deal with this problem. Anyway, my favourite subject of teaching is the basics of aikido in beginner classes, so I started studying the basics again in relation to some new things I have learned the last 2,5 months in regards to weapons, techniques, and taisabaki. I also analysed all the ukemis in details. First the beginners learn how to fall forwards and backwards from a kneeling and standing position. In the beginning they find it kind of funny but after half a year they usually feel comfortable with their body rolling over and enjoy it. But still the idea of taking a breakfall seems impossible! Also the translation of the word “breakfall” sounds terrifying in Greek. My understanding of the English word is that it means to stop or reduce the force of the fall. But the word “break” itself leads the mind to something bad and negative. It is my opinion that the meaning of breaking, literally or not, should not exist in aikido. It is against the philosophy of the non-violent art of love and peace. Especially when we claim that we aim and try to cause the least possible damage to the attacker. Lately in a book about O’SENSEI I read that he used to say, “When you are being attacked, unite the upper part of your body with the middle and the lower part of it. Then enter, turn and harmonise with the opponent in front, behind, left and right.” I thought that this refers to the nage but it also goes for the uke. The word aikido can be translated as the way to harmonise my energy with everyone and everything.

So my conclusion from all these is: The breakfall is an advanced mae ukemi which requires the uke to have right timing and harmonise better than in the simple ukemi in order to avoid injury. But still, it is a mae ukemi! In practice it goes like this: I ask the uke to take a mae ukemi from a right posture. The uke rolls forward over his/her right arm and his/her left arm touches the mat normally, without a slap. I ask the uke to do the same BUT NOW I hold his/her RIGHT HAND. At the very moment this hand is going to touch the mat I PULL it towards my center. The result of that is that the uke ends up rolling over his/her left arm, standing up fast without any slap or a loud noise. Also, his/her breathing does not become faster because his/her movement is continuous, without any stop (“break”). So even if the uke has to take a fall from a high position of a shihonage, koshinage or even an iriminage, he/she feels safe and eager to take it. The most important for an uke is to control his/her body and to control his/her fall knowing that he/she will not be injured. This way OVERWEIGHT, UNFIT or even OLDER people can enjoy their training very much without feeling like a second class aikidokas. I strongly hope that this point of view on breakfall will help some students to enjoy aikido better and for a longer period of time.

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