Some discussion arose when discussing how to perform ukemi when falling backwards.
- We have the standard ushiro-ukemi, falling backwards, breaking the fall with your hands and staying down, everyone knows that one.
- Also the normal Ushiro-kaiten-ukemi/Ushiro-mawari-ukemi (backwards rolling ukemi), where we roll backwards over the shoulders to either side to get to our feet or in kyoshi.
- Then there is the straight backwards type that has created some discussion (linked below). In the wrestling community which I came from before learning Judo this was normal, and was trained alongside the standard 'rolling-over-the-shoulder' type of ukemi. I have done backwards roll straight over the neck like this for 10 years (especially when lifting up to jump up to your feet), and have never had injuries from it. Is it really that bad?
- Is this type of ukemi really that bad?
- Does the japanese have a special name for this type of ukemi?
- Is this type of rolling, if ever, practiced in japan or a bad western interpretation?
- When your students are doing the movement where you are rolling backwards, lifting themselfs up to their hands, to jump to your feet. Are they 'unconciously' lifting as if they are rolling over the shoulder, so that the push is not symmetrical? is this optimal for this exercise?
The answer to your question requires a correction of the point from which you start. There are four and only four basic types of ukemi in Kôdôkan jûdô:
1. ushiro-ukemi (there is no rolling in there), also called , which simply is the on
-pronunciation of the kanji
後 kô followed by the kanji
方 hô (= direction) and the kanji for ukemi, whereas ushiro
is the kun
pronounciation of the kanji
後 without the kanji 方
2. yoko-ukemi, also called ôho-ukemi, which is the on
-reading of the kanji 横 ô followed by the kanji
方 hô (= direction) and the kanji for ukemi, whereas yoko
is the kun
pronounciation of the kanji
横 without the kanji 方.
3. zenpô-kaiten, written 前方回転 and being the on
pronunciation also called, mae-mawari ukemi which is the kun
reading of the kanji 前回 without the kanji 方 and the kanji 転 (and followed by the kanji for ukemi)
In addition, there are two more types of ukemi in Kôdôkan jûdô which are not basic and are not taught as general ukemi. That is because they only feature in the most advanced kata, and at that level are relatively easy modifications of ukemi that appear in the 4 above ukemi. Those two forms are:
5. Jizô-daore 地蔵倒, which is the equivalent of mae-ukemi, but backwards.
6. Ôten 横転, which is a barrel roll, and where the ô is he on
-reading of the kanji 横 ô, and of which the kun
reading would be yoko. Whether ôten truly exists as a specific ukemi in Kôdôkan jûdô is open to debate. Daigo claims it does, but he has so far failed to provide any proof of this. Historic analysis suggests that this ukemi does not exist, but that due to advanced kata being taught by +80 year sensei who no longer had full physical abilities or younger teachers who do not properly master the advanced technical movements and often times perform a movement that lacks proper kuzushi with the other one faking the fall, we often saw what basically is a botched zenpô-kaiten. The absurdity is that over the years in an apparent attempt to show respect to those aged teachers of the past, their botched ukemi increasingly started becoming regarded as a specific type of ukemi one needed to pursue ... I have in my possession older historic and authoritative film recordings which the Kôdôkan does not possess and that show beyond any doubt that historically this ôten-movement did not occur where they now claim it does. However, this is a whole other discussion and beyond the purpose of this thread.
No other types of ukemi officially exist in Kôdôkan jûdô. That does not mean at all that there are no other types of breakfalling in other budô which for whatever reason someone can practice or introduce, but ... they are not Kôdôkan jûdô. There is no ukemi in Kôdôkan jûdô in which one rolls backward over the neck. However, as the other poster indicated, you can choose to introduce this or whatever exercise in your junbi-undô (warm-up) if you desire to do so.
There exist lots of other types of ukemi, including some very uncomfortable and dangerous ones, such as jumping ukemi ending with the person ending in bridge, or even simple forward rolling with ending in kamae which is very common in other martial arts; even in aikdiô forward rolling often ends in another position. However, once again ... this is not Kôdôkan jûdô. By the way, there also exists yoko-kaiten-ukemi, but ... it is not Kôdôkan jûdô either.
When you ask if this is bad, your question has to sides:
1. It is bad when what you are trying to do is a Kôdôkan jûdô ukemi if you fail to do the Kôdôkan jûdô ukemi, but it is not bad if that type of ukemi from another budô you are doing at another budô. I would imagine that that is obvious. Is a bad to touch a ball with your hand ? Yes, if it is soccer you are playing, but obviously not if it is handball or volleyball or basketball you are playing.
2. Is it bad from a health point of view ?
Well, as you know people claim and speculate about many things, and official views are often nothing but propaganda. One of the threefold aims of Kanô with Kôdôkan jûdô is physical development and thus improving your health. So, jûdô would be very health, no ? A simple observation of, let's say 60-year old jûdôka who have had a competitive career will quickly learn that there is a remarkable number who have had serious knee injuries or back injuries. Just here on this forum, as Dr. AnnMaria or Dustymars if jûdô is healthy for the knees ...
But I am digressing. With regard to the exercises you describe, to the best of my knowledge there exist no scientific papers that have looked in those non-Kôdôkan ukemi or anyone that has made use of objective and quantifiable means of analysis to answer that question. Hence the sort of answers you will probably get are going to be merely anecdotal and speculative.