First snow of the season, not much in terms of snow for January, but enough the make movement a bit more interesting and dynamic.
A good chance to really break down and practice ukemi- the ability to land and roll on the ground in a natural manner.
We work our way through all the rolls- forward, side, and back building on each point.
The first is to begin by getting as close to the ground as possible- kneel down, and as you forward roll over use your hands to help lower your shoulder to the ground. This makes dealing with the rising ground a bit easier and less scary.
As proficiency is gained, you raise the elevation a bit by rolling from one knee raised, followed by rolling while standing up- lowering yourself from a standing position down to a rolling position all in one fluid motion.
Starting out we use two hands for each roll- as a way to guide, correct, and feel during the roll. Similar to changing the height as we become more comfortable, we also practice with one hand, followed by no hands in rolling.
Other movements to practice involve leaping into a roll, using the hands to pick up objects on the ground or around you, rolling with the eyes open vs. closed.
Terrain is also an influence on ukemi- in this case snow, but also rolling down or up a small incline or hill.
The key with ukemi is to start where you are in the moment. Over time proficiency will be developed as ukemi is a way to protect yourself from injury, and the body naturally wants to protect itself.