Ukemi should be natural, we hear this statement from Soke, and strive to emulate it in our practice of the ten ryaku no maki training exercises.
Natural meaning something that just happens, that adapts, and changes without effort depending on the type of ukemi that one is required to use.
Ukemi as breakfalls and ways of landing on the ground as an approach to practice, but looking to evolve ukemi as a way of receiving an attack or situation naturally through body change.
But from the perspective of ukemi as a new student, it can be a scary place to start.
Landing hard or getting thrown on the ground for many of us is not a regular experience and we have not frame of reference, so building step by step is important.
A few training points…
Start ukemi from seiza or fudoza- sitting on the ground.
This has the duality of working on kamae and learning how to move from them. On a practical level on is already close or on the ground so rolling is easier. Work up to kneeling ukemi, followed by standing ukemi and it won’t be as intimidating.
Avoid the temptation to go fast and get it over with, or that you have to go fast for the ukemi to work.
Go slow and adjust as needed, use ukemi as a chance to feel the mechanics of your body and how it works.
See you on the mat!