In Aikido, we have a couple of ways to fall, or take a break fall. In fact this is the single most important skill that we can use, in and outside the dojo.
Sometimes, my fellow Aikidoka asked me about the ‘hows’ of a ukemi. Personally for me, ukemi is so well-practiced that i don’t really think about it. It’s about the most expedient manner to escape safely. Be it a back fall, forward roll, side roll, side fall. sausage roll, it doesn’t matter to me, perhaps it is my years of conditioning that allows me that flexibility to take whichever roll to escape injury.
I used to do forward roll incessantly non stop before class as warm up. same goes for backward rolls. I think that kinda aerobic warm up was a good precursor to my current ability to roll anyway, anyhow, anytime.
I have to roll to safety twice in my life, thankfully. Once was when i was riding a motorbike and this car, driven by a Japanese guy, swerve right, into my path and knock me over, i fell to my right and did a sausage roll, very much like in the movies, thank you very much. and got up immediately after that. The guy was scared shitless, and he should be asking if i am Ok, since he hit me, but i ended up asking him, if he was ok. I ended that episode with a broken brake handle and bruise hip.
The second time was when i was a stunt i pulled riding my mountain bike, i was passing by a few pillars and i wondered to myself how close can i get to the pillars without actually hitting one? so i did, rode close to the pillars, and i did, hit one of them. I fell off my bike and did a backward roll to safety. and it was my younger days where i didn’t wear a helmet to protect my young numb skull.
So it is important to master ukemi properly. how often will we have a chance to kotegaishi a person? Nikkyo a guy? in real life, but, in real life, we do fall down from time to time, so learning how to fall, will determine how quickly we bounce back.