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Cheryl Matrasko
James Loeser
Matthew O'Connor


Cheryl Matrasko
James Loeser
Matthew O'Connor



In order to keep practicing Aikido without sustaining injury, proper ukemi is used by all practitioners.

My original instructor 35 years ago, was very strict on practicing proper ukemi. Many hours of dojo time was dedicated to forward and backward ukemi, as well as using breakfalls when needed. After all, if you cannot take good ukemi during practice - you will not survive long without injury and you couldn't practice. Ukemi is considered a way to protect your body during practice.

Good ukemi is considered a skill that is not learned easily. It takes rigorous training and time to control one's body and to feel the direction of the nage. Improper ukemi can lead to permanent back injuries, organ damage such as the case with kidneys, broken toes, etc.

When someone is considered a good uke, he/she becomes a well-sought after commodity. Instructors will often use a good uke to illustrate techniques in front of class, seminars, etc. The uke will take the throws for the nage in an honest manner, by committing to an attack, and allow the throw to happen. (Note: Faking or overacting the throw for a nage is not honest and not permitted). The more advanced or complicated the technique is --- the more important the role the uke takes on in the execution of the technique. The added benefit or privilege for the uke is just being able to be practice and take uke for instructors and other good Aikidoists.

Note that Aikido ukemi is characterized by the circular movement or fashion similar to the conventional somersault.

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Michio Hikitsuchi 10th Dan 1978
(C. Matrasko as uke)
1978 C. Matrasko

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