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Intensive Rolling
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Hi everybody,

now and then I'm faced with a problem for intermediate or advanced training in Ukemi. It's for a level when students can perform basic forms of rolling. I then like to push training a little more and have seen that many students face a huge drain of stamina and endurance, possibly to a point of closing regurgitation. This is not true for intense workouts, which do not involve rolling.

Even starters face those problems when practising very slow, but for an extended period, linke e.g. 40-60 minutes. However, some do not have those difficulties. I'm aware that this must be caused by the spinning of the body, probably incorrect breathing - affecting balance orientation and therefor overall well being. However it's difficult to train, when it already starts aber 10-15 minutes.

Does anybody face the same difficulties and how do you deal with this?

Posted on: 2011/11/30 0:12
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Re: Intensive Rolling
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This is very true considering most people have jobs that keep their core relatively motionless for hours throughout the day. Dizziness is likely more of an inner ear problem, but again most people spend a huge amount of day with relatively little motion.

So, when they pop in to class and start rolling around, the core of the body and the inner ear fluid start churning around and the body has a difficult time dealing with the over stimulation.

I recommend doing series of linear rolls first (3 sets of zenpo kaiten, for instance). Then, more advanced is to do a set of 3 different rolls/direction change. The point here is two fold - to build technical proficiency in rolling, but also to build a stronger recovery and balance. Only through repeated exposure to the dizziness and nausea associated with rolling can the body learn to adapt and overcome.

It's the same for pilots who need to overcome the effects of G-Force and high speed maneuvering. The training for that is regular and increased exposure to those effects.

For us, having the ability to recover quickly and reduce the loss of balance and power is a vital component. Suppose you rolled your car several times and it landed upside down and on fire or it began sinking in a lake. Having quick recovery and control will enable you to escape quickly, instead of being disoriented, sick and with reduced coordination.

I find nausea can often be reduced by deep breathing. Often the effects from rolling cause the core of the body to tense and this restricts deeper breathing. By opening up the body by drawing in a deep breath with the stomach, it relaxes the core and settles the nausea. I also do a little trick of pushing on the hara "button" to stabilize balance. This is a point approximately 2-3 inches below the belly button. It is the center of balance in the body and by pushing on this, you place your awareness and focus on it instead of how off balanced you feel. This has a settling effect on the body.

Those are a couple of tricks that have worked for me and others. Give them a try and see if they work for you.

Posted on: 2011/11/30 2:45
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Re: Intensive Rolling
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It might be an idea to intersperse the rolling with a bit of some other ukemi or movement exercise, using a sort of circuit. Do some forward rolls here, a jumping/ducking sword evasion exercise there, some back rolls here and so on, almost in a sort of obstacle course fashion.

You can also work on ukemi in context by having a senior student 'throw' (gyaku or whatever) students one after the other, allowing them to practice their ukemi in the context of a throw. It can also be fun to have students push (literally, but gently) each other into the ukemi, forwards and backwards.

Exercises like this can liven up ukemi training and relieve some of the effects of simply doing one roll after another.

Posted on: 2011/11/30 6:11
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Re: Intensive Rolling
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Nice idea. Unfortunately I'm quite creative in developing such drills and it's especially those who trouble folks the most. Since once a basic understanding is reached, I very quickly switch to combination drills and ukemi as reaction to not self-controlled impulses (even if they are mere demonstrative than real impulses).

@Darren: I do know that I could simply limit the amount of rolling, but then it would take a much longer time to achieve an even basic level of skill. That's not what I'm aiming for - for several reasons.

I do recommend extra activity like running or swimming and relaxation exercises, but this is a point I have very limited control over. Moreover, while these activities do benefit overall fitness which certainly helps, they're not very specialized in preventing dizziness caused by tumbling and exhausting movements. Also they are quite time consuming. Actually I'm looking for exercises which very effeciently (since training time is quite limited) train up the body to adapt to similar effects, but in a less overall demanding way.

Posted on: 2011/11/30 21:45
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"Thou art a child of nature.
Thou shalt know that it art a crime to murder thy mother.
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Re: Intensive Rolling
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Relaxation helps with rolling big time especially when not worrying about breathing as one rolls it will naturally let the breath out of the body. Also it may be helpful to realize u can show them the way to a degree but its ultimately up to the student to practice whether or not they get proficient at something is on them.

Posted on: 2011/11/30 23:52
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Re: Intensive Rolling
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Quote:
Also it may be helpful to realize u can show them the way to a degree but its ultimately up to the student to practice whether or not they get proficient at something is on them.


I think this is a very good point. Sometimes you just have to encourage those who are having a tough time to take it slowly, and then move on with the rest of the class with the training you had planned.

Posted on: 2011/12/1 1:31
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Re: Intensive Rolling
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Quote:

GreyArea wrote:
@Darren: I do know that I could simply limit the amount of rolling, but then it would take a much longer time to achieve an even basic level of skill. That's not what I'm aiming for - for several reasons.

I do recommend extra activity like running or swimming and relaxation exercises, but this is a point I have very limited control over. Moreover, while these activities do benefit overall fitness which certainly helps, they're not very specialized in preventing dizziness caused by tumbling and exhausting movements. Also they are quite time consuming. Actually I'm looking for exercises which very effeciently (since training time is quite limited) train up the body to adapt to similar effects, but in a less overall demanding way.


I wasn't saying to do less rolling at all (sorry if I made it seem that way). I actually suggested doing it incrimentally or progressively. Start linear (i.e. 1 direction). Then alternate direction (front, side, back alternately without stopping). Not less, but just different stimuli to the body.

Bottom line is this - it's a person to person situation. There is no shortcut and breathing is really the best way to keep the body stabilized as much as possible. Outside of that, all that can be really suggested is 'gambatte'.

The average new person really won't be able to handle more than a set of 3 rolls without having to catch their breath. A more advanced person may be able to do more, but again it all depends on the person. Doing 40 minutes of rolling is a lot, if done repetitively. Now, if it's the congo line of students rolling across a mat, walking back around to the back of the line and waiting a couple minutes for their turn, then I can see 30-40 minutes going by with only about 10-15 rolls for each person. If you are having them do constant rolling for that amount of time, good luck. Young and in shape students will find it fairly ok, but older folks or those with health issues will struggle.

Regardless, I gave a couple suggestions and others have posted some ideas, but really it is a person by person case and there's no one key that's going to work for everybody. You have to just keep having them roll until their bodies get used to it.

The other thing is that the rest of your class should also contain ukemi skills, right? You have takedowns and throws, etc, that all involve rolling or breakfalls. So, they are still getting this training. And, since it's in response to or in receiving a technique, it more accurately fits the definition of ukemi (as opposed to just doing kaiten). If they get sick or dizzy from that, then there's a huge liability they need to address as part of their own person responsibility for training.

Posted on: 2011/12/1 1:42
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Re: Intensive Rolling
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One doesn't have to try to breath when doing natural movement the motion of ones own body will control the breathing a lot of tension comes from the fact people try to breath while moving naturally they have trouble realizing that natural movement and breathing are connected.

Posted on: 2011/12/1 3:39
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Re: Intensive Rolling
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Thanks so far everybody. You are all right and actually I incorporate all those things already in training. But I'm faced with a high rate of early dropouts and the reason lies for nearly all with the rolling. This might be due to illusions about how "ninja training" is, but I recognized that many have a hard time physically. There is one thing that Darren wrote:

Quote:
The average new person really won't be able to handle more than a set of 3 rolls without having to catch their breath.


I do not let them continuous roll and do not drill at all in the beginning. So they're not forced roll in rows and encouraged to stop after each roll and reflect (as well as rolling slowly). I dedicate, however, quite some time each session on this. It seems to me that many beginners simply don't want to roll and clearly a lot of beginners coming for the first time did not expect this.

Maybe there is no solution ... How are you doing it? Do you put strong emphasize on ukemi for beginners, or more at advanced levels? Because now, when I think about it, it might be better let beginners just occasional do some rolling.

Posted on: 2011/12/1 7:48
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"Why? Why am I punished? I`ve led an innocent life ..."

"Thou art a child of nature.
Thou shalt know that it art a crime to murder thy mother.
Yet, I hear her skriek in horror ... "
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Re: Intensive Rolling
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In my classes, rolling is part of the warm up, done right after the bow-in and some junan taiso. It's done slowly, getting low to the ground (squat) and using natural motion/gravity. Then, after a few minutes, the more advanced students will go to standing rolls, then jumping/twisting/combination type advanced stuff. Depending on the night (and ability of the group), we also do simple ukemi receiving drills like rolling out of an omote or ura gyaku, over/under obstacles, with weapons or grabbing or throwing weapons, etc. We also drill muto dori gata and many other rolling applications. But, again, that's not a standard for every class and it all depends on the ability level of the group. Often, the more senior students will take it upon themselves to add variables, but I try to keep the new people focused on the basics (like recovery, as you inquired about).

In my book, recovery is part of an evaluation for rank. So, I may test by having them to a roll and, immediately upon coming out of the roll, have to perform some basic action like a strike, kick, or throw an object at a target.

I generally don't make a major part of class only about rolling, as there are many other kihon skill sets that need to be learned and developed and the rolling does come into play as a part of training in those skill sets.

Posted on: 2011/12/1 8:53
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Darren Dumas

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