Ukemi (the receiving of technique) is the heart and spirit of Aikido.
Acting as “Uke” may look like “playing crash dummy” for the person who is “really practicing”. In reality, all the best Aikido technicians I know got that way by taking massive amounts of ukemi (being thrown thousands of times). Through this, they built flexibility, lost their fear, made friends with gravity, and learned to calmly evaluate and work things out under the most strenuous circumstances.
It’s far more important in life, and in the dojo, to be able to survive situations uninjured than to try to injure others. Here’s a little article I wrote on the subject.
This video shows how we practice “backwards front rolls” to prepare students for taking breakfalls from iriminage – and how that transition is presented and achieved.
Aikido comes from sword. And, we practice many techniques with bokken (wooden sword). This video shows one way of rolling safely with bokken, and how to rise from the roll and turn with the sword properly in center and under control.
This video is a bit of levity – about what ukemi looks like from the inside. Warning: this may induce motion sickness for some…