Mae Ukemi

Similar to our standard roll

Roll with hands like a wheel

Distance rolls

Side rolls

Ushiro Ukemi

Ushiro otoshi, backwards fall

Ushiro kaiten ukemi, backwards roll

Break falls

In break falls or high falls, you are falling onto your back from a height. In this situation, neither mae ukemi nor ushiro ukemi is appropriate.

Traditional breakfalls

These are what you see in most dojos. The uke hits the ground hard, and the technique involved is for uke to make sure that he or she hits the mat in a way which will not cause broken bones or damage to major organs. In that sense, this sort of high fall is not appropriate for many people with injuries or joint pain, and it’s generally a bad idea to do too many of them.

Feather falls

These falls, also called soft high falls, were popularized by Donovan Waite of New York Aikikai, although I couldn’t figure out who invented them. In these rolls, the uke twists the body so that the free arm hits first, before he rest of the body. This arm, and a lot of work of the abdominal muscles, is then used to control the lowering of the rest of the body so that the it does not need to hit the ground hard.

Shikko (knee walking)

Direct shikko

Shikko with irimi and tenkan