In Japanese the word "ukemi" means "receiving." In the context of Judo it consists of the skills and conditioning to be thrown, to fall hard to the ground, without being hurt.
I consider Ukemi to be the single most important part of my martial arts training. Outside of training situations, I haven't been in a fight since junior high school. However, I have fallen down from time to time. That's where good ukemi comes in. You learn to fall without getting hurt.
Bujinkan included ukemi as part of the training. It's also central to Judo training. The first basic idea is to spread the impact in both space and time (spread the impact over as large an area as possible and make sure it happens as gradually as possible). The second basic idea is to absorb the energy of the impact in those parts of the body that can handle the impact (like your arms and legs) and away from areas that can't (like your head).
I think it's important to be extremely diligent in the practice of Ukemi. When you are Uke for someone else's practice of technique, even if you're not being thrown hard, do the best ukemi you can. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. It will pay off the next time you get thrown in randori--or slip on an icy sidewalk.
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