inversion and freeing the undercarriage


Aikido has always carried a major component of postural inversion – the ukemi roll. This has been a largely under used resource in freeing the use of the legs and lower torso for anything other than the carriage of weight.

Aikido forward roll has the wonderful capacity to allow the weight of the head to balance the weight of the legs. We thus have a ready made way to explore the possibilities of inversion – an area that capoiera has certainly not shied from exploring.

My experience of approaching the use of legs has always felt a bit like exploring the underside of a car – something of forbidding mysteriousness for the novice.


I am delighted now to see ukemi as a royal gate to free up the expressive and connective possibilities of the the legs and feet. The use of the head and chests counterweight possibility also allows the lengthening of the leg in reach rather than the pinching associated with lifting the leg above the hip without counterbalance. This seems to allow an openness and fluidity that is highly applicable within a freeform Aikido practise


One thought on “inversion and freeing the undercarriage

  1. We have been practice under this theme “Inversion and freeing the undercarriage” for a month. I found that it suddenly opens up to many possibilities to form connection between me and other practitioners and also the ground. Because we using whole body especially a neck, shoulder and chest, my awareness of the ground change drastically. My feeling connection to the ground becomes very strong more than standing position then I become gentle towards the ground. Also I become aware of where I practice. Every essence of environment; air, a wall, trees etc. is source of connection as extension of the ground. This awareness changes my dimension of practicing Aikido from two (Me and Other) to three or multiple dimensions (Me and Other and Ground or Environment) and realize that the connection is not only between me and others. It happens always with ground.

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