Hope you’re keeping up with training at home and keeping healthy. This is a new series we are introducing as complimentary lessons to what we have been teaching in our online Aikido classes.

We look at basic skills and basic techniques – demonstrate or remind you of some key points and also common mistakes.

Today’s video (first of the series) has a look at the basic backfill (variation without tapping).

INTRO time stamp – 00:13


1) Squat

2) Rocking (warming up spine)

3) Hip extension – designed to reverse the backwards momentum of falling

4) Standing – tucking in feet to rock back up to standing

FULL BACKFALL time stamp – 03:07

COMMON MISTAKES time stamp – 04:16

1) Hitting back of head – keep chin tucked in and only roll back to your shoulder blades, no further.

2) Legs falling too far back – this puts too much pressure on your neck. Use the hip extension and keep your legs at around 45 degrees or straight out in front of you. Legs should be energised, not “floppy”.

3) Legs opening when falling – this wastes energy in multiple directions, making the fall more taxing and tiring.

Final notes and points: The backfall should be smooth and easy to execute. You should feel relaxed and in control of the movement.

There are many variations to an Aikido backfall but fundamentally all ukemi should have the above feeling. When doing a backfall, remember to exhale as you enter into the movement – a full belly of air creates tension and pressure in your fall, sometimes also causing you to feel winded. All the preparatory exercises are important in building up to a full backfill – practice them separately and invest the time into your basics.


Aikido Basics: Video Series