Ukemi (to receive the technique) means to attack and then receive the throw or pin. When you are attacking and receiving the technique you are called Uke. You should attack seriously (carefully and properly) and fall safely. Uke is also responsible for staying well connected to the defender (nage/tori). Staying connected doesn’t mean simply hanging on, it has more to do with connecting your centre to your partner’s. Half of your time practicing aikido will be spent taking Ukemi. It would be worthwhile to put as much effort into it as into learning the application of techniques.
Mae ukemi (front fall) – when you are thrown you must roll over the shoulder of the forward foot. Always tuck your chin into your chest. It is important to make your body as round as possible. You can slap the mat with your back hand if it is necessary. Start and end with the same foot forward.
Ushiro ukemi (rear fall) – just like mae ukemi, you must roll over the shoulder of the forward foot. Tuck your chin in and make your body as round as possible. If you need to slap the mat, use your back hand. Start and end with the same foot forward.
Yoko ukemi (side fall) – yoko ukemi begins the same way as ushiro ukemi. The difference comes when you lean to the side and roll over your torso instead of the shoulder. Just like mae ukemi and ushiro ukemi, you can slap the mat if necessary with yoko Ukemi. Start and end with the same foot forward.
Tobi ukemi (high/jumping fall) – sometimes your partner will throw you and you won’t be able to do mae ukemi. Instead you will do tobi ukemi (high fall or break-fall). It is very close to mae ukemi except that you flip over and land flat on the mat. It is important to slap the mat with your free arm just before the rest of your body hits the mat. Tobi ukemi should only be done by senior students.