A few Reasons for Ukemi Kata
It is a way to practise break falls but also an introduction to the etiquettes of higher level kata practise – if low grade judoka master basic etiquette with ukemi kata then they have less to worry about when learning other katas
It teaches how to coordinate movement with a partner – essential for good throwing or groundwork control
It encourages respect for each other and higher ranking grades
Presentation and attitude -Judoka should ensure they are smartly presented with clean freshly pressed gi’s, hair neatly brushed and if necessary secured back with bands so it can’t be pulled (no metal clips), toe and finger nails short (no nail varnish). Whilst waiting their turn judoka should sit quietly, kneeling or cross legged at the side of the mat area
Etiquette – Kata forms must be performed in sequence, judoka do not turn their back on joseki unless the kata form requires this.
Opening and Closing Ceremony – includes normal standing rei (tachi-rei or ritsurei) – heels together, feet slightly apart. Hands coming forward onto front of thighs as judoka simultaneously incline their head and back to an angle of about 45o , and a kneeling-rei (seiza) showing good posture including high and low kneeling (toes should not be crossed)
When presenting kata for display, judoka should wait to be called, then take up position about 2 metres (2 mat lengths) apart and wait to be asked to start. They rei to joseki (to confirm they know where joseki is positioned and that he is ready and watching) and then to each other. having completed their kata they step back and rei to each other before turning to rei to joseki, then stand facing each other until joseki tells them they may return to their place at the edge of the mat.
Transition – all transition stages are done by judoka stepping (ayumi-ashi style) to a ‘normal judo grip’ or engagement distance, pausing to synchronise their breathing (every pause is a breathing pause), the distance between them should ensure they can clap hands with a flexed elbow neither needing to lean forward or back for clap as this would take judoka off balance, each clap should be done at shoulder height, with fingers together – not a ‘high 5’. A ‘high 5’ would open judoka up to attack and splayed fingers are dangerous as there is a risk of poking the eyes out or getting fingers broken.