I went back to our Japanese swordfighting (Battodo) classfor middle and high school kids on Tuesday, for the first time thisyear. I really enjoy helping to teach that class since kids do goofyfunny things. This time around, we practiced rolling on the floor andit was quite the sight. Our o-sensei(instructor) is a long-time Jujitsu teacher as well--actually he knowsat least 4 different martial arts. He wanted to show the kids some verybasic rolls, throws and disarms. These can be very dangerous if done imporperly or carelessly.
You may or may not be surprised that most people don't know how to rollon the floor in a safe or coordinated manner. As we grow older, this isprobably one of the last things we do on a normal day but it's one thatcan be really helpful on rare occassions (e.g., taking a dive off abike, or even just tripping). In any case, it can be fun and even alittle exercise.
You'd think kids would have an easier time doing this. Almost. We hadabout 20 of them of various sizes from half my height to those over sixfeet (who'd have just as much trouble as I did originally), all rollingdown the mats on the floor getting woozy and running into each otherfrom time to time.
First they learn the basic roll from a squatting position, then from astand-drop-down-to-a-squat, and then just from a stand. Eventually, itbecomes one flowing motion. After they learn know how to roll, we canshow them some basic ways to throw people. After that, some sworddisarming and throwing techniques.
Rather than roll head-over-feet (gymnastics style), the idea they firstlearn is from squatting with one knee down (say your right knee down,left up), putting your arms in a diagonal line (left elbow pointing upabove the raised knee, the other pointing down), and then rolling overyour (left) shoulder. This is much safer that head over feet, sincerather than landing on your neck, you land on the meaty tricep,shoulder and back muscles.
I could make a business-philosophical quip about "learning to roll withthe flow properly and stay on track", but I think just actually rollingaround is fun. :)