Healthcare and Medicine Reference
Fig. 10.44 An aikido forward roll travels along the Deep Back Arm Line, the Back Functional Line, and the Lateral Line.
body, crossing the midline of the back and onto the
opposite hip (Fig. 10.44B). From here the body supports
itself, if headed back for standing again, on the Lateral
Line of the leg, passing down the iliotibial tract and the
peroneals as the opposite foot hits the floor and begins
the process of standing up again (Fig. 10.44C).
A roll also requires proper balance between the
Superficial Front and Back Lines, as over-contraction of
the SBL will interfere with obtaining a smoothly rounded
shape for the back of the torso, and over-contraction of
the SFL, which is very common in the early stages of
learning, causes hyperextension of the upper cervicals,
making it hard to tuck the head out of the way and
coordinate the back muscles.
Staying strong, open, and aware of these lines as you
pass through the roll will make it smoother and safer.
Conversely, shortening, tightening, or retracting these
lines when attempting a roll will result in a bumpy
bring it across the chest, while the two Back Arm Lines
abduct the right arm and extend the elbow. The left leg
and right arm are stabilized across both front and back
via the Functional Lines to provide a base for the action
of the left arm and right leg, where the Front Functional
Line adds to force of the kick, and the Back Functional
Line must lengthen to allow it.
Less obviously, the Deep Front Line is involved in the
ability to make this kick work for the whole body. The
posterior adductors and posterior intermuscular septum
must lengthen to allow the hip to flex fully without
tilting the pelvis posteriorly. More to the point, the ilio-
psoas is active in flexing the hip and holding the femur
in flexion. Either of these factors can create a downward
pull on the DFL, which can result in compression along
the front of the spine. In Figure 10.45B, a similar kick
from the side likewise drawn from a photo, we can see
this effect in action. The tissues of the SFL remain long,
but the core is nevertheless pulled down. The front of
the spine is clearly shortened from the anterior cervicals
to the pelvic floor.
Some years ago it was my privilege to work with an
Olympic contender on the British karate team. Long of
limb (and very fast), this gentleman was set fair to bring
home the gold, but for one problem - kicking caused an
increasingly sharp and debilitating pain in his lower
back. My first line of inquiry was up the SBL, reasoning
that the tension of the hamstrings was being passed
around through the sacrotuberous ligament to the
sacrum and the sacrolumbar fascia, thus causing some
kind of radicular compression. When this avenue proved
Figure 10.45A is a front snap kick taken from a photo of
a teacher with a black belt. A karate kick to the front
involves, fairly obviously, contraction of the Superficial
Front Line to create the kick, and lengthening along the
Superficial Back Line to allow the kick to happen.
Restrictions in either of these lines could affect the ability
of the student to perform this action.
Notice also how the arms counterbalance the flexed
leg. The two front Arm Lines on the left flex the arm and