We currently have the , which is the Japanese martial arts term for falling technique. To be more English language friendly, should we make a and make ukemi a synonym? The current situation is fine for students of Japanese martial arts, but those coming from other traditions (TKD, for example) have no obvious way of finding this.

  • We should do the same as we did for forms and kata. It's late here otherwise I'd go and dig up that history now, but it can wait till tomorrow :)
    – slugster Mod
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 13:05
  • That's funny, I was just about to post the exact same question. Since you're a moderator, I assume that you want feedback from the community before you mark them as synonyms, correct?
    – LemmyX
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 4:33
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    @LemmyX Yes. We try not to dictate by personal opinion.
    – mattm Mod
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 13:17

2 Answers 2


I am making the the master tag and a synonym. Looking back, there are at least two questions where I had edited in the ukemi tag for non-Japanese martial arts questions:

  1. Good shoulder roll from a dive
  2. Exercises to train better falling when thrown

This should make it easier for all users to find the right concept.


That would probably not be a good idea.

The upside

I actually was writing this question and was surprised to find that was not an synonym, and it was also not an existing tag. This could be helpful to new users who may not have "ukemi" in their vocabulary but would like to ask a question about falling.

However, since is Japanese-specific and is an umbrella term, I would argue that if they do become synonyms, should be the main tag, with being it's synonym. It wouldn't make sense to pick the main tag to be a term that only applies to some martial arts.

The downside

"Falling" and "ukemi" aren't necessarily the same thing. While ukemi is part of falling, it is only a very small piece. Ukemi only refers to the way of safely falling taught in Japanese arts, whereas falling could include any style. It's the same reason why and (as Slugster mentioned), or and aren't synonyms: one is an umbrella for the other; they're not the same exact thing.

I'm not strongly opposed to the idea, I just don't think that we should force one culturally-specific term onto everyone, especially if they aren't asking about those styles.

  • Clarification: I intended falling to be the main term and ukemi to be marked as a synonym. In the current situation, we are imposing a cultural term onto everyone. Also, currently the culture-specific tags kata, poomsae, taolu, and hyeong are marked as a synonym of the main term forms: martialarts.stackexchange.com/tags/synonyms.
    – mattm Mod
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 13:23
  • @mattm but should they really be? They aren't necessarily the same, just one is part of the other.
    – LemmyX
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 13:26
  • A person trained in ukemi will watch someone in TKD practice falling and call it ukemi. The act of practicing falling has a different name depending on who is watching. I am not aware of any situation where the practice of falling would not be called ukemi by a practitioner trained in the Japanese traditions.
    – mattm Mod
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 13:32
  • @mattm I guess I never thought of it that way.
    – LemmyX
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 13:46
  • One slight side-comment, Amos Rendao's use of "Parkour ukemi" in his classes to describe the combination of learning how to fall in controlled situations, and learning to anticipate such situations, in the context of parkour means that term is moving outside of even martial arts. Commented Apr 28, 2020 at 15:07
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    @MacacoBranco I don't think that it was ever meant to be a term only used in martial arts. I'm pretty sure that it's an everyday Japanese word that was used in martial arts.
    – LemmyX
    Commented Apr 28, 2020 at 15:23
  • @LemmyX: Looks about right. Means either "Passive" or "Taking it" depending on translation. Commented Apr 28, 2020 at 15:28
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    @MacacoBranco That's what I found too. It's most likely used just as frequently as we use the word "passive". When I hear that word, I would never think of martial arts. It's most likely because of old traditions that "ukemi" is used in non-Japanese schools.
    – LemmyX
    Commented Apr 28, 2020 at 15:31
  • @MacacoBranco Parkour proliferation of ukemi aside, do you have reservations about making a tag switch to falling?
    – mattm Mod
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 21:10
  • @mattm Not at all. Falling is falling. :) Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 22:34

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