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Beginner judo classes emphasize learning low-exertion, solo falling technique (ukemi), which involves rocking motions in multiple directions (back, left, and right) and generally progresses to rolling zempo kaiten breakfalls. A small fraction of adult beginners feel nausea from this training. In my experience, beginners who feel nausea do so on the first day, and they never make it to a second day because the first class experience was so unpleasant.

What can instructors do for these beginners?

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  • That sounds like a function of biology. I doubt you could accommodate nausea-sensitive people. This is really the first time I've heard of this, and I've done judo before. Perhaps students just quit without mentioning the problem, so I never heard about it. Aside from anti-nausea medications, I doubt anything can be done about it. Those people will have problems in life in general if they're that sensitive. It's something they have to figure out on their own. Commented Feb 22 at 14:29

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The two main causes for nausea after rolls are

  • problems with your vestibular system (balance organ in your ear)
  • problems with your blood pressure adaptations (orthostatic nausea)

The first could be looked at and solved by an otolaryngologist. In less severe cases, it could also become less over time just by training it more and enduring it, since the vestibular sense organ can, in principle, be trained as well.

The second can be addressed by cardiovascular training (endurance training).

No matter the real cause, I would check my blood pressure and make a check on the ear if the problems remain on a constant level.

That being said, it is to some extent normal, especially for completely unconditioned adults. The key here is to limit the amount of subsequent rolls (and/or expand the time between them) and education.

If you tell them from the start that they might experience some nausea and if that does not get better over time you could give them further advice, this lifts a lot of the pressure.

Last bit of advice: It helps some people if they jump up and land not with soft knees but a bit forcefully, so that there is an impetus into the ear that kind of "resets" the movement in the vestibular organ.

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It's important to identify the cause of the nausea.

Is it fear? Is it incorrect breathing technique? Is it fatigue (too many ukemi for a beginner)?

At my Aikido Dojo an advanced student was placed in charge of each beginner to let them enjoy their first classes at their own pace, with good coaching (no head bumps or shoulder strain).

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