What are your thoughts on ukemi?
I am thinking there are two types. The rolling version, which everybody does, is performed by rolling forward. This is "useful" when falling forward to protect yourself from injury. It also might by helpful somehow when jumping across roofs or something. But the regular Shorinji ukemi is too slow for it to be anything but a gymnastic move.
The relaxing roll, which hardly anybody even knows about, is performed by suddenly relaxing your body and folding it in on itself. There is no kicking off the ground whatsoever. It is so fast it is finish when a regular ukemi is still not even halfway. You can do ukemis without going forward (cool trick), folding in the same space.
Why is this important?
True ukemi is taught so you learn to escape and counter attack even when your opponent is throwing you. In true ukemi, the tori recognizes he will be thrown, and does an ukemi, which causes the tori to become unbalanced. You can strike the uke as you do the ukemi as well, if you are fast enough. It is therefore a contest of who can move the fastest (I am not talking about regular everyday notions of speed, please note I am talking about absolute speed, which is completely different).
I have no gripes with the ukemi I have been taught. I've used it a few times (mainly messing around, jumping of ledges, down stairs) and does the job. Our teacher used to teach ukemi with applications. Stand infront of this bag, right, now i push you backwards over the bag you dont do ushiroukemi then you fall on your bum