In my MMA classes before being taught how to throw someone, I was taught how to fall. It is unlikely that a mugger will try to hip toss me, but slipping on the ice or a wet floor is more likely. Self-defense includes not getting hurt falling down.
About three years ago we had an ice storm in our area. Coincidently, both my brother and I both slipped in our respective driveways. My brother broke his wrist. I bruised my pride. Actually, I did get some nasty bruises but no serious injuries. What was the difference? I broke my fall. My brother didn’t.
As I have mentioned before, this blog is not a sensei and the internet is not a dojo. If you want to learn specific techniques of breaking your fall and rolling, you should find a reputable school in your area. I will however discuss the concepts of fall protection.
1. Protect your head – concussions and other head injuries are serious and can have lasting consequences.
a. If you fall backward, tuck your chin to your chest to keep your head from striking the ground.
b. If you fall to the side, use your arm to cushion your head.
2. Spread your weight – One of the worst things you can do when falling is putting all of you weight on a fully outstretched arm. When you do that, all of your weight is focused on the weakest area, the wrist. One of my coworkers’ wives slipped on the ice, had both arms fully extended to stop herself from falling and broke both of her wrists. That meant no driving, no typing, challenging eating and other complications. A reputable sensei in your area can teach you how to fall in a roll or a break-fall to spread your weight and prevent injury.
As with all things, it takes practice to do effectively. It may seem silly to practice falling but falling safely does not come naturally. You will need to practice the falling techniques until they become second nature. Few things cause people to panic more than falling. Falling is even one of people’s most common nightmares. Until the falling techniques become second nature, your body will rebel against the fall and leave you prone to injury.
Falling effectively can help you against attackers as well. When being attacked, you may fall. You can be struck and dazed, tripped or thrown. Falling without injury and being able to get up can save you.
What goes down, better get up – If you are being attacked and fall down, you need to be able to get up. You are in more danger when you are on the ground after being attacked, so getting up quickly in a defensive posture is very important in preventing further injury.
In my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training I learned the technical stand up. This is a technique that allows someone to get up quickly in a defensive posture. I practiced it so much that I even use it when I get up from sitting on the floor.
Learn how to fall and get up safely and practice the technique until it is second nature.
– Don’t let a fall beat you.
– You don’t need Life Alert.
– Even though you have fallen, you can get up.