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fatebass21 01-03-2005 12:30 PM

Break Falls
I have been studying for a year now, and I am progressing in everything fairly well.....except my break falls that is. I have recieved a great deal of useful information from my classmates on doing these properly, and I almost have them during the warm-ups. I tried to break fall with no hands over a classmate's back recently and I cleared them fine, but screwed up the landing and I hurt my ankle. What could I be doing wrong? :confused:

Janet Rosen 01-03-2005 12:44 PM

Re: Break Falls
Proceeding too quickly, without getting the form of the fall and landing into your body "muscle memory". You could continue to play with the form and landing in a slow relaxed manner with a senior student, rather than doing the aikido equivalent of jumping off a bridge (grin).

DaveO 01-03-2005 05:02 PM

Re: Break Falls
Yup - if there's one place you don't want to push yourself in; it's ukemi - plenty of ways you can get yourself kilt with a single error. My advice: Don't worry about learning breakfalls; just practice them slow and easy. Like anything; it's not the speed that's important, it's the technique. Build the technique; build your body's ability to perform breakfalls without thinking about them. You'll learn them much faster than trying to push/test yourself. :)

mj 01-03-2005 05:15 PM

Re: Break Falls

Chris Sawyer wrote:
...What could I be doing wrong? :confused:

You're not doing anything wrong, mate :)

In the early years ukemi/breakfalling skills are always behind other skills. Don't worry, after a while breakfalls cease to be an acquired skill and become a natural movement in any circumstance. Control of your body/mind.

It's worth the wait and the sore body ;)

Qatana 01-03-2005 06:53 PM

Re: Break Falls
Ive been training two years and just starting to get them. I practice by doing a forward roll and staying down, ending up in Proper breakfall position. Sometimes my teacher will have me roll over my arm while he holds my hand, that is a real breakfall without the height. he assures me that when I can land properly consistently, it won't make a difference if I'm three feet in the air or three inches, so you may as well train for the inches and let the feet take care of themselves.

bleepbeep 01-03-2005 08:19 PM

Re: Break Falls
go slow. sometimes people who go too fast do not get the form right and injure themselves. better to go get the form right and go slow first then proceed from there.
i notice some newbies learning how to fall/roll develop a fear of it and then they muck up their ukemi , because they were in too much of a hurry. consistent practice and gradually challenge yourself...i hope this helps.

ali og 01-03-2005 08:23 PM

Re: Break Falls
We usually do breakfalls twice a week and are not allowed to get up until we've "fixed" ourselves (in terms of proper position on the mat). It's certainly nice to know that ukemi comes along a little slower than other things - that's where I feel most clumsy at the moment, but I can remember three months ago when I was even clumsier! :D

ruthmc 01-04-2005 03:48 AM

Re: Break Falls

Chris Sawyer wrote:
but screwed up the landing and I hurt my ankle. What could I be doing wrong? :confused:

Possibly not controlling your feet in landing? It's a common error - you have to learn not to allow your feet to thump down at the end of your fall - instead allow your entire body to absorb the force of the landing, preferably as smoothly as possible :) The way to practice this is to keep your feet tucked up but relaxed, use your stomach muscles to control your legs, and allow your feet to land in a natural position rather than tense or curled.

Take it slow and steady, as the others have said, and you'll get there!


fatebass21 01-04-2005 12:16 PM

Re: Break Falls
Thank you everyone for your help and advice. Much appreciated. :D

Qatana 01-04-2005 01:26 PM

Re: Break Falls
Last night we were doing a technique where nage 'walks through uke's elbow" which is an easy throw & fall, until my teacher said, OK, keep coming around here and roll over your hand- so i did and he threw me over his head into a high breakfall! I wasn't expecting it, but it was over before I knew what was happening! I landed on my kidney instead of my hiop, but its fine today and I'm still High from it!

Janet Rosen 01-04-2005 02:20 PM

Re: Break Falls
LOL! Congrats, Jo. In my experience, if you remember to exhale on the way down/while impacting, the body is a little more forgiving of faulty alignment.

Fred26 01-04-2005 02:40 PM

Re: Break Falls
During my first weeks of training I hurt my neck when doing a backward roll. Instead of rolling over my shoulder I rolled over my head, neck and spine. I had a sharp pain in my neck and chest for 2 weeks before it disappeared overnight. It was a starch reminder of the dangers when performing rolls, forward or backwards. :)

Bronson 01-04-2005 03:14 PM

Re: Break Falls

I would also suggest scrolling to the bottom of the page and reading the Similar Threads....lots of info there.


rob_liberti 01-04-2005 03:29 PM

Re: Break Falls
I initially learned by the rolling and staying down approach too. But try the following:

Have someone stand there with say their right arm extended 90 degrees from your direction (they can face their arm and not you).

You walk to their arm (so that their body in on your right hand side) grab their wrist with your left hand and continue to walk forward.

Let your head drop as if to roll, and reach backwards with your right arm as far away from your back as possible with that right hand nice and relaxed.

When you go over for the fall, your right hand should be so far out there that it certainly hits the floor first. Then the side of your right leg and then your left foot. It should have the rhythm of 3 quick beats. Bum, bum, bum... Then let go of your helpers hand.

It is a little difficult to get your legs adjusted correctly - so I recommend doing this on a nice big mat at first. Also, there might be a lot of muscle memory to battle with to get that backwards arm to stay as far away from the body as possible - but you need that to absorb the blow most efficiently.

I'm not exactly sure how to get video onto the web, but if you send me instructions, I think I can demonstrate it pretty well.

Good luck - Rob

PS (I like the advice about using stomach muscles to control the relaxed legs - great way to say it!)

sunny liberti 01-05-2005 01:11 PM

Re: Break Falls
I'd like to add to Rob's drill that the extended arm would be behind you with palm up while walking. It feels (and looks) really goofy! As you tuck your head and flip, keep the arm stationary out behind you and relaxed - DON'T TRY TO SLAP THE MAT!! That arm is "feeling" for the ground. Let it make contact due to your movement. If you slap, your elbow will be at great risk, especially b/c you won't have a good sense of how far away the ground is.

And know that you may have to do it in controlled circumstances for a long time before you can handle doing it in action. Build your muscle memory to do it right. We ususally need that ukemi for getting out of a tight spot quickly, so you'll want your body to do it correctly without thought when you need that ukemi.

Good luck!

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