William Oakes wrote:
The basic high/break fall, in the general most of terms, is nothing more than a roll suspended above the mat.
Once you have become good at rolling ukemi there really isnt a need to do breakfalls. In my understanding, its a last resort, an act to save life or limb. Basically you have been cut off from rolling, and the breakfall is the last out. Many teachers dont endorse breakfalls.
The front roll version of "breakfall" is a valid option too. But I think it's more like to touch the mat with their first, elbow, front shoulder or rear shoulder, then roll on the mat from there. I guess it's just different angle of looking at the same thing.
But in Kote-gaeshi of this topic, i don't think the rolling version works well. In Irimi-nage, if the nage put his/her leg behind your back the proper way, the rolling version won't work either. In shiho-nage, if the nage put too much down ward pressure and hold your wrist until you're on the ground, the rolling version won't do well either. In koshi-nage and juji-nage, you have to be good and nage allow you to roll out.
In the ikyo, nikyo and sankyo, how do you rollout? You need front breakfall to save your face, literally.
Break fall is no more than basic physics, that one part of your body going down, the other part try to go up to slowing the down ward pressure. It's usually done by using your abdominal muscle to throw your leg up.
The teachers who don't teach "breakfall" have robbed their students a simple and effective self-defense method.