Don J. Modesto wrote:
. I'm wondering when others introduce it.
FWIW, I introduce breakfalls gingerly using a two inch spongy mat which I pull out over the regular Swain/Zebra style mats
Thanks for your responses.
I think it will be smart to leave decision to students themseves. Some are ready(mentally and physically) after 1week, some after 1 year.
In a dojo where I practice, usually we teach 15 minutes introduction to high breakfalls every beginners class once students are confortable with rolling forward and backward.
This introduction is composed with few exercises:
1.preparation for landing: student stops normal forward rolling in the end(instead of getting up) with powerfull slapping hand and special position of his body(2 different positions for two basic kind of breakfalls). This reinforces certain muscles in his body, teachs correct position for landing, teachs control and coordination of his own body and allow to get use to impact.
2.Flip over low obstacle. Usually obctacle is another student kneeling and with his body bended on his knees with face close to tatami. Instructor helps flipping student and assure that his head is secured during flip.
3. High breakfall form standing position, where instructor holds hand of student.
Evey of this stage of introduction is free to choose by students in every training, and they can stay at this stage as long as they feel confortable.
hope it helps
edited: ps. we don't use any special tatami overposed on normal mats. I don't think it is good idea.