Joshua Reyer wrote:
Mats and tatami are not as hard as wooden flooring, concrete, or even most dirt surfaces.
This is exactly the reason you may wish to slap them a correct and in timely manner - to reduce the hit your body receives and the tremor for your skeleton.
Slapping the hand must not replace trying to round your body and dissipate the impact energy as much as possible. The slap is in addition to the energy redirection, not instead of it, and it is of particular importance if you are thrown directly from top down, or start roling towards your head.
Slapping the hand correctly is not similar to premature hand throw which hits the ground in incorrect angle and may break the weakest joint (seen more then one person do that
On the other hand, there are situations in which slapping a hand might not e the best solution. For example if the hand slap location would be on much harder surface then the rest of your body, or if
you have something in your hand that may break/damage you, or if the fall direction might cause damage to the hand immediately after the slap.
The most important thing about break-falls is that break falls are just like any other M.A. situation. You have to be experienced enough to judge the correct response for a situation immediately. There is not one absolute truth, rather a case by case analysis.
In my experience outside of the mat, I fell more then once, on hard surfaces, on my front with my legs locked in place and/or no place to roll and used slapping of the hands to save my face and body, the most damage I had was minor scratches. I remember falling on a staircase, deciding no to slap and not to try and hold the staircase (if you ever reach this situation - remember this recommendation) and arrived down by sliding on my back, again, with no damage (except for my mother almost getting a stroke from her panic).