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Old 11-03-2011, 11:11 PM   #1
graham christian
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More on High Break-falls

Following on from a thread on the teaching section called High Break-falls I am moved to write this one. I believe by reading answers given on the subject that all are missing the basic concept and basic purpose of break-falls and even more so the concept and purpose of high break-falls but are unaware of this fact.

First let's clear what is meant by 'high' break-fall. One that goes up and straight down, splatt. Can be seen in koshi nage but not only there. In fact just concentrating on that can bring confusion as a 'normal' ukemi can also be used there depending on the version of throw.

So, back to basics. A fall. Breaking a fall. A break-fall. What does that actually mean?

It means you are heading for the ground. That's the first simplicity to get. This presents you with a problem and the problem is?

How to land safely. Voila!

A break-fall is a method of harmonizing with the ground when falling. That's all. No more, no less.

So a roll or fore-ward ukemi is a method of harmonizing with the ground. How so? Why that particular shape of body? Well the principle of the wheel fits there for that is what it is doing.

So now if you apply that to your body and Aikido you will see that it applies when? When you are heading for the ground at an angle, when the motion is both fore-ward and down.

Now we come to the more interesting one, the 'high' one. The word high is usually given the wrong emphasis and leads to much of the misunderstanding. The thing to concentrate on in order to see clearly the cocept is the down. Straight down. Straight enough that it cannot serve being a wheel.

Thus the first clear differentiation needed. Only then can you see the two distinct types of break-fall.

Straight down usually means in Aikido on your back rather than on your front. However it is now important to know what the method of falling entails and why otherwise you will not have a basic clear concept.

So back to basics here. The purpose is to harmonize with the ground, to land safely.

Why do judo people slap the mat? To help disperse the energy, to spread it out. So the method in Aikido is based on how to disperse and spread out the impact. Thus you can say you relax into the ground but you must have that concept of energy spreading out into the ground.

That's the technique of it, that's the basic, from which you can progress. Notice it is not how to resist the ground.

Now within that method, that technique there will be certain factors to take into account, like for instance tucking the head fore-ward for it is not conducive to hitting the floor. Also things like using the arms as in judo to displace the impact.

Two basic concepts of two different break-falls.

Now finally let's enter life shall we. Times where one is useful or has been useful and times where the other has or would.

You see, if you were to launch yourself over a low hedge or even a sudden ditch whilst running you would see the use of one. Even if you were to spring away from an oncoming vehicle to save your own life. Get the picture? Thus we see the fore-ward ukemi as something not often needed in life but useful whereas a backward roll or ukemi much more often needed or employed.

On the other hand when I hear people saying they don't like the 'high' break-falls I have to laugh for they have not seen what I describe above. All they mean is they don't like the idea of falling down straight from a great height. Well, nor do I, but the fixation on that leads you away from what one actually is. It's just how to harmonize with the ground when going down.

Now I would say that in life that has happened to you many times, it's unavoidable and thus from that perspective it's the most useful. Whether it's from tripping over backwards, being pushed over, etc. it's all straight down and that's the concept to grasp and the solution is as above. Add a bit of height to it and nothing changes, same principles, same solution. Less broken elbows, banged heads, bruised shoulders, cracked bones...... etc.etc.

So when you go down in Aikido you are doing one of the two types of fall described above so it's best to know that/

Regards.G..
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Old 11-04-2011, 06:17 AM   #2
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Re: More on High Break-falls

I think it would be illuminating to watch you in a video demonstrating these concepts.

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Old 11-04-2011, 06:52 AM   #3
graham christian
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Re: More on High Break-falls

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David Soroko wrote: View Post
I think it would be illuminating to watch you in a video demonstrating these concepts.
Really? Which part don't you understand? Or are you having trouble visualizing?

Regards.G.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:22 AM   #4
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Re: More on High Break-falls

I think it is interesting to hear how people view breakfalls. Some base it on height, some base if off pain, some base it off of whether you slap or not.... Thanks for your point of view.

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Old 11-04-2011, 07:28 AM   #5
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Re: More on High Break-falls

I'm glad I took linear algebra. It helps me understand concepts like vectors.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:34 AM   #6
graham christian
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Re: More on High Break-falls

Quote:
Ashley Carter wrote: View Post
I think it is interesting to hear how people view breakfalls. Some base it on height, some base if off pain, some base it off of whether you slap or not.... Thanks for your point of view.
Thanks Ashley.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:43 AM   #7
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Re: More on High Break-falls

One other thing I really liked about your post was the mention of "... harmonizing with the ground..." I personally find that of utmost importance. Most people who end up getting hurt with these are because they are full of fear. They tighten up and anticipate the impact and end up fighting gravity the entire way down and splat onto the mat. Instead, they need to relax, stay calm and think more along the lines of welcoming the mat with vigor. I can understand the fear of those who have been injured through these falls, but more often then not, the fear the majority of the people have is unfounded; they are just afraid to fall. Sure.... you could talk about evolution and the dying urge to maintain an upright position, yadda, yadda, yadda, but I never understood the fear people have. I have always been comfortable with ukemi. Maybe I am the one who is abnormal.

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Old 11-04-2011, 08:10 AM   #8
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Re: More on High Break-falls

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Really? Which part don't you understand? Or are you having trouble visualizing?

Regards.G.
"Straight down", I'd like to see how you handle "Straight down" please.

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Old 11-04-2011, 08:24 AM   #9
graham christian
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Re: More on High Break-falls

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
"Straight down", I'd like to see how you handle "Straight down" please.
Done it thousands of times thank you David. It's easy to demonstrate. It's clearly explained above. Used it often in life too. Saved me breaking my back or neck in one extreme life example. So I suggest you don't worry about me thank you very much.

However, it seems you still have something you don't understand. Care to elaborate?

Regards.G.
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Old 11-04-2011, 08:26 AM   #10
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Re: More on High Break-falls

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Done it thousands of times thank you David. It's easy to demonstrate. It's clearly explained above. Used it often in life too. Saved me breaking my back or neck in one extreme life example. So I suggest you don't worry about me thank you very much.

However, it seems you still have something you don't understand. Care to elaborate?

Regards.G.
So no video?

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Old 11-04-2011, 08:27 AM   #11
graham christian
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Re: More on High Break-falls

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I'm glad I took linear algebra. It helps me understand concepts like vectors.
Sounds like an irreverent or irrelevant comment to me. Unless I'm misreading it. Fail to see the connection.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-04-2011, 08:45 AM   #12
graham christian
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Re: More on High Break-falls

Quote:
Ashley Carter wrote: View Post
One other thing I really liked about your post was the mention of "... harmonizing with the ground..." I personally find that of utmost importance. Most people who end up getting hurt with these are because they are full of fear. They tighten up and anticipate the impact and end up fighting gravity the entire way down and splat onto the mat. Instead, they need to relax, stay calm and think more along the lines of welcoming the mat with vigor. I can understand the fear of those who have been injured through these falls, but more often then not, the fear the majority of the people have is unfounded; they are just afraid to fall. Sure.... you could talk about evolution and the dying urge to maintain an upright position, yadda, yadda, yadda, but I never understood the fear people have. I have always been comfortable with ukemi. Maybe I am the one who is abnormal.
I agree. ( Not with the last sentence though, ha,ha.)

I think the mention of fear especially because it's true tends to make a lot of people assume wrong things. For example many are taught or believe they are being told to face their fear, or fight their fear and that makes them more tense. They need to be taught how to let go of their fear. Letting go is the key. Interesting how that is also the key to relaxing.

You have to let go and relax first in order to face anything properly or comfortably. It's funny how some people just don't want to let go of their problems or fears. Leads me to believe they must be useful to them.

Anyway, we digress. Thanks for your view.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:05 AM   #13
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Re: More on High Break-falls

Thank you for taking time to explain. The point about other ukemi fitting the wheel shape and a breakfall not fitting that shape was particularly helpful. I had not thought about it that way. But it makes sense. I would tend to think of it as more of an elipse since the shape seems to me to be more of a vertical oval than a circle.

It will be interesting to see what other people might like to share as to their concept of what a breakfall or high breakfall is as well. I would find it beneficial to see other perspectives.

I'm not much on math but if someone would care to explain how linear algebra and vectors relate to brealkfalls I bet that would be quite an interesting read.
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:20 AM   #14
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Re: More on High Break-falls

Quote:
David Soroko wrote: View Post
"Straight down", I'd like to see how you handle "Straight down" please.
A straight down fall I experienced was falling off of a roof. I was completely parallel to the ground the whole way down and landed flat on my back on a dirt/rocky surface and both of my sides got scraped a bit because I landed between two stakes (they were up around the garage since it was in the process of being built). I think that qualifies for a straight down fall..... it scared the crap out of me after the fact, but I was perfectly fine because I was relaxed, exhaled up landing and I tucked my chin so I didn't whack my head on anything. I do not have video of this though..... I wasn't even sore the next day.

I also did a flying face fall off of a lawn mower going about 20-25 mph (long story) and although it wasn't straight down, I would still put this in the same category. I got pretty dirty from bailing, but over all I was alright. THIS did make me a bit sore the next day, but what do you expect? Could have been a lot worse if I didn't go with it. My biggest worry at the time was getting away from the tumbling mass of metal that was chasing after me as it rolled, so the impending impact was the least of my worries. Again... no video. Sorry.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:34 AM   #15
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Re: More on High Break-falls

Nothing to be sorry for as you do not presume to educate the masses.

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Old 11-04-2011, 10:34 AM   #16
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Re: More on High Break-falls

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
I'm not much on math but if someone would care to explain how linear algebra and vectors relate to brealkfalls I bet that would be quite an interesting read.
Just because the mass of the planet pulls us toward it, doesn't mean that everything is "straight down".
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:42 AM   #17
graham christian
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Re: More on High Break-falls

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Nothing to be sorry for as you do not presume to educate the masses.
Still don't get you I'm afraid. You don't like education I take it. Maybe you don't like me giving you some.

Either way that's you're problem not mine. Are you jealous?

Regards.G.
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:06 AM   #18
graham christian
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Re: More on High Break-falls

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Ashley Carter wrote: View Post
A straight down fall I experienced was falling off of a roof. I was completely parallel to the ground the whole way down and landed flat on my back on a dirt/rocky surface and both of my sides got scraped a bit because I landed between two stakes (they were up around the garage since it was in the process of being built). I think that qualifies for a straight down fall..... it scared the crap out of me after the fact, but I was perfectly fine because I was relaxed, exhaled up landing and I tucked my chin so I didn't whack my head on anything. I do not have video of this though..... I wasn't even sore the next day.

I also did a flying face fall off of a lawn mower going about 20-25 mph (long story) and although it wasn't straight down, I would still put this in the same category. I got pretty dirty from bailing, but over all I was alright. THIS did make me a bit sore the next day, but what do you expect? Could have been a lot worse if I didn't go with it. My biggest worry at the time was getting away from the tumbling mass of metal that was chasing after me as it rolled, so the impending impact was the least of my worries. Again... no video. Sorry.
I like it, well said. When I said earlier how it saved me breaking my back or neck the circumstance was not too dissimilar to your examples.

It's going back a bit now but it must have been about nine years ago. I was doing a painting job with my friend but we had been asked to do the high metal rafters in a closed factory. My friend had gone to get a 'tower' to work from as they were too high to work safely from ladders. However, thinking I'm smart I got the triple extension ladder and thought I'd just go up and get started while waiting for him to get back.

While up there some paper moved as I touched it and made me jerk back a bit thinkong for some reason there was a rat under it. Anyway, brush in one hand paint pot in the other suddenly realizing I was on a ladder and oh ***** too late, I was falling backwards. The experience was amazing though in retrospect. It was like total acceptance, no time for worry or panick, in fact time slowed. I hit the ground flat on my back, one paint brush hand out and the other hand in over my chest complete with paint all over my chest and face and floor. I actually stayed there in that position for a few seconds not moving in case anything was broken until surprisingly it felt all was ok. Then I got up went over to the window and sat on a box feeling stupid.

I did at the time end up laughing at how funny it would have looked if candid camera was there.

Thus I got first extreme reality on the effectiveness of harmonizing with the ground. Once again Aikido had helped me for real.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:13 AM   #19
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Re: More on High Break-falls

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Are you jealous?
:-)

Not right now, but let's see that video. Perhaps then.

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Old 11-04-2011, 11:26 AM   #20
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Re: More on High Break-falls

I would like to see a clip of Graham demonstrates his version of breakfall. I'm honestly interested.
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:37 AM   #21
graham christian
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Re: More on High Break-falls

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:-)

Not right now, but let's see that video. Perhaps then.
Actually I could but you my friend are just playing games. You mention educating the masses?

What a stupid choice of phrase. Information well presented thus hopefully for some an informative piece open for discussion. Therefore after that fact it could be educational.

But if that's your game then I don't mind playing. So that means you have entered my class, you are a disruptive student. You must therefore have a misunderstanding. Simple.

Otherwise if you don't like the class then leave. Also simple.

Otherwise if you would like to constructively contribute or even enlighten me on some further aspects then go ahead. Once again simple.

Or maybe you can only learn from movies..... Mmmmm.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:48 AM   #22
graham christian
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Re: More on High Break-falls

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Bien Nguyen wrote: View Post
I would like to see a clip of Graham demonstrates his version of breakfall. I'm honestly interested.
Bien, Do you actually realize what your saying. I wonder. A video giving demonstration. That would be an educational video. So you would like me to go and organize such, hire a movie camera, blah blah blah. Not a very sensible thing to say I would say. Totally irrelevant.

It shows me you probably don't understand what I offered.

But there again you can like to see whatever you feel I suppose.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:53 AM   #23
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Re: More on High Break-falls

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Bien, Do you actually realize what your saying. I wonder. A video giving demonstration. That would be an educational video. So you would like me to go and organize such, hire a movie camera, blah blah blah.
Oh, please. Really?

No, he's suggesting that you ask one of your students to point an iPhone at you while you demonstrate. Or a Flip camera. Or any of a thousand other good quality consumer-oriented cameras in common use. It's just not that hard.

Katherine
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:11 PM   #24
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Re: More on High Break-falls

Thank you Katherine!

Graham, just interested in seeing how different styles and different people doing breakfall and general ukemi for that matter. I'm a student of the art so i'm interested in these kinds of things. I'm not here to criticize or have I any other motives, i'm here to learn. Would you be so kind? Other clips you posted on youtube were a lot longer, a breakfall would not take that long with the same equipment used.
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:34 PM   #25
graham christian
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Re: More on High Break-falls

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Oh, please. Really?

No, he's suggesting that you ask one of your students to point an iPhone at you while you demonstrate. Or a Flip camera. Or any of a thousand other good quality consumer-oriented cameras in common use. It's just not that hard.

Katherine
A clip of me doing it is not the same as demonstration. Leads to too many yeah buts by those who don't understand. So actually it is that hard to convey precisely via film. I should know, Ha, ha.

Then there's the question of me. Now that's creepy. I could give you hundreds of examples to go look at on film of Aikido, judo, even wwf wrestling where those principles are in use so what's the infatuation with me.

I could point to one right now but it wasn't a demonstration video. Secondly, knowing how great many of you are at 'thinking' you know what's happening when seeing a film clip I would then have to run you through it bit by bit. It does show me being completely splattered. It does show me flat out. It does show me getting up and then joking to the class by holding my back and limping just to wind them up because of the gasps I heard from them. Then showing them I'm only joking. This point as described above of no choice, splatt, demonstrated to the class.

So no. No film.

Regards.G.
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