Break falls

Discussion in 'Hapkido' started by auntlisa1103, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. auntlisa1103

    auntlisa1103 White Belt

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    Hello there,

    I'm a yellow belt in TKD. Due to some vision challenges, my instructor has me attending weekly classes in Hapkiye--basically Hapkido with a specific pivot toward using it to complement other arts. Specifically, the benefit he saw for me is in learning proper break falls.

    I'm getting better, but I was hoping to get a little feedback here. I am able to take a back fall from a standing position, but I'm still squatting for side falls and kneeling for front falls. On side falls, I'm having trouble training my torso to round and my hips to roll up. Therefore I basically just splat into the mat. Are there complementary drills or exercises I can do to help train my brain and body to do this? Would oblique crunches help, for example? I'm trying to avoid just repetitively slamming my 40 year old, 110 lb soaking wet body into the mat the wrong way until I get discouraged. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you!!!
     
  2. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Welcome to MartialTalk, Auntlisa, :)

    Break falls are an ongoing process, stay relaxed and keep at it. Don't worry about squatting for side falls and kneeling for front falls, just stay relaxed - but aware and relaxed. Some folks I know have had success improving their break falls by trying to to do them quietly - like a kid who didn't want to get caught practicing in their room instead of doing homework.

    What I think could help you a lot is practicing the exercises on this youtube vid. They'll give you a better understanding of the relationship to you and the ground you are on - or about to be on when you break fall. :)



    Try a couple a day, I think you'll see and feel a difference in a few months.
     
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  3. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    The most important part of the break fall is to prevent the back of your head to hit on the hard ground. When you fall out of your bicycle, try to protect your head as much as possible.
     
  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Can you post videos of breakfalls similar to yours? There are many of us on here who use breakfalls, but aren't in Hapkido. If ours are similar, we may have some useful input.
     
  5. auntlisa1103

    auntlisa1103 White Belt

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    Thank you, Sirs.

    Master Richardson and I agree that my biggest obstacle is myself.

    13 years ago, I spent 4 months totally blind. They were only able to bring one eye back, so to this day I’m blind on my right, with no peripheral on that side, and no depth perception. The day I went blind, life became one giant 24/7 attempt to avoid falling at all cost.

    Now I’m faced with a one-step spar that includes a reap, I’m pencil thin and never did well in sports as a child. I can’t throw a ball straight, but I’ve taken up TKD.

    I’m loving it, and doing more that I anticipated I could, faster than I thought I would, but some of it still intimidates me. He found me headgear, and I’m doing pretty well with keeping my chin tucked, but my ribs were killing me by the end of the last class because I can’t seem to get the roll up.

    Thanks again.
     
  6. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    i think you are on the right path for your training. i am wondering if it is not your body that is actually causing the trouble but rather your perception. without proper input from the eyes falling will be a difficult thing to master. most of us take sight and depth perception for granted. your case is obviously different. i have a feeling that without a good perception of where the ground actually is your body is not able to prepare and respond correctly and as a result you just find the ground by slamming into it....not an ideal way to do that kind of thing.
    i think once you have a more instinctive idea of where the ground is in relation to the fall of your body, everything will become easier. be patient with yourself.
     
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  7. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Stick with it, AuntLisa. Of the people I'm currently working with [my buddy's students] Emma is top of the pack. She's legally blind and mildly autistic. Probably will be losing all sight in the coming years. Not only is she a pleasure, she's an absolute She-beast. And she's only fifteen. She kind of scares me.

    Stay with it, pal. Work those break falls. And try to work some of those drills in the vid I posted. I think they'll really help.
     
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  8. auntlisa1103

    auntlisa1103 White Belt

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    Oh I’m not planning on going anywhere, I’m loving (most of) it too much. I’ve already noticed that when I get reaped to the ground on that one-step, I have to fight an instinct to punch up at my partner because such a punch is not part of the script.

    But as a non-sports type, I’m not skilled at pushing myself through angry ribs (LOL!!), and I’m a little afraid if I don’t get the hang of this fall soon I’ll let it really discourage me. That’s why I thought if I could find some extra drills to teach my hips to roll up it would be helpful.

    Thank you all SO much!!!
     
  9. JP3

    JP3 Master Black Belt

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    We use a drill we call fish-flops, in which the body goes through the same set of body postures and muscular controls which you need to be able to do in the side falls. It also happens to be the same body position (at least for us) as one uses when doing rolling forward breakfalling actions or the big airfalls.

    Start on your back on the floor, so you've got a place to start. Roll slightly o one side or the other, separating your feet quite a bit, keeping legs extended though not locked, and hold your feet as if you are (if you were flat on your back) you'd be holding a beach ball between your feet. There should be no hard bony surface anywhere on your body driving intot he mat. The arm on the side on the ground should be extended, in the slapping posture (palm to the ground) out at an angle of 45 from your body.

    Then, using your hip flexors and abs, you pick up your body off the mat so that you are balancing for a split second (it's a movement, a dynamic thing) you switch your hips through then come down on the mirror-image side. You should hold your body in the "curve/rounded posture you're trying to learn from the standing up position down to the ground position.

    In the fish-flops, without impact you get to learn the motion, just in reverse. It is effective, though tit does not seem that it would be so.
     
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  10. Sabunimfrank64

    Sabunimfrank64 White Belt

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    I know how it is to b visually challenged I'm blind in my left eye but I learned to fall wen I could see better my advice just relax wen u do nakbups relax tuck ur head n breath out wen u hit floor I've been thrown on mats carpet sand grass street falling is a thing of nature we all fall it's one the best things I've taking from my training of over 24+ yrs in my 53years I've fallen down or off more things than I can count so good luck on ur journey enjoy it for as long as possible even wen or if u lose ur sight totally it's a mountain u will climb b a martial arts till u die
     
  11. wab25

    wab25 Blue Belt

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    Make sure that you put yourself into the correct falling position, every time you take a fall, before you get up (or move on to the next part of the drill) I remember an older forum, where many people said "Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect." You need to do the right thing, the right way, every time you drill... in order to make that a habit, or muscle memory or whatever you want to call it.

    So, take your fall, then quickly assess. Is everything in the right place? If not, put it in the right place. If you have to, ask your partner to wait until you get the right position before continuing. Then move on to the next step. If you do this every fall, you will get better and better. Soon, you will be doing it in the air. If you land wrong, and then just continue, you are allowing your body to practice the wrong thing. You cannot train your body to do the right thing, by practicing the wrong thing... no matter how many times you do it wrong.
     
  12. Hanshi

    Hanshi Orange Belt

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    I've never trained a student who was totally blind; but did have a young man with only one, seeing eye. Breakfalling, rolling and other mat protection techniques usually build slowly and over time. Sight is an advantage but is not necessary to become proficient in breakfalling. Martial art is, at its core, a development of body memory and accompanying sensitivity. I have a long background in judo and the knowledge of falling techniques are fundamental in this art. Remember, breakfalling is not simply learned for one's benefit in the real world; but is rather required for full power, safe practice on the mat.
     
  13. auntlisa1103

    auntlisa1103 White Belt

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    Thank you all for your advice. Update:

    I made orange belt in TKD in February.

    Break falls have gone a little slow, but I did take side falls and front falls from a standing position for the first time today. Could use a little work, but at least I’m moving forward. My attendance at hapkiye had originally been just to learn a little falling, but Master has since invited me to join the class ‘full time’ and I accepted. Normally that’s only open to TKD green belts and above, but he saw me benefiting from it so much they decided to make an exception.

    At my TKD promotion to orange, the judge specifically pointed out the reap in that one step, and said I took that fall better than most yellow belts she’d seen. My only obstacle to 7th gup green at this point, is my jumping 180 side kick. I wasn’t comfortable with the 180 side kick on the ground befor promotions because I can’t seem to get the rotation without dizziness, but I could JUST execute it so he let me promote. Now, trying to add the jump, tendinitis has creeped into my knees. Promotions are April 7 and I can tell I’m not going to make it, but it’s about so much more than a belt color that I’m really okay with it.

    Thank you again, so much for all the advice!!
     
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  14. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    thats really great!! congratulations!
     
  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Congra
    Congratulations! It sounds like you already have the right idea about not letting promotions become the target. We all have our own best pace - let your enthusiasm, learning speed, and body tell you where that is.
     
  16. vince1

    vince1 Yellow Belt

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  17. vince1

    vince1 Yellow Belt

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    You definitely have to commit to these falls. I remember doing these Hapkido falls in my early TaeKwonDo training in the mid 1970's.
     

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