Judo saved my life! Okay, maybe I wouldn’t have died, but I could have easily broken something. Lincoln is a virtual sheet of ice right now, and the other day I slipped and fell on a patch of it. Luckily, all the break fall practice that I’ve done came in handy, and I was able to fall correctly. I ended up not getting hurt at all, except for a little bit of my pride. I had a cold, wet butt, but was otherwise unscathed.
My husband told me he heard that a large number of people die every year from complications related to falling. Perhaps not from the fall itself, but from the surgeries and infections, etc. that can occur after a bad fall. That’s just one more reason martial arts training can be beneficial to you. Learning how to fall correctly can make the difference in many situations. I even heard a story from one of my Sempai about when he was in a motorcycle accident, and was thrown from his bike. He was able to tuck and roll, enduring only scratching and bruising. He walked away from something that could very well have killed, maimed, or paralyzed him.
Even if you don’t train Judo, you should learn how to fall. It comes in handy if you ever compete in a Jiu-Jitsu tournament against someone who knows how to throw, or in a Karate tournament against someone who can sweep. Outside of the dojo, it is a skill that you can use for the rest of your life. If you’ve done a little break fall practice and think you’re good, think again. Yes, it’s pretty easy to grasp the concept and execute it, but just knowing how to fall does not build the muscle memory that you will need to be able to do it automatically. Just like all skills, it has to be practiced repeatedly for it to be effective when you need it the most.