It was raining last week when I took my mom to the grocery store, and when we were leaving, she lost her balance and slipped and fell in the parking lot, and I was close enough to watch it happen, but not to do anything about it. Fortunately she didn’t sustain any major injuries, because she fell on her side, and didn’t reach out to try to catch herself (and break her arm!). My biggest concern was that she hit her head, and she absolutely refused to let me take her to the doctor to get checked out (I must get my stubbornness from her!), but I think she’s going to be fine. She did end up with an awesome black eye from it, which she then proceeded to tell people that I had caused while “practicing my Jiu-Jitsu” on her!
Watching my mom lose her balance was heart-wrenching, and it made me realize how much my own balance has improved since I started training martial arts. I used to be a terrible klutz, I would trip and/or run into things on a regular basis, which I think was also partially due to a lack of external awareness (thanks to introversion), but now not only has my attention improved, so has my control over my balance (even when I’m upside down!), so I rarely trip or run into anything anymore, and when I do, I can easily correct it.
I’ve been able to stop myself from falling since I started training, and I believe it’s also helped me stop things from falling around me. For example, one time recently when I opened a cabinet, my hand mixer fell out, but I was able to grab it by the cord before it hit the ground. Just last week, a small bottle of almond extract fell, and I actually caught it between my fingers, then yesterday I almost dropped something I was carrying, but I trapped it against my body to catch it! There’s no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t have been able to do any of those things before I started Jiu-Jitsu, and if I had been close enough to my mom in the parking lot that day, I think I might’ve been able to catch her, too!
As we age, falling becomes a more serious risk to our health, because the potential for serious injury increases, so maintaining balance is very important. Typically the way people instinctively react when they fall can actually increase the likelihood of injury, so even though I don’t particularly enjoy practicing falling or being thrown, I’m very glad that I know how to do it properly, because it could really help me in the long run, if there’s no one around to catch me.