In self defense, learning to fall is really important. It can literally save your life. And not just when you’re being threatened by another person.
It’s counterintuitive to relax into a fall. Our nature is geared towards panic and fight or flight. so we have to train our bodies and our minds to overcome this fear of falling and learn to relax into it with at least minimal injury. Our instinct is to protect ourselves and doing that usually means putting out our arms or doing something else that we think will protect our bodies from injury. But in reality, relaxing into the fall is the best way to keep from hurting ourselves.
I was out one day recently and my foot caught on a curb. I knew I was going to fall. My thought was, my hip is going to roll over the curb. I fell on my side. It hurt a bit. As I fell I felt my body initially tense up. Then after a few seconds it relaxed into the fall. My hip did roll on the curb. But the pain was minimal and I didn’t break anything. A small crowd quickly gathered as I jumped up to me feet, feeling triumphant. My only thought was, “Wow the training really works!” As the kind strangers fussed over me, I did my best to convince them I was really okay.
As I stood with the small crowd telling them that I knew how to fall and that I was actually okay, I was amazed by how little I was hurt. I didn’t so much as scrape my skin or anything. I knew I’d be sore, probably for a few days. But that was nothing in comparison to how disastrous the fall could have been had I not just relaxed into it and let it happen. When my hip felt sore a day or so later, it reminded me of what happened. I was thankful for my training.
I really think this can be a metaphor for our lives. There’s so much we think we can control. But there really is so little we actually do control. All we can do is relax into things and let them happen. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t fight when we need to. I’m certainly not saying we should be passive. But when things are going out of control and there’s nothing we can do about it, instead of freaking out, getting upset, or throwing a fit, we should relax into it and let things happen as they will. Because we don’t have any control over it. This again is counterintuitive because we like to believe that we have control in our life. And we do, to some small degree. But the majority of the time things happen outside our control, and there isn’t anything we can do.
A good example of this would be the weather. People get very upset when it’s snowing, raining, or it becomes excessively cold. If there is anything we can’t control it’s definitely the weather. Getting upset about it seems pointless to me since there’s nothing we can do about it anyways. Relaxing and just letting it happen seems like a good idea in this situation. Why waste your energy getting upset about something you have zero power over?
Wisdom is knowing when it’s the right time to relax into something. Wisdom is knowing when there isn’t anything you can do to stop what’s happening, so freaking out about it is pointless. I’m definitely guilty of doing this myself. But when I learned I have to relax into a fall and just let it happen, I realized it was indeed a metaphor for life in many situations. Letting go means accepting what is, not stressing about what you can’t change. That’s not to say you won’t get hurt. But by relaxing into the fall, you can minimize the damage.