Falling is a Self-Defense Skill. Yeah, You Read That Right.

Don’t Call Me Grace

Photo by Tim Grundtner: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-white-dress-falling-on-gray-concrete-floor-3856635/

One late afternoon I was leaving the bank and decided to use the side door.  The side exit has a strip of caution tape warning us there’s a step down right outside the door.  Guess what? I got so distracted by the strip I forgot to step down. 

I ended up sprawled with my legs buckled under me. I had scraped the flesh off both feet on my insteps. I walked back to the restaurant where my husband and son were waiting, bleeding, limping, and downright confounded by my lack of grace.

How embarrassing.

I Used to Have Two Left Feet

Feet in the sand, background

I guess you could say that I am a klutz, having fallen in so many ways, significantly injuring myself.  I’ve sprained both ankles; the second one was a grade two sprain.  I bruised my right leg from hip to foot by falling over after a long walk. I also dislocated a bone in my foot, stepping down into the sand.  

Sometimes I just fall over when walking.  Just fall over. Bumps, bruises, scrapes, strains, and sprains were part and parcel of managing my body.

You Want Me To Do What?

So imagine my surprise when my martial arts instructor told me my first significant skill to learn was how to fall.  Externally I was nodding my head; internally, I was shocked and dismayed. Falling on purpose as a martial art skill? 

It is clear from my description I was an absolute klutz before I started my martial arts training. And now? I’m much better at controlling my falling.

I Have A Right and Left Foot Now

In fact, falling doesn’t really scare me, and my training allows me to fall safely, whether I’m being thrown on the mats or I just tripped over a flat surface. To be sure, getting thrown to the floor is a common theme in martial arts.  I have to do that well to be safe.  

Photo by Khoa Võ: https://www.pexels.com/photo/unrecognizable-ballerina-touching-door-in-darkness-6533948/

Otherwise, I’m setting myself up for total failure in my training because of injury. Because I can trip on flat surfaces, I’m sure you can imagine that I was highly skeptical of this as a real thing. Fast forward seven years to now. 

Am I still skeptical about falling as a self-defense skill? Absolutely not. In fact, I’ve become quite passionate about it.

The Science of Walking

Some say that walking is just controlled falling. This begs the question, how are we not falling down all the time, like me? I mean, what are the physics of walking?  

There are many, many muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones dedicated to just walking. Many muscle groups work in an antagonistic fashion, working in tension against each other or with each other, pulling us into this miraculous feat of strength and agility.

It is clear from my description I was an absolute klutz before I started my martial arts training. And now? I’m much better at controlling my falling.

Falling As Science?

Here’s the thing, if you know how to fall correctly, you can avoid most injuries associated with falls. A number of things can happen: you smack your head on the ground, you break something attempting to catch yourself while falling, you land flat on your back, injuring your spine or soft tissue, or you break a hip. Or, you’re too stunned to respond to the attack.

At this point in this article, you may be thinking you don’t need help with this, or maybe you think you do need help but are afraid to try because you might end up, like me, injured.  We do need help figuring out how to ensure that if we land on the ground, it’s done in a way that minimizes bodily harm. 

A trained instructor knows how to teach this skill.  I started sitting on the floor and worked my way up to fully standing, learning to fall forwards, backward, and sideways.

Training for Safety

What if I told you I could train you to mitigate injury from the fall and an attacker?  Don’t we all want to spend less time on the couch or in a cast and more time doing what’s fun and safe?

Yeah, we think self-defense is punching and kicking, avoiding knife/gun attacks, or generally being aggressive. But do we think about other ways to care for ourselves when we aren’t being bad azz?

We All Need Self-Care

Falling as a self-defense skill on the surface seems like an oxymoron (a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction), but it is not. Rather, it’s a form of self-care that few know about.

Self-defense, self-protection, combatives, martial arts, and anything within the framework of fighting to defend oneself from harm is self-care. Think about it this way; you are given one body to protect in this life. 

Photo by Criativithy on Pexels.com

Let’s Do What’s Right

It is incumbent upon you to do what you need to do to stay safe and move forward in life.  Serious injury and other life-altering events can indefinitely change the trajectory of your life.  

We like to tell ourselves that we will be okay and no harm will ever come to us, but can we truly be sure? I don’t say this scare you, but rather to get you to think in terms of being prepared for the worse while also hoping for the best. 

In our classes, we focus on building our confidence and skills, so we can boldly fight back if needed. We also care for our hearts and minds, showing ourselves love by overcoming our fears and whatever else holds us back. 

Learning how to fall is one of the ways we do this. We go slow, we meet you where you are physically, and we help you grow in confidence before we move on. 

We teach you to do this skill well so that if you were to fall down in any context, you can minimize the damage and walk away unharmed.  We want to help you in this way because we care.

Join Us.

Leave a Comment