Left: A Judoka from the London Budokwai demonstrating a Forward Roll
Break Falling ( UKEMI) is the art of protecting yourself when thrown to the ground. It also comes in handy of you trip or slip.
Knowing how to land when thrown is vital in Martial arts training, but not all arts actually take the time to teach break falling in any form.
For throwing arts like Jiu-Jitsu , Judo , Wrestling , MMA and Akido it is a taught as part of the syllabus. Break falling teaches you how to impact the floor taking the energy of the fall into your leading arm by slapping the floor with your hand and forearm before your body hits the deck.
Because in throwing styles like Jiu-jitsu and Judo the throws can be devastating as some experts can throw at a alarming rate with such force that failing to break fall can lead to serious injury and even knock you out. This is especially vital in Wrestling ,Judo and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu as many throws have the UKE being thrown from quite a height. MMA throws focus on taking the legs or from a stomach grab forcing the Opponent onto his or her back or front or from sweeps or hocks taking the legs from under the opponent.
Though Judo / Japanese Jiu-jitsu and Wrestling throws can be from grabbing higher or spinning the opponent over head or head over heels . Throws like the Hip Throw,Body Drop , Rice Bail ( though this apparently is banned in many clubs due to being dangerous) along with the good old Crab Claw Scissors ( My Favourite) will have a devastating effect on the opponent if the opponent does not break fall properly.
You may ask why certain throws are deemed to dangerous to practise now, for the Rice Bail it's because the throw utilises the neck as well as the arm , to pull the opponent over the head of the attacker , done wrong in practise it can lead to neck injury and even spinal damage if not done with care and the opponent is not aware of his or her orientation.
For the Crab Claw scissors it's because the closest part of the body to the floor once the throw is performed is the opponents head.
If your experienced in Break Falling you learn to keep your mouth closed ,push your tongue to the top and front of your mouth ( so you don't bite it off) and keep your chin on your chest so the back of your head does not hit the floor with your body weight pressing down on it.
In reality these two throws performed on a unsuspecting individual could render them Unconscious or even paralysed or dead.
But in Training personally i loved these two devastating throws and i never minded them being performed on my good self.
One of the main focuses in Ukemi is keeping yourself orientated through the throw, you have to understand in your head the direction your travelling in when being thrown.
If you don't focus your get dizzy , possibly smack your head and want to go home before you started.
By being focused you can actually have some control over the throw being performed on you , you tuck your body in a certain way , keep those knees of the ground and don't get them clashing into each other.
Keep your mouth closed and your tongue pushed to the top and front of your mouth , don't start having a conversation while being tossed through the air. Your liable to bite off more then you bargained for.
And lastly people breath , breathing out as you hit the deck helps again with relaxing the body , because the more tort the body is the more damage can occur.
For all you Ninja's out there Greeneyedstealth is the place to learn all about the ninja art.