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About falling

Intro

To learn to crawl, stand, walk, and run, we had to fall. When children are learning to stand and walk and they start to fall, they drop on their butt or they just relax and collapse to the ground, usually with no injury. As they get older they start tensing their bodies and reaching for the ground in the hope it will soften the impact. Once they start reaching, they get injured and develop a fear of falling.

Falling

One of the first fears we develop is the fear of falling to the ground. Unless this fear is overcome by training and experience, the fear will persist. This fear may be lessened if you just remember you are already on the ground, even while you are standing.

The usual reaction to falling is to reach for something to grab or to reach for the ground in hope of stopping the fall or softening the impact but this is the most dangerous response to a fall. People who cannot perform one pushup think they can cushion their fall using their arm muscles. It’s like putting your hands on the dash of a car before and impact in the hope it will keep you from hitting the dash, it will not work.

A fear of falling causes a person to tense his or her body, which makes the body more susceptible to injury at impact. It also causes the forces created at impact to travel more readily through the body to the brain causing dizziness or even unconsciousness.

Learning how to fall properly is one of the most important self-defense techniques taekwondo students learn. Taekwondo is known as the kicking martial art since it uses a wide diversity of kicks and uses kicks more than most other martial arts. To kick an opponent, at least one of the kicker's feet must leave the ground. This decreases the kicker's stability and increases his or her chance of falling. Taekwondo students fall a lot during training, so they must learn to fall safely. A fear of falling can limit students’ kicking abilities and cause them to limit their use of kicking while sparing.

Injuries may occur from falling while practicing a kick, sparring, being pushed during a street confrontation, slipping on mud or ice, or just tripping while performing a routine daily task. Injuries from falls range from a bruise, sprain, break, concussion, or even death. In a fall during a self-defense situation, one must prevent oneself from injury caused by the fall, protect oneself from further attack during the fall, regain a defensive position as quickly as possible after the fall, and be able to counterattack after the fall. We must train at falling properly until the action becomes an unconscious reaction since most falls come unexpectedly and there is no time to react consciously.

Initially, students learn to fall from kneeling or sitting positions and then progress to standing falls. These falls are useful while practicing basic self-defense techniques; however, before practicing advanced techniques, students must be capable of performing falls from greater heights, in any direction, and with increased forward or backward momentum; therefore, they practice falling while running, after jumping from heights, or after diving over obstacles.

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