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Techniques>Falling>Side fall

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Side fall

Intro

The side fall is next most common type of fall. It is used when falling onto either side of the body. The side fall is like the back fall except you roll onto one side rather than onto the back and then you only slap with the arm and hand on that side of the body.

In practicing the side fall, start practicing the technique from a lying position and progress to a rolling position, squatting position, a standing-squatting position, and finally a standing-drop position.

From lying position

Begin the side fall by starting in what will become the final position of the fall:
  • Lie on the mat leaning toward the right side at about a 45-degree angle.
  • Lay your right arm on the mat extended at a 45-degree angle with the palm down.
  • Hold your left arm across the abdomen in a guarding position. If you are being thrown by an opponent, this arm will be used to grab the opponent and pull upward an effort to alleviate some of the force of the fall.
  • Lay your right leg on the mat and extend it in line with the body with a slight bend in the knee and with the outside of the foot flat on the mat.
  • Bend your left knee so the sole of the foot is flat on the mat near the mid-calf of your right leg.
  • Hold your head up with it slightly turned toward your left shoulder.
  • This is the final landing position for the side fall.
Now practice the slapping motion:
  • Lift your right and left legs about 12-inches while maintaining their shape.
  • Simultaneously pull your right arm to your left shoulder with a tight fist.
  • Slap the legs back to the mat to their original position while simultaneously slapping your right arm back down to its original position at a 45-degree angle to the side of your body palm down with a kiai. The slapping arm and the legs should strike the mat simultaneously.
  • Now practice getting into position and slapping while leaning to the left side. Perform all the movements the same as on the right except everything is opposite.
  • Repeat the movements on each side until they become smooth and powerful.

Using side rolling

Now practice on both sides by rolling your body from side to side.

Assume the final side fall position on one side:
  • Roll onto your back with the head facing up while simultaneously lifting the legs into the air, knees bend, with the feet about 12-inches apart and while simultaneously lifting the arms into a guarding position with tight fists. It sort of a dead bug position.
  • While holding the legs in the air, move the slapping leg and the other leg into the slapping position while simultaneously crossing your arms to the shoulders with the slapping arm on top.
  • Roll over to the other side while simultaneously slapping the slapping arm and legs into final position on the mat with a kiai.
  • Repeat the roll to the other side.
  • Repeat the rolls back and forth until the movements become smooth and powerful.

From squatting position

Now practice the same rocking technique by falling to either side from a squatting position.

Begin from a deep squatting position with the arms held in a guarding position, then:
  • Cross your arms crossed at your chest with tight fists with your right arm on top.
  • Extend the right leg and simultaneously roll and drop to your right side while slapping the right arm and leg into the final side fall position with a kiai.
  • Rise back to the squatting position and repeat the fall to the other side.
  • Repeat the falls on each side until the movements become smooth and powerful.

From standing to squatting position

Next practice the same technique by starting from a standing position with the arms in a guarding position, then:
  • Squat and fall to one side with a kiai, all in a smooth motion while following the same steps as explained in the squatting position description.
  • Return to the standing position and perform the fall to the other side
  • Repeat all the movements until they become smooth and powerful.

Drop from standing position

As you gain proficiency in the side fall, begin the fall from a standing position with the arms held in a guarding position and then drop to the side from the standing position without squatting first.

Begin by standing erect with the feet about 12-inches apart with your arms held in a guarding position with your right arm in front, then:
  • Pull your right arm to your left shoulder while stepping your right foot across in front of your left foot at a 45-degree angle and place the foot on the ground with the leg extended.
  • Bend your left leg and lower your body into a right side fall final position with a kiai. Control the speed and force of the fall is by how fast the left leg bends and lowers the body; it can be done quickly or in slow motion.
  • Be careful when you do this type of side fall. Your timing must be perfect or there will be a jolt that may "knock the wind" out of your lungs.
  • Rise back to the standing position and repeat the fall to the other side.
  • Repeat the falls on each side until the movements become smooth and powerful.

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