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 Post subject: Fear of falls
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 10:17 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:28 am
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Location: Massachusetts
I'm struggling to learn how to fall (in Seisan). Partly physiology and partly fear. I'm getting great tips from sensei and classmates...and I'm getting closer to success, but I'd love to hear more input from the forum.

Any stories about learning to fall?
Any tips that worked for you?
Any insight?

Thanks!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 1:34 am 
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Location: Valhalla
Best answer would be to train at a Judo or Aikido school for a while.

Short answer is fall from as low a height as possible.

Begin breakfall training from a sitting position, then a crouch, then from standing. However you will go from a standing to a crouch position always.
That is what I mean by falling from a low height.
With a lot of practice you will condition the body to falling, develop muscle memory, and lose your fear.

This is well written and will help.
http://www.judoinfo.com/falling.htm

And why do you fall in Seisan???

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 4:27 pm 
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Location: London, Ontario
I didn't check Fred's link so I might be repeating something here (am busy at work so only have a moment), but I agree and would say the best way to overcome a fear of falling is to practice falling.

Start slow and low and work your way up to falling off objects and controled throws.

I learned a great deal when I was younger by standing atop a grassy hill and rolling down. As I mastered a controled roll I added diving down the hill and rolling out of the dive then I added falling backwards, shoulder rolls etc, etc.

Hooking your feet around a stool and breakfalling front, back, and sideways is a good way to learn to fall without having control of your entire body -- helps to prepeare one for having a leg terminally trapped during a fall.

I've fallen off roofs twice in my career and can say with certainty that this sort of practice saved me from injury (if not death).

Good on you for facing your fears -- let us know how it goes.

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 Post subject: Distraction...
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 1:29 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:28 am
Posts: 26
Location: Massachusetts
Ugh! How embarrassing! :oops:

While participating in forums (and posing my question), I was concurrently searching for "Seisan" on You-Tube. Splitting attention led to my error. So much for focusing body, mind, and spirit! (You-tube, however, DID have gerat Seisan videos.)

I'm trying to fall in Dan Kumite, and I really appreciate the replies so far. The judo link is good, and it helps knowing that with effort, there is hope for me. I have been surprised at how difficult this little task seems.

Anyone have any other stories about seemingly little tasks/skills being more challenging than expected during training?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 5:23 pm 
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A fall is just hitting and getting hit by the floor. In Dan kumite you're learning how to give and receive hits to the arms, legs, torso, etc. So hitting the floor and getting hit by the floor is just another impact you're on your way to mastering.

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 Post subject: Me Too!!
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 6:55 pm 
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Posts: 181
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Chernon:

As always, Ms. Sheets offers a very insightful answer. I am also very fearful of falling, and the Dan Kumite take down had for years exacerbated that fear. I suppose it didn’t help that my original Uechi teacher, Johnny Author, taught on a concrete pad thinly covered with indoor outdoor carpeting.

Mr. Author’s instruction on falling was quite simple: 1) Look at your obi; 2) relax; 3) go down. When I heard Alan Dollar repeat the same instruction once, I suspected that this was how falling was taught at the Kadena dojo. In my twenties, this worked OK, but as I have gotten older, I found a need to explore it further. Turns out, it’s a really good instruction.

Dana notes that in Dan Kumite you are learning to give and take hits, and that hitting the floor is just one more lesson. I agree. But just like with the other hits in Dan Kumite, I would say that really we are not trying to the take the hit straight on. You are learning to take hits by dissipating the force or turning them into glancing blows. Also Dan Kumite is teaching you to connect with the attacker and to fill the voids that are created by the attack. Lastly, Dan Kumite is also teaching you to remain centered and to use your obi to keep a sense of center.

To me, falling is a misnomer. I am not falling when I go down, I am a recentering and redirecting. So, how I go down in Dan Kumite is very much contingent on how well my partner performs the take down. If my partner throws me back, I am going back, not down. If my partner does not know how to do the takedown, I will wait patiently while they figure it out, but I won’t simply go down. (By the way, if your partner is just muscling you down, ask that your partner show you how to do the takedown on the biggest strongest person you can find in the class. If done correctly, and there are several ways of doing it correctly, the Dan Kumite takedown involves unbalancing the attacker and controlling them as they are taken to the ground.)

Look at your obi. Part of the reason we spend so much time practicing San Chin is to learn to be centered. Looking at your obi reminds you of where your center is and also causes you to tuck your chin and head so that you don’t bang your head as you go down. It should also provide a point of reference for you to look at rather than focusing on the ground that is approaching.

Relax. It is true that the drunk is the one who is uninjured in the car accident. You are about to hit the ground. Rather than tensing and contracting, you are much better served by relaxing and expanding.

Go down. Falling implies a lack of control. Going down implies some control by you in the process. As you attempt to get back in your center (assuming your partner has done the technique correctly and broken your balance) you redirect your balance and your body angle. If you can, you want to roll on contact to dissipate the force of landing. This rolling action should initiate in your center.

That said, I totally understand your fear and trepidation. The best way to assuage that is to find a partner you trust. Explore the Dan Kumite take down. Rather than focusing on going down, look for openings in your partners attack. See if they are losing their center. Don’t practice with a sense of “I know what is coming and I am not going to let it happen,” but practice with a sense of cooperation that extends to constantly looking for defensive opportunities. If you are sincere in your attack, and your partner is skilled in the takedown, the takedown is effective and you will have opportunity to practice going down to the floor defensively.
Peace
Robb in Sacramento


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 9:29 pm 
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For the Dan takedown practice from the foot position you find yourself in according to how your dojo does it. Squat down as low as you can, similiar to a catcher in baseball and roll back keeping your chin tucked. The harder you go down the more difficult to keep your head in position. The simple answer to that is situps, we did 50-100 every class in Judo for that reason.

Again going to a squat position greatly lessens the falling distance.

Following up with something seldom taught, but always taught in grappling is to bring up your hands to a position similiar to the opening position in Kanshiwa, this would be to ward your opponent off, also putting your foot in their pelvic area is wise for the same reason. 99% of people bringing you down is to get on top and pummel or assault you, not stomp you and walk away.

The early part of this video will show how a judo expert lowers himself before falling,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3yeLMb3t4o

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:52 am 
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Interesting thread and good replies.

I had similar Ukemi training in my judo days, Fred...still the best 'falling down' training there is...especially going down from a shoulder throw.

Then there is this clip showing how to practice soccer game falls. :lol:

http://www.shockingfunny.com/shocking-v ... g_Practice

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:14 am 
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Another good way to practice how to fall is to do it while free style sparring using sweeps and takedowns that come when least expected.

The 'squatting down' that Fred mentions is the key and it should practiced anytime we feel a throw/sweep coming.

Bill Glasheen has worked on these 'landings' as I recall from different posts on his page.

Another way to learn how to hit the ground and survive would be to learn and practice parachute landing falls, such as practiced by our Gary Khoury, 82nd Airborne Brown beret... :wink:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsA9sF33Y2c

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:00 am 
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Great Thread and thank you all for posting the wonderful suggestions, examples, and food for thought!

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Shana


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:23 pm 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5Gzzle_GqI&NR=1

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:28 am 
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Wow that looks like fun!

Good advice on relaxing the lower body, applies well to ukemi also.

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 Post subject: Success!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:42 pm 
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Location: Massachusetts
I DID it, finally. :D It was not graceful, coordinated, or pretty, but after months of fear and panic and hesitation, it worked! In the midst of a busy dojo, I had the right partner, enough flexibility and confidence and trust to give it a go...and the very moment I succeeded, (in a busy dojo no less, sensei cheered, which was great. Thanks to the forum for the input. The videos, the tips (look at obi, relax, getting hit by the floor)--they all helped. Thanks!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:39 pm 
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YAY!!!
:multi: :multi:
Good Job!
Now do it again
and again
and....

Seriously....way to go!

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Shana


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:40 pm 
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Location: London, Ontario
Good on you!

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Chris


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