Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Death and injury from falls

I just recently learned that I am in far more danger from falling than I am from being assaulted on the street. According to various statistics, physical injury/death from falls compared to violence occurs at a ratio of about 3 to 1. Check out the charts provided by the National Center for Health Statistics:

10 leading causes of Death:

10 leading causes of Non-fatal injuries:

As I age, I also learned that falling has a higher impact on the chance of having a good quality of life.

"During 2001/2, falls accounted for 57% (N = 114,262) of all injury admissions for all ages in Canada and contributed to over 1.4 million days in hospital, with an average length of stay of 13 days for fall-related hospitalizations." Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2004 59% of the fall-related admissions were for people over the age of 65 years. Falls, and the consequences of falling are the leading cause of death for older people. It outdoes health problems, and diseases.

Learning the proper way to break-fall could prevent SO much injury, and death for children, youth, adults, and especially seniors.

I have come to the realization that Break falls should be part of every self-defense/ Martial art training so that people learn to fall safely, and will not injure themselves through their fear of falling.

Now.. how to incorporate this aspect of training into regular classes...

.... think, think, think....


Silverstar said...

Wow! I never realized how many lives were taken from merely falling. Crazy! I train in Ju Jutsu and while I know how to breakfall, I think my falls could be improved.
Maybe you should see if there are any Judo/Aikido/Ju Jutsu instructors in your area who might be willing to give a tutorial on breakfalling in your class. I'm sure your students would find it fun.:)

[Mat] said...

Now.. how to incorporate this aspect of training into regular classes...

Breakfalls on the side front and back during warmup. And incorporate them in the bunkai.

It's all there anyways :D

decuser said...

... and it would be entirely in keeping with tradition. Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo asked Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan and the father of modern Karate to teach to his students and it was his insistence and their close friendship that convinced Funakoshi to remain in Japan where he later started the JKA.

I was taught breakfalls by an Aikido instructor, back in the day and it has served me very well. An easy application that makes use of breakfalling is one-step self defense (I have no idea what it's called in Karate, maybe Kihon-ippon Kumite). It is particularly useful if you teach an occasional hip throw as a defense, as well as, if you teach koto-gaeshi wrist throw - don't try it against a properly executed lock. Koto gaeshi goes like this - more or less:

When the attacker punches, the defender distracts the attacker - either with a kick to the groin or some lighter technique or even a feight that shifts the attacker's focus from their punching hand. This is because it is nigh on impossible to grab a punching hand - regardless of how many times you see it done in demonstrations.

The defender is going to use the same hand as the attacker to perform the throw. The defender shifts weight and moves to align the body with the attack and slides the hand down the attacker's arm to the hand.

The thumb is placed somewhere between the attacker's little finger and ring finger's knuckles and the fingers grasp the base of the thumb (biggest muscle of the hand.

The defender then drops their center and rotates the hand towards the outside while rotating their hips inward and leading the attacker towards their forward triangulation point - only enough to disturb the attacker's balace, although another semi-throw can be performed forward, if desired.

Finally, the defender reverses direction and successively locks the wrist, elbow, shoulder and spine of the attacker preparatory to the actual throw, which requires little more than a completion of the hip rotation while applying more pressure to the outside of the attackers hand and wrist, in a manner reminiscent of oi zuki.

The breakfall then occurs as a natural response to the throw (at least it seems natural to an Aiki/Karate guy :)

Now that I've blathered on, it occurs to me that what I've described might be more than what you were thinking - this particular breakfall is almost a half flip, requiring the attacker to perform a somersault over the locked arm... If that's a bit much, the simple hip throw might be better. Also, a takedown can be performed by stepping into the attack and performing a distraction such as a palm-heel to the chin or such followed by a front leg sweep. The attacker can use a breakfall backward/sideways to protect themselves.

I am passionate about incorporating grappling and soft arts with my hard arts. So, if I sound pedantic, I apologize. I think your realization is inspired and I am sure you'll work it in!

supergroup7 said...

Thank you for all of your suggestions, silverstar, mat, and decuser. I will give them alot of thought, and see how I can incorporate these ideas into my training.

Will said...

... I said 'in a matter reminiscent of oi zuki', should have been 'in a matter reminiscent of gyaku zuki - reverse punch'. But I really like mat's suggestions for the warmup - duh! Of course, it should be in the warmup - teaches all kinda good, important stuff - like how not to break your head when falling.

Colin Wee said...

I swear I made a posting here ... but it hasn't seemed to appear. Maybe I'm not getting this blog word verification right. Hmm.

I think breakfalling and rolling is really important. The only true thing that has saved my life unequivocably is a rolling jump off my mountain bike when my front tire exploded on me sometime in 1991 in the South of France. I must've rolled about 5-6 times, but managed to sit and stand immediately thereafter.

Breakfalling was taught to me ... most probably by the same Aikido teacher that taught decuser. :-) I in turn teach all my self defence students and whitebelts the fundamentals of breakfalling and rolling.

Certainly the locks and throws are well placed in Ippon Kumite. I would like to think throwing the opponent around like a rag doll would be very strategically advantageous in a team-based fighting scenario.

Like Mat I incorporate some easy rolling into my warm up routine. It's surprising how much huff and puff you get from trying to stand over and over from a sitting position.