Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Don't hit your head!

I took a lot of falls today.

Sensei told us a few lessons ago that we were going to start doing back-falls whenever someone didn't get up quickly enough after warm-up. Well, he wasn't joking! It happened twice today. Most of the time I enjoy doing back-falls because I think it's incredibly useful to know how to fall without getting hurt (I'm one of those people who trips over their own feet), but after one or two...or ten...or thirty...I'm generally not as thrilled with them. Still, repetition is important; perfect practice makes perfect!

Everybody in the class knows how to back-fall by now. It's simple. When you fall, you put your arms out like a fighter jet to equally distribute your weight, so that when you hit the ground, your arms also absorb the force. No specific part of your body takes the full force of the fall, that way.

Also...Rule number one is...Don't hit your head! Tuck your head in so that you don't hurt yourself. Blood is not allowed on the mat and we are not allowed to go to the hospital. : )

Anyway, we worked on the osoto-gari and the scissor-leg takedown today in class. Both of them require a working knowledge of how to correctly back-fall, so maybe it was a good thing that we worked that over and over again before we actually practiced the techniques. They're fun moves, especially if you enjoy back-falls.

I learned something interesting today, though.

It's really simple to practice back-falls under training circumstances but it's a completely different thing to fall correctly when you're not thinking about it. When you're practicing, you have a chance to really focus on technique and improve your skills, but it's unrealistic to expect a real-life situation to be like a training session. We were working on spinning hook kicks today and I forgot to bend my front leg while I was gaining momentum. The kick ended with me flat on my back, having NOT equally distributed my weight, and it hurt!

At least I remembered rule #1, though, because I didn't hit my head. That was a plus.

It's interesting that even though we practice back-falls all the time, over and over and over again, I still forgot to distribute my weight when it counted. I guess it's not reflexive yet.
But anyway...Fall seven times, stand up eight.

I think life can do that to us sometimes; it can surprise us. We can practice over and over again how to handle and cope with various situations, but when a situation actually arises, it's easy to forget what we've practiced and to just go with whatever seems good at the time.

Or maybe a situation hits us so quickly that we don't have time to react the way that we've been planning to and we're forced to take the fall in its full force, without an equal distribution of weight. And man, let me tell you...That hurts, sometimes.
But regardless of whether it's a practice session or whether it's a real-life situation, it's important to always get back up. (An attacker can kick you in the head if you stay on the ground!)

So practice, practice, practice! Work on back-falls. Plan out how to cope with the hard things. Practice helps. But don't forget that real life is what we're practicing for. And if you have to take a fall at full force, always get back up. It might hurt, it might knock the wind out of you, and it might be embarrassing, but getting back up means that you're willing to try again. It means that you haven't yet been beaten.

But...most importantly...don't hit your head!

All the best,

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