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It is of primary importance to know how to control your body after being thrown, and to know how to lessen the impact of a throw. The aim is to break the fall before the body reaches the mat or ground, so that little shock is felt. Learning how to break a fall is an essential set of techniques that will keep you from unnecessary injury. It also helps to minimise the pain when a contestant falls or is thrown by an opponent.
Break fall drills begin gently and from low postures, and are gradually performed faster and from higher postures, until the practitioner is ready for the actual game play where the skills that he has learnt will be put to test.
Falling backward from a sitting position
From a sitting position, start by crossing your arms out in front of you, keeping your chin tucked in, then fall backward. As you fall, slap the mat with both of your arms, striking it with the forearm and hand. It is utmost important to be relaxed and to keep your chin tucked in to prevent striking your head against the mat.
Falling backward from a squatting position
Squat low, crossing your arms in front of you, and fall backward, keeping your chin tucked in and slap the mat hard as you fall.
Falling sideways from a sitting position
From a sitting position, raise your right arm out in front and across your body. Fall back, rolling your body to the right. As you fall, keep your chin tucked in, looking down toward your right foot. Slap the mat hard as you fall and let your feet down on the mat. It is important that your feet do not touch each other when falling sideways, as the bones striking each other may cause injury. Now, quickly roll your body to the left and slap the mat, assuming the same position as before. Continue to practice rolling from one side to the other.
Falling sideways from a squatting position
From a squatting position, raise your right arm out in front and across your body, and step out with your right foot. You will now lose your balance and naturally fall to your right side. Slap the mat hard as you fall, keeping your chin tucked in. Resume the squatting position and practice falling to the left, reversing the above directions. The sideways fall is the most important method of falling in Judo.
Tumbling forward from a standing position
Step forward with your right foot, raising your right hand in front of you and curving the fingers inward. Tumble forward, keeping your chin tucked in, touching the mat lightly with both hands. Keep your arms relaxed as you tumble, and do not straighten your arms. As you land on your back, slap the mat hard with your left hand.
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