Break falls and rolls in the Krav Maga - article by Israel Tamir
The saying goes that falls and rolls are an inseparable part of the Krav Maga fighting skills and self defense. As we start to train Krav Maga we meet the basic falls and rolls in the p level but without in depth of understanding why do we need to do this? When dealing with street fighting in different surrounding we educate ourselves and our students to remain standing for tactical reasons. So being on the ground is a position we do not want to be period!!! However, we fall to the ground against our natural will. We can fall to the ground for many reasons and in different ways, but doesn't meter how we got there, more importantly is to know how to fall safely, quickly and get up (safely and quickly)
There are 2 main reasons for training how to fall:
1. Self defense - protecting us from ourself, most of the time we're are own worst enemies. Self injuries while we're falling For instance while running, breaking ankle, or the tail bone when falling backwards, concussion and head trauma, nose and teeth break, breaking wrists and shoulder dislocations etc'.
2. A potential assailant (one or more) that might be the cause of our fall with a strong push or an attack or a strong takedown to the ground (dealing vs a grappler).
Further more when trying to pick up a weapon from the ground in front an attacker or when your kicking leg has been caught in a fight, jumping out of a room when there is an imminent explosion, through glass window to save your life, are good examples of why we need to train on rolls and break falls in different variations surfaces, positions in the IKMF Krav Maga.
It is considered that the best way to train this subject is at an early age (around 5) when our skeleton, muscles, tendons and ligaments systems are not fully matured and strong yet, so the body can absorb the fall quite easily without breaking or dislocating any joint or bone.
We never say that you will not be without any injury but the trained student, should the need arise, needs to have the tools of breakfalling and rolling as part of his tools of street survival.
I detect 2 main issues when coming to train rolls and break falls:
1. A location that doesn't have a proper mats for training and therefore don't invest the time to train on this matter and /or postpone it to later stages.
2. An instructor whose own performance is lacking, he's tendency is to avoid teaching the subject in hand.
Starting training Krav Maga at an late age, generally speaking (above 18) from the falling rolling point of view is much more difficult to the untrained students, and from my point of view and traveling worldwide the main problem is:
1. loosening the harden muscles (especially the back muscles) in order to succeed in the rolling, regardless of mastering the technique it self.
2. The impact itself from the fall, especially when dealing with the G4-G5 takedowns.
When dealing with the high rolls another aspect that needs to be implemented is the courage factor. To deal with high rolls as all difficult techniques needs to start building confidence with preparation drills and gradually increase the level of difficulty. This is the correct way to teach the students how to high roll properly.
In the break falls department, strong muscles including strengthening the core muscles, clean technique, and reasonable joint/muscles flexibility, are the key to withstand a real life break fall on hard surface, without sustaining serious injuries, and loosing the ability to continue fighting.
The subject of falls and break falls is stretched in the syllbus from P1 soft break fall on the wall until E5 military break falls with weapons. It is essential to train on falling and rolling depending on your current level and in different surfaces, variations and positions, there is more to the falls and rolls than beneath the eye...
For conclusion when we say that Krav Maga is a way of life we mean that a trained Krav Maga practitioner who knows how to fall properly, hopefully will not break his hip bones when slipping in the shower at older age or a woman won't dislocate/break her shoulder complex when wearing high heels and loosing balance.
So keep training for your life and all the best (don't break a leg)
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Israel Tamir - GIT