Front breakfall

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Though this is the simplest breakfall, we save it for last, since it's the hardest to swallow. Falling flat on your face does not have to be a negative experience. Although this is the breakfall which is used the least, it must work with certainty when needed.

Buxom women will hate this technique, but we can’t find any better way to safely front fall. If you find a way to do so, please contact the authors, so we can incorporate your suggestions.

Level 1 - Kneeling front breakfall

From seiza, push your hips forward and "stand on your knees," so that your thighs and chest are in one plane. Holding your hands out forward, at shoulder level, with your palms facing outward. Keeping your elbows bent at your sides, maintaining some tension in your arms. Then, lean forward until you topple over.

It is tempting to look to the side while falling, to keep your nose from hitting the ground in case of an error. However, this encourages bad habits. Never turn your head to avoid a blow to the face. It is preferable to take a blow to the face (which makes you ugly) than it is to take a blow to the temple or jaw (which makes one unconscious, and/or dead).

Keep the chin tucked. While you don’t need to tuck the chin on this breakfall, there is no reason not too. This will help develop a chin-tucking reflex whenever you feel the sensation of falling.

Exhale upon impact, as your forearms contact the mat. Your slightly-tense arms will act as shock-absorbing springs, allowing for a gentle fall. Only the knees, toes, and forearms will contact the mat. Do not overly tense your arms; a rigid body just slams into the ground, defeating the purpose. Likewise, overly-relaxed arms act like wet noodles, and absorb no impact. The goal of this exercise is to develop a feel for how much tension is needed to safely absorb a fall.

[video of kneeling front breakfall, from the front and side, fast and slow]

Level 2 - Front breakfall

A front breakfall is just like the kneeling fall described above, but executed from an attention stance. Do not remain perfectly straight, like falling timber -- this diverts the impact energy away from your forearms and into your knees. Bend slightly at the waist; so that upon landing, only your toes and forearms touch the ground.

[video of front breakfall, from the front and side, fast and slow]

Since new students instinctually avoid faceplants, they tend to freeze up when told to do this move, so they might need a little push.

[video of a side-view of someone being pushed into a front fall.]