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Break Falls and Rolls: How to hit the ground without the ground hitting you

By: Eyal Yanilov

In our modern world falling is a common event. As often as in early times (if not more), a person may finds him or herself on the way to meet mother earth in a head-on collision. The problem is that these days the ground is harder as it is so often made of bricks and cement. In Krav Maga we always paid great attention to break-falling and rolling as part of the training, even from the beginning.

In many societies and countries people fall more often than they fight. Severe injuries may happen in falls. When Imi was teaching in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s, every warm up finished with some break falls and rolls. But, when I started spreading Krav Maga  in Europe, many locations had no mats and many students were much older than we were used to in Israel – where most trainees started as teenagers. So we had to consider their needs and not put such an emphasis on reaching a high level of proficiency in the subject of “dealing with falls” early on.

Today when most places do have mats we can definitely give the subject the respect and time it deserves and train people on it as soon as we can. Naturally for grownups and older people we do some modifications in teaching and training these techniques, and we accept that it may take a bit more time until they do full rolls, complete hard-break fall or soft break falls in any directions. Among others things, we do “falling towards a wall” and rolling from low altitude (as from a squat or from one’s knees).

At KMG we have several techniques for taking the opponent down, during a confrontation. Here, many times, especially when we have hard mats, we use a third partner to assist in holding the falling or thrown trainee, so meeting the ground will be easier – with more control and with extra care.