Written by Greg Gruninger
Cartoon by Peter Marshall
Breakfalls, you can’t avoid them. In order to progress in and continue with your Aikido training you must become proficient in preventing injury to yourself. Breakfalls are an aspect of Aikido that we should not ignore.
How do we master breakfalls when even the name itself suggests bone crushing agony? In preparing for this article, I found myself remembering when I had executed a textbook breakfall and when I had knocked the wind out of myself. So what was the difference? I was relaxed and flowed with Shite when I had performed a good breakfall. I found that the bad breakfalls resulted from my being tense and not aware of what Shite was doing. I believe that I anticipated the throw and began my breakfall prior to the actual execution of the throw. This resulted in a WWF -like slam to the mat. On the other hand if I relaxed and kept my mind on what Shite was doing and give myself to the technique the breakfall seemed to flow naturally. I did not have to think about what was happening. I just reacted.
Training plays a big part in teaching your body the right form to use when being thrown, however, the right frame of mind, when being thrown is equally important. Move with Shite and as you flow with the technique. The breakfall will flow naturally out of you.
Published in Aiki Budo Newsletter: January 1998