SAFE FALLING

What is safe falling?  It means falling in a way that protects your head from injury. Secondarily, it means falling in a way that prevents broken bones in your hips, pelvis, arms or shoulder.

The best way to achieve “safe falling”, is NOT to fall. The basic formula for fall prevention is...ABC.

A is awareness. Develop a different mindset to walking. Walk “heel to toe”. Lift your legs as you walk, and land on your heel, and push-off with your toes. Whenever using stairs, use the handrail”. Pay attention when walking. Look where you will be walking, and make a mental note of any potential hazards. Don’t be distracted while walking:  smart phones, talking to your partner, or looking at the “view”.

 

B is balance. Exercise to develop the muscles in all your limbs. Consider activities like Tai-Chi, and Yoga to develop strength, and brain to muscle connections.

 

C is control. Take the safer or easier path even though it may be longer, take that one. Use handrails.  Have handrails and grab bars installed in your bathroom.

 

“What would you do to protect myself if you fell now?” Most people will project both arms rigidly out in front of them at about waist high. This is probably the WORST thing you can do. If your arms collapse or break, you will land on your face!

 

If you are falling forward, take one step forward, lower your hips as low as possible, reach forward with both arms, one arm forward of the other. Extend both arms forward in a sliding motion, and lower your hips, until you can no longer support your weight  Now, rotate your hips and try to impact the ground with the outside of your thigh. Now roll in the direction of your lowered thigh.

 

The important thing is to lower your hips, stretch forward with the leading arm, and impact the ground with the outside of your thigh, and the side of your body, and roll.

 

Even more devastating is falling backward. A big concern is hitting the back of your head! If you are falling backward, take one step backward. Lower your hips. Rotate your body by turning your hips. Look at where you are falling. REACH back. Again, do not stiffen your arm to brace yourself. As you look and reach back, your hips WILL turn automatically. As you impact the ground, you should be on your side. This will protect your head.

SAFE FALLING

COURSE CURRICULUM

 We offer two Safe Falling courses.  

 The FOUNDATION course is for first-timers and teaches basic application of our safe falling principles.

 The CONTINUATION course is or students who have completed the FOUNDATIONS course but want additional   training and practice on safe falling.  You MUST have completed the FOUNDATION course to sign up for the   continuation course.

 In general, the course goals and objectives are as follows:

  FOUNDATION COURSE

 Fall Prevention Through Situational Awareness

  • Surroundings – scanning for potential hazards and avoid them

  • Terrain and footwear – footwear adequate and appropriate to the terrain

  • Use of Available Aids – walkers, canes, rails, etc.

  • Distractions – remain focused on surroundings, movement and foot placement

  Strengthening/Limbering

  • Aikido-related breathing/stretching/warm-up exercises

  • Leg/core strengthening

  • Understanding balance/unbalancing

  Methodology to Receive Falls Safely

  • Relaxation, lower height of fall

  • Protect head, neck and joints

  • Distribute impact across mass of body musculature

  • Stop and assess condition before getting up

 Sessions consist of a 50 minute class once a week for eight weeks progressing from awareness and stretching exercises to falling   methods for various conditions. Each class would also provide breaks as needed, during which questions or anecdotal situations may   be discussed.

CONTINUATION COURSE

       This class may only be taken AFTER completing the FOUNDATION Safe Falling course. You MUST have completed the Foundation course to register for this course. This continuation course will include:

  • Continuation of exercises to improve flexibility, balance and core strength. In addition to the exercises used in the previous classes, new exercises will be added.

  • Review of front and back falls. Start with kneeling or sitting, work up to standing

  • Review dropping inanimate items carried before falling

  • Introduction of new safe falling techniques: e.g., falling without taking a step forward, and a variation of the back fall.

  • Unexpected situations that cause immediate falls.

  • Taking immediate falls safely, forward and backward.

  • Falling while using a walking aid.

  • Introduction to Low Impact Aikido.

  • Philosophy and principles of Aikido

  • Maintaining balance and moving from the center.

  • Escapes from grasps

  • Practicing Aikido defensive arts and safe falling. (e.g., one partner defends against a basic strike, and guides the other into a safe fall.) 

   Sessions consist of a 50 minute class once a week for eight weeks progressing from review of key points from the Foundation course to additional safe falling techniques and introduction to Low Impact Aikido. Each class would also provide breaks as needed, during which questions or anecdotal situations may be discussed.

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