Sempi Glen here. Like me, I am sure you sometimes wonder, “When will I ever use this technique?” I think of the countless hours of drill and formal and informal attacking and defending. One thing our Sensei always says—some day you will fall. And when you do, you need to know the most important aspect, how to land.
Last month when at a class teaching how to fall properly, our Sensei challenged us to practice falling several times a week. At the gym where I work out, we have a stretching area with padded matting, the perfect place for this practice. So, I added to my stretching routine a few minutes of falling practice.
In addition to Karate, I have participated in the MS Bike ride several times. A great cause and a fun ride. I have done a few century rides (100 miles) for the Bike MS ride and my training and planning was for another century ride that Saturday. The training, like Karate, is a big commitment of time, practice, technique and discipline. It is too hard just to pick up a bike and ride for 7 hours!
I did not know that this weekend the most important practice I would do was practicing to fall. At mile 46 of my planned 100 mile ride on Saturday going over 30 mph on a downhill (twice as fast as I can ride!) I applied the brakes incorrectly and fell. My bike was fine…I know you were concerned. Fortunately I remembered the falling lessons—tuck the chin!
I ended with a few scrapes on the shoulder and leg and some gravel (yes it hurt) on my elbow as I went down. My head was fine, in part because I was wearing a helmet. I will note that I never did hit my head. The least amount of scraping was on my legs and shoulder as I mostly hit my back. My Garmin bike computer says I was going 120 mph at the point when I was thrown from the bike—and it just measures the speed that the bike is traveling. No time to think, just do!
I am glad I was practicing! Yes—we will all fall and yes I will again. I hope to walk away as well. I did ride another 30 miles after getting cleaned up at the rest area on the ride. After the fall I settled for 75 miles foregoing the 100 mile course. Always next year for that ride! See you in class soon. What drill or exercise should you be practicing?