Lesson 4 – The basic rolls

What are the rolls and when to use them

After having seen the basics of the breakfalls (read Lesson 7.5), it is time to take a step forward to learn the first fundamental rolls of our Kung Fu.

Apart from very old age or specific physical impediments, you can hardly define yourself as a martial artist if you are not able to do the basic rolls.

What are the rolls?

In our conception, the rolls are, at the same time:

  • Mobility techniques (to move from a point A to a point B)
  • Another category of breakfalls (that we call “voluntary fallings”)

A note by Master Kongling – From a tactical point of view, it is useless to stress that, even the controlled fallings can be voluntary (and in extremis, even used to move our body) but this is not their primary goal.

When to use the rolls?

The possible applications inside the economy of a combat scenario are substantially endless (and related to the practitioner’s attitudes) but we can list a few common examples:

  • To redirect the energy of a falling (cushioning the impact)
  • To escape from a throw (or a constriction)
  • To move fast on the ground and reach a favorable position (eg. to stand-up)
  • To execute fighting techniques (striking, throws, Chin Na, etc.)

How to learn the rolls

The difficulties

Initially, if you have zero experience in physical training, the rolls can be a part of your martial path not so easy to overcome (especially if you are no more children).

The reasons are that:

  • Their flow do not follow a straight line but a circular movement and the body (of a civilized man / woman) is not used to it
  • Your mind puts an automatic inhibiting brake on “throwing” your head towards the ground, first and on flipping it, then
  • The fear of failure forces you make the biggest mistake, to limit the power and fluidity of the curvilinear momentum

A note by Master Kongling – Do not worry, younger or older any serious martial arts practitioner has been there (first it seems difficult, once learned it will become as simple as walking). The good news is that when you catch the mechanics of the basic forward one (the second technique), the others become as a consequence.

The best way to learn the rolls

The best way is to:

  • Start from our lateral rolling movement that, simple and effective, allows you to start to familiarize with the idea of body revolutions
  • Train on an old large bed mattress (positioned on the ground)
  • Start with a small run-up (walking) but always bowing down first to the ground
  • Have a partner that checks your safety and helps you (even not necessarily a martial arts practitioner, read 5 effective ways to find a training partner)
  • Start from the dominant side and only then pass to the other

How to execute the first 4 rolls of 6 Dragons Kung Fu


Before facing the study of the rolls, it is important to:

The techniques

Let’s see the first rolls in order of study:

The key errors to avoid

Executing the first rolling technique:

  • To lose the direction
  • To open the body

Executing the second rolling technique:

  • To let the head touch the ground
  • To load the shoulder with our weight (easy to get injured)
  • To do not give enough momentum
  • To do not stiffen our supporting arm

Executing the third rolling technique:

  • To do not bend the head laterally
  • To bend the head in the wrong direction
  • To do not give enough momentum

Executing the fourth rolling technique:

  • To do not give enough momentum

In-depth articles


Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Can you win the fear of the ground?

<< Lesson 11.3Index

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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