Lesson 5 – Basic physical preparation: the breakfalls

At the base of physical safety: how to limit the damages of a falling

After mentioning the rudiments of psychological self-defense, let’s start talking about physical defense. The first techniques that every practitioner should learn and master are controlled falls (breakfalls).

In this lesson we will see:

  • What the breakfalls are
  • What they are for
  • How they work
  • How to train them

Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).

6 Dragons Kung Fu has many ways to control the falls, the ones that we are going to see:

  • Are very effective and with the right training, within everyone’s reach
  • Do not require the same athletic level as the more advanced ones
  • Can cover 90% of the most common self-defense situations

How to fall without getting hurt

The breakfalls are techniques that, during a fight (on the street, in a ring, etc.) or even an accidental happening (losing balance on a slippery surface, etc.), put you in a condition to:

  • Break the falls by dispersing the impact energy
  • Get to the ground without suffering (serious) damage
  • Protect the most delicate parts of your body
  • Reach advantageous positions (advanced level)

The concepts that unite the biggest part of the controlled fallings that you will study (from the simplest to the most acrobatic ones), are discussed in:

The three basic techniques

In order to be prepared for the overwhelming majority of the combat situations you will face (in the street, in a sporting competition, etc.), these three simple techniques are more than sufficient:

  1. The backward breakfall
  2. The lateral breakfall
  3. The frontal breakfall

The learning steps

A note by Master Kongling – Initially no matter if you do everything correctly, you are not used to face the ground: it will hurt you (slightly) but above all, it will give you the idea of having done something that should not have been done. Don’t worry, it only happens in the beginning, it’s completely normal.

Their learning path is relatively simple but what you need to really focus on is to get your body used to their perfect execution:

A note by Master Kongling – This is one of the most important lessons of this Kung Fu course. Remember: without this kind of preparation (limiting your knowledge to a purely theoretical plan), the breakfalls are almost useless. If you never test them in not cooperative sessions you cannot claim to be able to use them in the most dangerous combat situations (eg. after a throw). When you fall you have zero time to think, you have to react mechanically.

To conclude we must stress that if on one side there is no way to be 100% safe from damages, on the other there are 2 possible levels of preparation:

  1. The first allows you to be safer in normal life and low-level combat contexts (eg. while stumbling)
  2. The second even to limit (or even eliminate) the damage caused in dynamic and improvised fight interactions

In-depth articles

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Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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