This article was originally published February 10th, 2011 on AmosRendao.com
“Why do we fall, sir?
So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.”
— Alfred in “Batman Begins”
Another falling continuum can be expressed in the idea of falling 360 degrees. Imagine a landing spot as the center point in a circle. Depending on the direction towards a feet first landing on that spot, a person could roll accordingly. From forward roll to side roll, there is a seamless transition. From side roll to back roll exists that same fluid transition, and so on, 360 degrees.
Not every piece of the falling continuum will involve a soft landing in which you laugh at your newfound invincibility, but it will always be better than the alternative of leaving your head and spine vulnerable or letting the fall stop in a small point on your body. For instance, break falls on concrete rarely feel good, but will always be better than landing on your tail bone or posting an arm out (which is just asking for breaks/dislocations).
As we move onward in this journey of parkour, we learn to embrace obstacles, and many of us stop there. Let us embrace failure, the inevitable mistakes, one of the most human things we can do: falling. Imagine our potential if we treat falling as Aikido and Judo treat it: from day one, learning how to fall correctly and focusing on correcting mistakes that must happen in our process of growth. Our injury rates will go down, we’ll further the divide between jackass extreme sports and parkour in the public mind, fear will be rare and rational. Imagine the soft gaze of a traceuse about to take on the impossible without the slightest hint of fear in her eyes. This is the path of the harmony between Ukemi and parkour. If we neglect learning how to fall well, there will always exist that nagging abyss of all the things that can go wrong that we’re not able to deal with. Instead, that intangible obstacle should be one that we train on regularly, a holistic embrace of movement with the inclusion of those inevitable things that will go wrong as we learn. If we embrace failure and falling, there is nothing left to fear, only challenges to be met and fun to be had.
If you’d like to bring Parkour Ukemi into your regular training, here are some options:
- The most effective place to start is the new ‘Art of Falling: Fundamentals‘ online training program. This course is sold out for the first round and will be available to all preorders this summer, opening again later this year. If you want to be absolutely certain you don’t miss news of it being accessible again, sign up for Parkour Ukemi updates.
- Organize a Parkour Ukemi seminar taught at your location anywhere in the world. Get in touch with me to plan something!
- Learn through free resources, examples, tutorials and other studies in the following places:
- Start training your falling technique right now with our Forward Roll tutorial below!
Written by Amos Rendao
Owner | GM | Head Coach | Pro Athlete :: APEX Movement
Founder :: ParkourEDU
Founder :: Parkour Randori
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Special thanks to Kevin Crouse, Ryan Ford, Katie Kirkwood, Ken Kao, Brendan Dudley, Pete Strayer, and Robyn Sikkema for your help, perspective, and resources.
1. “Aikido Dictionary.” Cardiff Aikikai. Web. 27 Jan. 2011. (http://www.cardiffaikikai.co.uk/aikido_dictionary.h