Martial-Arts Move May Lessen Impact of a Fall on Hip

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

A meta-analysis suggests that learning how to break falls may — wait for it! — lesson the impact of falls:

The analysis, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, looked at 13 studies, with a combined 219 participants, conducted in the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands and Taiwan from 1996 to 2012. The majority included younger adults in their late 20s. About 60% were women.

The studies examined falling techniques known as squatting, muscle relaxation, forward rotation, elbow bending with outstretched arms, stepping, and martial-arts rolling and slapping. Impact force was compared with falling while not doing the technique.

All the techniques, other than slapping, reduced fall impact. But only rolling lessened the impact on the hip, by 25%.

Breakfall Diagram from WSJ

Caveat: The underlying studies were small, and only one involved older participants. Reduced strength and impaired reaction time may limit elderly people’s ability to perform fall techniques, the researchers said.

You may want to learn proper judo breakfalls long before you need them.

Leave a Reply