The art of falling, popularly known as “Breakfalling,” is the commencement of all Jujitsu training. Indeed, it is the basis of all Jujitsu training, for without some method of absorbing shocks, one would be unable to take the fast and heavy falls of Jujitsu.
These “breakfalls” absorb most of the impact of the falling body, the beat of the arm, in the “side,” “back” and “front” breakfalls having a spring-like effect, dampening the impact. In the “forward roll,” the momentum of falling is not stopped by any one portion of the body. The momentum is used to guide the body in a complete circle, bringing one again to the standing position. How different it would be if we extended our arms as the untrained person would!
In order to learn Jujitsu you must study and practise constantly from the first lesson. You must be prepared to execute your throws quickly, without fear of hurting your opponent, to be thrown at least twenty times, one after the other, by your opponent as he learns to execute his throws. This is only possible if you master the breakfalls.
With constant practice you will become more confident of your ability to withstand hard falls, and consequently your Jujitsu will improve. That is to say, when you go on the mat with an opponent, your mind will not be obsessed with wondering whether your opponent will throw you or not. You will see openings that you would previously have missed through preoccupation with falling.
I recommend that each breakfall be practised at least five times on each side before commencing each practice session.
Different breakfall directions: