Safe Falling -- Anecdotes and Testimonials
The Fearless Falling program is too new to be
"evidence-based" through repeated, controlled, and randomized clinical
studies. However, the basic techniques are well-known as prior art, and
are scientifically based on human biomechanics, physics, and
physiology. The following anecdotal evidence is from and
about seniors from our classes who were able to use their safe
falling methods in real situations; sometimes years later.
After attending just three falling classes, she caught her foot on
carpet when stepping back from a shop display. As she fell backward,
she remembered to protect her head with an arm, then tucked and sat
down on one side. She had serious bruising and some whiplash, but no
concussion or need for emergency treatment.
As a wheelchair user S.B. had some head and arm injuries from falls
while transferring from his bed to the chair. He had a another fall
after several classes, and this time was able to completely protect
himself with a slapping and rolling movement.
Slipped going up a carpeted flight of stairs -- "slapped the cheese" with no major injury. Had attended only three classes.
One of the earliest Fearless Falling
students, F.B. showed up for another class ten years later! Still
playing tennis at almost ninety years old, he had a fall on the court
and was able to use the tuck-sit-roll method he had trained in a decade
earlier. Although his injuries were minimal and his friends were
amazed, he was not happy with his "awkward hand position" and decided
he needed a "refresher course."
I just wanted to let you know your class really came through for me when I went roller skating yesterday.
Now, I'm usually really steady, but I came around a corner pretty fast
when a small child was changing directions and moving out into my lane
of travel so i stepped off the floor onto the carpet to avoid a
collision. The new carpet was really grabby because my skates stopped
way faster than expected and I flew face first to the ground. no time
to think, but I "slapped the cheese" and got back up ready to go again.
Out on the floor again, I then managed to find a small wet spot someone
had left when my wheel slid out and i did an unexpected shoot-the-duck
and skidded a good 5 feet. But again, landed in perfect position with
my head safely tucked and found an employee to help dry the spot so no
one else would wipe out.
No broken wrists, no bruises, I finished the session and even did a few more shoot-the-ducks (no falling this time).
Thank you for all the practice! There really wasn't any time to think
for either fall so the training really saved me a trip to the hospital.
D.N. -- June, 2022
Leaving the house, his wife had turned to lock the back door, and heard
a thump. D.N. had lost his balance (due to Parkinson's) and
pitched forward off the sidewalk. "I slapped the cheese!" he
said. Actually, he slapped the marigold plantings, but with only
a minor scrape and no serious injury. They had taken only half
the Fearless Falling class sequence, over five years ago.
T.K -- May, 2022
Falling, Fearlessly (and with apparent grace)
Our daughter’s family keeps its house dark. Lighting is
low, even on winter nights. Once the sun goes down, the common
room that comprises the kitchen, a small dining area, and an alcove
with bay windows, has the lighting of a cave. To add to the
darkness, the floor is a very dark brown-stained wood. It hides
dirt, but it also allows shoes and sports gear to disappear.
The family also has two English Labrador Retrievers, the larger male is
a yellow Lab, and his sister is so dark that she has the appearance of
the kind of black that is the absence of light. The big dog
follows people around. The smaller female greets her people and
then lies down. On that floor, even in daylight, she is almost
One evening in April, while my wife and I were taking Fearless Falling,
our dinner was self-serve tacos. We all gathered around the
kitchen island to collect the various elements and then moved to a
table. My turn. Carrying an empty plate, I headed for the
food and tripped – yes, the black dog.
I heard gasps then cheers. Fearlessly and instinctively, I held
the plate high in my left hand, curled forward, wrapping my right arm
around my head, and bounced back up. I could have called,
“Ta-da!” But instead enjoyed my grandchildren and
Six months earlier, my wife stepped backwards and tripped over the same
camouflaged dog, landed on her hip and broke a bone at the top of her
right femur. That compelled us to Fearless Falling when we
learned about it. And just recently, our daughter, who teaches
Cross-Fit, was walking with that pup when it stopped in front of her,
sending her to the ground.
When she got up, her husband said, “Maybe you should take the old
peoples’ falling class.” Daughter was amused.
H.P. -- May, 2019
I am currently taking the Fearless Falling class at the Clintonville
Community Center. After about 3 classes, I had an opportunity to
test out the training.
I was walking my dog with my niece along the Scioto River on a
beautiful day when my dog pulled me off the road onto a gravel hill and
my foot started slipping and I knew I was going down. I heard in
my head the instruction to sit down and as I did I tucked my chin and
pulled in my arms and rolled on my left side. Apart from bumping
my elbow, I was completely unhurt. My niece, who observed the
fall, said that it was the most graceful fall she had ever seen!
This experience was very different from a fall I took before the class,
where I was walking at Northwest Park on a day with a light coating of
snow. I was walking along and hit a patch of ice and went down
hard on my wrists and tailbone...luckily I didn't break anything but I
was very sore for several days!
The reason I took the class was my Dad (who lived to 103) told me that
because he knew how to fall, he never hurt himself when he fell (and he
I am so grateful for what I have learned in this class!
C.G -- June, 2018
Coming out of a store, tripped over a low parking berm, and fell flat
forward. "Slapped the cheese" without even thinking, and had no
major injuries. Had taken the Fearless Falling class six years
J.B. -- February, 2018
I was walking along a street in Utila (an island off the coast of
Honduras) that was concrete with gutters along each edge that dropped
down perpendicular to the top surface when one foot stepped too close
to that perpendicular edge and my ankle started to roll over. Not
wanting to cause further injury to my ankle, I turned away from that
side and did a modified fall; landing on one butt cheek while
protecting my face with a "slap the cheese". My only injuries were a
large bruise on my butt and a very small scrape near one elbow.
Learning to fall does work!
R.B. -- January, 2018
Was walking after a snowstorm, and tripped/slipped on a sidewalk.
He turned, curled up, and sat down in the snowbank next to the
walk. Completely unharmed, he was brushing off the snow when a
bystander came rushing up to ask if he was hurt.
"No, I'm fine," he said, "I knew what to do."
C.Y. -- 1-25-2018
I fell at the gas station today and used my forearms to “smack the cheese”! How about that?
-- student from 2014.
I wanted to drop you a note to thank you again for my wonderful
training in fearless falling classes. If you remember me I took 2
classes with you -- one at Whetstone and another at the Worthington
Center. I am so grateful as I have used the skills twice now.
Three years ago I was hit by a SUV walking in a crosswalk when I had
the crossing lights and it was very traumatic. I had a L
leg fracture and L arm fracture a R shoulder fracture. In addition
there were 4 pelvic fractures. Before I was hit I smelled the car
motor and knew it was coming and turned and tucked my body and
head. The Doctors said this saved my internal organs and head
from injury. I spent three months in the hospital and rehab and have
worked hard to learn to walk again. Now I am walking with a cane
for outside mobility, but I am so grateful.
Today I was entering a store and there was a barrier at the front door
I didn't see and I fell down in a second going forward but I
instinctively bent my knees and slapped the cheese on the floor and
pulled up my chin to protect my face. How lucky I am! Right
now I am so sore, but all my limbs are intact. I knew I had to go home
and write you to say thank you again for your devotion to helping
others learn how to fall correctly to protect themselves.
AS AN OCTOGENARIAN I CAN ASSURE YOU THIS TRAINING CAN PREVENT
SERIOUS INJURY. MY ONLY FALL, AT MY AGE, ON A SLIPPERY FLOOR IN A
HARDWARE ENABLED ME BECAUSE OF THIS TRAINING TO BE COMPLETELY UNSCATHED.
Just wanted to thank you for teaching the “Fearless Falling” class and
share an experience that I believe, proves the value of the class.
I was delivering a basket of peaches to friends when I tripped on an
uneven part of their cement walk. My toe was stuck in a crack and I was
falling face down onto the concrete.
The next thing I was aware of was that my body’s muscle memory had
taken over and I landed in the ideal position for that fall. My chin was
tucked down and my arms were protecting my head. I had twisted onto
the side of my back in a curled-up position. My only injury was a small
scrape on the side of my knee. Even though I had practiced that fall
many, many, times I was amazed that it really worked! I wasn’t even sore
the next day!
At 68 years old, I hate to think what would have happened if I had not
taken your class and learned how to fall properly. I’ve encouraged all my
friends to take this class. It’s one of the most important things I’ve done
for myself. It’s good exercise and it’s fun!
I still recall that you were the one who taught me the basics of
falling all those years ago in the old gymnastics room at Larkins, and
I still use a lot of your lessons in my class. People always ask
me if I've ever had to use my martial arts training, and are really excited when I tell
them, "Yeah, a couple times a year."
Then I tell them about falling, and while they are usually a little
disappointed, it becomes an interesting discussion about all this
(martial arts) being about more than kicking and punching (or grabbing
and throwing as it were).
T.M. -- Black Belt Instructor
Thank you. The class has already saved me from two falls.
This afternoon I was sitting at my
desk in my home office/craft center. I was sitting on my old "kneeling
chair" that I've used with my computer for DECADES! It's one of
those things where you kneel on a padded section and sit on a backless
section and your weight is sent forward so you don't hurt your
back. I pushed back to grab a pair of scissors, and the main bolt
slipped out and the seat suddenly flipped, sending me ass over
teakettle, backwards, with my feet going straight up! My training
kicked in and I curled up and protected my head...landing hard on my
butt. My head never touched the ground! Of course my butt
will probably be black and blue for a week but I really wasn't
hurt. I had no time to think about what was happening so it's all
due to my training!
I wanted to share my
latest fall with you. I was rushing about at the Las Vegas
airport. As I had not been outdoors all day and the sun was very
bright when I stepped into it, I could not see a barrier across the
street. I walked full force into it and bounced backward into the
street, falling on my back. Thanks to the falling training, I
tucked my arms, hands, and head and rolled enough to absorb the
impact. My fall could have resulted in great pain and injury, but
it didn't. I bruised my thumb when I was forced from my suitcase
or roller bag, I am not sure which thing, probably my suitcase. I
also bruised my left knee from the impact with the barrier.
I braced my thumb over the weekend and the swelling went down. My
knee is tender, but recovering as well. Thanks
to the fall techniques, I did not hurt my wrists, arms, elbows, hips,
tailbone, or head. Considering the unforgiving nature of
concrete, I would say I did very well.
A.K. -- 90 years old:
Had a bad fall in her bathroom after only 3 classes. She was pulling
down the shower curtain and the rod suddenly came loose; she fell
backwards on to a hard floor. She injured her right wrist - a
serious sprain, but remembers tucking and curling up: no head-strike,
no concussion, from what could have been a lethal fall.
J.H. -- 75 years old:
Her husband was backing the car out of the garage in the winter. Standing
in the driveway, she stepped back to get further out of the way, and
both feet caught on a small decorative curb hidden under the snow, tripping her backwards.
She sat down quickly and rolled back in a couple inches of snow
with no injury at all.
N.R. -- 73 years old:
Was coming out of a McDonald's on a
morning after an ice storm. Carefully stepping off the sidewalk next to
an iced handicap ramp, her left foot suddenly slipped across right in
front of her. As she fell forward towards her left side she said that
all she could think was, "SLAP THE CHEESE!!!" She did; hitting mostly
with her left arm. Her arm was bruised from her little finger all the
way to her upper arm, but nothing was broken or seriously injured, and
her head did not hit the ground.
M.R. -- 64 years old:
Going to services at her church, she tripped on the last stair just in
front of the main entrance. Fell straight forward, and was able to
break her fall with the front slap technique. No major injury.
M.L. -- 76 years old:
Tripped and fell forward on concrete outside a voting location. Used
the front slap technique. No facial contact or injury, but did strain
Was at a bowling alley in the
wintertime with friends. They were down by the alley seating, changing
shoes, when he slipped on a wet spot and fell down backwards while
holding his bowling ball. He managed to toss his ball to one side, and
sit and roll back on the other!
No injuries, no head-strike.