Safe Falling Class format and general information:
The Fearless Falling program is an exercise class.
You will be strengthening your body along with learning
specific methods and techniques. Safe falling techniques are
basic motor skills. To have them when needed, you must practice
the basic movements correctly at least 80-100 times.
Fearless Falling Class Attire:
Clothing: You should wear comfortable, loose, "athletic" clothing.
Avoid tight or restrictive garments. Normal street wear
is fine if it is not tight or binding. You do not have to wear
"yoga pants," or spandex tights.
Shoes: We are usually on a gymnastics mat. You should not wear
"street shoes" on the mat. You can wear socks, go barefoot, or
wear inside-only workout shoes. Ideally, your workout shoes will have
relatively smooth soles. Good shoes will help your balance, but
if the sole has an aggressive tread pattern it will be more difficult to
do some of the foot-sliding Tai Chi movements on the mat.
You should not wear dangling jewelry, loose wrist bracelets, or
watches. You should empty your pockets of loose change or wallets.
Fearless Falling Class Format:
The first section of the
class consists of warm-up and body stretching and relaxing exercises.
We start at the top, with gentle neck rolls, and move down the
body to the final ankle rolls. In addition to basic stretching
and joint movement, we do a number of balance drills and Tai Chi stepping
The second, and major, section of the class
focuses on specific falling techniques. We always practice
the basic back and forth, and side to side, rocking and rolling motions down on the
The "Slap the Cheese" action is practiced on a vertical
Finally, we do actual practice of the full sitting down
and rolling back falling motion on a thick mat; the roll is back and
slightly to the side.
By the fourth session, students have learned to pivot and take a fall to the rear, instead of the hip or face:
The "Slap the Cheese" move is practiced on mats, but at floor level by more advanced students:
Dawn and Dianne "Slap the Cheese," as they practice their forward falls. ~photo by Tom Dodge- Cols. Dispatch
After several weeks, students then practice turning a front trip and stumble into a more gentle back-side fall:
The third and last section of the class is practice of our Taiji form and discussion of balance, "rooting", and push-hands.
The class does "Spreading the Wild Horse's Mane. (or, Serve the Pizza!)" ~ Photo by S. Heckman