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How to fall safely?


Yaffa
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I'd be grateful to know how falling safely is now being addressed, both inside and outside the ballet training world.

 

I recently watched a lady lose her balance and fall down half a flight of escalators. I was quite sure that she would be disabled for life! Instead, she somehow rapidly repositioned her limbs, rolled on her side at the bottom of the escalator and emerged completely unharmed. Another amazed onlooker asked if she was a stunt artist and she said, 'No, but I trained as a dancer in Russia, and the first thing they teach you is how to fall.' Sadly the lady rushed off, as I would have dearly liked to know more. Well I'm curious to know what ballet students are being taught about how to fall safely- and if these skills have also helped them in their everyday lives.

 

Also, I know several people whose lives have recently been shattered by nasty first falls. The advice they were given about handling future falls seems wildly inconsistent and quite different from the protocols from some years ago, when I was heavily involved in caregiving.

 

I've been discussing this with several middle-aged friends who, like myself, have never had a serious fall - and would like to stay that way. Some research articles question the usefulness of balance training alone. It certainly make sense that good nutrition, an agile mind, good bone ear, eye health, up to date glasses prescription and good shoes etc. are the most important factors in preventing a catrastrophich fall. But what to do in the split seconds after you've tripped? For those people who aren't in a structured dance/exercise programme and don't have money to throw around, does it make sense to attend a one-time class on how to fall safely - and if so, who's the best person to consult? Someone in the dance field? Gymnastics? Martial arts? Sports medicine? There are also all sorts of self-help manuals, videos and do-it-yourself game console activities available. Some of these seem very gimicky. Most of my friends would ideally like a group class (as part of a day out in London in December?) taken by someone who really knows his/her stuff, covering the basics, with simulations of falls, and general guidelines for follow-up. Grateful for any suggestions - and if anyone else is interested in finding a teacher together for such a class, please let me know.

 

Thanks

Yaffa

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Jockeys are taught to curl in a ball, and to land on their side, rolling away; and never to put their hands out to save themselves.

 

I think you need to be relaxed (which goes against all natural instincts) and I remember reading somewhere that this is why drunks can fall over and come up unscathed!

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I had a fall a couple of years ago. My friend and I were scuttling to the car park arguing about who was going to pay (we both wanted to!). I decided to get my credit card out of my purse and was scrabbling in my bag. I didn't even realise I was falling until the ground hit me!! It was probably that which saved me from nothing more than injured pride.

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If a class is found I would love to attend. I still have a place on my skull which hurts after I fell over in the snow. My fault for not getting dropped off on my drive which had been cleared! As I get older I find I am less agile and could do with some advice.

 

Aurora I fell down the stairs on a bus when I was 12 (mad bus driver's fault) and bent my coccyx - years of not being able to sit still in cinemas etc. It's got better over the years (more padding!) but it was a problem for a very long time.

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So sorry to hear about people's injuries...

 

Like Happymum, I've heard about long in-depth courses in how to fall safely for professionals, for the elderly, for people enrolled in sports/fitness courses etc.... but it's not clear where the 'average,' basically healthy person should turn. If I trip on the stairs tonight, I'd be confused about what to do with my hands, even though I vaguely know that 'doing what comes naturally' might do more harm than good. Hence my interest in a one-time group class, from an expert, to learn and experiment with the recommended techniques for falling safely.

 

There's no shortage of first aid courses and authoritative materials covering what to do when someone has already fallen, but it would be nice to avoid getting to that stage...

 

Yaffa

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