falling technique

Does anyone have any tips on falling? My general learning progression is
this: I start to learn a new trick. I fall a few times in the process,
(depending on the trick) I’ll land uncomfortably once or twice. Then as I
have the trick nearly mastered, I learn how to recover from a fall that
results in an unsuccessful attempt of said trick. That’s all well and
good, but I’d like to avoid the poor landings associated with learning in
the first place.

Does anyone have any tips? I was working on coasting, when I realized that
the unicycle was no longer directly under me. My feet were ahead of me,
and I knew landing on them would be impossible. Having not considered what
to do prior to the fall, I ended up landing on my hand instead, resulting
in a sprained wrist. I presume if momentum is still taking me forward when
I begin to fall, I should try for a rolling landing, rather than meeting
the ground with whatever body part happens to be closest.

Does anyone have any tips for falling and landing in general?

jeff lutkus

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I archived an excellent RSU post from the ever helpful Mr. Foss @
http://wobbling.unicyclist.com/HowTo/Tips/HowToFall.html

Cheers, Neil

-----Original Message----- From: lutkus@unicyclist.com
["]mailto:lutkus@unicyclist.com] Sent: 18 December 2001 13:05 To:
rsu@unicycling.org Subject: falling technique Importance: Low

Does anyone have any tips on falling? My general learning progression is
this: I start to learn a new trick. I fall a few times in the process,
(depending on the trick) I’ll land uncomfortably once or twice. Then as I
have the trick nearly mastered, I learn how to recover from a fall that
results in an unsuccessful attempt of said trick. That’s all well and
good, but I’d like to avoid the poor landings associated with learning in
the first place.

Does anyone have any tips? I was working on coasting, when I realized that
the unicycle was no longer directly under me. My feet were ahead of me,
and I knew landing on them would be impossible. Having not considered what
to do prior to the fall, I ended up landing on my hand instead, resulting
in a sprained wrist. I presume if momentum is still taking me forward when
I begin to fall, I should try for a rolling landing, rather than meeting
the ground with whatever body part happens to be closest.

Does anyone have any tips for falling and landing in general?

jeff lutkus

Sent via the Unicyclist Community - http://Unicyclist.com

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< Does anyone have any tips on falling?

If you really want to get into this, I recommend martial arts. Not only
will it help you in falling, but it will help your unicycling. (And your
unicycling gives you a headstart in martial arts).

My experience is limited, I took ten Aikido classes last summer, and I
did a bit of Judo in college. The cool thing about Aikido is that one of
the first things you learn to do is to “roll” with your body, forward,
and backward.

I was riding backward recently, quite fast, on pavement. I hit a stick,
went down, and went into a backwards somersault/roll, without even
thinking about
it. I was amazed that I had, in a short time, acquired this a built in
reaction. Didn’t get a scratch! I find Aikido to be as engaging as
unicycling. Just haven’t had the time to get seriously involved in
it lately.

Another interesting thing is to observe people falling. Watch a judo or
Aikido class. Also watch wrestlers and animals playing. You’ll get a lot
just from osmosis. I’m also amazed at the spills my 5 year old takes off
his skateboard- he usually comes out unscathed. Someone said Kris Holm’s
move’s like a cat. Good analogy.

I guess the basic principle in falling is being loose and distributing the
impact across as much of your body as possible. The opposite would be to
stick out a wrist, or land on your knee. Usually you see this in people
who are afraid of falling, or perhaps not that used to any kind of extreme
physical movement.

I tend to think of it this way - once you know you are going into a
fall, go with it, don’t resist. Let your body flop like a rag doll. You
make a good point about considering “what to do prior to the fall.” I
wish I could apply that in learning to wheel walk. When you fall
backwards and your butt heads straight for the pavement, how do you
handle that? This happened once and is probably what’s keeping me from
practicing ww more often.

Hope that helps. From what I saw you do in the videos, you probably have
more experience falling than me :slight_smile:

Joe Merrill

Excellent post. Thanks John and Neil!

In a message dated 12/18/01 10:10:06 AM Eastern Standard Time,
n.dunlop@kildrummy.co.uk writes:

> I archived an excellent RSU post from the ever helpful Mr. Foss @
> http://wobbling.unicyclist.com/HowTo/Tips/HowToFall.html

> < Does anyone have any tips on falling?
>
> If you really want to get into this, I recommend martial arts. Not only
> will it help you in falling, but it will help your unicycling. (And your
> unicycling gives you a headstart in martial arts).

I had a skydiving instructor once demonstrate how he could fall over, and
roll out of it and stand back up, without ever spilling his beer. Though,
that’s definitely a useful skill to learn, I am certain there are many
different types of falls one can make.

Martial arts do seem to provide the most extensive training in the
subject. I just don’t seem to have the patience to learn :slight_smile:

> I guess the basic principle in falling is being loose and distributing
> the impact across as much of your body as possible. The opposite would
> be to stick out a wrist, or land on your knee. Usually you see this in
> people who are afraid of falling, or perhaps not that used to any kind
> of extreme physical movement.

I often wonder why instinct is generally to try to catch yourself
with hands or knees, when it is clearly in your best interest to
roll. I suppose catching yourself does work well for short distances,
at low speeds.

> I tend to think of it this way - once you know you are going into a
> fall, go with it, don’t resist. Let your body flop like a rag doll. You
> make a good point about considering “what to do prior to the fall.” I
> wish I could apply that in learning to wheel walk. When you fall
> backwards and your butt heads straight for the pavement, how do you
> handle that? This happened once and is probably what’s keeping me from
> practicing ww more often.

I have had the wind knocked out of me twice in my life. Once was in the
playground, in elementary school. The second was early this summer when I
was learing to wheel walk. I must have leaned back a little too far, and
very soon, there was no longer a unicycle holding me up. My weight was
well distributed across my back. (Actually, the back having a large
surface area meant I wasn’t actually injured… it just took me 20 minutes
before I could breathe normally again)

As for recovering from that, I’m not sure I know how. What I have learned,
is to not let the fall be so bad as that in the first place. As I’ve
gotten better at ww, I’ve naturally gotten better at sensing when I am
stable, and when I am not. As soon as I realize I am in an unstable
position, I try to correct it. If I can’t, I have to figure out the good
way to land. Most of the time, I can turn a backwards fall into a sideways
fall before I leave the seat. If I can’t, I’ve sometimes managed to turn
the fall into a backwards run.

The better you are at a trick, the better you will tend to be from
recovering from falls resulting from that trick. To be good at recovering
from falls resulting from any trick. That’s the prize I’m after :slight_smile:

jeff lutkus

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After making excellent suggestions re: martial arts and their application
to falling, Nycjoe@aol.com adds:
>I guess the basic principle in falling is being loose and distributing
>the impact across as much of your body as possible. The opposite would be
>to stick out a wrist, or land on your knee. Usually you see this in
>people who are afraid of falling, or perhaps not that used to any kind of
>extreme physical movement.
>
>I tend to think of it this way - once you know you are going into a
>fall, go with it, don’t resist. Let your body flop like a rag doll. You
>make a good point about considering “what to do prior to the fall.” I
>wish I could apply that in learning to wheel walk. When you fall
>backwards and your butt heads straight for the pavement, how do you
>handle that? This happened once and is probably what’s keeping me from
>practicing ww more often.

I would add that there are two things that have helped me avoid serious
injuries in the past year (which is when I got serious about the levels):

  1. Wear at least one wrist guard.
  2. Reach for the ground as you are falling.

I applied these when learning to wheel walk with incredible results so
that I never hurt myself when I had the guards on. One day, after I had
mastered the basics, I was showing off for a student and fell backwards,
landing on my wrists. Both hurt for weeks afterwards and even had little
gravel impressions (from the sidewalk) for days. There were also a number
of lacerations and bruises across the greater part of my ego, and these
wounds are still healing, thanks in no part to my young student who keeps
innocently mentioning my stupid fall.

David Stone

                    Co-founder, Unatics of NY
                    1st Sunday / 3rd Saturday
                     @ Central Park Bandshell

3: 30 start time after 11/1/01

General tips on falling:

  1. Don’t
  2. Try not to

David-

I am of the philosophy that our “stupid” falls (those in which there are no real injuries) bring great joy to others. I know I have personally made many people very happy.

Practice falls on a trampoline (Without the unicycle)

harper writes:
>General tips on falling:
>
>1. Don’t
>2. Try not to
>
>David- I am of the philosophy that our “stupid” falls (those in which
>there are no real injuries) bring great joy to others. I know I have
>personally made many people very happy.
>
>David Stone wrote:
> > There were also a number of lacerations and bruises across the
> > greater part of my ego, and these wounds are still healing, thanks in
> > no part
>to
> > my young student who keeps innocently mentioning my stupid fall.
>
Here was a fall which was stupid and yet brought no joy to anyone
but myself.

I had just switched down to the 4.3" cranks on the Coker and was still
having some difficulty freemounting. There is a skinnyish section of the
Brooklyn Bridge where peds and cyclists find themselves. I was
freemounting in that spot. I hopped onto Roger the Coker and found that he
was in no mood for a ride; my top pedal reached 12 o’clock and suddenly
the beast sprung out from beneath me – just as this couple approached
this area of the path. Roger rolled right at them and managed to get about
40 feet away from me. The man calmly put out his foot and gently knocked
Roger down. I think we all would have laughed except that the woman had
already shrieked (what the hell was she thinking?), so the guy had to act
brace instead of just smiling. After chuckling, I announced that this was
indeed the record for greatest distance covered by a riderless uni and
then hopped on safely and rode away.

I have fallen too many times at this point (riding 20 of the past 21
years) to be embarrassed.

David Stone Co-founder, Unatics of NY 1st Sunday / 3rd Saturday @ Central
Park Bandshell
1:30 start time after 11/1/01

Shrieking and thinking rarely accompany one another. Hopefully they strolled away and guffawed at a safe distance. Regardless, there is at least one woman who knows FOR SURE that her man can protect her from errant unicycles.

David, did the Uni do the water-melon-seed thing out behind you, or in front? My Coker UPD’s, even at speed, have always left the beast more-or-less where I dismounted. I wish I could fire it off like that… might start practicing Uni-Foo (maybe it has something to do with the name of the uni?). Who knows how far it would have gone if that bloke had not got in the way?

On topic: I typicaly extend my hands in a fall and use them to guide myself into a roll. If there is a choice, I always go forward.

Just like any other new skill, it helps to seperate it from other skills. You might try practicing falling while not on the uni- Akido was a great recommendation. And, to herald the same advice as others have already given, the first thing you can do to prepair yourself is armour.

Jeff, I find it interesting that you tend to dismount to the back- I wonder if this is directly related to your ability? Do riders of higher skill tend to do this because their style of riding, or is this just a personal inclination?

When I first learned to ride, it was on a barrowed Uni. I was paraniod that if I let the seat hit the ground, the owner would not let me use it any more- as a consiquence, I usualy catch the 24" in a UPD. Last night I was demonstrating a spin into a piroette, and was thrown. While I was still in the air, moving away from the uni, my hand shot out behind me and grabed the seat post, blind. I think this tends to stabalize a fall- if I can grab the uni, I can land on my feat. Lewis said it looked like I was Thor calling the Lucern Hamer back to my hand.

(by the way: Lewis rode about 15’ last night, started to topple, recovered into a 90 deg. turn, and rode another 6’. His method is NOT TO FALL, and abandon the uni.)

Christopher

C. Rhysling writes:
>
>David, did the Uni do the water-melon-seed thing out behind you, or in
>front? My Coker UPD’s, even at speed, have always left the beast
>more-or-less where I dismounted. I wish I could fire it off like that…
>might start practicing Uni-Foo (maybe it has something to do with the
>name of the uni?). Who knows how far it would have gone if that bloke had
>not got in the way?
It shot out in front of me. Well, the couple was right by the wall, so it
only had a few more feet of uninterrupted travel left, but without
obstacle it could have gone another 20-30 feet, easy. I had the same
trouble when learning the UW a few weeks ago where it would shoot out in
front and just roll. That’s why I decided to stop learning on downhills.
>
>
>On topic: I typicaly extend my hands in a fall and use them to guide
>myself into a roll. If there is a choice, I always go forward.
I have had only the one really bad UPD->fall on a Coker. All the other
UPDs, I was able to land on both feet and then run out. In the bad
fall, I tried to run it out and then fell backwards (go figure). I was
unhurt. I generally try to catch the Coker (or whatever uni I am
riding). In the one case where I fell, I held it for a time and then
let go so it fell behind
Ca.
>
<snip>
>
>Jeff, I find it interesting that you tend to dismount to the back- I
>wonder if this is directly related to your ability? Do riders of higher
>skill tend to do this because their style of riding, or is this just a
>personal inclination?
I never dismount with the uni behind me except on a giraffe, where I like
to see what’s in front of me so that I know the dismount is safe. In that
case, I lock the pedals, ‘fall’ forwards, and then step off the pedals
with a few feet to go. On the Coker, I get off to the back bc I find it
MUCH easier to catch that way (and catching a big Coker behind you is
somewhat unsightly, no?). On smaller unis, it hardly matters, tho I always
keep the uni in front of me since I usually will be walking a few more
feet, so it’s easier that way.
>
<snip>
>
>David Stone wrote:
> > I hopped onto Roger the Coker and found that he was in no mood for a
> > ride; my top pedal reached 12 o’clock and suddenly the beast sprung
> > out from beneath me – just as this couple approached this area of
> > the path. Roger rolled right at them and managed to get about 40 feet
> > away from me.
>
David

My body has trained itself to reach behind me with my right hand and grab the Uni, while my body goes forward and I land on my feet.

> Jeff, I find it interesting that you tend to dismount to the back- I
> wonder if this is directly related to your ability? Do riders of higher
> skill tend to do this because their style of riding, or is this just a
> personal inclination?

Almost all of my planned dismounts are with the wheel in front because
it’s easier to walk out of, and I don’t have to deal with reaching for the
seat behind me. As for the unplanned dismounts, I haven’t really kept a
tally… but I do know this – the ones worth remembering are the ones
where I fall backwards. If I fall forwards or sideways, I have a much
greater chance of properly catching myself, and the unicycle.

Now that I think of it, I think the greatest percentage of my falls are to
the side. Part of this has to do with the fact that if I fall backwards, I
can often (though certainly not always) change the call into a sideways
one before I hit the ground.

jeff lutkus

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On Wed, 19 Dec 2001 13:23:11 -0600 (CST) “Jeff Lutkus”
<lutkus@unicyclist.com> writes:
> Almost all of my planned dismounts are with the wheel in front because
> it’s easier to walk out of, and I don’t have to deal with reaching for
> the seat behind me. As for the unplanned dismounts, I
>
> haven’t really kept a tally… but I do know this – the ones worth
> remembering are the ones where I fall backwards. If I fall forwards or
> sideways, I have a much greater chance of properly catching myself, and
> the unicycle.

The same goes for me. If I plan the dismount I will stop and take a step
back. As far as UPDs, the worst are when I fall backwards while ww or one
footed stuff. I’m surprised that my reaction to falling is so fast now
that I will grab the seat without any conscious effort.

On a side note. Don’t try wheel walking in the rain, even on a knobby. I
once tried this and the unicycle shot out in front of me. I fell directly
from the seat to my backside. When I stood up there was a nice dry spot in
the parking lot. At least it was entertaining to the group of friends
watching me.

J


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> The same goes for me. If I plan the dismount I will stop and take a step
> back. As far as UPDs, the worst are when I fall backwards while ww or
> one footed stuff. I’m surprised that my reaction to falling is so fast
> now that I will grab the seat without any conscious effort.

I was just realizing the part about grabbing the seat… I don’t realize I
do it, but since I sprained my wrist, it’s a real effort not to (or to
grab with the other hand)

> On a side note. Don’t try wheel walking in the rain, even on a knobby. I
> once tried this and the unicycle shot out in front of me. I fell
> directly from the seat to my backside. When I stood up there was a nice
> dry spot in the parking lot. At least it was entertaining to the group
> of friends watching me.

Wheel walking in the rain is a great challenge, and way to build up skill.
Just as long as you’re willing to accept the consequences of slipping…
because it almost certianly will happen. Gliding in the rain… well, if
anyone has gotten that one, I’d like to hear about it.

jl

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