Intro to Ukemi: Basic Martial Arts Falls

Are you a beginner? Considering martial arts training?

You’ll learn the basics first, which include stances, punches, and falling correctly.

The art of falling in martial arts is called ukemi and there are many types of falls.

The Basics

When falling, it’s important to prevent a head injury. To prevent injury, keep your chin tucked to your chest and focus on something in front of you, like your belt knot. If your eyes are unfocused, you might rock your head during the fall. As soon as your back hits the mat, slap the mat with your arms from shoulder to fingertip. Keep your arms positioned in a “v” shape when you do this rather than holding your arms out straight like a plus sign. When your arms are straight, your head tends to go back. Keep your legs uniform as one unit.

Suino Sensei slapping the mat | Martial Arts Ann Arbor

Beginner Falls

Two-Hand Back Fall: This fall utilizes all the basics. From a sitting position, keep your arms outstretched and keep your legs straight and together. Then, lean back while lifting your legs into the air, and as soon as your back hits the mat, slap with both hands and come back down to the sitting position.

With these same principles, you can do one-handed back falls and side to side falls.

Suino Sensei performing a two-handed back fall | Martial arts Ann Arbor

Standing Back Fall: When you fall standing up, you don’t want to fall straight like a tree. You could land on your head or fall with more force than necessary. You want to try to sit as much as possible during the fall so you don’t fall as far. To practice, stand with your arms straight in front of you. Bend your knees as if you’re trying to sit on your heels and fall backward. Once your back hits the mat, slap.

Suino Sensei performing a standing back fall | Martial Arts Ann Arbor

Forward Rolls: To forward roll, you’ll need to take a wide stance and really bend your knees - the closer to the floor, the better. Put one foot slightly forward, then make a wheel with your arms pointing toward the ground. By wheel, we mean your arms and upper back should feel circular. If your left foot is forward, your left hand should be forward. Set the wheel, look back to tuck your head, roll over your shoulders, and slap with your hands and feet.

Suino Sensei performing a forward roll | Martial Arts Ann Arbor

If you want to learn more advanced falls, watch our ukemi video!

Safe, Systematic Instruction! Martial Arts in Ann Arbor

We're not a fighting dojo, we're a learning dojo! When you train at JMAC, you can have peace of mind that it’s a safe environment where we listen to you and assess your skills before putting you in more challenging activities.

Receiving an injury is unlikely, but never impossible. That’s why we train safely and systematically. We can proudly say we’ve never had a serious injury! 

To start practicing martial arts in Ann Arbor, contact us today!