Failing is Part of Learning

In yesterday's class we practiced some rolling and very basic Judo falling techniques i.e. break falls or known as Ukemi. I am not a Judo teacher, but I remembered enough to teach the guys a basic hip throw. Hopefully I did my dad proud! The main emphasis was to introduce my students to Ukemi or the art of falling. It is vital one knows how to adapt and minimise injury when the unexpected fall or slip occurs. 

A great inspiration outside of the obvious martial arts origin is Parkour Ukemi, a fantastic resource analysing Parkour jumps/vaults etc gone wrong and discussing/breaking down how the practitioner recovered relatively unscathed. 

In the words of Amos Rendao, founder of Parkour Ukemi: "Failing is part of learning. Let's strengthen our community by studying the inevitable. Parkour Ukemi is a project that studies falling techniques related to the scenarios one will find through the practice of Parkour and other hard surface movement arts. It is highly practical and may even be necessary to keep us safe as our discipline evolves in ways we cannot presently fathom."

Exposure as Practice

Yesterday's class was a good reminder that one should expose themselves to the challenge of adaption - in this case adapting to one's environment and the situation. We are used to the challenge of adapting to the environment in the context of moving through it, overcoming obstacles, adapting to the different demands that we might not find in a controlled indoor environment - for example the different demands on your grip when holding onto a wall. And there are many different walls! We adapt to the tools we have available from a suitable rail, to balance and vault on, finding targets for precision jumps suitable for the individuals ability, to a good wall to practice handstands, hanging, traversing and climb ups on.

What we had forgotten was that we also have to adapt to people! From being told we are too old to play in an empty playground, to various security guards telling us we couldn't do this, couldn't move there - mumbling some nonsense they didn't believe about health and safety. To dodgy characters stalking us looking for trouble, to young bolshy skaters, hyped up off of pizza and Mountain Dew practically marking their territory and complaining that we couldn't move where they were skating... You'd think we would have empathy from a culture often persecuted and moved on for their love of practice in public... not today. Did this stop us moving? Hell no.

And this is all said light-heartedly as we all saw the funny side of the social challenges presented to our usual movement based ones. We adapted, moved on when we had to and managed to carry out our practice in a variety of locations. It was wet and slippery, great for staying mindful and we did have the element of looking over our shoulder for an added practice of dealing with our sympathetic nervous response whilst staying focused! We kept moving and we moved well and overall we spread the love of moving (many looks of admiration, questions and a very nice lady who played photographer for us).