Story time: I wiped out on concrete twice in one week. The first time, it was icy and I was drunk. I went head over heels in the blink of an eye. Careening towards hard pavement, I had one slim hope of escaping the night unscathed: to breakfall.
We've all repped hundreds of these during BJJ warm-ups on padded mats, in a planned setting. But do they work when it really counts -- on the streets?! One way or the other, I was about to find out.
Let's start with the first one. I had been celebrating new years eve in a divey pub in Plymouth pub, not far from the Cage Titans FC venue actually, and I was pretty sloshed. I'd drank, danced with my girlfriend, my brother, his girlfriend, and a few random old people at this weird ass bar we'd wandered into. After an hour of intoxicated Fortnite dancing, and after counting down to the new year, we decided that it was time to head home. We made our merry way through the dimly-lit parking lot, and honestly, and I never saw it coming.
Black ice! Slick, invisible, and potentially deadly. I got straight up scooped! My feet flew through the air higher than I'd ever been launched in an MMA fight. Airborne, disoriented -- I saw my legs fluttering against the first starry night sky of 2018 as pavement raced towards my skull. As if to say, "happy new year, motherfucker!"
And in that instant before certain death -- or more likely, just another notch on a long list of concussions -- years of training paid off big-time! Without conscious thought, my body knew what to do. My timing was flawless, my form was perfection: one decisive slap to the pavement dispersed the force of impact so evenly across my body that I didn't feel a thing.
I arose triumphantly, unscathed and validated by my success. Maybe those warm-ups weren't so stupid after all.
A surge of doubt: did I feel nothing because I'm drunk? Did I actually fracture my hand? Was my victory tonight a testament to hard-earned skill or just a capricious gift from lady luck?
Well, being the airhead that I am, I found myself running across ice only a few days later. I wiped out, but broke my fall in the same fashion, and proved that it was no fluke.
Breakfalls DO work!