I have been learning Hapkido (and also Judo, Aikido, and some other similiar arts) for around 4 ~ 5 months now and one of it curriculum is falling technique (낙법 / nakbeob) that we studied so when we fall, we don't got any serious injuries.

I am wondering if this technique can applied in real life situation, like a fall from motorcycle / bicycle / scooter, fall because slippery floor, etc.

I am wondering this because last night, I fell from my scooter, and I didn't use this technique at all and just fell like other people (I have injured my knees).

  • What are you looking for in an answer aside from yes/no?
    – mattm
    Jan 26, 2017 at 2:39
  • well maybe some life experience story, also how to do it in real life, because accident is happen in a flash
    – Sandy
    Jan 26, 2017 at 6:10
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is asking for a discussion, not facts. A forum would be better suited to this. Jan 26, 2017 at 7:30
  • I know of three incidents where dangerous situations ended up without anything more than few scratches (two myself, one gf; two cycling, one on stairs). But all included several years of experience beforehand. Jan 26, 2017 at 10:51
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    A better question might be how to train toward using it unconsciously in an everyday situation. If you only train your ukemi as "If they use technique A, use breakfall B", you're probably not going to think of it when you trip instead. There's a guy who used to tour the country, teaching technique at nursing homes with a progression that got people to react properly as soon as they felt themselves losing their balance. Jan 26, 2017 at 13:08

5 Answers 5


This probably should go without saying, but you will learn to do what you train to do. If you only train your ukemi as "If they use technique A, use breakfall B", you're probably not going to think of it when you trip instead. To some degree, randori or just training a variety of techniques will teach you how to fall properly spontaneously because you're teaching yourself a general reaction rather than a formulaic response, but really, you should probably intentionally train for falling situations.

While it's not martial arts, take a look at Amos Rendao's Precision Slip Out drill for an example of how you might train, putting yourself in a situation where you put yourself in a likely fall situation where you have some safety measures (padding), but you can't predict all of the variables. This slipout method is actually valuable in general because that's not an uncommon way to trip up, and doing it repeatedly in reaction to your own motion will drill into you the basics of always lifting your head and always orienting yourself onto your back. I'd suggest also training things like going into a forward or sideways breakfall or rolling with your legs tangled, basically modeling tripping yourself rather than starting with legs shoulder-width apart. Lastly, if you can't arrange for a tripping hazard, use a training partner to make one. Just having someone push you into the trip will help since you can't start falling into it until they start, particularly if you force yourself to not be in an ideal situation at the start. Add to that the potential for them to change up which way they're tripping you, and you start learning to react spontaneously.


Training for how you plan to use your training will be much more effective.


Your training to fall unquestionably can be used in daily life, I've personally used it in several cases which resulted in nothing more than serious bruising to my ego.

So, slippery floor: yes.

However, you also qualified your question to apply to a moving vehicle (motorcycle, scooter, bike). In these cases, then, my answer is "no", since few places actually teach how to fall while moving at high speed.

If you trained at a stunt school, perhaps there may be overlapping techniques they use between that and some self-defense schools, but that is coincidental. Self-defense schools are focused on your safety from an aggressor, not your safety from a getaway (or a casual Sunday drive, for that matter).

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    On a side note, there is a discipline that can help train for that sort of falls outside of stunt schools, parkour. Since you often are travelling at higher speeds, you do learn to re-orient yourself to reduce injury. Jan 27, 2017 at 14:12

They most definitely are applicable in real situations. In our club, we call it investing in your old day. With that, we mean that even if you don't do martial arts, practicing proper falling technique will limit injuries when you're old.

Also outside of martial arts, falling techniques are often practiced by cyclists and the likes, to avoid exactly the sort of situation you had. One article on it can be found here: http://www.corfman.com/russell/cycling/crashtechnique.html

I'm sure everyone here knows stories of buddies, trainers, and so on, who fell from somewhere and saved their skin with falling techniques. Personally, I've heard stories of falling down a ladder and getting out of it unscathed due to them.

If you want a visual example of when backward falling technique would be useful, the comedian Conan o'Brien once slipped and fell, hitting his head and ending with a concussion. When slipping, you could really tell what he did wrong, and how he could have prevented concussion with proper falling techniques: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q_NOYOgf7k

In the end, it's about getting the proper reflexes. As such, they work in any situation, and for the rest of your life. They're invaluable, so take practicing them seriously!


Yes, it is applicable in real life situations. With time, your body will adapt and create what is known as muscle memory, so that you will do certain things without having to think. Five months of training are not enough for this muscle memory, but if you keep training you will eventaully get there, maybe whitin a year if you train hard and focus on ukemi.

One thing we do in our dojo to improve ukemi is that, occasionally (a few days over a year), we don't use any tatami in our training, so that we have to fall on the ground. If your falling is okay on the tatami but hurts on the ground, you know you're not doing it right and have the chance to try to fix it.

I myself fell from a bicycle at roughly 40km/h, flew over the bicycle; my knee got a little hurt because it absorbed more impact than it should but besides that, not a scratch. I think I was training in Aikido for about 2 years and a half at the time.

I also know of a sensei (3rd dan) who fell from a motorcycle and got very few injuries compared to what might have been if he didn't know any falling techniques.

  • Your last two paragraphs are problematic: Anecdotal evidence is utterly worthless especially when combined with fantastically hyperbolic claims… Feb 14, 2017 at 11:56

You have mentioned a few martial arts forms but the very first one, Hapkido makes all the difference.

Without casting aspersions, Hapkido is all about real-life scenarios. There are no set-patterns because in real-life there are no set-patterns to 'fall-down'. The only thing that is certain is gravity will pull you down. So, if your Hapkido training is improved/increase, it will help you in real-life situations.

In addition, one of the key principles of Hapkido is fluidity of movement, flow. And yes, it comes from the mind (then your body/movement). Greater focused learning & training will help in real-life scenarios.


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