This morning my martial arts training saved me from serious injury, yet again.
No, I didn’t ward off a home invader, but I did rely on the most often used physical, martial arts skill.
Last night while I was at the school, several parents came in and told me how icy the roads were; cars were sliding off the road and everyone should be extra careful out there.
After closing up the school, and after scraping the layers of ice off of my car windshield, I cautiously drove home.
On 287 I passed two cars on the side of the road and one multiple car accident, with police and firefighters on the scene.
I made it home safely, thankfully.
As I stepped ouf of my car, my left foot immediately slipped on the ice in my driveway.
Fortunately my body weight was still on my car seat, so although my foot slid out I didn’t fall out of the car.
I got out slowly and did the “old man shuffle” (taking short, uncertain, sliding steps) into the house.
The next morning I wasn’t so lucky.
The girls were getting ready for school and I went outside to warm up my wife’s Subaru, which I noticed was covered in ice.
That’s called a clue.
Half-conscious and in my slippers (apparently called “slip”pers for a reason), I walked out to start her car.
Now, there’s about a 2 degree slope as the sidewalk winds down to the driveway.
Normally, that’s not a big deal, but the driveway and the walkway were still coated with ice. Why wouldn’t they be, it was freezing out?
I planted my right foot and felt it slide out right from under me…
…then time slowed down.
…My half-awake brain had time to think to myself, “you forgot that it was icy last night (didn’t learn your lesson), it’s still cold, of course it’s slippery, and you wore slippers outside, that was a mistake…”
…As I fell to the pavement.
My right arm shot out reflexively to arrest my fall, and I was now instantly wide awake.
At the same time, still falling, I thought,”I’m going to break my wrist and/or my clavicle, the most common fall injuries.”
As my hand connected with the unforgiven concrete I slid it out behind me diagonally, and landed on my side, stretched out like a base runner sliding into home plate.
I lay there for a moment, taking inventory and scanning my body for any pains.
I dusted off my clothes (and my ego), got up and continued on my way without further incident.
See, over the decades I have trained myself in the #1 most used, and most practical, physical, martial arts skill — how to fall properly without getting hurt.
I tell all of my students that one day you may have to fight for your life, but we all slip up sometimes, be it on the ball field, on the stairs or on the ice, so I make sure everyone can fall safely.
In addition, the specific method of falling I have learn is much gentler and more instinctive than the “slap the ground” breakfalls students commonly learn in other martial arts.
Once again I’ve used my martial arts skills to save myself from some heinous doctor bills, and once again I thank my teachers for the great training.
Be careful out there.