By John Chunny Baker - originally posted on his blog here
So a story... A cyclist is riding through the CBD of Melbourne, when they start to approach a set of lights. The set of lights are red but change to green as the cyclist approaches the intersection, checking to make sure no cars were indicating to turn the all clear is given to the cyclist to continue through the intersection. As they reach the intersection the car in the front decides to change their mind and turn without indicating.
The Cyclist gets hit by this car, though neither party is going fast the bike gets caught by the bumper of the car, the cyclist is knocked off their bike and is heading towards the ground. Turns out the cyclist is fine with barely a scratch thanks to potential quick thinking, training or muscle memory. The cyclist was trained in parkour and was able to go into a roll on the pack of the fall reducing potential injury caused from this small accident. I know this because I was the cyclist.
It is important to train and experiment with the roll that we learn in Parkour. The roll is a great way to reduce impact from landings, falls, accidents and any other reason you are heading to ground with either speed or in an unexpected manner. I say experimenting with the roll is just as important as learning the basic roll because experimenting allows you to explore the roll in different directions. Instead of the usual forward momentum you can explore entering or exiting the roll in some of the other directions.
Exploring these different directions of the roll allows you to be more comfortable with entering and exiting rolls from different circumstances. We are not always in a position where we can enter a roll going in straight. Sometimes you can be restricted by the environment in which the roll is occurring, the movement before the roll, the movement you want to do after the roll and sometimes we misjudge or have accidents where we are falling from a strange and unexpected angle. If you have been exploring strange directions with rolls then you can be more prepared and have the necessary brain body coordination to be able to safely execute a roll that may just save you from harm.
While we are on the topic of training for the unexpected... Bail Training. It is the process of either intentionally “failing” a movement to create or simulate the different worst case scenarios you can face with your movement. Or the process of learning and practicing the potential skills to help those times when things do not go as well as hoped.
Some of these skills can include falling in safe ways (in all directions), learning the progressive and regressive versions of the movements, mobility, flexibility, mobility and conditioning.
Knowing the different ways something may go wrong can be intimidating and off putting for many folk, but knowing the different ways something can go wrong then intentionally working out ways to put yourself in those situations in a controlled manner can help prep the body and mind for the time you are in that situation for real. Imagine practicing for a speech you have to get, the more you go over your notes the less likely you will screw up. Same principal here, bail training is preparing yourself.
We could go into the different ways you can train or practice bail training, butt hat may have to be a post or video at another time.
But even if you play and experiment with falling safely and rolling in and from different directions this is more than enough to start to help you on your journey on being prepared for the unexpected
Testing and training these different skills can help you when you misjudge, but can also help you with progress allowing you to overcome mental challenges giving you more confidence with your movements and actions.
So go forth have fun, be safe, and go train roll, fails and just roll with it.
If you drive don't forget to indicate.
If you drive (or travel in cars) open the car door with the opposite hand to the door, this allows your body to do a part turn which allows you to check for cyclists before opening your door.