Martial Meets the Road


It’s been just a few days, and we’re still shaking a bit. A week ago, Debbie and I were struck by the same automobile while walking home from the market. The car took a sudden jump from a quick turn. Immediately, the driver started too fast on the new street. Nothing looked to stop in time. When he saw us in plain view and mid-street, he must have lost it and commenced to waffle even more.

I knew that I was going to get caught. Then I spotted the vehicle’s low hood and determined to try a body roll. I took the front of the car and it all worked beautifully, right over the hood. A moment later I found myself slammed to the ground but out of harm’s way. Meanwhile, almost at the same instant, Debbie was clipped and had fallen, but she seemed all right.

Three minutes more and we were surrounded by a dozen or so neighbors keeping eyes on us, telling us to keep down, calling police, contacting an ambulance. “There’s something about my left leg, but I’m ok,” Debbie said to the tribe closing a ring around here. She was rushed to the hospital but I beat them with my own car, even trying my best to take it a little slow.

All in all we were relatively lucky. Debbie sustained a small but significant break on her tibia and has to stay off her right leg for six weeks. Other than that, everything is fine. So far my dive-roll has presented us with no martial livingnoticeable problem, not even a scratch.

Reflecting on this, reminded me. This was not the first time my martial training had been useful off the mat. I remember an off-balance event at our locaI beach where I had to head-dive onto slate shores, just ducking and taking it on the shoulder as the rocks leaped up toward my skull.

Every Judo or Shuai Jiao practitioner I know is thankful for the falling training received when picking up his basics. It is persistently a life-saver, literally. Common among these scenes is being knocked down by a passing car, falling on icy turf, reversing your opponent’s attack and anything where head over backside rotating can set things alight. One of my students had a tree-trimming business. On his lesson, he said that his martial training had saved his life the day before. “My belt broke and I was shooting down and I reached out and caught it in a way I would never had done otherwise.” At that point he held up a Crane Hook hand. I congratulated him on his quick thinking.

From my angle, this is what martial arts is about–not the predictable outcome of events which display and emphasize the obvious uses of martial training. For me it is the unexpected where the essence of martial lives.

(Debbie says, “Don’t worry, I’m ok, just building emergency core muscles to carry me around.”)


22 Responses to “Martial Meets the Road”

  1. Tom Kiefer says:

    I’m so sorry about your accident. That is terrible news. I hope, if nothing else (and I certainly hope more than that), the driver offers an apology. Take care, TK

  2. Plum Staff says:

    Hi Tom,
    Thanks! The driver was devastated. He had his kids in the car and insisted this had never happened before. He apologized but, even better, he has insurance!

  3. Daniel Mroz says:

    Debbie, Shifu Ted,

    Thinking of you and wishing you all the best for a quick recovery.



  4. Stan says:

    Glad to hear you’re both not seriously injured and that the driver had insurance.

    Falling training has come in handy several times in my own life too. One of the bonuses of training!

    Tell Debbie to get well soon! Ya’ll are in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. So sorry to hear about your accident and especially Debbie’s injury. I hope it heals without complications.

    You’re right about learning how to fall, it hasn’t always kicked-in as well as I would like but there’s no doubt it helped me survive a number of potentially damaging accidents in the last few decades.

  6. Steven Vance says:

    I’m glad you both are basically okay. Scary stuff.

    I went to a Korean teacher when I was about 17, and there was a group of young Korean-American red belts – quite a handful…lol – one of whom got hit by a car while on his bicycle. He managed to do a diving roll off the bike. The worst he got was a couple bruises and scrapes. The bike was destroyed.

    Knowing how to fall – and having the confidence to do so – has been a blessing a couple of times.

  7. Rueben Littlejohn says:

    Keeping you in my thoughts as you recover..

  8. Plum Staff says:

    Thank you so much, Rueben. That means a lot to us.

  9. Plum Staff says:

    Off a bike? That is some skill. But you are right, it is not only the skill but the confidence to do so that is so important.
    Many thanks for your kind words.
    Ted and Debbie

  10. Hal Asbury says:

    I have to agree. I got lots of training falling down in martial arts and have used that most of all in real life. It doesn’t solve all problems, but it pays off handsomely! I hope you guys end up with no issues in the long term, and a quick recovery for actual injuries.

  11. William says:

    Sorry to hear about what happened, I’m glad you guys are Ok. Stay safe.

  12. Plum Staff says:

    Thanks, so much, William! Recovery is happening.

  13. Kaz says:

    I’m usually a silent reader here on Kaimen, but this warrants a:
    Oh no!! Sifu and Debbie, I’m so glad you are not more hurt. I will drop some of my bone-mending herb formula off at the Academy. Get well soon!

  14. Plum Staff says:

    Thanks, Kaz! We’re ok, and I would love some bone-mending goop.

  15. Elliott Monds says:

    wow folks,WE hope and pray deb and ted are on the mend. take care. from elliott.

  16. Plum Staff says:

    Hi Elliott,
    Good ot hear from you and thank you for your kind comment. Ted and I are doing fine. I broke my tibia at the knee so I have to stay off it for 6 weeks, but it’s just a matter of recovery. Hopefully, I come out better and stronger!
    Many good wishes,

  17. Jeff says:

    So glad you guys are ok. I’ve been around this too many times in my life. Years ago, a coworker was killed walking to work – what makes it worse was he was only working that second job for the insurance so he could get his teeth fixed.

    I can’t think of a time when the training saved my life, though. Usually it’s expressed in my ability to make impossible catches. Just the other day I saved a bottle of white truffle oil by catching it on my foot. However, there was that one time I deflected a 2×4 sliding off a roof. I guess that counts, right?

    Stay safe and heal up!

  18. Plum Staff says:

    Food saves absolutely count. You should see Ted in the kitchen; it’s like a real ballet.

    Thanks for the kind words,

  19. DavidFromDenver says:

    Glad everyone is all right. I can’t tell you how much 3 1/2 years of aikido back in the day has saved my bacon over the years falling in various situations. As Ted points out, movement must be reflexive. Which means it down at limbic-reptilian level.

    Only the good die young 🙂

  20. Ken Y says:

    Oh yikes, I’m so sorry this happened. I hope you mend uneventfully, and I’m glad that you’re generally ok.

  21. Bob Davis says:

    It’s exactly situations like this that I tell people, “you may never get in a fight, but you will fall and you want to be able to do it without getting hurt”. In addition to my training with Eng Sifu, I have done Aiki-JuJitsu for 25 years and have had a few falls where I was very thankful for my training. I am sorry to hear Debbie got hurt. I hope she heals quickly!

  22. Rich Mooney says:

    Glad to hear you are both doing well.

    Learning to fall properly is one of the most important skills you can learn in any martial art.

    Many older people are permanently disabled from bad falls.

    In a fight, improper falls account for a vast amount of bone breakage, and much worse; skull fractures resulting in a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).

    Falling is a fact of gravity and life. Best to be well prepared for what is statistically inevitable, in many instances in life, than to be ill-prepared and to pay a huge cost in return.

    Best wishes to your both, in your recovery!

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