I spent almost six years training in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai Kickboxing at at martial arts academy that taught everyone the fundamental techniques in self-defense. You may be surprised to find out that most introductory self-defense classes start with the lesson on how to fall down. The reason for that is simple: It is very difficult to defend yourself if an assailant pushes you over and you crack your head on the concrete. You’ll be disoriented, in pain, and unable to focus on the beat down you are about to experience. That is why learning to fall down is a valuable skill, especially for sports officials.
There are twenty players on a lacrosse field wearing body armor and holding long shafts of metal. They are also running full speed and swinging their metal sticks around. Contrast that to the two officials who are wearing a collared shirt, black shorts, and cleats it is a wonder we don’t get hit or tripped up more often.
Still, the chance remains that we can get roughed up a bit while we officiate a game, and it is good self-preservation to know how to absorb a hit and fall down. My most recent training video for the GLOA takes a break from my typical whiteboard sessions and demos how to properly perform a break fall if you get hit from the front, and rolling through contact with the ground if you get hit from behind or from the side.