This martial arts tip can save you from a bad fall

Most of our public spaces and even our homes are well-lit and relatively easy to maneuver around. But there are many times when we just can’t seem to keep from knocking into things, tripping and falling.

For people who wake in their sleep to use the restroom or get a glass of water and who are prone to tripping or falling, or who have poor balance overall or must maneuver in a cluttered environment, being able to take careful and steady steps is a must.

If you think this is not an important topic, think again. The statistics of falls among the elderly population indicates there is a problem.

According to a report by the American Academy of Family Physicians, “falls are the leading cause of injury-related visits to emergency departments in the United States and the primary etiology of accidental deaths in persons over the age of 65 years. The mortality rate for falls increases dramatically with age in both sexes and in all racial and ethnic groups, with falls accounting for 70 percent of accidental deaths in persons 75 years of age and older.”

They go on to state that 90% of hip fractures occur as a result of falls and that 60% of nursing home residents fall annually.

Can this be prevented? Certainly—but you may be surprised to find my tip comes from the martial arts.

The “half moon” step for better balance

I love traditional martial arts, especially the kind that are focused on self-development and grounded in traditional methods of mind-body development and physical culture. Plus, there are many movements from traditional martial arts that can carry over into everyday life — not just the obvious self-defense techniques, or strength-building exercises — but unique methods of movement.

One of them is known as the “half-moon step,” or “crescent step” in some arts. And my friend and Taekwondo master Herb Borkland has taken these advancing and retreating steps and developed their use for safe-walking in the dark or in cluttered spaces. In today’s video, he’ll explain the simple way to do it.

How to “Moon Step”

The method is simple. You put your weight onto one leg and make a half step with the other. You will draw a crescent or half-moon, from the inside to the outside, with your foot lightly sliding over the ground. Then do a half-moon step with the other foot.

Here, you are not raising a foot off the ground, and so balance in better maintained. Moreover, you are not stepping straight forward, you arcing the foot forward, which helps prevent tripping on objects.

To get the hang of it, just refer to Herb’s video. Better balance and increased chances of avoiding unseen objects can go a long way to preventing trips and falls, during the day and especially at night.

Dr. Mark Wiley

By Dr. Mark Wiley

Dr. Mark Wiley is an internationally renowned mind-body health practitioner, author, motivational speaker and teacher. He holds doctorates in both Oriental and alternative medicine, has done research in eight countries and has developed a model of health and wellness grounded in a self-directed, self-cure approach. Dr. Wiley has written 14 books and more than 500 articles. He serves on the Health Advisory Boards of several wellness centers and associations while focusing his attention on helping people achieve healthy and balanced lives through his work with Easy Health Options® and his company, Tambuli Media.