In aerial silks, the Kamikaze Drop stands out for its exceptional danger, primarily due to a potentially life-threatening oversight that could easily go unnoticed without explicit instruction. Although it can be very uncomfortable to discuss this topic, it is crucial that we raise awareness about it so that knowledge spreads through the community. We can each do our part to empower ourselves and other aerialists with the knowledge we need to make informed decisions about attempting this drop.
Please read the entire article and use this information responsibly. It is natural to become curious about this drop after learning about it – be responsible and protect your safety – do not attempt the drop without the supervision of a knowledgeable instructor who specifically understands the risks of this drop.
All aerial drops have their risks, but the Kamikaze Drop has a special combination of factors that make it particularly dangerous:
- If wrapped incorrectly, all the wraps come off and there is no support at the bottom of the drop
- The incorrect wrap pattern can feel and look correct
- The aerialist is poised head-first toward the ground, increasing the risk of a head/neck/spinal injury
Students – if this skill is introduced in class, ask the instructor:
“Can you explain the dangerous possible error in this drop and how to avoid it?
If they can’t explain it, or they do not mention “wraps uncrossing,” DO NOT proceed. You need more information to safely execute this skill.
The Theory Behind the Error
In this skill, there are two different times that you cross the tails behind your back. If you cross the same direction each time, you will land in a supportive wrap. If you cross a different direction each time, the crosses come undone when you drop. Even if you normally cross the same way every time, sometimes our human brains do funny things, and it is possible to unconsciously wrap two different ways. To account for that possibility, there is a safety measure.
The Safety Measure
There is a safety measure you can implement to account for the potential wrap error: cross TWICE behind your back on your final wrap. This way, if you set up the wraps incorrectly such that they would uncross upon dropping, there is yet a third cross that will become the only cross and it will catch you. If you originally wrapped correctly, you will simply land on a double cross which is also safe.
Here are pictures so you can recognize the drop – if your instructor introduces this, ask how to make sure the wraps do not uncross.
How we can promote safety and awareness:
- Learn about this skill and what makes it specifically so dangerous before deciding if you will teach it.
- Communicate to students about this drop so that they know to ask questions if another teacher ever introduces it.
- If you do decide to teach it, explain the error and be vigilant about watching your students wrap.
- Learn about this skill and what makes it specifically so dangerous before deciding if you will learn it.
- Tell your aerial friends about this drop so that they know to ask questions if another teacher ever introduces it.
- If a teacher introduces the skill, ask, “What are the special safety considerations for this skill?” And do not proceed if they don’t know or don’t mention the wraps uncrossing.
- If you decide to learn the skill, be mindful of your wraps and have someone watch you.
Here is a great explanation of this skill by Rebekah Leach: