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Friday, July 17, 2009

Stretching and flexibility in Martial Art

From: Examiner

Have you ever noticed in the movies, watching famous actors such as Jackie Chan, Jean Claude Vanne Damme, Steven Segal, Jason Statham, Cynthia Rothrock, Lucy Liu, and Michelle Yeoh, why all of these actors could perform such graceful and magical moves?

In the Martial-Arts, such as Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Kung-Fu, Kickboxing, and including many other styles, it is not only about the kicking or punching and not about throwing moves in the art itself.

It does rely on a lot of stretching, plenty of exercise, such as aerobic and anaerobic workouts, but it also does involve having the body agile or loose to not pull a muscle.

The body is much like a rubber band, the more you stretch constantly or have a daily routine to exercise the body, the more loose and flexible the body becomes. Its much easier as younger children learn and study any sport or physical exercise, such as in the Martial-Arts, it takes discipline and the will to want to be flexible.

For those who don’t consider yourself young as what you once used to be, there is still time to develop and improve on your flexibility and on your health. There are a few basic simple stretches that one can practice or train on when wishing to be able to perform a full side split or front split.

Each muscle in the legs, have different sets of fibers which the body must be loose enough or warmed up enough, to keep the kicks to become flexible in performing a strong kick, or to be able to kick head height.

Upper Body Stretches

Okinawa Japanese Style Side Kick

The upper body, as well as the upper and lower back, neck muscles, all must have the flexibility to be able to punch, strike, and perform guarding positions, or be able to evade from an attack.

So as in this case, even the joints and bones have to be able to move in a quick reaction or be able to act on a move either attacking or moving away from an attack.

The better your upper body, arms, back, and neck are loose enough or warmed up to train before a hard workout in the dojo or at home, it is essential to warm up the fibers of the body to keep it loose.

Side and Back Stretch

Tae Kwon Do High Side Kick

Regardless of what style you train to learn in the Martial-Arts, without flexibility, loose joints, warmed up body, it is easy to cause injury when wishing to train harder or go over your limit of what your true goal is in the martial arts.

This is also especially true, in the case if you are confronted in a real life situation, if your body is not loose enough.

If your body is not prepared to perform or execute a move from an attack, you could more likely injure yourself more than actually being confronted by an attacker on the street.

Not only the body has to be ready to have a great work out in the Dojo, but also, be ready when your life depends on your flexibility if it is your last line of defense, before you are able to call authorities for further emergency assistance.

If you were to pull a muscle or strain a joint, how would you able to defend yourself, and those who are your loved ones and people who are close to you, when they will need your assistance in a life threatening situation?

Shaolin Side Kick Stretch Demo

Capoeira Brazilian Dance/Martial Arts High Kick

The Martial Arts is a beautiful form or expression, that allows you to be open in a way that no other sport can allow you to do.

Other than from dancing and gymnastics, the Martial-Arts, allows you to express your body.

When it means being able to defend yourself and your loved ones, and to be able to have a great work out for either your health, or for competition.

Remember, it will not come over night to have those nice flashy, hard, and powerful kicks, or the quickness and manipulation of the hands, but it does take a great part of your time to stretch you lower and upper body.

What you put into it is really what you get out of it. It all depends on how far or what your mind stretches you where you wish to be.

Side Split Stretching Demo

Front Split Stretch Demo

~武德为首, Martial Art Virtue comes first

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