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Get Flexible for Martial Arts TrainingPosted on Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 7:15 am
by IDMA Editor
The good news is that anyone at any age can change their flexibility level. Just start right from where you are now and build on it day by day. If you don't know how to start, it's best to take some private lessons with an instructor that can assist you in gently stretching your body and taking it further than you can on your own.
The next best thing is DVD's or classes from a qualified instructor. It would also be valuable wherever you study or train in martial arts to make sure there is a proper warm-up and cool down lead by someone who has already achieved a healthy level of flexibility. This will be a valuable investment into your health that keeps on giving. If you include regular stretching before and after training, it can help keep your body youthful for the rest of your life!
Photo of Chloe Bruce Martial artist and International Performer
I regularly witness people of any age dramatically increase their flexibility, continually progressing and training at peak levels, when they regularly practice the following routines:
Meditation and visualization
Cross-training (to give the other muscles used during martial arts practice a chance to recover)
Regular maintenance of kung fu skills, while working on mastering something new
Supplements (everyone has different needs; for my body calcium, vitamin D and Sun Chlorella is a must)
Sleep (when our body repairs muscles and processes new information)
Flexibility is the key to working out at your highest level because it increases the range of motions. 98 percent of injuries are due to a lack of flexibility.
Also, stretching is a critical tool in anti-aging because by gaining flexibility one loses that hunched-over posture and appears more youthful -- gaining the ability to perform martial arts with fluidity and ease.
If one is working out without stretching, there's is an imbalance in the body. Doing just one or two stretches is not enough because everything is connected. Stretching and strengthening the entire body will create balance that will leave you feeling free and open. It's sad how many injuries, unnecessary surgeries and use of pain medication could be prevented if people only knew how to properly stretch themselves.
When many martial artists perform the side kick, often the t-band (low back, outer hip area) gets tighter and tighter. That can get really painful and limit your training. Most people don't know how to keep that area in balance/open. Once you know the proper routine of stretches the pain leaves and one is able to kick even higher and with more ease!
It's important to know that practicing stretches in a specific order can help the body to open up faster. For example, before you can effectively stretch the hamstrings and the line up into lower back, one must stretch the calves thoroughly first.
Photo of Chloe Bruce Instructor for Kicking Perfection
Stretches in the proper order, help prepare the body for each following stretch:
Upper body (It's important not to forget about stretching the upper body, shoulders, arm, hands and waist)
Inner Thighs/Groin area
One of the best in the world, Chloe Bruce, Guinness World Record holder, teaches you the art of kicking and stretching. The course instructs on flexibility, coordination, stretching and various types of kicks.Kicking Perfection