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14

Kicking has four parts to it: flexibility, technique, focus and ab's. For the flexibility, I have found PNF stretching to be quite beneficial. This is a form of stretching that uses periodic resistence/contraction followed by relaxation to achieve a deeper strectch and excellent long term results (here is a reasonable Youtube example). Of course flexibility ...


11

First off, start small. Any stretch should be done by going to maximum natural (untensed or relaxed) extension, then moving slightly past it until it feels relaxed and natural, breathing through discomfort, but heeding pain. Once you get into position, hold it until it relaxes, then extend the stretch a little further. Repeat as possible. By going further, ...


8

I am a huge fan of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching. It is what I used to be able to do the splits cold. Ideally you need a partner for it, but most of it can be done by yourself although you will have slower or limited results doing it solo. The premise of the stretch is to relax the target muscles, then force them to tighten and ...


8

Classifying tai-chi-for-health What are we talking about when we talk about forms-based tai chi? Evaluating the practice as an ignorant outsider, it's essentially a slow dance. There are a number of one-footed balancing postures, deep lunges or otherwise low stances, and opportunity to stretch the limbs as well as flex and extend. In addition to the ...


5

I agree with Robin that squats and deadlifts are important. but i disagree that if you can't squat your own body weight you shouldn't be doing martial arts. Squats are actually great for improving your hip flexibility, most people think they are only for strengthening, but they definitely improve your hip and ankle flexibility. Just make sure your form ...


5

This seems like a tough question to answer to me because "health" is a vague term and it begs to be compared to other things. I would think one advantage forms based tai chi would have over the other things you mentioned (running, strength training) is an additional mental discipline / meditative aspect that would contribute to mental health and well-being ...


5

Slugster's great post forgot to mention relaxation. Conditioning to build strength and improve flexibility is very important. However, fast, fluid motion also requires you to be relaxed and it's harder to achieve relaxation of the large leg muscles than it is of the arms. One drill I give people is to get a pile of cushions at a height they can ...


5

I can think of two: Heel front kick. As @Sean Patrick Floyd said, it's more of a thrust kick Toe front kick. Basically, you will kick straight in, with your toes into the target. The target, in this instance, is the abdominal waist band muscles. The direction of the strike is in and down. I do not recommend the toe front kick lightly - for most people ...


3

There are two principle exercises, one for inside round kicks, and one for outside round kicks. The excersices are also referred to as 'inside-out' and 'outside-in'. Basically, for inside-out: Bring your right leg as close to your chest without bending over or lifting your left foot off the ground. Rotate your right leg to the right, while bringing ...


3

Although, both answers so far have made good points I happen to agree with, I would like to weigh in with an alternative albeit perhaps not so very popular answer. I would argue that by selecting just a small subset of the whole system, you are already forfeiting some of the benefits that the whole system can offer. Or to quote the words of Yang Cheng Fu ...


2

Not sure what you mean by crab walk, but I guess I could kinda see why you would call it that. Here's a shoulder flexibility exercise for the range of motion the two movements you mention involve: stand straight, feet together prepatory stretching: interlock your fingers, arms straight above head, palm out facing sky lean back as far as you can go, ...


2

PNF is great! I started using it about 10 years ago and it has done wonders for me and some students. It is tough to show this method to students in class to most as there are different skill levels, and sometimes a new student or two. I try to incorporate this into my karate program as well as yoga poses in the beginning and at the end. I also use straps ...


2

I used to have similar problems with the round house... Have you tried dynamic stretches such as simple front, side and outward/inward kicks into the air, instead of static stretches? Static stretches before you're fully warmed up might actually making things harder for you by weakening the muscles/tendons. Also are you turning your (grounded) foot ...


2

i find the best way to increase flexibility is to stretch with a partner and resistance. I used to to this will my strength and conditioning coach back in they day,a nd a bit in my muay thai classes as well. first version: basically what you want to do is stand (probably with a hand on the wall) perpendicular to the wall, put your leg up into the position ...


2

In addition to the usual suspects mentioned, the "pigeon" vinyasa yoga postures are also very effective for opening the hips. http://www.yogacards.com/vinyasa_yoga/vinyasa-yoga-cards/vinyas-yoga-for-hips.jpg


1

Pre-communist legit taijiquan can bring a buttload of health benefits but in reality, it was designed really for combat. Seriously. Look up about the original "taijiquan" which came from the Chen family. And the mentioned founder of the family combat system: Chen Wangting. He was a general of the late ming dynasty. If you saw the fact of how he was able to ...


1

I have found it extremely good at dealing with RSI (tendonitis). Daily practice of Tai Chi helped me reduce nodules on an almost unusable right wrist to the point where the problem is a distant memory. My late mother also benefited hugely from some very simple Tai Chi, not much more than warmup and about half the short form, for her balance. As a long-term ...


1

As has been mentioned here, when studying Tai Qi, you need to study the system as a whole. When studying any martial art for only health benefits, you lose the majority of the benefit of that art. That said, the primary benefit of Tai Qi, health or otherwise, is strong Qi development. As this occurs, health will improve. The problem I have with Tai Qi ...


1

In my own experience, dynamic stretching is really effective for kicking flexibility. For kicking, you need a dynamic motion in your limbs and joints, so that is what you practice. For example, rest a hand against the wall for balance, and do leg swings. Keep your leg straight, relax your muscles and lift it up until you feel a stretch, for a number of ...


1

If your mobility difficulties are limited to your toes, then crescent kicks might be another option for you. They start out similarly to a front kick, but you aim slightly to one side of your target and then snap your leg around in a crescent motion to connect with the inside or outside edges of your foot.


1

If it's Taekwondo, I've found there's too much static stretching before drills. If I'm training on my own, I feel better warming up through fairly relaxed but rhythmic turning (roundhouse?) kicks, first a shin height, and working up as you feel comfortable, and keep going in a steady rhythm till you're about as high up as you normally kick. Then for side ...



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