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17

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 resistance/contraction followed by relaxation to achieve a deeper stretch and excellent long term results (here is a reasonable Youtube example). Of course flexibility ...


13

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, ...


11

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 ...


11

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 ...


8

There are two important points to consider: Full splits are not essential in many martial arts systems. Kicking itself may be secondary. The motivation behind full splits is often high kicking, which is high-risk in combat. See Low kicks vs high kicks in street fight. No one expects beginning students to have full splits. If your martial arts school ...


7

Based on your age, there is no reason why you cannot. It won't happen for everyone, but if you did them at an earlier age then you should be able to do them again. But make no mistake, it is going to take some sustained and regular training to achieve it, and if you stop stretching once you've achieved the splits then you will gradually lose your flexibility ...


7

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 ...


7

First I just want to say that at age 44, you shouldn't expect your body to perform the same as an 18 year old's body. It's just not realistic. So resist the temptation to compare yourself to them, or anyone for that matter. Now, that doesn't mean you can't make continual, gradual progress from where you are now. Go ahead and try. But I just want to warn ...


6

"The Stomp / Push / Teep" kick an effective frontkick. Imagine the kind of kick you'd use if you were trying to kick a door in. You make contact with the flat of your foot.


6

I've covered this briefly in another answer, but splits don't help kicks. You should, in around 6 weeks be able to achieve your maximum kicking height doing dynamic stretches (leg swings). Each morning, do between 1 to 3 sets of 10 leg swings to the front, side and back. You don't need to force this or feel pain, just swing until you can't swing any ...


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 ...


5

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, ...


5

Your master has been doing this stuff for several years (hopefully), so obviously he'll look better at it. It took me a good 6 months to be able to kick above my head and 2 years before I could do a full split. That didn't stop me from being successful in Taekwondo. You need more than just flexibility for high kicks though. You also need strong core muscles,...


5

TL;DR No, it's not essential. Full splits are an impressive display of flexibility, but few martial arts include them as anything other than a nifty party trick or exhibitions.


4

Trying to achieve a full split in just two months is an optimistic goal; I would expect it to take longer. my inner thighs and outer hips pain a lot. Immediately I would make a distinction between discomfort and pain. You should feel discomfort, but if you are feeling pain then you need to stop and re-evaluate what you are doing. Having discomfort in ...


4

First, it's normal to have hip soreness when beginning or restarting TKD. It's hard to say if you're causing yourself real injury, and as always I suggest you consult a physician if this is a real concern for you. Only you can really tell if the soreness/strain you're feeling is the normal soreness of training, or a sign of something serious. Monitor it ...


4

FWIW, after struggling similarly (and being given many different stretches and training methods to "fix" it) I had an MRI done and found out that my hips are formed in such a way that it is essentially impossible for me to kick above the mid-section from the side. No amount of training could ever overcome this. The only way to fix it would be to have my hip ...


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 ...


3

The short answer is - you might NOT be able to get further flexibility in your spine without causing yourself pain or injury. Flexibility in general doesn't necessarily equate to safe flexibility. Ultimately, you're going to want to work close with a physical therapist for your back, but here's some useful information to help you make better choices in ...


3

Several arts teach front kicks using the heel. That should work for you. It has more power, but less speed and reach. The movement is also slightly different, it's less of a snap and more of a thrust.


3

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 ...


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

Your potential for a split will depend on a few things. If you look at Tom Kurz's work on stretching it will go into more detail, but in short, do deep goblet squats (or front squats) and as you build your strength move apart your legs. The reason is the correct positioning for a box or front split is actually a very, very deep squat. Although if your aim ...


3

I know this is an old question but I'm relatively new to this site and thought I could help. I can do a 180 degree split if it's front to back but it's still at times difficult to kick an opponent in the head with a roundhouse. What has helped me, believe it or not, is yoga, specifically a pose called pigeon. What this does is help get a deep stretch ...


3

I took it quite literally by perform 50 of each kick daily. I saw improvements pretty quickly. Concentrate on the technique first. The flexibility will come with time.


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

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


2

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 ...



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