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16

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 ...


10

One of my favorite exercises in that area is holding a side kick against the wall. You execute a side kick with your foot against the wall, and then you shift your weight forward until your foot no longer slides down. This will only work if you hold your leg at least in a horizontal line. Once you have some balance you can work on height. If you get your ...


9

There are some very extensive answers on this stretching question on Fitness.SE, which I will use as the basis for this one but adapt in relation to martial arts. Dance, particularly ballet, seems close enough to martial arts due to its large range of motions. Not all martial arts feature extended leg movements, but you can probably infer to some degree how ...


7

As my sensei says, "there is the right amount of power and speed in the technique". Basically, what he is saying is that if you do it right, the speed will come on its own. Foundation That said, there is a difference between speed, strength, and power. It's one thing to say you can put 400lbs on your back and squat with it. That speaks to strength. ...


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

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

A fun way to work on balance (and endurance) is to stand in your kick stance, and draw out the alphabet with your kicking leg. This doesn't really work your actual kicking technique much, but it will work your balance and your endurance and strengthen all the muscels needed for kicking, and therefor your balance and technique will improve.


5

I have vague memories of simply trying various kicks in slow-motion, trying to keep my balance, until I could do most of them without losing my balance. Alternatively, try to just lift one foot off the ground from a "feet together" standing position. The foot only needs to be lifted until it's no longer touching the ground. Try to keep your balance. After a ...


5

When talking to people about this specific problem in class, I usually surprise them with my comment: "stop standing on your heel." If you are light on your heel but strong on the ball of your foot you have several advantages: You are using your calf muscles. They're very strong and confidence inspiring. You have less rotational friction than a planted ...


5

What do you do to an old engine the first time you start it up ? You warm it. Literally, the most important thing is making sure your friend is actually training. Pay attention to the body warmth, not only when it comes to warm up (also very important), but also right after the end of the training. Gradually, he should come out of the dojo as warm (sweated ...


5

Static Stretching Doesn't Go in The Warm-up I disagree that the exercise science is of mixed opinion or quality. It seems pretty clear to me that static stretching before dynamic exercises is contraindicated. Warm-up before working out, but don't sit down and relax into a stretch, or hold it for thirty seconds. Per Tom Kurz, a martial artist who ...


5

Stairs work really well. Power up and down, take them multiple steps at a time, go sideways, backwards, everything. Put as much vertical power into your step as possible. Second thing to try is working in front of a mirror or with a videocamera. This way you can watch your form and see where your sticking points are and where you're making unnecessary ...


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 ...


4

The science on static stretching in the warm up is not settled. The NY Times has a short article based on a review of stretching studies that points to static stretching in the warm up being neutral or beneficial. So most fitness experts currently advise against static stretches before exercise. But now a comprehensive new review of decades’ worth of ...


4

Here's the thing about shoulder pain: it might be a muscle strain, it might be partial tendon tear, it might be a pinched nerve, it might be bursitis, it might be a lot of things. Now, depending what the problem is, massage might help, rest might help, strengthening might help, stretching might help, ergonomics might help... hell, surgery might help. On ...


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

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

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

Both! Starting with dangerous: Obviously, if your partner pushes you to hard, you could easily over stretch and tear something. Just like if you try to stretch to much, or to cold by your self and over do it. Now on to the good stuff: It is absolutely beneficial. The one technique that I use quite often is to have yourself stretch to as far as it's ...


3

From what I've read regarding stretching is that your muscles need to be warm. Whether you do jumping jacks, jump rope, run, practice your forms, it doesn't matter. You need to get your muscles moving first. After that, it seems that dynamic stretching is more beneficial before exercise, and static stretching is better as a cool-down activity. You can ...


3

I would suggest doing kicks or your kata with a blindfold. This is usually much more difficult for older people as well, so if you are taking up the sport as an adult it can be very challenging and you'll get a few laughs out of it too!


3

Some techniques to improve balance include getting into a horse or front bow stance, slowly go through all of your kicks 10x, bringing the leg up to chamber, turning between 90-180 degrees slowly, extending your kick, turning back to the original position, then down to the original stance. Once you can do each kick up to 10x without losing your balance, ...


3

Do not over do it. Warm up before and down after each class. Eat well, hydrate before and after class, and keep in mind that doing things slowly is good at first. You can always speed up later once you know the form/kata/technique.


3

The body they have now is not the body they used to have. They may need a lot of attention for a few months, if they are not very self-aware, because they may try to do what they remember, and damage their body in the process. The best way is to start like any beginner would. Learn the basic movements. Slowly go down into the stances, getting feedback from ...


3

There are many possible causes for this roadblock to your stretching improvement. Firstly, I would recommend a stretching program, not just a drill, that you do regularly outside of class several times a week. Tom Kurz book Stretching Scientifically can help with that. The key is to use effective stretching tools beyond static, passive stretches. Secondly, ...


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 ...


2

I'm fifty two years old. Returned to Ninjutsu after decades of inactivity. After a few years I've had to stop training because of a back injury. My way back into training involved a one year term with the long staff: This allowed me to stay mostly upright, and not put a load on my back. Moreover, the group I've joined is a women's one, and is defined as ...


2

I suspect there are hardly any interesting scientific studies on this topic. Most studies I've read focus on popular sports like soccer, football or running. I was able to find two papers that did look (sort of) at martial arts: There is this paper but since they've measured bench-presses instead of actual training or fighting effectiveness I don't think ...


2

Weakness It could be that your hip flexor was tired or even inflamed, since you're not used to raising your leg to the front. If this is the case, recovery and subsequent training over several weeks should resolve the issue. Inflexibility Though you can do a split to the front and back, maybe your dynamic flexibility is poor. Static flexibility does not ...


2

Muscles, Tendons, Reflex Reactions So, here's the important thing to know about stretching. Your body has natural reflexes in the muscle spindles which causes them to act as "brakes" to slow down a movement if it's being moved too fast for what the muscle expects. It's a way to prevent damage to the joints. So the point of stretching is that it resets ...



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