Martial Arts Flexibility

Flexibility is the motion or movement of ones own body. There are many types of flexibility movements; for sports, work, or just plain everyday activites. The benifits from flexibility are better circulation of the blood, less injuries, and more movent in the body.

Flexibility in the martial arts field is extremely important in order to correctly perform many of the moves and techniques of various forms. Many kicking drills, for example, require that people be able to kick to the level of someone’s shoulder or head. Without being flexible, this is not going to happen. In addition, many of the kicks in many different forms of martial arts must be performed in a backward kicking position where flexibility is essential to maintain balance and yet with the strength necessary for an effective blow.

Martial arts flexibility may take as little as a few weeks or a few years to perfect, but it is possible through stretching moves and exercises performed on a daily basis. This does not mean that you have to spend an hour or two every day stretching and flexing, but merely a few minutes either in the morning or at bedtime to loosen the joints in various areas of the body.

Take Russian kettlebells, for example. Russian power lifters and martial arts experts are available online to offer you instruction in how to use these simple weights to build exceptional power and strength throughout your whole body. For those not familiar with kettlebells, they are simple heavy balls with a handle so that you can lift them. They are very simple but can make a person stronger, more explosive, and with unbelievable endurance and coordination: just what is needed in any martial art, and used extensively in Russian military training.

Many martial artists, especially in the initial stages of study, are unaware of the true importance of strength, speed and power. In very simple terms, strength + speed = power. If you strike with great strength and high speed, you will generate great power. It is for reasons such as this that great Russian exponents of fitness and martial arts training such as Pavel Tsatsouline have been employed by the American special forces, police and other organizations to teach techniques such as those that enabled Russian Cossacks to slice a man from shoulder to saddle with nothing but a light saber (not a ‘light saber’ as in star Wars, but a saber that is not heavy!). This is spelled ‘sabre’ in Europe, where it originated.

Improve Your Flexibility

Stretch every time you exercise. The only way to improve your flexibility is through consistent stretching exercises. Every muscle is subject to the myotatic reflex (stretch reflex) which opposes changes in muscle length, especially sudden or extreme changes. When a muscle lengthens beyond a certain point, the myotatic reflex causes it to tighten and attempt to shorten. This is the tension you feel during stretching exercises.

The myotatic reflex is desirable because it prevents, in many cases, muscle strains and tears. Without it your muscles would be allowed to overextend and tear easily. But it is also undesirable in cases where it prevents you from fully using your body.

Benefits of flexibility exercises in martial arts

-Helps muscles relax and decreases stiffness
-Improves range of motion within joints
-Improves posture and muscular balance
-Reduces injury including risk of low back pain
-Enhances physical performance and efficiency
-May increase blood supply and nutrients to joint structures

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