Why is flexibility so important for a fighter?
Let’s see the principal reasons why flexibility is so useful in martial arts (in combat and not only):
- We can kick stronger and higher (without having forcibly to jump)
- All the fighting movements become more fluid, powerful and fast (because they do not find the slowdown of limited joints)
- The body becomes more resistant and less predisposed to the most common accidents
- The body becomes less susceptible to levers, joint locks, etc. (read Chin Na)
- It reduces the need to stretch before a sudden fight (the more the limit of our articulation is far, the rarer it is reached)
- The range of movements that we can perform is greater (more space to load blows, more space to free us from a constriction, etc.)
- Even the use of weapons can be favored (we can reach positions otherwise impossible, normal ones become more effective / natural, etc.)
- Flexibility in general (as Yoga teaches) can lead us to the best state of health / wellness and (at an advanced level) can help us to check/control the operations of our internal organs (read Advanced body control)
The higher the purpose the higher the result
It does not matter if it takes a few weeks, six months, one year or two years to get results (read The right age to start practice), we must make our body as much as possible flexible.
The higher our goal is, the higher we will get. We must aim to:
- Do the side and the frontal split with both legs (read The easiest method to do the side split)
- Do the splits by standing against the wall (and then without supports, balanced on one leg)
- Do a backward bridge (from a standing position) with the body and then touch our head with each of our foot
- Bring each of our legs close to our head (sitting on the ground) and then place them behind our neck
- Fully join the palms of our hands (facing up) behind our back (trying to go up as much as we can)
- Allow our fingers to touch our wrists (in the backward direction)
With the time we will see the various exercises.
What is the real goal for a fighter?
The goal is not to become a contortionist but to increase (at the best of our possibilities) our flexibility. To obtain this:
- We must be gradual, especially if we start from scratch (and we are not 12 years old children)
- Before starting the real exercises we need to do (at least 1-2 months) of low-intensity stretching (read Basic soft stretching)
- We have to learn to listen to the signals of our body, if we feel an increasing discomfort in our joints, we must stop immediately and pass to milder exercises
- To accomplish this objective we must dedicate a few time in each training session (at least 10 minutes)
Younger kids will have fewer difficulties than adults but that does not matter, we should not discourage us, the important thing is to achieve a little improvement every day (some Shaolin monks have contortionist’s abilities even over 70 years, we have no excuses).
There isn’t an ultimate goal, the goal is just to improve, every day.
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.