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):
- 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) and in a lot of cases becomes able to better manage to chronical injuries
- In self-defense, it reduces the need to stretch before a sudden fight (read How to always be ready to fight); the more the limit of our articulation is far, the rarer it is reached
- In terms of training, it allows us to train more intensively by limiting the consequent disease in the next days (limiting stiffness, soreness, etc.)
- 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)
- We can kick stronger and higher (without having forcibly to jump, read How to kick (simple explanation))
Tong Zi Gong: the higher the purpose the higher the result
It does not matter if it takes a few weeks, six months, one 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, overcoming the 180° (read The easiest method to do the side split)
- Do the splits by leaning a foot on the wall (and then without supports, balanced on one leg)
- Bring each of our legs close to our head (sitting on the ground) and then place them behind our neck
- Bring our head between our legs (both backward and forward)
- Fully and precisely 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 a lot of exercises but the point is that, whatever our skill level is, we must aim to do more than our body already allows us to do. For some people can be a good result even to touch their ankles, it does not matter: in 6 Dragons Kung Fu, the focus is on the growth and not on the results.
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, read How to correctly perform stretching)
- 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 5-10 minutes)
In most cases (not always), 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-level abilities even over 70 years, we have no excuses).
There isn’t an ultimate goal, the goal is just to improve, every day.
- The use of legs in a real fight – How when and why we can use legs in a street fight
- Physical conditioning: how it works – What does it means to prepare a body for martial arts
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- What is your flexibility level?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.