From stretching to tendons transformation
As you have seen in Lesson 6.3, stretching can have a variety of applications; after having understood its function of preparation for good training performances (after warm-up, read Lesson 1.3) let’s pass to the next step: gain flexibility.
Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).
Before continuing let’s stress that:
- You cannot start a tendons transformation training without having consulted your physician
- A flexibility workout must be always preceded by a correct warm-up (How to correctly perform warm-up)
- In our school (but not only), tendons transformation is normally the last part of an intense Kung Fu session (after a good basic stretching, read How to correctly perform stretching, and possibly after other martial exercises, never alone)
- Each time you cannot execute the introductory exercises (read Basic soft stretching and Basic warm-up) avoid forcing your body, especially if you are at the first experiences
- At the same exercise each person reacts differently, someone can get results faster, someone slower (read The right age to start practice), it doesn’t matter
A note by Master Kongling – Remember, your goal is not to try to rapidly become better than the others (if you think this you’d better forget Kung Fu), the goal is to be better than yourself, every day.
How to gain flexibility
For combat purpose, to obtain a valid flexibility level you need to:
- Reinforce the involved muscles – So they can sustain the elongations without suffering damage, even in dynamic situations (read Lesson 6.1)
- Practice correct breathing – It is fundamental to sync your breathing with the movements of opening and closure, elongation and relaxation (read Meditation method 5)
- Avoid stress and psychological tension – Life problems (read Accept problems to find solutions) can cause enough tension to even paralyze part of your body; no one can control what happens outside his mind, you can control what happens inside, through meditation
- Eat and drink correctly – As recommended in 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s Nutrition Guide (included in the Core Course, read A Home Study Kung Fu: from beginner to expert), let’s avoid junk food, let’s drink plenty of water (at least 30ml / Kg each day), let’s opt for white meat, fruit and vegetables and everything that contains Magnesium (read Qi and proper nutrition)
- Learn to listen to your body – Understanding when it is at its limit and predicting how far it can go (for example, you have to become able to distinguish when it is aching for a physical effort from when it is due to excessive inactivity, etc.)
- Practice specific tendons transformation session – At least every 2-3 days you have to dedicate specific time to the elongation, 5-15 minutes are enough, even doing other things (reading, eating, etc.); do not practice if the involved body elements are in pain
Flexibility: tendonds transformation vs stretching
It is important to understand that:
- Normal stretching must be performed every day (before every training session) but as you can check by yourself, it does not guarantee any high-level result (all the sportive perform stretching but not all of them are able to reach certain levels of flexibility)
- You should never interrupt or skip your tendons transformation path (eg. because you are listless); after a certain level, if you stop to train elongation, in a few days you will start to lose all the hard work done in the past; nothing is irreparable but to waste time for nothing is simply silly
- Being able to listen to your body is not easy or immediate, it is a skill that comes with time, practice and focus on what happens inside of you; after the first period of wrong perceptions (due to inexperience) you will start to feel things that you never expected
Static and dynamic flexibility
Static flexibility exercises
Here you can find a selection of exercises for static flexibility (intermediate level):
- Side split – Read The easiest method to do the side split and Side split: a few tricks
- Upper limbs – Read Stretch the upper limbs: 3 easy exercises
Dynamic flexibility exercises
Here you can find a selection of exercises for dynamic flexibility (intermediate level):
- Lower limbs – Read Dynamic stretching: an exercise for the lower limbs
Static and dynamic exercises
Here you find other exercises (various levels):
- With a stick – 5 stretching exercises with a stick
- Body flexibility: martial arts – An explanation of why flexibility is so important for a martial artist
- Conditioning check for flexibility – A deepening of what good conditioning for flexibility requires
Author: Master KonglingFounder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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