Aside from kicking “high”, it is necessary to be flexible to keep proper stance while shifting into throws, and escaping submission holds.
Remember in a life survival situation you might trip, fall, or be forced into an awkward movement by accident. Having a good range of motion can prevent injury in these incidences.
Flexibility also helps coordination, improves blood flow, enhances stability and aids in all other important bodily functions.
Strength & Flexibility
Myth #1 About Strength and Flexibility.
I’m sure some of you have heard the statement that if you have big muscles it will reduce your flexibility, the term has been coined “Muscle bound”, It’s actually quite the opposite based on the studies done in recent years, Harvard.edu stretching to reduce the chance of injury and diminish exercise-related muscle soreness. In essence strength and flexibility enhance on another. Any Neglect of one or more particular muscle groups will result in loss in flexion. Experts in the Strength Training Field and Physical Therapy all suggest about 10 minutes of stretching be performed after a training session
Types of Stretching
Most Karateka practice a range of stretching exercises. Which are listed and explained below;
Active Stretching- This first stretch is something you may recognize as a technique a yoga practitioner would do. This is where you hold (for about 10 seconds) a pose using nothing but your strength of that muscle.
Isometric Stretching- The quickest method to lengthening, strengthening and stretching your muscles is Isometric Stretching. Using your own limbs you apply resistance, there is no actual movement and it mimics a basic Static Stretch.
Dynamic Stretching- This stretch consists of moving your limbs and body as a whole incrementally increasing the speed and range of the movements. This stretch should be halted when the muscles get tired. A great example of this stretch in a martial artists training , and exercise we perform regularly at the dojo is starting with a low front kick (Mae Gari) and work your way up to kicking chest and then head level.
PNF Stretching- Or Commonly referred to (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) which is considered the latest form in stretching. Originally designed for use with stroke victims quickly became popular for the general populous. This stretch combines Isometric and Passive stretching. The quickest method to lengthening, strengthening and stretching your muscles is isometric
Ballistic Stretching-This is not commonly used by martial artist because it has a tendency to reduce flexibility because it prevents the muscles from fully relaxing while in a stretched position. While in a stretched position you use your momentum and weight, bouncing at the end of a stretch.
Static Stretching- This last stretch is commonly used when dealing with injured muscles. You take a pose and hold it with another limb or part of your body. It is a very slow and relaxing stretch easy for the beginner.
Video of Stretching Demonstration:
Stretching has multiple benefits for the beginning to advanced martial artist practicing Shorin-Ryu, Shorinkan, Okinawan Karate, Kids and Adult Karateka everywhere. Begin your stretches with 5-10 min sessions two times daily. When you are comfortable and more flexible you can up the time. We do these stretches before each class at Hughes Karate-Do, Chandler Az.