old poll, new poll

well, it’s been a month or so since i posted the warm-up poll in the right sidebar of this site. unfortunately, there were not so many responses, but i’m guessing that this is because some people were not aware of the poll to begin with. at any rate, i’m going to try again with a brand spanking new poll and see i can make it a little more popular.

first, let’s look at what (little) the first poll may be able to tell us.

the first poll

the question was “how do you warm up?” – out of 12 responses,

  • 5 warm up by light calisthenics and static stretching
  • 4 warm up by dynamic stretching and joint mobility exercises
  • 1 warms up by relaxation and breathing exercises
  • 2 don’t warm up

obviously, most of the respondents (small sample as we are) are warming up by doing some jogging, arm circles, and et cetera, then sitting down on the floor and trying to touch their toes. i’m going to go out on a limb and guess that these people are american taido students. i say this because this is the traditional japanese warm-up that uchida sensei has used forever. other american instructors use this method because it’s “the way we’ve always done it”. we also do this warm-up in japan, but i doubt many japanese students are reading this site and responding to my poll.

no matter where the respondents reside, i don’t believe that this is a productive warm-up for taido practice. i’ll get in to details in an article sometime before long, but let me warn you now that static stretching prior to dynamic movements is known to increase the risk of muscle strains other movement injuries. for starters, i’ll refer you to the stretching faq written by brad appleton. i’ve also included this document on my links page along with other useful resources.

the joint-mobility-exercise-and-dynamic-stretch camp is where i (and a few others) currently fall. this warm-up paradigm was developed out of cold war sports performance research in in russia and other socialist nations. i’m guessing that i am the only american in taido who warms up this way (and i can tell you that nobody does in japan either). currently, most physical performance coaches seem to be advocating this kind of routine for the sorts of movements and abilities demanded by taido practice.

apparently, only one person warms up with the relax-and-breathe method. this doesn’t surprise me, and probably a few of you thought it was included as a joke-option. i have used progressive relaxation and an abbreviated tai chi routine as my primary warm-up in the past with quite good results. it’s not the best when you are actively attempting to improve your physical capabilities, but it is an excellent way to teach your body to trigger performance preparedness in a short time. provided, that is, that you already have the requisite strength and flexibility for your desired activities. specifically, this method is perfect for performance/competition events where you either don’t have the luxury of a full warm-up or must be in a state of physical readiness for an extended period of time.

and whoever isn’t warming up at all – you’re very bad boys or girls.

i’ll be getting on writing an article about warm-ups, asap, but in the meantime, feel free to comment on your own warm-up choices below.

the new poll

tell me what taido technique you enjoy doing the most. i don’t care what you’re best at, what you think is coolest, what’s the most difficult, or which one makes all the young girls cry. what i’m interested in finding out is which type of movement you find the most fun. what feels good to you physically (we’ll be using the taido definition of “hentai” for this one)?

pick one and let me know. i’ll give this poll a couple of weeks or so to run.