I hope you're putting these tips to good use and beginning to see results in your training. This time, I want to give you a little advice on stretching that you can apply in every practice. As in the last tip on balance, I mentioned this one in my warm-up article. I'm repeating it here because it's important on it's own. It also complements the last tip in improving your kicking skills.
Building Dynamic Flexibility For KicksDynamic flexibility is the ability of muscle tissue to allow a particular range of motion in a dynamic fashion. Taido is a dynamic martial art, and kicks especially require muscles to release quickly. The common method of dynamic stretching is the swing kick. Most students have done this. Before I describe the technique, allow me to emphasize that swing kicks should only be done after the muscles are warm. They can be a component of the overall warm-up routine, but take extra care not to force the muscles into these stretches without adequate preparation. The stretch is very simple. Stand as if about to execute a front kick. Swing the rear leg forward as if kicking, but do not bend the knee. Start out low - about knee height - and gradually increase the amplitude (height) of the swing for five or ten repetitions. Then switch legs and do the other side. I recommend doing at least two sets per side. You should also do leg swings to the side and back. I'll let you figure out the specific technique for these on your own, as they are both "easier done than said." If you're unsure of how to do dynamic stretching in a particular direction, ask your instructor. I tend to do swing kicks after doing my slow kicks or 4CBD for balance. So my warm-up usually includes a sequence that looks like this:
- balance work
- swing kicks
- basic kicks