Don’t do martial arts to improve your martial arts!
Stretching and mobility have always been a large part of my martial arts training. Over the years I have also included some weight training, running, club bells, mace, skipping and dancing. Yes you heard it right dancing, why have I included something that seems to have nothing to do with martial arts. Well consider all the different attributes and elements that you need but which are still relevant to both disciplines.
What you need in dancing you will need in your martial arts. Some examples are footwork, timing, blending with a partner, rhythm, fitness, turning quickly, stamina, aerobic and or anaerobic capacity and many more things besides. Why should you spend time on doing other things which are not martial arts?
Well if you just practice one front kick all the time that is fine but you are more likely to develop an injury with overuse of the joints, ligaments and tendons this of course becomes more prevalent as we age more.
Now I am not saying that you don’t need to practice the kick but what I am saying is there are many ways we can strengthen the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons to make your kick more effective. Let me give you an example; If I were to put on ankle weights on and just practice knee raises this would strengthen my hip flexors and would allow me a wider range of movement so as when I delivered the kick it would have more power through the full range of motion of that kick. Any time you have good knee lift it is then very easy to direct your leg and power to a Front kick, Side kick, Roundhouse or Back kick.
Another exercise I have used for years is stand facing a chair and still with ankle weights on, lift your leg over the back of the chair and you will see that you need to raise your knee quite high to get over the chair. Now if it is too difficult then just do it over the seat part of the chair for the time being. You must have good knee lift and be able to hold you leg out for three seconds each time. Now of course you can do it without ankle weights until you build your strength up.
Another great training aid I use is the 5.5kg medicine ball. I would hold it out in front of me palm up but with my elbow to the side. If I was holding it in my left hand palm up I would elbow strike it with my right side. After one blow I would then place it in my right hand palm up and strike it with my left elbow. You would just keep alternating sides until you had enough. I would also knee it too and you will find by just holding it out in front of you while striking you are also isometric weight training.
Using the medicine ball again by placing it on the floor and use your footwork to go around it, through it or over it. There are many combinations of footwork you can use. (looks like we are back to dancing again). You can of course invent your own. If you are struggling to think of things then the Panantukan downloads will help you.
So do something different to be able to improve your martial arts.
Keep well and train safe