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OneKickWonder
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2018
Posts: 513

Styles: Tang soo do

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:28 pm    Post subject: Stretching - is it overrated? Reply with quote

A staple in many martial arts training regimes is the stretching exercises.

But is it overrated?

I know, if you want to deliver a roundhouse kick to a jaw line, you need to be a bit flexible. I get that.

But here's the thing. I know a number of ex military people from all sections of the military. They all have two things in common that I think are relevant to our civilian martial arts. They are all tough as hell and very combat worthy not only with weapons but also unarmed. And they don't specifically stretch. They keep fit by running. They stay strong by weight training. They do endurance activities. And they hit bags. But they don't spend a lot of time with stretches. Yet they could kick most civilian butts without drawing a sweat.

So this gets me wondering. Apart from display team acrobatics, is there really as much value in stretching as many of us are led to believe?
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14298
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not overrated whatsoever, imho!!

A very practical and smart way to avoid unnecessary injuries, However, one has to stretch smartly, alas, correctly.

I stretch constantly...at home, at the dojo, or wherever I can, especially as I grow older. At the dojo, I have my students stretch before and after class, and this I also do at the gym.

Can't be overrated if it's very beneficial to ones health!!

Is stretching overrated?? Is the air that I breath overrated??



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Last edited by sensei8 on Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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OneKickWonder
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2018
Posts: 513

Styles: Tang soo do

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
Not overrated whatsoever, imho!!

A very practical and smart way to avoid unnecessary injuries, However, one has to stretch smartly, alas, correctly.

I stretch constantly...at home, at the dojo, or wherever I can, especially as I grow older. At the dojo, I have my students stretch before and after class, and this I also do at the gym.

Can't be ove rated if it's very beneficial to ones health!!

Is stretching overrated?? Is the air that I breath overrated??




Thanks. But this just supports what we're always told. It doesn't explain why my ex military friends can be so tough without stretching routinely, if it is so necessary.
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OneKickWonder wrote:
sensei8 wrote:
Not overrated whatsoever, imho!!

A very practical and smart way to avoid unnecessary injuries, However, one has to stretch smartly, alas, correctly.

I stretch constantly...at home, at the dojo, or wherever I can, especially as I grow older. At the dojo, I have my students stretch before and after class, and this I also do at the gym.

Can't be ove rated if it's very beneficial to ones health!!

Is stretching overrated?? Is the air that I breath overrated??






Thanks. But this just supports what we're always told. It doesn't explain why my ex military friends can be so tough without stretching routinely, if it is so necessary.


I suspect most of these ex military folks won't be delivering round kicks to the jaw, nor would they need to. Chances are, their strikes are all very basic, but fast and efficient. A good chunk of their combat training probably involves a few relatively easy-to-execute-but-effective locks and throws. From my understanding, most "basic training" programs are 6 months long. Take these techniques, and train intensely (nearly daily) for 6 months... yeah, you'd be pretty good, too.

Certain stretches are absolutely necessary for me to be able to participate in my classes. If I don't keep my hip flexors warm and stretched (but not over-stretched) on my right hip, it gets strained pretty easily when I throw round kicks (especially jumping round kicks.)

Self-defense isn't my primary focus in martial arts (even though that's one of our school's primary focus.) I am doing it because it's a lot more fun than going to a gym and running on a treadmill/lifting weights, and I enjoy the challenge of learning new things/pushing my limits.

My flexibility has definitely improved. But, can I do the splits? Nope... If I did the splits, I'd probably stay in that position indefinitely. ...and, I don't think I'd ever be able to do a full split, and that's okay.
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5th Geup Jidokwan Tae Kwon Do/Hap Ki Do

(Never officially tested in aikido, iaido or kendo)
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14298
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OneKickWonder wrote:
sensei8 wrote:
Not overrated whatsoever, imho!!

A very practical and smart way to avoid unnecessary injuries, However, one has to stretch smartly, alas, correctly.

I stretch constantly...at home, at the dojo, or wherever I can, especially as I grow older. At the dojo, I have my students stretch before and after class, and this I also do at the gym.

Can't be overrated if it's very beneficial to ones health!!

Is stretching overrated?? Is the air that I breath overrated??




Thanks. But this just supports what we're always told. It doesn't explain why my ex military friends can be so tough without stretching routinely, if it is so necessary.

Then, I don't know why?? Ask your ex-military friends why?? Any answer we give will only be an assumption on our part.

Their reasons as to why might be as wide as the sky; ask them. Some, and I use to be one, require very little or no stretching whatsoever for one reason or another.

I consider myself quite tough, and I do know, if I need to defend myself, I'm not going to stretch first!!



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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
OneKickWonder wrote:
sensei8 wrote:
Not overrated whatsoever, imho!!

A very practical and smart way to avoid unnecessary injuries, However, one has to stretch smartly, alas, correctly.

I stretch constantly...at home, at the dojo, or wherever I can, especially as I grow older. At the dojo, I have my students stretch before and after class, and this I also do at the gym.

Can't be overrated if it's very beneficial to ones health!!

Is stretching overrated?? Is the air that I breath overrated??




Thanks. But this just supports what we're always told. It doesn't explain why my ex military friends can be so tough without stretching routinely, if it is so necessary.

Then, I don't know why?? Ask your ex-military friends why?? Any answer we give will only be an assumption on our part.

Their reasons as to why might be as wide as the sky; ask them. Some, and I use to be one, require very little or no stretching whatsoever for one reason or another.

I consider myself quite tough, and I do know, if I need to defend myself, I'm not going to stretch first!!




Heh, I can see it now:

Thug attacks. MA'ist - hold up a bit, buddy! Let me get good and warmed up... then I'll rock ya!


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5th Geup Jidokwan Tae Kwon Do/Hap Ki Do

(Never officially tested in aikido, iaido or kendo)
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2346
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flexibility will enhance your skills, not give you skills. Same can be said for every other aspect of athletic performance - endurance, strength, balance, etc. Some people overdo an aspect of physical fitness and think thatís going to make them a fighter. The guy who can bench press 300+ lbs isnít going to be a better fighter than every person who canít. The marathon runner isnít going to get into the change and win a championship because heís in great shape. The yoga teacher who can put himself into a pretzel-like pose wonít beat anyone up because he can do that.

Why do anything other than skill development?

Cardiovascular endurance wonít do much for you in a true SD situation, seeing as how those encounter typically last for seconds rather than minutes.

Muscular strength wonít do much for you if you donít know how, when and where to hit someone, and wonít keep you from getting hit.

But we know why we do all of them, or at least why we should.

Flexibility has several benefits. Forget about doing splits or kicking someone in the head. A stiff and inflexible person doesnít move like someone whoís flexibility isnít called into question. My flexibility is awful; getting my leg up high enough to kick someone in the ribs is a struggle when Iím cold, and when Iím doing line drills. If I could easily lift my leg up and smack someone in the face with my foot, my roundhouse to their thighs in an actual encounter is going to be significantly faster and effortless. Due to my lack of flexibility in other areas of my body like my back, Iíve got to compensate when kicking. Iíve got to lean away further to get my kick up, Iíve got to overly rotate by body to hit my target. Those things and more rob me of power. They also put me off balance. That lack of flexibility keeps me from throwing kicks, even thigh height and below kicks, smoothly in combination with punches and other kicks. If I was more flexible, I could say jab-cross-roundhouse to the thighs-cross-hook far easier. I could fake a high kick and go low, or vice-versa easier. Iíd be a far better fighter, even if I wasnít kicking at all, if I was more flexible.

Forget about striking... grapplers need flexibility too. A stiff and tight wrestler wonít throw as easily, wont escape as easily, wonít get out of holds as easily, etc. My wrestling and coaching wrestling experience taught me this way too many times. Looking at judo, jujitsu and the like, and I donít see any difference in this regard.

Flexibility is like cardio endurance and muscular strength - no one ever thought they had too much of it. Pretty much everyone has routinely thought they didnít have enough of all of those things.

Taking MA out of the equation, and my lack of flexibility rears itís ugly head every now and then during simple things in daily life. Thereís a lot of things that would take so much less effort if I was just a little more flexible.
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OneKickWonder
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2018
Posts: 513

Styles: Tang soo do

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

singularity6 wrote:
OneKickWonder wrote:
sensei8 wrote:
Not overrated whatsoever, imho!!

A very practical and smart way to avoid unnecessary injuries, However, one has to stretch smartly, alas, correctly.

I stretch constantly...at home, at the dojo, or wherever I can, especially as I grow older. At the dojo, I have my students stretch before and after class, and this I also do at the gym.

Can't be ove rated if it's very beneficial to ones health!!

Is stretching overrated?? Is the air that I breath overrated??






Thanks. But this just supports what we're always told. It doesn't explain why my ex military friends can be so tough without stretching routinely, if it is so necessary.


I suspect most of these ex military folks won't be delivering round kicks to the jaw, nor would they need to. Chances are, their strikes are all very basic, but fast and efficient. A good chunk of their combat training probably involves a few relatively easy-to-execute-but-effective locks and throws. From my understanding, most "basic training" programs are 6 months long. Take these techniques, and train intensely (nearly daily) for 6 months... yeah, you'd be pretty good, too.

Certain stretches are absolutely necessary for me to be able to participate in my classes. If I don't keep my hip flexors warm and stretched (but not over-stretched) on my right hip, it gets strained pretty easily when I throw round kicks (especially jumping round kicks.)

Self-defense isn't my primary focus in martial arts (even though that's one of our school's primary focus.) I am doing it because it's a lot more fun than going to a gym and running on a treadmill/lifting weights, and I enjoy the challenge of learning new things/pushing my limits.

My flexibility has definitely improved. But, can I do the splits? Nope... If I did the splits, I'd probably stay in that position indefinitely. ...and, I don't think I'd ever be able to do a full split, and that's okay.


Excellent post. I suspect you're right.

It is food for thought though. Like, if military personnel keep it simple but extremely effective, should we adopt their training model? Could we? I'm not old but I'm not a youngster anymore either. I don't know if my body could handle military style training now. Then there's the bigger issue. As martial artists, we're not just training to be fighters are we? I'm not.

But stretching, and I should clarify by that I mean stretching for high kicks, not moderate stretching for general activities, is a fairly high risk process in terms of minor injury risk, and the reward, the ability to kick high, brings it's own risks. Gichin Funakoshi wrote that kicking should be a last resort, and most of the kicks he describes are no higher than groin height. And although he stresses multiple times the importance of exercise, even describing some exercises, he doesn't seem to write of stretches in his book karate do kyohan.

I must admit, I will continue to stretch multiple times per day as I have been for as long as I can remember. I'm not trying to discourage stretching in any way. I just think sometimes it's useful to question our deep seated views and habits. Like the old saying goes, insanity is repeating the same action and expecting different results. I'm that same way, while its OK and even essential to repeatedly practice things we want to become good at, we should also sometimes ask ourselves if what we are doing is the best way to help us achieve our goals.
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2346
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Genetics plays a huge part in it too. No matter how diligently and how scientific you get into the best methods to increase flexibility, youíre going to hit a wall. Muscles and tendons are only so long and elastic. The anatomical shape of joints will determine its ultimate range of motion, regardless of how much your muscles are capable of stretching. No two peopleís anatomy is going to be exactly alike.

Then thereís posture and other lifestyle stuff. Sitting in a chair at a computer for 8 hours a day is going take its toll and undo a lot of gains youíd ultimately make. My father bent down under a hood of a car working on an engine for a few hours every day throws off his posture. Our bodies adapt to the demands we put on them most, regardless of if theyíre adaptations we want to not. Physical therapists have seen work related conditions since physical therapy became a thing - housemaidís knees (prepatellar bursitis), thoracic outlet syndrome (people having circulatory and nerve issues) due to rounding of the shoulders at a typewriter/keyboard, etc. Iíve recently seen whatís now being called ďtech neckĒ - peopleís head and neck slumping forward due to smartphone screen time. The list of stuff caused by work and lifestyle is endless. Then I hear about how people get old and their bodies start to deteriorate
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OneKickWonder wrote:
singularity6 wrote:
OneKickWonder wrote:
sensei8 wrote:
Not overrated whatsoever, imho!!

A very practical and smart way to avoid unnecessary injuries, However, one has to stretch smartly, alas, correctly.

I stretch constantly...at home, at the dojo, or wherever I can, especially as I grow older. At the dojo, I have my students stretch before and after class, and this I also do at the gym.

Can't be ove rated if it's very beneficial to ones health!!

Is stretching overrated?? Is the air that I breath overrated??






Thanks. But this just supports what we're always told. It doesn't explain why my ex military friends can be so tough without stretching routinely, if it is so necessary.


I suspect most of these ex military folks won't be delivering round kicks to the jaw, nor would they need to. Chances are, their strikes are all very basic, but fast and efficient. A good chunk of their combat training probably involves a few relatively easy-to-execute-but-effective locks and throws. From my understanding, most "basic training" programs are 6 months long. Take these techniques, and train intensely (nearly daily) for 6 months... yeah, you'd be pretty good, too.

Certain stretches are absolutely necessary for me to be able to participate in my classes. If I don't keep my hip flexors warm and stretched (but not over-stretched) on my right hip, it gets strained pretty easily when I throw round kicks (especially jumping round kicks.)

Self-defense isn't my primary focus in martial arts (even though that's one of our school's primary focus.) I am doing it because it's a lot more fun than going to a gym and running on a treadmill/lifting weights, and I enjoy the challenge of learning new things/pushing my limits.

My flexibility has definitely improved. But, can I do the splits? Nope... If I did the splits, I'd probably stay in that position indefinitely. ...and, I don't think I'd ever be able to do a full split, and that's okay.


Excellent post. I suspect you're right.

It is food for thought though. Like, if military personnel keep it simple but extremely effective, should we adopt their training model? Could we? I'm not old but I'm not a youngster anymore either. I don't know if my body could handle military style training now. Then there's the bigger issue. As martial artists, we're not just training to be fighters are we? I'm not.

But stretching, and I should clarify by that I mean stretching for high kicks, not moderate stretching for general activities, is a fairly high risk process in terms of minor injury risk, and the reward, the ability to kick high, brings it's own risks. Gichin Funakoshi wrote that kicking should be a last resort, and most of the kicks he describes are no higher than groin height. And although he stresses multiple times the importance of exercise, even describing some exercises, he doesn't seem to write of stretches in his book karate do kyohan.

I must admit, I will continue to stretch multiple times per day as I have been for as long as I can remember. I'm not trying to discourage stretching in any way. I just think sometimes it's useful to question our deep seated views and habits. Like the old saying goes, insanity is repeating the same action and expecting different results. I'm that same way, while its OK and even essential to repeatedly practice things we want to become good at, we should also sometimes ask ourselves if what we are doing is the best way to help us achieve our goals.


Integrating some of their training might be very wise, in my opinion. Soldiers train for endurance and efficiency, and if there ever comes a time when one needs to use their training, this would likely have the biggest payoff (more so than those 540 degree spinning jump kicks we're all experts at! )

Most people on this forum, however, will keep training in their traditional sense, however (putting the art in martial arts!)
_________________
5th Geup Jidokwan Tae Kwon Do/Hap Ki Do

(Never officially tested in aikido, iaido or kendo)


Last edited by singularity6 on Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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