Flexibility in kicks

There is much confusion out in the world surrounding the issue of flexibility. Contrary to popular understanding, stretching alone does not create flexibility, nor is hyper-flexibility a desirable state, no matter how good it may look to those of us made of less rubbery stuff. Leg stretching exercises should be performed with proper support and understanding of the different roles of muscle, ligament, fascia, and bone tissues, and an awareness of one’s own body type, to avoid weakening knee and hip joints through imbalanced or over-stretching. Flexibility in kicks is a combination of articulating both halves of the pelvis (yes, it comes apart), strength and activation in the supporting leg, and proper sequencing i.e. the supporting foot and leg initiate the sequence and the knee, shin, or foot of the kicking leg finish the action. For those of us not-so-flexible types, we can rejoice in our stability, fight close and low, learn to cheat the angles, and when confronted with the flexible opponent – keep our hands up!

Sensei Michelle

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