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#336054 - 02/10/03 08:26 AM A very scientific survey (?)
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
I just wondered what the level of flexibility of the users of this board is.

I am asking as I often see many grades (senior as well as beginner) battling with flexibility to achieve high kicks, where it should be easy.

A good example of this is I went to one TaeKwonDo class (which I enjoyed but due to other commitments did not return), I was horrified that nobody there - including the instructor could achieve a full split.

So roughly:

Who can do splits and what kind.
If you can't what level of split can be achieved.

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#336055 - 02/10/03 12:33 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
taebot Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/14/03
Posts: 1166
Loc: KANSAS
I am 45-ish, practicing since 1976 in TKD. I may have achieved the full splits for about 60 seconds once I was much younger. Never had it in High School wrestling either. However, I do have the ability to lift my knee to my shoulder, always have had and it shows no sign of gowing away. Hence some types of high kicks are easier than others. I suspect it is the same for many on way or the other.

Where older martial artists get in trouble, imho, is in the loss of flexibility in the waist as we age and thicken. I can side and round kick to the head easily, not because of flexibility, but the ability to rotate my hip from a horizontal axis to more of a vertical axis. This takes very strong lower back muscles which many allow to atrophy, even while struggling to do the splits.

I see a lot of, lot of people making this same mistake. Seeing only one aspect of flexibility.

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#336056 - 02/10/03 04:54 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
MrVigerous Offline
Former Administrator

Registered: 04/17/01
Posts: 2498
Loc: UK
I can do the front splits but never have been able to achieve the full box splits. That being said i've yet to meet anyone whos head i couldn't kick to or indeed over in most cases. My flexibility is generaly very good, it's just the box splits that have eluded me. Frankly though i tried to achieve it rigorously for a while, ive reached the conclusion that as i can kick to virtualy any opponents head with any kicking technique, why bother. Technique and body awareness will compensate in spades.
Regds
MrV

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#336057 - 02/11/03 09:02 AM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by taebot:
I can side and round kick to the head easily, not because of flexibility, but the ability to rotate my hip from a horizontal axis to more of a vertical axis. This takes very strong lower back muscles which many allow to atrophy, even while struggling to do the splits.[/QUOTE]

I think Strong back muscles and stomach muscles are key in anything, all movement comes from there - this is even more important in Kicking arts Kurz suggests being able to deadlift twice your own body weight for 1 or 2 reps before any kicks are performed above the waist.

As for the rotation in the hip is a part of flexibility, not seperate from it. For example many struggle with a front split with toes pointed down because they do not tilt their butt to the rear.

As for kicking I assure you, that you have plenty of flexibility Taebot, its just probably Dynamic as apposed to Static with strong back muscles being the foundation for your ability.

And MrV, It sounds like you have the flexibility you need, but if you are interested in achieving the front splits I would strengthen your adductors with lunges and adductor pull downs and of course isometrics (as long as your back and stomach are up to it - which I am sure they are) and I bet you will see improvements immediately.

I personally can perform relaxed splits both front and side but I am still working on my strenght in a split e.g. to be able to pull myself up from a split without using my arms. I'm sure I will get there - eventually [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

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#336058 - 02/11/03 03:00 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
taebot Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/14/03
Posts: 1166
Loc: KANSAS
You could be right.

I'm not about to engage in any experiments designed to find out though. [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]

We have a 50+ year old black belt / yoga enthusiast who does all the splits, you name them. But he dedicated some serious time to it. I seem to lack the attention span to sit in one place that long.

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#336059 - 02/12/03 11:44 AM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by taebot:
You could be right.

I'm not about to engage in any experiments designed to find out though. [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]

We have a 50+ year old black belt / yoga enthusiast who does all the splits, you name them. But he dedicated some serious time to it. I seem to lack the attention span to sit in one place that long.
[/QUOTE]

I dedicate about 10 miniutes in the morning and the rest are specific exersices pre and post workout - which probably take up less time than most stretching routines anyway.

It's not how long you do the stretches, its the exercises/type of stretches you do. You can get fantastic results with (comparitivly) little effort.

(I don't dedicate any serious time to it! [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG] )



[This message has been edited by UKfightfreak (edited 02-12-2003).]

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#336060 - 02/12/03 11:50 AM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by MrVigerous:
i can kick to virtualy any opponents head with any kicking technique, why bother. Technique and body awareness will compensate in spades.
Regds
MrV

[/QUOTE]

I just had a thought about this, most kicking techniques rely on the side split (which you can do) anyway, all the techniques I do usually involve twisting the ball of the foot (on the ground) with the hitting leg horizontal - i.e. a side split.

Cool eh?

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#336061 - 02/12/03 09:43 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
SaNo Offline
Member

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 44
Loc: Singapore
I'm 19, never could do any splits and my stretching sucks cept i could do the 'shoulder-to-knees' taebot mentioned, but able to do all sorts of high kicks with varying amount of power.

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#336062 - 02/13/03 10:58 AM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
SaNO,

High kicks are great as long as you can do them at any time!

Well thats what I think anyway, I know a lot of practitioners are not comfortable with being able to kick to the head at any time of the day.

I think it is a great asset to call on that flexibility at any time (haven't thought of a time yet [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/frown.gif[/IMG] )

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#336063 - 02/21/03 04:30 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
MrVigerous Offline
Former Administrator

Registered: 04/17/01
Posts: 2498
Loc: UK
Being able to kick to the head after youve been standing outside at a bus stop for an hour in the snow and its lots below zero would in my view indicate a good ability to "kick from cold" [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

Regds
Mr V

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#336064 - 02/22/03 04:12 AM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by MrVigerous:
Being able to kick to the head after youve been standing outside at a bus stop for an hour in the snow and its lots below zero would in my view indicate a good ability to "kick from cold" [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

Regds
Mr V
[/QUOTE]

Does that mean I have good flexibility?

Actually I probably couldn't because the trousers I would be wearing wouldn't allow it, but in theory I could [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]

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#336065 - 04/16/03 10:59 AM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
Anonymous
Unregistered


I am 39 and can do full front splits. I can not do box splits, but can get as wide as most people. I can put my chin on the floor from this position but not my whole chest (yet). I can do some kicks at head height from cold and all of them when warmed up.

For those of you less flexible, whilst you are improving your flexibility, remember that a strong, well executed leg or body kick is more useful anyway.
I do think being flexible is desirable for a martial artist but it is not the be all and end all.
Sharon

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#336066 - 04/16/03 05:49 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
joesixpack Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/04/02
Posts: 2282
Loc: Australia
If I could play the piano, up intil I was about fifteen, I could have played it with my feet above and behind my head.

Now slightly above average, and everything hurts.

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#336067 - 04/17/03 03:36 AM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
wadowomen:

You are right, stretching is just a small part of the picture, I think I tend to preach about flexibility because its so EASY to get very flexible very quickly - but most MA go around it the wrong way.

In fact you can reach maximal dynamic flexibility (the stretching you need for high kicks) within 8 - 10 weeks. But, (theres always a but) you need to have good athletic form before you begin.

I think what I worry about is that people are really way to weak for their Martial Arts, especially Martial Arts where kicking is involved.

This point is highlighted by the fact that so many people can't do splits. For example the only reason why (for nearly all people) a person can't do a front split is because of weak adductors, muscles on the inside of your leg.

I also think the main thing that gets me going is everything that I preach is avilable on this site:
http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/get_articles.php?cat=Stretching

If people have come to this site, like I have, to learn then go to this link and read all the articles and then you will understand that most of what I say about stretching and kicking is from Tom Kurz. (hence why I reference him so often in my posts)

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#336068 - 04/17/03 03:47 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
ishinnick Offline
Member

Registered: 12/25/02
Posts: 182
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Got to admit I am terrible at stretching, hopeless. I have started late in the game , I'm 46 and started Karate at 44 but even as a kid I was not flexible. The only streching I enjoy is dynamic and i have no trouble doing keage way over my head but as for static stretching , it kills me ! Also I have back problems so that probably hinders me as well.

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#336069 - 04/17/03 05:02 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by ishinnick:
Got to admit I am terrible at stretching, hopeless. I have started late in the game , I'm 46 and started Karate at 44 but even as a kid I was not flexible. The only streching I enjoy is dynamic and i have no trouble doing keage way over my head but as for static stretching , it kills me ! Also I have back problems so that probably hinders me as well.[/QUOTE]

No problem,

You get to those articles by Tom Kurz, or even buy his book and/or video.

Priority, get your back rehabiliated fully - this means serious strength training (advice again in Tom Kurz articles).

The jist of it is forget about stretching for now, get strong, very strong, get your back, stomach and legs very strong and stretching come easily.

Problems with stretching is basically weakness in your muscles - get them strong - problem solved.

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#336070 - 06/15/03 05:22 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
llnohmrel Offline
Newbie

Registered: 05/23/03
Posts: 20
I am 13, a black belt, and have been taking Issin Ryu for 7 years. I am able to do the center and left splits fully, yet oddly enough, not the right (i'm about 6 inches away).

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#336071 - 06/15/03 06:14 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by llnohmrel:
I am 13, a black belt, and have been taking Issin Ryu for 7 years. I am able to do the center and left splits fully, yet oddly enough, not the right (i'm about 6 inches away).[/QUOTE]

Splits are usually easier for people to achieve below your age, and judging by your 7 years you have probably been able to tdo them for a while.

As for your problem with right side splits may show weakness in either your hamstrings of your right leg, or the strength in the adductors in your left leg (the muscle on the inside of your leg).

If you want to improve try when you get home after your workouts doing adductor flies - this is where you lie on your back and open and close your legs to the side (If you look at your legs when they are open they should look like a large V shape from where you are lying).

If you do this for a few weeks and work your way up to around 100 reps you should see some improvement.

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#336072 - 12/19/03 10:44 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
Bruce Lee Offline
Member

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 56
Loc: Tucson, Arizona, USA
I'm 14, I do Jeet Kune Do and I am about 6 inches from doing the front splits and about 10 inches from doing the side splits. I guess that's pretty good because I have only been stretching for flexibility for a coupple of weeks.

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#336073 - 12/20/03 01:47 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
MikeMartial Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/18/03
Posts: 767
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Ahh, to be young again [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

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#336074 - 12/21/03 08:25 AM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by MikeMartial:
Ahh, to be young again [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG] [/QUOTE]

If guys can do splits on chairs in their 50's and 60's I'm sure that you could feel young again!!! [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG]

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#336075 - 02/23/04 03:02 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
ninjaboy Offline
Newbie

Registered: 02/22/04
Posts: 12
Loc: Indiana
i was a hard core taekwondo guy from age 9 to about age 12, and i could get my croch about 2-4 inches from the ground. i left taekwondo to learn some other styles, and my splits went to s***. Now Ive Been back for 2 years after being away for about 4, and my splits are the ugliest thins youve ever seen. I can still kick higher than head level with my front snap kicks, but my roundhouse, back, and side kicks are only at about waist hieght. my croch is now about a foot away from the ground when i do splits now.

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#336076 - 02/24/04 05:44 AM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
GriffyGriff Offline
Good Egg,
Member

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 414
Loc: Earth
I am weeks away from 40. I only managed to achieve full side splits up to about 2 years ago. (This was part of a personal "New Years Resolution" that I privately made to myself). The way I went about it was easy. At least every other night, when the kids were asleep, I would watch TV whilst sitting with my legs stretched out on the floor with a cup of tea. Then I would progressively push the cup further forward, until I could touch my chest on the floor and still watch the TV. (That way I was continually looking up, and therefore bending at the waist, keeping my back straight). Other methods I would use was to pile some large hard-back books on the floor and try and sit on them, whilst doing the box splits. Every time I found I was able to do that, I would take away one of the books (making the pile lower). Other things I would do was to attempt Box Splits at the bottom of our stairs. One foot on the landing and the other 3,4,5 steps higher up. (My Legs will not physically reach the 6th step, so I now have some books piled up on the 5th step). Whislt sitting in that position, I used the Hand Rail to maintain my Posture. Within 4-5 Months, I was able to do the box splits. I can now (virtually) do this from cold. So if I can do this, i'm sure that it is possible for others to do it. Just, please do not try and overdo it. Take you stretch out to where it feels uncomfortable (not painful), and stay with it for up to 30-40 seconds, repeating this 4-5 times. I can definately say that it has enhanced my kicking ability. It just takes a bit of dedication to begin with and then a smaller amount of effort to maintain it. I hope this helps. [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

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#336077 - 02/24/04 06:41 AM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA
I envy you all.

The MA I pratice at my age should be called Karate for the aged and infirm. If I can stand up out of a chair without it hurting, it's a good day.

JohnL

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#336078 - 03/08/04 02:03 AM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
Anonymous
Unregistered


I can now put my whole chest on the floor when sitting with legs wide.

It has taken me a very long time to get this degree of flexibility, but I would swap it in a flash to have half the strength in my techniques that the men I train with have.
Sharon

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#336079 - 03/08/04 02:07 AM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
Anonymous
Unregistered


LOL @ JohnL, I can relate to that. If I wake up the day after training and nothing aches (which is rare)I wonder if I was doing it wrong!
Sharon

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#336080 - 04/30/04 09:30 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
green_tea Offline
Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 32
I'm 14 and have been taking TKD for 4 yr. At my school, we stretch for 20 min. every day. My range of flexibility ranges from: full splits (front and side), keeping my knees straight I can fold over so my head is between my legs, in butterflies my knees are on the ground, and I can touch toes while sitting down and put my head on the floor. Since I have been doing this for a long time, there is no pain anymore.
PS- I share your shock in seeing a school that cannot stretch. What is the piont of kicking to the head if you can't kick that high?

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#336081 - 05/03/04 10:53 PM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
Isshinryukid4life Offline
Professional Injury causer

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 2455
Loc: Knoxville.
I can do regular splits,But chinese splits is a whole different ball game. [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG] Oh! Btw im 41 yrs old

[This message has been edited by Isshinryukid4life (edited 05-03-2004).]

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#336082 - 05/04/04 08:14 AM Re: A very scientific survey (?)
ken harding Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 721
Loc: UK
Aged 16-22 I had full side and box slits. I had a big break in training for some 10 years and now am hopeless. Can do a front split (just with great groaning) but side splits have gone.

Am doing the Thomas Kurz bit searching to improve again but
1. Can kick head height with Maegeri,Mawashigeri,Sokuto and Ura mawashigeri if I wish to.
2. Low kicks are far more effective and powerful so I am not so bothered now.

As for aches after training, these days even me pains 'ave pains!

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