Flexibility Without Stretching for Martial Arts
Hey, Ando again from SenseiAndo.com. So, I
got a question the other day about my favorite stretching routine. I actually get that question
a lot. Well, I have a confession to make. I don’t stretch. Shh. Now, look–I’m not
saying you shouldn’t stretch, of course you should. It’s good for you. I just don’t. Full
disclosure, I also don’t sleep or floss as much as I should. But here’s the funny
thing… even though I just turned 46, I’m still pretty flexible. Yeah. I can’t do
a full split anymore, that was back in my 20’s, but I’ll tell you what– as long
as you’re not taller than six feet tall, I’ll still kick a sucka in the head. The question
is, how? How can a 46 year-old guy who doesn’t stretch still kick a six foot sucka in the
head? Well, today, I’ve got five tips to help you stay flexible even without stretching. Tip #1, A-B-C. A- always. B– be. C- conditioning.
Always be conditioning. Always be conditioning. Think about it–if you want to kick someone
in the head anytime, anywhere, well, then you should be conditioning all the time and
everywhere you go. You can’t just go to class two or three times a week, stretch out
five minutes here, ten minutes there, and expect to be doing full splits like Jean Claude
Van Damme. Speaking of JCVD, I heard him in an interview once and he said even when he’s
waiting in line at the supermarket, he’s flexing his glutes. Don’t worry, I’m not
going to demonstrate that. Or how about ballet dancers? They’re incredibly flexible. Well,
I used to know a ballet dancer who would sleep in a butterfly stretch. Hmm. That’s not
so bad. No, no, no. On her belly. Ow. No. No, no, no. That’s just stupid. Yeah, that’s a bit much. I’m not telling
you you have to go sleep in a full split, but let’s talk about staircases. You should
never take stairs one at a time. Always go two or three at a time. Sometimes fast, sometimes
slow. What about if you drop something? You should never be bending over with your back.
Always use that as a chance to do a squat or a lunge. And what about if you’re playing
a video game or watching a video, like right now. Get up out of the chair. Always drop
into a horse stance. You can condition all the time. If you have to use a chair, well,
then how about this? How do you get up and down from a chair? Most
people just lean and fall out. But not us! No. We see this as an opportunity to condition.
Widen out the feet, stand up strong, up and down, just like a horse stance. Even better,
try using one foot when you get up and down, like a pistol squat. Up or down. Even better
better, try adding a little hop when you get up on one foot. Ah. What– you think that’s
crazy? Hey, you’re the one who wants to go around kicking people in the head all the
time. I’m just saying if you want to be able to do that, well, then you should always be
conditioning. If you don’t, well, then you’ll be shining my shoes. Tip #2, don’t stretch before you work out,
warm up instead. I swear, I thought everybody already knew this one, but I guess not, because
I still see students and even teachers starting their workouts by sticking a leg up in the
air or dropping into a full split. No! Don’t do that. Stop it. That’s like trying to
make a pizza with frozen dough. Or trying to blow a bubble with a fresh stick of gum. Look– if you’re going to be throwing high kicks in your workout, well, then warm up
with low kicks. Literally. Start at ankle height. Get your groove, make sure that feels
great, then move it up to the knee. Then move it up to the hip, and the chest, and the head,
then the bird on top of the guy’s head. Whatever. The point is get some blood into your muscles.
Give your joints a chance to loosen up. When you’re all ready, then you can run up the
walls and kick the ceiling. Tip #3, work your stances. I don’t stretch,
but I do spend time working my traditional horse stance, front stance, and cat stance.
If you look at it, a low stance opens up the same wide angles between your legs as a high
kick does. So, if you’re practicing sweeps, and throws, and takedowns, and even some groundwork,
well, then you’re already developing the flexibility in your legs, your hips, and your lower back.
My point: if you want to kick high, get low. Tip #4, fix your kicks. Believe it or not,
it takes more flexibility to throw a kick incorrectly than it takes to throw it correctly.
That’s why you should work out all of your balance and alignment issues at a low level
before you start throwing kicks at a high level. Let’s say your head is down, or you’re
hunched over, or you’re not pivoting properly, all that’s going to do is add tension into
your body. Your body is going to fight against you and ultimately, that’s going to lead to
injuries. So, before you get too excited and you start kicking cigarettes out of your friends’
mouths, slow down, bring it down, and make sure you’re doing things right. Tip #5, keep your cool, man. Look, emotions
affect motion. If you’re scared, well, your muscles are going to freeze up. If you’re
angry, you might feel stronger, but you’re actually tensing muscles that are going to
limit your flexibility. So, be smart. Train yourself to breathe and keep your cool, no
matter what happens to you on the mats or off the mats. Relax your mind and your body
will follow. Okay, I know this video is supposed to be
flexibility without stretching, but this stretch is so easy, I don’t think it should count.
All you gotta do is lie down, scoot your butt up against the wall and let your legs hang
open. That’s it. Gravity will do the rest here. You just relax and slowly but surely,
your legs are going to start opening up. This is a great lazy man’s stretch. I used to
do this one all the time after Tae Kwon Do class. I was already warmed up. I’d go home,
do a protein shake, turn on the TV, hit the wall, and then just chill. Usually, I would
chill too much and I’d fall asleep. Half an hour later, I’d wake up and not be able
to move. But I would be more flexible. Now, you’ll notice that this stretch is going to
be focused on the inside of your thigh or your groin muscles. So, if you want to do
a variation of this, all you gotta do is put your butt up higher, right, and all I’m going
to do is hold my body up straight and then same thing. I’m just going to let my legs
hang open. By putting your back straight, now you’re focusing more on your hamstrings.
Now, obviously, this is putting some pressure on the neck, so do this at your own risk.
Be very, very careful with this. If you fall asleep in this position, well, you may never
wake up! But this stretch is such a good one, I thought maybe you should give it a try. And those are your tips. Always be conditioning,
warm up, work your stances, fix your kicks, and keep your cool. One more thing— don’t
be in a hurry. If you’re yelling and screaming at your body to give you a full split today,
it’s just going to fight you. Instead, be gentle. Ask your body nicely for a little
more flexibility every day and I promise, you’ll be kicking suckas in the head in
no time. If you liked these tips, hey, don’t miss the next one. Hit subscribe and for even
more great stuff, find the link to sign up for my free email updates list. Until next
time, keep stretching beyond your limits, my friend, and keep fighting for a happy life.