Bend don’t break!

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Bend don’t break!

Its recently been highlighted to me the importance of stretching before and after training. I’ll be the first to admit that I had very little stretching routine and I am about as flexible as a brick. This was shown however when I attained an injury a few months back that I am just starting to get over now!

This injury probably wouldn’t have occurred had I bent more so as not to break! Martial artists are especially in need of stretching in my eyes as we use our bodies so much and in such a variety of ways. Depending on the art of style we may be doing head high kicks, requiring flexibility in the legs and hips. We may need to fall correctly to safely get out of throws or locks, again requiring flexibility. As martial artists we constantly punish our bodies through training, pushing ourselves to develop further. There is a massive need therefore – to stretch!!

It’s boring and I really don’t enjoy it. I’d prefer to just get on the mat and train or hit the gym and lift the weights, but flexibility can help in so many ways! It can reduce injuries, but also build muscle and increased recovery time when working out and so, speaking from experience, get stretching people! I am just starting to get back to training after suffering sciatica (at 24?!) which was probably induced by throwing my body around and punishing it too much, and not stretching appropriately before and after! I now am making a solid effort to get flexible and build it back up as a few weeks ago I literally couldn’t bend at the waist due to the sciatica! It’s getting better now slowly but surely, and when it is better I will ensure I maintain a stretching routine so that it doesn’t happen again, because trust me, it was no fun!

So stretch everyone! Probably not as much as the girl in the video above……she apparently has no bones, but bend so you don’t break!!

Mrs Martial Arts

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Mrs Martial Arts

Let’s face it, normally martial arts are seen as a pretty masculine endeavour. Just check out Chuck Norris, could that guy be any more man?! The guys got more hair on his chest than Austin Powers! Martial arts involves kicking, punching, snapping, cracking, flipping, tripping and submitting (you like that rhyming?) and so is traditionally seen as a masculine. Martial arts also involves balance, elegance, patience, flexibility and a great deal of thought however and so is perfect and arguably more suited to females too! Martial arts still remains fairly male dominated however, even though in many cases women are more suited to martial arts training than males!

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Women are generally considered to be less muscular than men but more flexible and I think we can all agree that martial arts requires a certain amount of flexibility. This could be used in Aikido to get into the long and low positions or to safely take a fall, Taekwondo to hit those incredible head kicks, or BJJ to manoeuvre your opponent into the rubber guard! Flexibility is key to great martial arts training both to  reduce the risk of injuries and also to generally improve practice and technique! Reason 1 why females are perfect for martial arts! Need proof? Check it out below!

In case you hadn’t quite realised this yet…martial arts are tricky… It takes time, patience and dedication to achieve a high level in martial arts and again it is generally considered that females have a bit more patience than blokes! Hundreds of thousands of hours are needed to achieve mastery in martial arts and its a lifelong pursuit which very few of us will sadly continue for the rest of our lives. Due to the increased flexibility alluded to earlier, women can have more of a longevity in the martial arts, continuing well in to old age where others may have to stop due to injuries from training for a number of years.

I also mentioned earlier that women are generally considered to have less muscle mass than men and this can also be an advantage in learning a martial art, especially in the early stages. If you have an increase in muscle mass, there’s a tendency to use it in martial arts which can lead to poor technique. How many times of you heard someone say they were just “muscling the technique”. If there isn’t that muscle mass to use, proper technique must be employed and so females can have an advantage in this, learning the technique more effectively as they don’t have the option to just muscle the technique.

I will say however that if you get someone with great technique and who also works out, you’re in a world of s***!! This is beautifully demonstrated by my future wife Rhonda Rousey below 🙂

So ladies! Get training, give some martial arts a go! You’ve got a lot of the advantages of martial arts that us big dopey males don’t have so get involved :D. Check out our friend www.themartialartswoman.com for a perspective on female martial arts!

Disclaimer – This post involves an incredible amount of sweeping generalisations and in the end everyone can be good at martial arts, it just takes time, patience and the right attitude, it’s not the presence of an X or Y chromosome! Also I’m pretty sure Rhonda Rousey won’t be my future wife but get sharing, commenting and liking and maybe one day she’ll see this post and fall head over heels for me. Love in the digital age people…. I leave it in your capable hands!

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