Sunday 1 May 2011

Some stretching tips

These photos were taken prior to training in Oita City, Japan. Maintaining junansei (softness) is critical in karate for range of motion and speed/power, and for maintaining a youthful body. Many people ask me about my stretching method, including many senior shihan here. So I thought I'd share my method with you briefly today:


(1) Warm up with light aerobic activity achieving a decent sweat, followed by joint rotations/articulations etc;


(2) Use stance based floor stretches building up to full splits in three directions;


(3) Leg swings (Dynamic stretches) to the front, side, rear, and both inside and outside crescent. Use the hands as targets. I also use Asai Tetsuhiko Sensei's special junansei-taiso (such as Kihoyuragiso sono ichi, sono ni...) which I've already described fully in the past.

FINAL TIPS: (a) My advice is to always reserve PNF and Isometric stretches for the end of class (if you are to do them) along with your strength work as they can hinder technical performance/awareness due to the inherent fatigue that result from their practice; (b) Monitor your progression; and (c) Don't rush - take your time and listen to your body as your body condition changes daily. Never over-push junansei-geiko.

© André Bertel. Kyushu, Japan 2011.

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