Martial Arts Movies

I have recently been to see the new Jet Li film at the pictures called Unleashed and thought it was brilliant. I was impressed with the agility and flexibility of the martial artists involved in this movie, especially their flashy leg kicks. I have a brown belt-grading coming up in

February and have to perform a kata that I have to choreograph by myself. By the time February comes around I would like to have improved my flexibility enough to be able to perform a flashy leg kick myself to use in my kata. My flexibility at the moment is not too bad but there is room for improvement. Dave, have you any tips and routines to improve my flexibility, and can you also help me by coming up with a flashy leg kick like the martial arts movie stars perform, that I could possibly be able to learn by February.

We seem to have 2 questions here, how to improve your flexibility and how to be able to perform a dynamic leg kick. I have received a number of letters over the last few months asking if I could write an article on how to perform a dynamic flashy leg kick, so I have decided to answer these 2 questions over two months. This first article will tackle the question of flexibility, giving you a few routines and ideas over the next month to work on. After working on this and hopefully improving your flexibility, we will follow on next month with a description on how to perform a flashy dynamic leg kick.

Do you recall the emptied swimming pool scene in Unleashed Heidi, when Jet Li fights four martial artists and at the end of the scene Bob

Hoskins shoots one of them? Well the guy he shoots is Scott Adkins, an up and coming martial arts movie star with a great future in the movie world. Well I am glad to say Scott has recovered from being shot and is back in full training and am lucky enough to have him occasionally train at my classes (wasn’t really shot Heidi). So what a great opportunity to have Scott help me with these articles. I am also lucky enough to have an actress train with me, Stacey Cadman better known as CBBC’S Cavegirl and poppy in Sky One’s Mile High. Stacey is a very flexible and talented martial artist also, and has kindly agreed to help with these articles as well. Watch out for the twist at the end of this article.

Flexibility is an important part of being a martial artist and a goal that we all work hard to achieve. Some people are naturally flexible and some have to work really hard at it, especially if you take up martial arts in your later years, but it can be achieved. Those who are over 40 should take care not to over stretch and progress slowly. To become flexible we must stretch our muscles and ligaments, by doing this we prevent them tightening and shortening. Therefore the more we remind our body that this tightening is unacceptable, the better off and more flexible you will become.

Stretching should, in my opinion, be practised by everyone not just martial artists, gymnasts and dancers. By doing even light stretching during the day you will stay limber all day long which I have recently been to see the new Jet Li film at the pictures called Unleashed and thought it was brilliant. I was impressed with the agility and flexibility of the martial artists involved in this movie, especially their flashy leg kicks. I have a brown belt-grading coming up in February and have to perform a kata that I have to choreograph by myself. By the time February comes around I would like to have improved my flexibility enough to be able to perform a flashy leg kick myself to use in my kata. My flexibility at the moment is not too bad but there is room for improvement. Dave, have you any tips and routines to improve my flexibility, and can you also help me by coming up with a flashy leg kick like the martial arts movie stars perform, that I could possibly be able to learn by February. I would be most grateful for your help.

We seem to have 2 questions here, how to improve your flexibility and how to be able to perform a dynamic leg kick. I have received a number of letters over the last few months asking if I could write an article on how to perform a dynamic flashy leg kick, so I have decided to answer these 2 questions over two months. This first article will tackle the question of flexibility, giving you a few routines and ideas over the next month to work on. After working on this and hopefully improving your flexibility, we will follow on next month with a description on how to perform a flashy dynamic leg kick.

Do you recall the emptied swimming pool scene in Unleashed Heidi, when Jet Li fights four martial artists and at the end of the scene Bob

Hoskins shoots one of them? Well the guy he shoots is Scott Adkins, an up and coming martial arts movie star with a great future in the movie world. Well I am glad to say Scott has recovered from being shot and is back in full training and am lucky enough to have him occasionally train at my classes (wasn’t really shot Heidi). So what a great opportunity to have Scott help me with these articles. I am also lucky enough to have an actress train with me, Stacey Cadman better known as CBBC’S Cavegirl and poppy in Sky One’s Mile High. Stacey is a very flexible and talented martial artist also, and has kindly agreed to help with these articles as well. Watch out for the twist at the end of this article.

Flexibility is an important part of being a martial artist and a goal that we all work hard to achieve. Some people are naturally flexible and some have to work really hard at it, especially if you take up martial arts in your later years, but it can be achieved. Those who are over 40 should take care not to over stretch and progress slowly. To become flexible we must stretch our muscles and ligaments, by doing this we prevent them tightening and shortening. Therefore the more we remind our body that this tightening is unacceptable, the better off and more flexible you will become.

Stretching should, in my opinion, be practised by everyone not just martial artists, gymnasts and dancers. By doing even light stretching during the day you will stay limber all day long which helps in doing every day chores. Stretch every day and as many times as you can as consistency is the key to good flexibility. When you are inactive your muscles and ligaments are tightening up and becoming shorter so stretch at every opportunity you can and get into the habit of using more of your range of motion when doing household chores. For example, when making your dinner and peeling your potatoes and chopping your vegetables place one leg on the worktop, make sure your feet are clean first, ok though if your making cauliflower cheese; yuk! Instead of curling up on the sofa whilst watching the TV, sit on the floor with your back against the sofa and straddle your legs. Slowly widen your legs and increase the stretch gradually, good for the adductor muscles. Whilst reading this article try lying on your back with your backside against a wall, with your legs up in the air against the wall in a straddle position and then let gravity take its course. Slowly you will see the legs come down increasing the stretch. These are just a few tips to help in your everyday-stretching Heidi.

There are so many different opinions on the best way to stretch and improve flexibility; most people spend too much emphasis on how much time is spent on individual stretches. I believe at least one minute is sufficient on most stretches and longer on others. Before we move on to describing some stretching routines it is important to warm up before attempting any stretches and the best lime is immediately after a cardiovascular workout. The muscles can relax and elongate more eas-ilv when warm.

Dynamic Leg Swings

Dynamic leg swings are better used in your warm up and workouts. They consist of controlled leg swings that gently take you to the limits of your range of motion and should not be jerky movements. With each swing you gradually increase reach and speed of movement and recommend no more than ten repartitions on each leg. Begin by standing with legs shoulder width apart and one leg forward. Swing the rear leg straight out in front out of you to waist height to begin with, and then increase with each swing to your optimum height over 10 reps. This can also be done by using an inside to out crescent kick or outside to in crescent kick.

Sumo Squat

Position your feet wide apart with both pointing outwards. Now slowly lower your body towards the floor remembering to keep your back straight at all times. At the same time press your forearms against your inner thighs and slowly push your thighs back to feel the stretch. This is a good exercise for your adductor muscles and should be held for 30 seconds and be repeated about three times.

Remember to keep both legs straight, no bent knees. Hold for at least 1 minute and then slowly lower the stretched leg and repeat on the other side. With the side stretch one person rests the side of the body against the wall with the foot of the unstretched leg pointing towards the wall. Your partner then raises the other leg by lifting the other foot ensuring that it is held in sidekick position and legs are kept straight, heel facing outwards and toes to the side. Lift as far as the leg can go and hold for at least a minute and the repeat on the other leg. A good tip here is when the floor is slightly slippery, the person stretching the leg can lock the other foot with their own, to avoid your partner crashing to the floor and causing injury.

These are just a few routines for you Heidi, and would suggest that you do them daily to improve your flexibility. There are of course many other stretches that you could do, but too many to mention. Some people resort to leg
stretching machines of varying types, the cheapest being around .£ 10 where you use your own strength to stretch your legs. A more expensive type could cost from .£100 upwards and uses a ratchet system controlled by a handle that you rotate yourself. This machine has padded sections on which you sit and where your legs are placed. If purchasing one make sure thai the pads cover the knee areas to avoid undue pres-sure on the knees. The problem with these machines is that people tend to over stretch and hold the side split position for far longer periods of time than is advisable. Remember that stretching along will not always allow you to perform good leg kicks. You must also strengthen the legs. One good technique that I regularly use is by placing your hands on a wall, raise one leg and perform If) side kicks, roundhouse kicks and hook kicks and then repeat on the other leg or by standing without wall support and perform the same kicks over a chair.

Well there it is Heidi, now for the twist. Scott has just recently returned from filming a martial arts movie in Bulgaria called Undisputed 2 in which he stars. I have seen the show reel of this movie and was impressed with Scott’s agility and flexibility whilst performing various flashy kicks and am looking forward to it’s release, one to watch out for. So I thought to myself why not challenge Scott to teach Stacey one of these kicks over a period of a month. They have both accepted the challenge. Scott has chosen what he calls a butterfly kick to teach

Stacey, and is the kick that we will be describing in next month’s issue, also the one that you can hopefully learn by next February for your grading. Scott and Stacey are already hard at work on this kick and we’ll see how Stacey has got on next monin. \n the mean time Heidi get stretching.

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