Now I'm back to full steam I'm incredibly conscious of the fact that I really need to be stepping up my game now. Knocking on the door of 1st Kyu I need to make sure that I'm focusing on doing the absolute best I can with the tools I've been given.
Following on from my post last week about confronting your weakness I've decided that I'm going to take a look at the areas of my training that really need work and implement some stragegies to improve them.
Perhaps the biggest weakness that I omitted from the list in the last post is FLEXIBILITY, or rather lack thereof.
As a young child (up the age of 10 or so) I was quite a sporty individual. I took 4 gymnastics classes a week, was on the squad for the gymnastics club, I ran, I swam and generally had a good level of fitness and flexibility.
Around age 11 (or there abouts, I not sure exactly how old I was but I recall it was around the time I started Secondary School) I had a
Sitting on the top of the wooden frame (not on the metal bit) as we had want to do at that age I was nudged off by another person sitting next to me and slid down the steep side (where the steps were) and landed on the bottom of my back. Cue a bruise coccyx (youch!) and many months of pain. The result of this childhood stupidity was that I had trouble bending at the waist for a very long time which ultimately led to very short hamstrings (as well as I think being a contributing factor to ongoing back problems I've suffered as an adult).
In terms of my karate journey, short hamstrings make for painful stretching sessions and pretty crubbish kicks. Not so much of an issue for front and side kicks but for round kicks I find that I can't get enough rotation on my hip (my pelvis doesn't tilt very well) to get a good kick in and for crescent kicks I struggle with getting any height (I just don't stretch that far!).
A little while ago I purchased this book:
Unfortunately apart from a brief look through and an attempt to formula a stretching plan when I first purchased it it's mostly been languishing on the bookshelf for months. I've recently dragged it down again and I'm hoping to put together a plan that will improve my all over flexibility as well as more specifically my hamstrings. Hopefully it will mean an improvement in my kicks (as well as my other kihon in terms of hip rotation) and might even help with my recurrant back problems.
So, any stretching tips from all you martial arts bloggers out there? All ideas gratefully received.