Q & A: Sang H. Kim on Balancing Speed and Flexibility

Reader Question:

Hi my name is Richard Nieves. I love martial arts. I'm having difficulty with flexibility and speed. I'm 29 years old and I have heavy legs, strong but heavy. I'm 5ft 9 and my weight is 215lbs. I'm wondering, do you think I can reach to do a split at some point? 

Kamsa- hamnida, Sabunim, 

Richard Nieves

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Stretching Exercises to Improve your Low Back Flexibility

by Sang H. Kim

The photos below illustrate the exercises that Sang H. Kim describes in his video on improving your low back flexibility (scroll down for the video).

Partial Forward Bend

Hold a table or another waist high surface and gently bend forward from the waist as you relax.

Arching Cat

On your hands and knees, begin with a flat back and then arch your back.

Knee Pull

Lie on your back and slowly curl up your body as you pull one or both knees to your chest and hold.

Sleeping Turtle

On your knees, place your palms and forehead on the floor. Relax your upper body into the floor.

Low Back Stretching and Flexibility Videos



                                                                                  

4 Principles of Korean Traditional Archery

In this short video, Korean archery masters discuss the 4 principles of Korean Traditional Archery (Kuk Kung, Gong Sul or Goong Do). 

Watch more at Youtube in this series of documentary videos on the history, practice and customs of Traditional Korean Archery (also known as kuk kung and gongsul). Filmed in Korea with some of the highest ranking and best Traditional Korean archery masters in the country.

Absorbing Energy Kung Fu Drill

Excerpted from Ultimate Kung Fu Drills by Noah Knapp

The ability to absorb energy is extraordinarily valuable. The skill it takes to manipulate this force is priceless. The dexterity to redistribute that same force is an asset that cannot be understated. However, it is the overall expertise to combine these practices that will make you an extremely well-rounded martial artist. Observe and attempt the following practice to best educate yourself on the proper practice of being able to absorb force.

Ball Pass Drill

Start by balancing an ordinary ball on the back of your hand. Maintaining balance of the ball, raise your hand swiftly upward.

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Allow the ball to leave your hand.

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To receive, you partner raises his hand up to meet the ball.

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Once making contact, your partner quickly controls the balance and momentum of the ball. To successfully receive the force, your partner must lower his arm and match the rate of speed of the ball.

Developing Power in Kung Fu

Excerpted from Unlocking Kung Fu by Noah Knapp 

Development of true power in kung fu is neither complicated nor is it difficult. Effective training of force is usually achieved with proper practice of the movements, but there are also alternative methods of amplifying your power. However, there is one most important concept that is essential to proper training; Muscle doesn’t matter. You must understand that there is a very, very large difference between power and strength.

The basic rules for effective training both promote and maintain a sound being. Therefore, hold in consideration at all times that if it hurts, don’t do it. Kung Fu NEVER needs to be painful. Remember that you are practicing systems and techniques that build into your body’s memory, you are not training to build muscle. Assuredly, your health, wellness of being, and physique will improve the more you train, but these are side eff ects of becoming fluent in Kung Fu.

Now let’s return to extending and enhancing power. Almost every person on earth has enough power to subdue an adversary, but they simply don’t know how to release it. To illustrate this best, consider a hallway with a series of doors. Every door is a joint and just as if you lock a door, locking a joint will allow nothing through. Always keeping your joints bent is not only an issue of safety and structure, it can also be an important aspect of channeling power. Leavingthe completion of your power to fall outward is of utmost importance. Here enters the concept of floppy not sloppy.

When throwing your energy outward from your center you must remember to maintain as much control over you body as possible. Let your strikes to fall through their furthest extent, but always retain the knowledge that they must return for another issuance. When allowing the body to fall through the completion of it’s force you must remember not to overextend yourself to the point of vulnerability. Your actions should always fall within the realm of your own control, however untamed they may seem in action. As the fluidity of your movement increases, so too will your natural force be amplified along with it.