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.


Allow the ball to leave your hand.


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


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.