advice needed. Do I need more strength?

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advice needed. Do I need more strength?

Postby trae » Apr 20, 2005 21:37

Hello all.

I need your input on how to progress with my training. I'll keep it short.. I haven't done any execise for a while, and about 6 months ago I joined a Hapkido school. Since then my obvious lack of flexibility has been disappointing.

Specifically, I'm having a lot of trouble with a round house kick.
This page ( http://www.physical-arts.com/training/t ... right.html
) has an excellent description. Briefly, a hapkido roundhouse is started by raising your striking leg into chamber (your knee is lifted up to you chest) and then with a twist of the hips, the leg is extended and strikes the opponent.

While I have improved significantly over the last 6 months the form and the power are still lacking.
Firstly, I still can't raise my knee to a high chamber.
Secondly, when I kick out, at the point of the kick my knee ends up pivoting down. If you look at the link, in position #3, my knee is pointing down and my hips are overturned. This is a very poor form that yields no power. I know I can reach high extension with my chamber when swinging my knee up and down. When stretching with a partner, I can extend my foot rather high ending up with a perfect round house form. Yet when I'm practicing on my own, I cannot do it.

I suspect that this is a mixture of poor flexibility and lack of strength. I'd like your opinions on whether Mr Kurz's book will be of value to me.

I look forward to your replies.

Thanks,

-d
trae
 
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Re: advice needed. Do I need more strength?

Postby dragon » Apr 21, 2005 05:34

Hi,
Yes,the book/DVD would be beneficial to you.
If you can raise your leg to the side so it looks like the end position if a round house kick then i'd say your problem is with the rotation of your hips as you perform the kick.This may be due to body structure,inflexibility in your hips,or incorrect body alignment.

Check out this article by Stadion-
http://www.stretching.info/column_stretch7.html


trae wrote:Secondly, when I kick out, at the point of the kick my knee ends up pivoting down. If you look at the link, in position #3, my knee is pointing down and my hips are overturned. This is a very poor form that yields no power.


Obviously,you have to perform the kick the way your style/instructor says but to turn into the kick the way you describe doesn't compromise power.
The Muay Thai round house kick is performed this way.Here's a link describing it well-
http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums ... hp?t=22260

Hope all this helps,

Dragon
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"It's all in the Hips" (Happy Gilmore)

Postby jrlefty » May 01, 2005 11:06

Secondly, when I kick out, at the point of the kick my knee ends up pivoting down. If you look at the link, in position #3, my knee is pointing down and my hips are overturned. This is a very poor form that yields no power.


This happens to me in the mornings if I try to kick without first warming up. My knee will point down at the end of the kick with a little pain in my hip and the kick has no power what so ever. It usually is caused by my hips being very tight and my body trying to avoid using them. Try to do some side raising kicks with your warmup before you do a roundhouse. Do as many sets that it takes to reach you current flexibility limit. It should take no more than three sets of 12 to 15 per leg. it is explained in http://www.stretching.info/column_stretch6.html

Firstly, I still can't raise my knee to a high chamber. . .I know I can reach high extension with my chamber when swinging my knee up and down.


If you can swing your leg into a high chamber but cannot do it while performing a roundhouse than maybe you should take a look at your technique. I observe many young belts having the same dilemma and its usually because they are not opening up there hips when performing the kick. Instead they turn themselves into a ball and then explode out by just bringing there knee to there chest, and forcing there hips and leg to extend out to the kicking target.

Ideally your supposed to, with control, from begininng to end, swing you leg towards the target and never toward your chest in a roundhouse.. This is hard to explain without showing you but I will try. When you swing your rear leg into the the second part of the roundhouse kick (as shown from your link), you should throw your body weight into that knee by first leading the movement with your hip. Using the hip first is very importatnt. if you use the knee first in the kick you will not have enough momentum to bring your entire body weight around into the kicking leg and in turn will equal less power. What will result is your knee will not go as high because its draging your body weight and the heel of your bottom foot that supports your body will not be pointing at the target at the height of your kick (unless you force it to go there).

While planting the supporting foot, move your whole body forward. When you start the pivot on your supporting foot, throw your flexed leg and its hip at the target—straight at the target, not to the side. Chambering by lifting the thigh to the side causes hip pain and possible inflammation. The reasons are explained in the previous article on the side kick in TaeKwonDo Times January 2000. (Kurz http://www.stretching.info/column_stretch7.html)

In a roundhouse kick you must first throw your hip toward the target then the knee. When I say toward the target, I mean that your body physically moves forward. Almost like your lunging your back leg. With this momentum you should not have to force your bottom heel to face the target. With the your heel slightly raised and your ball on the floor, your body weight should just swing your heel toward the target. You lean back back to keep your balance throughout the entire kick. At the height of your kick, your kicking leg, hip, shoulders and head should be roughly one straight line when facing a mirror.

Im sure you heard most of this stuff already from your teacher but I had to mention it step by step to try and not leave anything out. For now try focusing on leading the movement with your hip and when you are proficient in that focus on another part of your kick. If your bottom heel is not facing the target at the end of your kick than you are still holding your hip back. I hope that some of this might be helpful. If you need me to clarify more, I will be happy to try and explain any step in more detail.

Have Fun,

Lefty
"If you love life do not waste time because time is what life is made of"-Bruce Lee
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Postby trae » May 05, 2005 01:56

jrlefty, thanks for posting such an extensive and useful post.

I do have a couple of quick questions about your suggestions:

Chambering by lifting the thigh to the side causes hip pain and possible inflammation. The reasons are explained in the previous article on the side kick in TaeKwonDo Times January 2000. (Kurz http://www.stretching.info/column_stretch7.html)


Just to clarify, if we freeze-frame the point of highest chamber before the extension:
1. the knee is pointing straight up? (thigh is not paralel to the ground)
2. if one looks at the form from above would it look something like this: __.__ (with the first underscore being the body/head, then the hip and the kicking leg)? If so, this could be my biggest problem, currently my "high" chamber looks more like __./ To elaborate on this further, on that page you link to, Mr Kurtz says
1. The thigh of your kicking leg and your spine viewed from above lie along one line (are in one plane).
which to me sounds like the kicking leg is at 180 degrees to the body. For me it's more like 90-110. I've just tried going into a "180 degree chamber" and my flexibility won't allow me. Could this be my biggest problem?

At our dojang, we do some slow motion kicking, so I think that I understand the ideal form fairly well. Unfortunately, my form is off, and I can't quite pinpoint where..

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond,
Cheers
-trae
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Postby jrlefty » May 07, 2005 11:02

Just to clarify, if we freeze-frame the point of highest chamber before the extension:
1. the knee is pointing straight up? (thigh is not paralel to the ground)


It depends on where your kicking. In my school, when we kick to the body, the knee goes toward the target and a little to the left or right so when your in the height of your chamber your thigh would be at about a forty five degree angle. If your kicking with your left leg you go to the right and if you kick with the right leg then you go to the left. Then when you extend the leg you complete the rotation, with the momentum of your kick not forcing, so your thigh and side of leg is parallel to the ground. you should not make your thigh parallel to the ground before you extend your leg because your at the end of your momentum and the kick will generate less power. You want the turning force of your body and leg to make impact with your target at the point of impact.

Now when your aiming for the head target, on the height of your chamber, your knee is pointing more straight up, between 45 and 90 degrees. Then when you extend your leg you complete the rotation with your thigh and leg parallel to the ground. The reason for this is because the kicking leg must travel much higher than usual so needs more momentum to generate the same amount of power if the target was body. If you were to start with a forty five degree chamber you will have a tendency to lean back more to bring your leg up. But if you brought your knee up almost like a front kick, your body will relax and gain the necessary height and speed for your roundhouse kick.

2. if one looks at the form from above would it look something like this: __.__ (with the first underscore being the body/head, then the hip and the kicking leg)? If so, this could be my biggest problem, currently my "high" chamber looks more like __./ To elaborate on this further, on that page you link to, Mr Kurtz says
Quote:.............1. The thigh of your kicking leg and your spine viewed from above lie along one line (are in one plane).
which to me sounds like the kicking leg is at 180 degrees to the body. For me it's more like 90-110. I've just tried going into a "180 degree chamber" and my flexibility won't allow me. Could this be my biggest problem?


I try to keep my thigh in a roundhouse chamber between 160 to 180 degrees. And yes if someone was to look at the end of the kick from above it would look like__.__ but remember it does not have to be a perfect 180. You should kick a little past your target.

Now if you hold the chamber and can't get your body straight to look almost 180 degrees, try throwing your hip out more. If you have to, push with your hand on your thigh. This will also require that you lean back a little more. It sounds like to me that your still holding your hip back. I used to have the same problem and when I pushed my hip into alignment i would feel pain in my back muscles. Now, to me, this led to only one conclusion why I was not able to hold a good chamber and throw a proper roundhouse. My back and abdomen were to weak. Stretching more was helpful in me relaxing but I need more strength in these muscles to support my body when doing powerful kicks. So I began a program that helped me gained the strength i need to perfrom my techniques.

If the same applies to you then I would suggest you start by reading all of the columns that kurz has in the stadion website. I especially like the eighteenth and nineteenth installments. They offer a rude awakening. The video and book from stadion are well worth it and you will refer to them constantly. So again i must mention that stretching alone is fine when you want to relax your body but in a combat sport like the martial arts you also need to strengthen all of your weapons. Kurz recommends, and I definitely believe, that you should start work on your abdomen and back muscles then branch out to your limbs.

If you need anymore help i would be happy to reply. I don't mind talking to people who ask the right questions.
"If you love life do not waste time because time is what life is made of"-Bruce Lee
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Postby trae » May 13, 2005 03:14

Thanks jrlefty, I think between you and the book I figured out what's going on.
I was doing some of the stretches from the book (the very same ones we do in the dojang) and it made me realize that my thigh (groin?) muscles are not up to par. Basically, sitting down, I can spread my legs only up to about 60-70 degrees. People with excellent roundhouses that I've seen have much better flexibility than that. Furthermore, when in chamber, I can't bring my chambered leg inline with my torso. It's probably at around 130 degrees to the rest of my body. The conclusion is basically that I need more flexibility in my adductors (?). The mechanics of the roundhouse is such that if all the flexibility of the thigh muscle is used up to bring the leg to chamber (which is currently occuring with me), there's no way a proper roundhouse will be executed, because at the point of extension of the roundhouse, a little more flexibility in the thigh is required. So my knee pivots down to avoid ripping my thigh muscle. Does this make sense at all?

It's interesting that you mention core strengthening. I've began doing some adductor flies recently but quickly realized that my back is very weak. We spend a lot of time in the dojo working on the abs, but not so much on the back. So the plan right now, is to hit up the gym to work on my core. After the workouts I plan to do some adductor work that'll hopefully lead to increased proficiency with kicks.

What do you think of my reasoning about my kick problem & the solution?
I look forward to your suggestions.

-trea

PS: I forgot to ask, what do you mean by "throwing your hip out more"?
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Think conditioning not Flexibility

Postby jrlefty » May 14, 2005 11:16

Try not to think about in terms of flexibility but strength and maybe it will make more sense. I used to think the same way until i woke up one day and realized that flexibility comes from strength and conditioning and not the other way around. I bet that those same people you are refering to that have good flexibility and roundhouse kicks also are in good shape. At least in my school, everyone that can perform a flat side split have great endurance in their abs and leg muscles.

You probably have enough flexibility to throw a powerful roundhouses to the body but you just need to condition yourself more. To prove it lay on your side on the floor and bring your leg into a roundhoue chamber and throw a couple of kicks. I bet that it is much easier than standing up. This is because when standing you have to control your bodyweight on one leg and that requires good strength in the core muscles.

The mechanics of the roundhouse is such that if all the flexibility of the thigh muscle is used up to bring the leg to chamber (which is currently occuring with me), there's no way a proper roundhouse will be executed, because at the point of extension of the roundhouse, a little more flexibility in the thigh is required.....I forgot to ask, what do you mean by "throwing your hip out more"?


There's no way a proper roundhouse will be executed because your leg cannot pull your body weight into the target not because your fexibility failed you. Your hip stops you of course because you will tear a muscle if you continue kicking in this fashion. You need to "throw your hip out more" and not lead the movement with your leg so your hip will carry the weight. It is the same way as a baseball player hits a ball. His body twist first then his arms follow. Do the same when you kick. lead with your hip and body first then have the leg swing into the target.

If I were you I will practice your front kicks more than roundhouses so you can get used to throwing your hip. the mechanics are the same. throw your knee in front of you not straight to your chest. Practice keeping your body straight for roundhouses by lying on the floor and performing them and standing up holding on to a chair. When holding a chair with your back hand use your other hand to push your hip into place and keep it there. If you kick with your left leg use your left arm and vice versa. remember your hip, thigh and shoulder do not have to make a perfect line but be very close. your knee should be roughly around 160 to 180 degrees from your shoulder and hip when looked at from above. Knee and thigh should be in a forty five degree angle from the floor in a chamber then make your outer thigh parallel to the floor when you extend your leg completing the rotation.

You definitely need to train outside of the your school if you want to improve your conditioning and strength. Start now because the next kicks that you are going to learn will only get more challenging. If you spend as much time learning about conditioning and strength training as you do on flexibility training then you will be on the right track. "Secrets of stretching" video is a great starting point for strength training and flexibility. I've only seen "Power high kicks with no warmup" once and it pretty much spoke about what I already know but it would be really beneficial for you to have. I also look at other sources for information just to get an idea of what is out there.

We spend a lot of time in the dojo working on the abs, but not so much on the back


Ab training in your school are probably like most other schools. Everyone rushes to get them out of the way. Its either do as many as you can in a minute or first person to reach a hundred. This actually hurts people because they use poor form and your strength and conditioning do not progress at all. Don't even get me started in how most schools suck in getting you in good conditioning and gain functional strength. I would love to talk to my teacher and tell them getting the students to sweat is not enough.

Sorry I went off in a rant at the end. It's just that I feel that we pay these schools for guidance into become good people and competent martial artists but they just fall short. I just hope its mostly from ignorance and not malicious.

Anymore questions I will be here.

Later,

JrLefty
"If you love life do not waste time because time is what life is made of"-Bruce Lee
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MASS + EXCELERATION = FORCE

Postby jrlefty » May 15, 2005 14:58

PS: I forgot to ask, what do you mean by "throwing your hip out more"?


It literally means throw your hip out. The next time your in a roundhouse kick chamber and your thigh is about 130 degrees from the rest of your body just throw your hip towards the target more. Practice while holding on to something if you can't hold your balance. You'll notice your knee goes out farther toward the target and you have to lean back a little more. Do the exercise I mentioned before with holding your hip there with your hand if you have to. In my school, someone comes to your side and with one hand on your leg and the other on your shoulder, straighten us out with there hip on yours and just holds it there until we can relax in this position. If you feel sharp pain in your back, its most likely what I had mentioned earlier. If your not used to this position you will definitely feel pain in your hip and back. It's normal but only at first. You need to condition your body to relax in this position. This will require both conditionting and flexibility training.

This is where you should be before you extend your leg to kick. If you think about it, you just brought all of your body weight from behind you to in front of you and this will require alot of momentum. Power does not come from snapping your leg or fist. It comes from distributing your bodyweight into your weapons at the right time.

Hope this all will make sense to you all, if not I'll try again later.

Later,

Lefty
"If you love life do not waste time because time is what life is made of"-Bruce Lee
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Postby trae » May 23, 2005 06:10

thanks jrlefty.

i definitely know where I need to go now.

1. fix my back
2. strength training
3. more flexilibility
4. perfect roundhouses ;)


i'll come back to this thread in a few months once i have the necessary prerequisits. Thanks again!

-t
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