Stretch for longevity
(Photo: Sa Bom Nim Euisun Choi)
Stretching the body
Our art offers a full spectrum of methods to enhance our bodies flexibly. Younger members have the best advantage to really enhance their flexibility due to their grow pattern. The younger they begin the better.
As we age it’s important to maintain our flexibility to the best we are able. Flexibility should never be rushed but should be consistent. Daily stretching in one form or another combination helps to create a full range of motion.
There are many types of stretching, focusing on any individual one will not give the best overall result. For the ideal stretching routine, combine a number of the following types of stretch:
Stretching a muscle to it’s furthest point and then holding that position.
( the four count kicking drill: 1.chamber 2.extend 3. Retract 4. Finish).
Holding stances in a slightly deeper position.
Controlled movements (e.g. swinging the leg from front to back) to increase the range of movement in a particular part of the body. (front stretch and side stretch kick, inside / outside and outside / inside)
A type of static stretching which utilizes isometric contractions (tensing) of the stretched muscles.
1. Splits / holding stance positions
2. Holding a technique while tensing then relaxing
Holding a stretch with no assistance other than the strength of the opposing muscles.
1. lockout kicks without balance support
Utilizing another person or an object to assist in bringing a joint from a relaxed position through it’s full range of motion.
1.Partner wall stretch
2.Holding a chair while performing kicks in a slow motion.
Research has shown that stretching can help improve flexibility, and, consequently, the range of motion of your joints.
Better flexibility may:
Improve your performance in physical activities
Decrease your risk of injuries
Help your joints move through their full range of motion
Enable your muscles to work most effectively
Stretching also increases blood flow to the muscle. You may learn to enjoy the ritual of stretching before a variety of activities. It also allows us to be “present moment “. To focus on ourselves and our body. When combined with proper breathing it can be a very relaxing time to clear the mind and release stress from the body.
Use these tips to keep stretching safe and avoid injury.
1. Never bounce
2. Focus on major muscle groups
3. Hold stretch position for 30 seconds, and maintain a relaxed breathing pattern
4. Don’t neglect shoulders/ wrists/ even fingers and toes
5. Feel tension, but not pain
6. Remember small gains result in progress.
7. Take your time
8. Find your best time to stretch. Some stretches might work better for you depending on time of day. Also the type of stretching
9. Hydrate for better results
For students the Ship Sam Seh has advice that can help us relate to this topic as well as many areas we might not realize. When we begin to “see” these, many doors of understanding and sights present themselves.
“Pay attention to the slightest change from full to empty.”
“Let energy flow through the whole body continuously.”
“Stillness embodies motion, motion stillness. Seek stillness in motion.”
“The body should be flexible.”
“Gradually one applies himself more and more. Skill will take care of itself.”
“Be not afraid of growing slowly. Be afraid only of standing still.”