From Emiliano Mazlen-
Chinatown Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate Club
Stretching is an important aspect of our training. It helps us to achieve
better technique, train harder and decrease the risk of injury.
We need to balance seemingly competing goals in several aspects of
stretching (as in the rest of our training and our lives).
One such aspect is the degree to which there is individual variation
stretching. On one level, we all perform the same series of stretches
the beginning of class and, as with basic techniques (and sometimes
training for basic techniques), we need to employ the proper technique.
Hanshi often takes the time to demonstrate and emphasize the proper
(for example, maintaining the maximum possible clarity in our vision
neck exercises, fighting the tendency to let our surroundings blur or
roll our eyes back into our head as it moves or circles). At the same
however, each person's stretching (as with each person's kata) will
somewhat different because each person's body is different in size,
and flexibility. It is important that each person's stretching goals
set for their body and not set as in competition with someone else.
we can be inspired by the amazing performance of others, the true
competition is with ourselves.) In addition (and unlike kata), before
after class (as well as when we are allowed to stretch on our own during
class), we may want to perform stretches that help particular areas
we are tight, even if we do not perform that stretch in the routine
beginning of class.
Another aspect in which we need to balance competing goals is the degree
which we "push" the stretch. We do want to increase our flexibility
each stretch over time as well as to reach our full range of motion
perform the stretch. However, we also need to be careful if we try to
our maximum stretch the first count we do the stretch when we are just
starting to warm up (particularly when our muscles are tighter for whatever
the reason, whether it be from a hard workout the day before or from
cold weather). When we are using the stretch to warm up, we do not want
go too far too fast, since this can lead to an injury. (Even in this
we want to stretch to the maximum for that PARTICULAR moment, even if
may change later as we warm up. We all need to challenge ourselves continually
Stretching also has its metaphorical level - we want to stretch our
ability, reaching and maintaining our maximum every class as well as
continually working and gradually increasing it over time just as we
same for the various stretches.
Keep training. Keep stretching.
Happy and healthy 2005 to all.
Domo arigato gozaimasu to all.