Flexibility is something we all wish we had more of.
In Tang Soo Do (당수도) it can really make life easier, and as many of the movements require good flexibility of the entire body – in particular the hips. Regardless of when you start or your level of flexibility, you can always improve. The key is working on it often enough so that your body adapts and changes itself. So daily mobility work is the key.
There is a great deal of advice and strategy out there to increase your flexibility from websites, to Youtube channels, to books, but what is the one thing that is killing your progress?
As mentioned, the body has the amazing ability to adapt and change, but this can be good and bad. If you apply forces that regularly lengthen and strengthen then that will be good for your health. If on the other hand you allow your body to remain in a poor posture for hours each day then the body will adapt to that position.
Sitting can be bad in a number of ways, and most people are aware of trying to counter that with a good spinal position supported by a strong core. But there is no getting away from the fact that your legs are usually at right angles to your torso – meaning the hip flexors are in a shortened position.
Tight hip flexors are bad news for martial artists. Typically, we spend a lot of our stretching time working on the backs of the legs and very little on the front. This imbalance tilts the hips forward and the butt out, making a fighting stance (후굴 자세) uncomfortable.
What can we do?
Well it’s never too late to make improvements to your flexibility. While your muscles are still living tissue then they can be changed (That’s a practical principle of truth in in all areas of our lives – physical, emotional, and spiritual). And thanks to modern developments in mobility training with and the use of foam rollers and massage theory balls it is possible to reverse the sitting disease.
More importantly though is to improve on our attitude and work with what we have. If you do find yourself in a job or situation that requires you to sit a lot – try and get up and move at least once every hour. Walk through the hallways. Make yourself do it. Don’t let your body adapt to that seated position. Get up, move, stretch. Even if we are less flexible than we used to be, we can still achieve amazing results in so many aspects of our training. Don’t give up.