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Kickboxing UnderGround >> Improving Flexibility Re. My kicks suck @ss

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6/12/10 2:00 AM
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Marco808
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So I come from a boxing background, but have recently started training in Muay Thai, after spending some time in Thailand. I'm loving everything about Thai boxing: clinching, knees, elbows, etc. But my kicks are total junk. I never paid attention to my legs during my boxing days, except for footwork, so I have zero flexibility in my legs/hips and have trouble with any kicks above the waist.

Anyone have any advice on how to improve my kicks and my flexibility, other than just keep practicing? I'm not just looking for stretching exercises but anything that might help: exercises on the ball to get my hips to open up and swivel better, static/dynamic stretching, etc.

Thanks in advance
6/12/10 6:28 PM
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Khun Kao
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There are a ton of diffent things you could do from exercises, stretches, to just plain repetition. Is there any possibility of you posting video (or a link to a vid) of your kicks? If we can see your technique, we may be able to better pinpoint the problems you're experiencing and advise you....
6/13/10 4:23 AM
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Marco808
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KK, let me see if I can get a vid of my kicks for some critique. I'm not very computer savvy, so might take me a while to figure it out. Thanks
6/14/10 10:30 AM
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Khun Kao
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cool. If you get if worked out, just post the video in this thread...
6/17/10 2:45 PM
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Outkaster
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Flexibility is huge. The problem is it takes a long time to develop it. If you want your legs to be another pair of hands you have to stretch.
6/18/10 3:25 PM
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Marco808
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Outkaster - Flexibility is huge. The problem is it takes a long time to develop it. If you want your legs to be another pair of hands you have to stretch.
That's kinda what I'm asking though. What are the best stretching (dynamic and static) exercises that I can do to improve my flexibility. When the trainers in Thailand were telling me to relax my hip and open my hip up when I kick, I literally couldn't do it and wasn't sure what they meant. I almost pulled my groin trying to kick higher and fell down several times. Kinda embarassing. I don't know if we just couldn't communicate correctly or if it's just something that my body physically won't let me do.

KK, I'm going to try to record some video of my kicks today, then figure out how to post them on youtube. Hopefully will get more responses after you guys see my (shitty) form.
6/19/10 7:29 AM
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SanshiroSugata
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one of the nice things about muay thai is that you don't absolute have to kick above your waist (although they do score nice points).

how are your low kicks?

if you think your lowkicks suck, maybe it's an issue with technique that should be addressed first, while you work your flexibility slowly over time.
6/19/10 4:29 PM
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Marco808
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Edited: 06/19/10 4:31 PM
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SanshiroSugata - one of the nice things about muay thai is that you don't absolute have to kick above your waist (although they do score nice points).

how are your low kicks?

if you think your lowkicks suck, maybe it's an issue with technique that should be addressed first, while you work your flexibility slowly over time.
That's a good point about high kicks not being an absolute necessity in MT, but I'd still like to develop them. I think my low kicks are decent, but it's hard to say for sure, since it's just from my POV. Good idea to just focus on my technique for now and let the flexibility grow in increments. I'm in no real rush, just was hoping to get some feedback here on some exercises that might speed up the process.

Anyways, finally got a chance to record a short vid of my kicks and figured out how to post them on youtube. Here's the link: Kicking the bag

Would appreciate any input anyone has to offer. And yes, I know they suck, so no need to just tell me that. Constructive criticism would be great, though....


    
6/20/10 11:42 PM
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Skpotamus
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Well, I'm def not on the level of khun kao or some of the other guys, but I'll take a stab at it.

To me it looks like you're not rotating your base foot very much. Your toes are pointed at the bag while you're kicking for the most part or just slightly past it. I was always taught to rotate my feet until my heel was almost pointed at the target when I kick. I know when I don't get that rotation, it feels like I can't kick high or hard.

It also looks like you're kicking the bag. I mean, you're targeting the part of the bag you're impacting. Try to kick all the way through the bag when you kick. If you miss a kick, you'll spin all the way around.

If you're having lots of problems with flexibility training,and what stretches to do, I (and the rest of my gym) had great results from Tom Kurz material. http://www.stadion.com/

http://stickgrappler.tripod.com/mt/kk1.html has a neat article on the low round kick on stickgrapplers site written by Khun Kao.

Hope this helps.
6/21/10 8:06 AM
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Khun Kao
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Skpotamus is absolutely correct, but missed one essential thing.

Your footwork is wrong. When you kick in the video, you are stepping on a straight line towards the bag. You should be stepping 45 degrees in the same direction you are kicking... so if you're throwing a right kick, you should step 45 degrees to your left.

This is going to help you LOADS!

The thing is, when you step towards your target (in this case, the heavy bag), your momentum is going forwards while you are trying to kick towards your left. This prevents you from being able to rotate properly, and it likely makes you feel weird pulling sensations in your torso, hips, and legs because the forward momentum of your step vs. the sideways/rotational momentum of the kicking motion are fighting against one another.

Start practicing with your footwork, then make another video for us to critique.
6/21/10 8:09 AM
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Khun Kao
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Wow... I totally forgot about all those old posts of mine on Stickgrappler's site. That stuffs about 10 years old now....
6/21/10 3:38 PM
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Marco808
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Hmm, interesting. I'll start working on that right away, and try to put up another vid when I think I've got what you guys are saying down.

Much mahalos, Skpotamus and Khun Kao
6/21/10 4:25 PM
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Marco808
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Skpotamus - If you're having lots of problems with flexibility training,and what stretches to do, I (and the rest of my gym) had great results from Tom Kurz material. http://www.stadion.com/

http://stickgrappler.tripod.com/mt/kk1.html has a neat article on the low round kick on stickgrapplers site written by Khun Kao.

Hope this helps.
Awesome links too, Skpotamus. Thanks!
 
6/22/10 8:17 AM
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Skpotamus
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Khun Kao - Wow... I totally forgot about all those old posts of mine on Stickgrappler's site. That stuffs about 10 years old now....


Damn.... has it really been that long? I remember copying those and printing them out back then before I got to a MT gym!

There's lots more of Khun Kao's wisdom still on stickgrapplers webpage. I highly recommend checking them out. There's also some other good threads on there with lotsa good info. I miss stickgrapplers updates quite a bit. All the best threads on technical stuff got saved. Sigh, now I feel old....
6/22/10 9:28 AM
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Khun Kao
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YOU feel old?!? How do you think this make ME feel???
6/22/10 7:15 PM
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Marco808
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Yep, I've been checking out the rest of that stickgrappler's site and it has a lot of great stuff on it. I didn't know Khun Kao was the author of most of those articles until now. Impressive.

Worked on my kicks some yesterday, trying to implement the advice given here. I think it's coming along. One problem I have with trying to kick thru the bag is that my shins aren't strong enough to handle that yet. Got some bad bruises on the shins of both legs. I guess the best way to strengthen my shins is to just keep kicking the bag? Should I rest my shins for a couple days until it heals or just power thru it and keep kicking the bag daily, never mind the bruises?

Also ordered a used copy of Tom Kurz's flexibility book from amazon, so hope to get that soon.

Thanks again for the advice, guys.
6/23/10 1:48 PM
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Khun Kao
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Here's a video of me kicking one of those water-based bags. I was trying to demonstrate to one of my students the basic footwork and support foot rotation during a roundhouse kick.

6/24/10 4:28 AM
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Marco808
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Cool vid.

I felt I was making some progress today on my kicks, but when I recorded some of it, then rewatched it, wasn't very impressed. Am hoping after I strengthen my shins more, I'll be really able to unload like in the above vid, and not worry about fucking up my shin. Right now, they're black and blue. Starting to feel more natural though, which I hope is a good sign.
6/25/10 1:37 AM
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DevinS
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khun kao knows more than i do for sure, but ill just add my experience.

about the most helpful bit of advice I ever picked up for kicking came from one of the trainers at Keatkhamtorn. I learned not to throw my hand straight down, but ACROSS and toward the front of me. So what I mean is if you're kicking with your right leg, reach across your face with your right arm while you take that step out, and when you throw the kick, throw the right hand out and across like a heil hitler sign almost.

this video with nopparat is a perfect example of what I'm talking about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT1VIIT-VSc

Look at where his right hand is when the kick is at full extension--its out in front of him. Look at where your hand is when you kick--its behind you. In my experience, kicking like that had the affect of making me fall backwards, as well as not get my body in the kick.

any time I watch Buakaw on the pads I see a lot of this same movement with his arms. I think its a very underrated aspect of kicking. It really helps me coordinate the movement as well as maintain my balance.

keep up the good work
6/25/10 1:41 AM
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DevinS
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Edited: 06/25/10 1:55 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMBphgJ1dMw&feature=related

Another fighter at Keatkhamtorn, same motion

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3h-JvHCpWM&feature=related

Can really see the reach across with Buakaw too

6/25/10 3:09 PM
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Marco808
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DevinS - khun kao knows more than i do for sure, but ill just add my experience.

about the most helpful bit of advice I ever picked up for kicking came from one of the trainers at Keatkhamtorn. I learned not to throw my hand straight down, but ACROSS and toward the front of me. So what I mean is if you're kicking with your right leg, reach across your face with your right arm while you take that step out, and when you throw the kick, throw the right hand out and across like a heil hitler sign almost.

this video with nopparat is a perfect example of what I'm talking about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT1VIIT-VSc

Look at where his right hand is when the kick is at full extension--its out in front of him. Look at where your hand is when you kick--its behind you. In my experience, kicking like that had the affect of making me fall backwards, as well as not get my body in the kick.
Ha, what I love most about that video is that I spent a couple weeks at Keatkhamtorn a couple months ago training, based on your rec of that camp. So it was fun for me to see trainers like Kai and Mam in those vids. Nopparat was a cool guy too, not at all like the "asshole" rumors that I heard about him.

Wish I could've spent more time there, since it was an absolute blast, and also wish I had gone to a few MT classes beforehand, as it was all new to me, and I'm sure they were all amused at my kicking "technique". But they were all really nice about it.

I see what you're saying about the right hand, and will try to remember that when I do some bag work later today. Thanks
 
6/27/10 10:00 AM
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Khun Kao
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6/27/10 11:44 AM
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StephenL
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yeah, i was that skinny once. :(

stephen
6/27/10 1:01 PM
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Khun Kao
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StephenL - yeah, i was that skinny once. :(

stephen


Yeah, so was I once, in '94... :(

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