As a modern Wushu or traditional Shaolin Kung Fu practitioner, stretching is a regular part of the physical regimen. In order to encourage flexibility, it is important to stretch before and after practice. The heel stretch is one of the most crucial exercises that target the hamstring muscles. When practiced regularly, this stretch builds elasticity in the leg muscles.
In many circumstances, stretching with a partner may help improve flexibility. There are three primary leg stretches: front, side, and back stretch. For a front stretch, stand against a wall and have your partner slowly raise your leg towards your forehead. During a side stretch, stand with your shoulder against a wall and have your partner lift your leg towards your ear. The back stretch is better suited when practiced using a table or chair. Lean against a firm platform as your partner raises your leg back as high as possible.
Stretch kicks are practiced by nearly all Wushu and Shaolin Kung Fu schools. These kicks loosen the joints, increase flexibility, and improve coordination between the legs and body. It is important to warm up with stretch kicks to ensure active progress throughout your martial arts training.
The front stretch kick is an exercise that must be practiced regularly. When performing this kick, practitioners must maintain proper posture without bending the back. Arms must be held straight across the sides of the body with hands pointing upward. Kick the top of the head without compensating by bending the knee. If practiced properly, progress should be apparent after only three or four weeks.
The side stretch kick is similar to the front kick. The only apparent difference is the angle of the body. Instead of facing forward, your torso should be angled sideways when kicking. As you raise the leg to kick, the arms fold in to provide room and leverage. Every kick should be accompanied by a side step before the leg is extended.
The outside stretch kick begins on one side of the body and ends on the opposite side. The purpose of this kick is to improve flexibility in the hips by creating large circlular motions. In order to perform this kick properly, the arms and back should be held as straight as possible. Each stretch kick must be swift and flexible without compensating correct posture.
The inside stretch kick is identical to the outside stretch kick. All of the mechanics and dynamics are the same when performing the technique inward. The four foundamental stretch kicks are crucial for developing effective kicks and stances. These kicks must be practiced regularly to help prevent injuries due to poor hip and leg flexibility. To gain better insight and see how the stretch kicks are performed in action, please see this video below of Chinese Wushu athletes.
You can seek advice by sending a video of your progress. In this progress video please demonstrate the front stretch kick, inside stretch kick, outside stretch kick, and side stretch kick. There are many ways to demonstrate these kicks so be creative. If you have any questions about submitting a video, please feel free to contact us.
The first Open Hand form required in the Wushu Shaolin Kung Fu curriculum is Wu Bu Quan ( 五步拳 ) which literally means "Five Stance Form". It is a famous preliminary routine taught in nearly all of the Wushu and Shaolin Kung Fu schools around the globe. The purpose of Wu Bu Quan is to demonstrate all 5 stances in a small and practical routine that is simple to memorize yet easy to learn.
The first movement in this sequence is the horse stance and outside block. This is a crucial transition, in order to maximize power and leverage. Keep in mind that the horse stance should have feet pointing forward with a level squat. The next movement is a forward stance right punch. It is very common for beginning students to lift their heel up when performing the forward stance. Try to have both feet flat on the floor.
The kick-punch attack is a simultaneous strike that confuses your opponent by kicking and punching at the same time. This combination is difficult at first but will begin to feel second nature after regular practice. After completing the kick punch, rest into the horse riding stance while simultaneously blocking up with the left hand and punching with the right. Learning how to defend and attack at the same time will build effective reactions during sparring and self-defense situations.
After the horse stance, manuever into the cross stance and deliver a left groin punch. The following sequence begins by lifting the left leg for balance while delivering a pierce hand to the eyes or neck. After attacking in one direction, shoot into the drop stance by squatting low toward the ground. This drop stance maneuver helps to evade high attacks while providing one with better leverage for a leg grab or takedown. Be sure to use the drop stance to shoot up into the cat stance and push palm. After arriving in a stable cat stance finish by putting your hands to the side and repeat the sequence.