In China there were originally two Shaolin Temples, one in the south and one in the north. It is said that the Southern Shaolin Temple was famous for their punches and the Northern Shaolin Temple was famous for their kicks. But hundreds of years ago the Northern Shaolin Temple was burned down and the only record of it today is in history books. The skills from both temples have now merged, and the knowledge that has been passed down through the ancient books shares with us three vital ingredients we need in order to have powerful kicks. In this article I will share with you the first two and in next week's post, the third ingredient and also how to use these ingredients effectively.
1) Flexibility - If you want to kick with power and speed then you need to train it to have as much flexibility and dexterity as your arm.
2) Speed and power - Flexibility doesn’t lead to speed and power so the next thing you have to concentrate on is gaining speed and power.
3) Strength - In Shaolin we have seventy-two different styles and one of these styles in called Iron leg. The purpose of training in iron leg is to literally to make the leg as hard as iron.
If you can combine these three essential ingredients successfully then your leg will be a weapon and you can then progress to the fourth element, which is.
4) How to use your weapon.
I am always advising martial artists to add running to their training. No boxer would ever go into the ring without stamina training and as everyone knows, all boxers include running as part of their stamina training. At the Shaolin Temple it’s the same, we always begin our training with a run, this not only helps us with our stamina but it also makes our body hot. Once our body is hot we then stretch our arms and our legs. Once we have stretched out our muscles we then begin to do The Five Fundamental Kicks, which are taught in Shaolin Workout One DVD. The five different angles of these kicks increases our flexibility much more than stretching ever can
Mixing traditional with modern
Once we can do the five fundamental kicks we can then mix them, for example we can perform the inside kick with the outside kick and link them together. We can increase the number of kicks in the combination. We can use the five fundamental kicks as a warm up before our fighting kicks.
Speed and Power
All traditions of fighters use footwork to link the link the kicks together and practice various fighting combinations. At Shaolin we link fighting kicks with traditional training. The purpose of this is to strengthen our legs.
We may stay in Ma Bu (horse stance) for five minutes and then we will do the fighting kicks as quickly as we can for one - three minutes. This combination of stance and kick links power with speed. Or we may run up a hill and when we come back we kick bags as quickly as we can. We will make a goal to kick one hundred or two hundred times. Our legs will feel so tired that it’s hard to lift them off the ground but we will not stop until we’ve completed our target.
Optimize The Power
If you want to kick with speed then you need to make your leg tired, once your leg is tired, you have to train your body to relax. Once you are relaxed you have to learn how to get maximum power from your kicks. When you kick, ask yourself, which part of my body am I using? Once you know the answer then you will save energy, as you will only be using the parts of your body that you really need.
This dramatically optimizes your power and energy. This is the reason if you want a powerful swift kick then the only way to achieve this is through kicking a lot. Through kicking a lot your body will understand. In martial arts we can never understand with our head, we always have to be led by our body’s inherent wisdom.
Want to find out more? Train with my DVDs: Fighting Punches & Kicks Volume 1 & Shaolin Workout Volume 1,2, 3