Well, maybe not all of it... but the hips are incredibly important as the fulcrum of our bodies. And all too often, my hips feel geriatric-stiff because of how long I've neglected flexibility training. It's not that I've ignored the hips altogether. The gohakukai karate I do with Adrienne here in Alberta is very hip-power oriented. So I do have some of the snap, when I choose to apply it. But that represents just one range of hip movement, basically on a horizontal plain. There's other aspects I'm completely missing, like rolling the hip over for delivery of a proper hook and/ or roundhouse kick, or lifting them for the verticality of a side kick greater than ninety degrees. Certainly the middle and front splits are reliant on the hips, and the attached tendons. I'd say a good deal of lower-body flexibility and strength depends largely on what's happening around the pelvic-hip region. And this is perhaps why the women of FMK have awesome lower body abilities. There's a gender thing at play in the fulcrum hips, where women tend to have some natural strengths below, and men above (don't read more into this positioning than intended, lol). I think part of what we need to do in our training is to balance that out. The women of FMK need to give a little more attention to their upper body development, and visa-versa for the men
It was a good thing for me, last week, when Shi Zu vetoed my suggestion that I begin working on the FMK Boxing/ Kickboxing while continuing my slow but steady progression on the dynamic TKD form. My rationale for even suggesting it (which I was hesitant about) was that this seemed to be the route being offered to the Todai in Chicago, and really I don't want to fall behind what the core group is working on. Still, Shi Zu's very appropriate denial of my proposal told me loud and clear, "Hey, you haven't done your best yet to develop your lower body in a manner befitting a true martial artist. You want to move onto some of the other curriculum, why? You haven't got the first two forms absolutely perfected yet, and you know it. The CLF may be passable, but the TKD? Your side-kicks are thrown at probably seventy degrees on average, and same for your hooks when you're doing them properly. That gives you the option of using these weapons realistically on just two targets, the knees and shins. Extremely effective, absolutely. But still limited. This is about your ability to move to your full human potential. This is what you claim to be in it for. Maybe you're going to need to stretch for two hours a day over the next year or more. Perhaps you'll have to throw twenty-thousand sing-leg back side kicks before you learn how to do it right. So what? That's what you're here for. Quit trying to deny yourself! Relax and enjoy where you are in the moment"
And so that is my lesson of the last couple weeks. It's really about time I give my lower body the attention it deserves. I need to stretch at length every day, or even more frequently. Maybe I should even invest in a VersaFlex splits machine, as contrary as such a purchase may be to my minimalist ideals. I've acquired all kinds of apparatus for training my upper body. But what about my legs and pelvis? Where's the investment there? I also need to do a lot more jumping and kicking, the TKD-inspired form, every day. I mean yeah, I run, and that's all good. And I can kick, in the vital knee-shin-groin kind of range. Yet, as a human being, I should be able to use my legs far more dynamically. That is indeed why I'm such a proponent of martial arts... they offer an opportunity to be more fully human, to 'truly express one's self' as Bruce used to say. I've wasted enough years neglecting my hips