RELAX - How to improve your kicking

What do you notice when watching the best in business throw their kicks? Their legs seem to work by remote control, it looks effortless. Normally they are relaxed with a loose stance and yet they can throw extremely powerful kicks and score points among the best fighters in the world.

Obviously this is not something you can learn overnight, certainly as a beginner it is much more likely that you will be completely tensed up. This is normal because you are most certainly out of your comfort zone.

Beginners naturally won't possess the correct strength or flexibility to perform perfect techniques, thus tension is totally expected.

As you become a more experience martial artist, you will continue to learn and improve. Simply moving through the grading system will mean more practice, more strength, and more balance.

Becoming stronger and more flexible, coupled with the hours of kicking practice will have improved your kicks already. However, if you are pushing to improve, you may still be holding yourself back with tension.

Tension can make your muscles stiff, and this does not help your kicking because you need your muscles working with you not against you. You may also find your kicking techniques cannot flow properly because everything is too tense.

The most important factor is to believe in yourself and be confident in your ability to demonstrate the techniques you have practiced. By finding ways to relax in training and when practicing your kicks, your body will naturally help the flow of your kicking.

Should you feel yourself getting tense in training, try to relax and drop your shoulders. Take deep breaths and shake your arms and legs to help stop nerves creeping in. If you can get this right during training, you can try and carry it over to competitions.

Many people will not be used to relaxing during training, after all, martial arts traditionally is very disciplined and focussed. Whilst there are times that focus is paramount, try to trust in your own ability, relax and enjoy your improvements.

Let us know your thoughts on improving kicking via social media @maomagazine.

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