Under: Conditioning
5 May 2009


What do you think it takes to be a good martial artist? Do you need knock out power? Do you need a mean karate yell? How about striking fear into the hearts of thugs of the world!!!? Well maybe but have you considered some the of attributes of the softer and many will argue the important parts of the martial arts? What am I talking about? Well flexibility, agility and coordination!


Can you throw a kick 7′ high? How about do a spinning heel hook kick or how about do a triple wheel kick to the groin, stomach and face without putting your foot down? These are examples of flexibility, agility, and coordination you might need in normal karate moves.  In this post I will talk about these points as well as different emphasis’s of martial arts. One size does not fit all and luckily the martial and dance arts includes hard and soft styles that can contribute to ones fitness and fighting ability. This first video is of Namaste Yoga as seen on Fitness TV.




I think yoga would fit in nicely with fighting arts training because improved flexibility and reduced stress would allow you to kick higher and focus your training better. Another benefit would be kata, or fighting dances improvement in the form and style. I’ve competed in kata at tournaments a couple of times but I was not what you would call really graceful. I think yoga would also complement martial arts training into old age – long after one competed in fighting training. Some modern dances require flexibility such as the snake dance I discovered on youtube while looking for martial and dance arts.



I have never seen anyone as flexible as this snake woman! Many of us have a tough time learning to do the almost-splits so our side kicks can go higher so it is amazing to see how flexible the human body can be with training. I do think anyone this flexible could succeed at a host of martial arts. I found this next video of a Northern Black Dragon dance where the practitioner in his own right is very agile.



The guys conditioning is superb! I really like those outside crescent kicks he was throwing from the one foot stance. You are starting to get an idea of how flexibility can improve ones martial art. I think it is just as important as a stress reducer to practice kata or some form of relaxation method or at the very least – stretching. This next martial art is what I hope to do in my old age. I have often wondered why people perform Tai Chi in the parks but as I am getting older; I am beginning to appreciate the slow kata’s of Tai Chi more and more.



I really enjoyed watching those hardbow (as I would say in Kenpo) transitions. This lady is very graceful and fluid in her movements! To be good at kata, one must master his or her own body. One must be strong, flexible, and graceful. A person proficient at Tai Chi Chaun has truly an inner strength and coincidentally the ability to use the moves defensively if needed.


As I stated at the beginning of this post, martial arts can encompass many goals for different people. If one wants to learn to be strong and agile but passive – they can do that with martial arts training. One can become an ultimate fighter too but just because one has a world title – does not make him or her a better martial artist then the 70 old woman practicing Tai Chi Chaun in the park. Obviously the two have different goals. One is looking at a lifetime of fitness, flexibility and a meditative state of nirvana. The other is very competitive and wants to show the world (for a time) he or she is the best of the best fighters in that weight class and competition! I think both (and many more) are all admirable goals and I have a world of respect for them!


I hope I was able to show how some of the softer skills are needed in the harder portions of the martial arts. Yes the Ying and Yang, the balance of power is still evident in today’s martial arts and sought after! I have mostly chased the harder or external martial arts most of my career but as I am getting more mature – I am seeing the benifits of the softer internal styles.


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5 Responses to “Martial and Dance Arts Flexibility, Agility, and Coordination”

  1. Cheri Arbuckle Says:

    I’d like to add another idea to your list: bellydancing. I’ve been doing it as my cross-training for the last couple of years. It really works on flexibility and muscle control.

  2. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Cheri,
    I saw some belly dancing on FitTV recently and I think that is great exercise! My guess is your abs get a great workout and the dancing keeps your body centered.
    Of course the first time I ever saw Belly Dancing was on I Dream of Jeanie :)

  3. Bryan Says:

    Excellent blog I have enjoyed and gained some valuable insight

  4. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Bryan,
    You have a cool site – I believe in layered defensive strategies. The cool think about a legal defensive weapon is that even people that will not learn the basics of self-defense can use pepper spray!

  5. On My Own Two Feet » Blog Archive » Cross-Training: Bellydancing Says:

    […] Martial and Dance Arts Flexibility, Agility, and Coordination […]