How to Do the Splits in Martial Arts

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Flexibility is key in the martial arts, and building towards being able to do the full splits means stretching out thoroughly after the body is already warmed up. Start in a horse stance when doing the splits in martial arts with help from an eighth-degree black belt in this free video on martial arts and flexibility.

Part of the Video Series: Martial Arts & Ninjutsu
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Video Transcript

Hi everybody, I'm John Graden from the Martial Arts Teacher's Association. One of the elements that I think is so special is that we have a great emphasis on the importance of flexibility. A lot of sports work on building muscles, but we do the opposite, we build the muscles and then we stretch the muscles. One of the most popular ways to do that, of course, is doing splits, some schools even have a high, or a full split club, which I don't think I've ever been part of. But the best way to build up to stretching for splits is: one, make sure you're stretching hard at the end of class when your body's really warm; two, let's take it a step at a time. First I'm going to go in to a horse stance, and I'm just going to get my hips to start opening up. In other words, when I feel the tension of the stretch, your body instinctively guards, it tightens up. So I've got to mentally, ah, I've got to relax that, so I'm just going to push my hips out, get used to the feeling, then I'm going to pull in to a mini-split. Hands down, and I spread my legs, here's a side view. Again, knee, hips to the other knee, straight line, and I can walk a little bit, and I'm just trying to push my knees apart. Second, I'm going to go in to my side kick half split. I'm going to roll towards a side kick. Same idea, knee, hip, foot all in a straight line, I'm not sitting back, I'm not sitting forward, but I can do some gentle rocking. Then I'll go to the other side, gentle rocking, and then after I've prepared, I can go to work on my split. And just hold this, key here, getting the legs to relax, not to guard, and then just push it down another inch, because you know what's going to happen, once you over-ride the guarding another inch or two, it's not going to hurt anymore. That is how you can build up to doing splits. I'm John Graden, thanks.

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