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Life Patterns and Flexibility

Life Patterns and FlexibilityEvery day we are faced with challenges of routine, whether it is creating a routine, maintaining a routine, or changing a routine. More often than not, these happen without intervention, and the results present themselves whether you designed them or not.

The Morning Routine

The day breaks either at whatever time your body clock is set, or the time of your alarm clock. The latter is not ideal because it is an unnatural rising and you’re off into a forced routine. The trouble with this is that you will undoubtedly feel stiff, and your day starts with a ‘forced’ movement, and muscles can stiffen accordingly.

I was on this path for a long, long time, and never considered myself a ‘morning person’ – and always battled with normal, every-day flexibility when starting my day.

The solution: I decided to buy a “Lumie” alarm clock. This was designed to wake you up without noise, without sudden rising, and mimics ‘real light’ to gradually wake you up. The result? By naturally waking up, your body automatically adjusts over 20-30 minutes without you having to do anything at all; the result being you reduce and even remove the standard stiffness you can feel in the morning. Check the light out here:
Lumie Bodyclock ACTIVE 250 Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock with Extra Audio Options

Once you’re up, you must, must, have a quick morning stretching routine, to get the muscles moving, blood flowing, and generally loosen up. If you don’t do this on a daily basis, or even miss a few days, you perpetuate a stiffness that will lock up your joints, muscles, and hamper any of your sporting and martial arts. My morning routine consists of me pressing myself against the skirting board (!) to push my legs wider and gain myself that bit of leverage. It doesn’t take long before I’m pressed fully against the wall and have full flexibility once more.

All Sit Down?

We’ve all seen the evolutionary picture of ending up crouched over a computer desk, typing away with a hunched back. This is, unfortunately, extremely common and very true. The truth of the matter is, we are more certainly not designed to sit in a chair. Chairs are destructive to our mobility, flexibility, and our overall posture. If you are sitting in a chair, set yourself a simple timer for 15 minutes every day to ensure you get up out of your chair, move about, loosen up, and stop those joints from stiffening up. If you ca, get a standing desk – they will increase your productivity, improve your muscle tone, even burn more calories, but most important they will stop your spine from becoming compressed and causing disc and sciatic injuries.

If you are already in the unfortunate position of having back pain, please check out these videos for relieving sciatic nerve pain.

Beware the Slow Tense

Regardless whether you are in a chair, standing, leaning, kneeling etc. Be very conscious of your body and its positions. Again perhaps use a timer such as a “ring timer” (see below) to force you to check every 5-10 minutes until you make it a habit. What you’re checking for is any constant tension in the shoulders, arms, elbows, buttocks and particularly lower back. Modern day work demands hours and hours of constant work and tension, which too often results in over-tightness of particular areas, which in turn leads to over-compromised positions, disrupting your natural posture. These are very difficult to break unless you pay particular attention to it.

Check out a round-timer to force yourself to check every few minutes for it:
Boxing training round interval timer. Perfect for Boxing MMA Interval Tabata Training Kettlebells by Athlete Technologies

Stretching Before Sleep

Just as you should stretch when you wake up, it is equally important that you stretch yourself out before going to sleep. This will ensure that any tensions you have picked up throughout the day will not stiffen further overnight, and cause the typical and all-too-familiar trapped nerve sensations and full-body stiffness syndrome of the morning.


These routines are not exercise, they are not training, they should be part of every day of your life, and are indeed mandatory in many Japanese companies, where they have the best employee health and fitness ratios in the world.

You need to concentrate on them and do them mindfully, otherwise naturally bad patterns will creep into your life and compromise your body, flexibility and fitness.

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Top 10 Fictional Martial Arts

Martial arts, in its weird, mystical way, has been a part of fiction probably since there was fiction, and there seems to be only a couple of different ways that martial arts are used

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Why The Special Forces Train in Filipino Martial Arts

Whether you call it Kali, Arnis or Escrima the Filipino Martial Arts has been adopted by International Special Forces Units, depicted in blockbuster movies and is becoming more prevalent in the civilian sector.

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Dambe – The brutal West African Boxing Style

Dambe used to include an element of wrestling, known as Kokawa, but is now essentially about punching and kicking.

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The Way of Taido

Taido is a martial art which belongs to a group of Japanese systems commonly referred to as Budo. Other examples of Budo are: Judo, Karate-do, Aikido and Kendo.

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Burmese Boxing The New Era

Myanmar traditional boxing (Myanmar Letwhave) had developed since many years ago. It is the national art of self-defense which stimulates hereditary courage and the national spirit.

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World Record for the largest Wing Chun display in China

A new world record for the largest Wing Chun display has been set in Sichuan, Chengdu, China following a breathtaking display of the martial art.

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5 Deadliest Martial Arts that you should know

With so many types of martial arts, some of them are about function and others more about form. But the bottom line comes down to the fact that many of them could be deadly, as they are typically about combat moves.

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What Happens When a 16 yr Old Girl Uses Worm Guard on a Black Belt World Champion

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The worm guard is a grappling position developed by a jiu jitsu competitor named Keenan Cornelius in 2014. The position is applied when the guard player uses his opponent’s lapel and wraps it around his own shin, passing it underneath the opposite leg of the guard passer (i.e.: passer’s left lapel underneath his own right leg), the guardeiro will then make a grip with his far hand. The guard player’s foot will usually be placed passed the opponent’s hip (i.e.: right foot passing top player’s left hip). The leverage created by this control will severely restrict the movement of the passer as well as his ability to put pressure on the bottom grappler, thus creating openings for a variety of sweeps/reversals and back takes.

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The difference between a 'jutsu' and a 'do'

In Japanese martial arts there is a division between ‘-jutsu‘ and ‘-do‘ arts; as in jujutsu and judo.  To those not familiar with the arts the difference would be superficial.  They would generally look the same, they would share many techniques, and the practitioners themselves would most likely be dressed the same.  However, there is a difference.  The difference is why they were given different names in the first place.

To illustrate the difference, let’s look at the contrasting examples of kenjutsu and kendo.  With ken being the word for sword in Japanese, their names translate as “sword techniques,” and “way of the sword” respectively.  Kenjutsu was the formalized training in Japanese swords in traditional system (koryū).  Depending on the age of the system, it may or may not be intended to be used against an armored individual.  Regardless, the goal of a kenjustu system is to dispatch with an opponent, or multiple opponents as quickly and lethally as possible.  The same could could be said for most ‘-jutsu‘ martial arts.  They were designed for warriors in specific life or death circumstances.  There was no margin of error.  Either the techniques worked and you survived, or they didn’t and you died.  As they warring period of Japanese history continued, the samurai found that they didn’t need the life or death situations as much, and began to focus on the other benefits of martial training.  These were the rise of the ‘-do‘ arts.  The ‘-jutsu‘ arts still survive, and are still just as lethal, but are more like a historical artifact, in that they are not supposed to grow and change.

Kendo is probably more familiar to most western martial artists.  Kendo is a Japanese martial art where the practitioners don armor, called bogū,  and attempt to hit each other with strips of bamboo connected together to resemble the look and feel of the Japanese sword (shinai).  The use of bogū and shinai was started in the early 1700’s, but it was meant to be a safer way to train in kenjutsu. Modern kendo is a competition with points awarded for not only strikes, but proper strikes. The samurai realized that the training had other benefits besides being able to defeat an opponent.  They learned that in a time of peace, the physical fitness benefits and the spiritual benefits were more useful to themselves and to society.  It order to open the art to a wider clientele, they removed many, if not all, of the lethal or debilitating techniques.  The same thing was done by Professor Kano in making judo out of jujutsu.  O-Sensei, was trying to do the same by making aikido out of aikijutsu.  Even Funikoshi sensei called his art karate-do.  Their goal was to make better people, not better warriors.

In the end can you call one aspect better than the other?  No.  I don’t plan to get into many mass battles with two armies of sword wielders, but I do plan on having to deal with stress and a lack of physical fitness that modern life has thrust upon us.  It is good to be an aware, spiritual person, until a mugger comes at me with a knife.  Like anything else, I have to blend my own combination of the two.  I hope your training in your art(s) allows you to do this as well.  Now, I have to go train some more…

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