Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 3 Martial Arts Lifehacks for Flexibility, Strength & Health

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- Everyone knows that martial arts

should be good for your life but I think your life

should also be good for your martial art.

Unfortunately, some things in life are harmful

for your martial art.

They actually destroy your martial arts skills.

And some of these things you might not even notice

because there habitual.

In today's video I'm gonna reveal three

counterintuitive things in your life, in your everyday life,

common things that might be worsening

or even ruining your martial arts skills.

Keep watching.

What's up?

I'm Jesse from a.k.a. "The Karate Nerd".

And I love to find out what's holding me back

in my martial arts journey.

Are you the same?

then I think that you need to know about these three things

that all of us are doing on an everyday basis

that might be holding us back from reaching our potential,

no matter what martial art we practice.

The first thing that we need to talk about

is the act of sitting, or sedentary behavior in general,

which is symbolized by the chair.

And let me tell you, sitting down

for example, when you're studying at school or at work

it's ruining not only your health, but your performance.

Sitting down is making your lower body

super constricted and tight.

It keeps your hip flexors really stiff,

and it keeps your glutes from firing,

which means that you can end up with gluteal amnesia

which essentially means that you're not able

to use the largest muscle in your body.

So when you carry these things over

into your martial arts practice.

Whether that's a dojo or an MMA gym, it doesn't matter.

You will feel your limitations kicking in.

And that kick might be the last thing you do,

because so many people end up with hamstring injuries

or ankle dislocations or hip replacement surgeries,

or the list goes on.

Because their lifestyle is not benefiting

their martial arts practice.

In fact, the World Health Organization

places sedentary behavior at the top list

of killers when it comes to your health problems.

This is why your hips are so stiff.

This is why your lower back is constantly hurting.

This is why you knees are buckling in.

This is why your ankles lack mobility,

because you are simply sitting way too much

for what's good for you.

Now the answer to this might be difficult,

especially if you cannot get a standup desk.

But that's my first recommendation.

I've been using using one for years

and it made wonders to my own martial arts skills.

Suddenly, I was able to stretch out

all those stiff ligaments and muscles

that had been fixed in this constricted positions

for hours and hours and hours, day in and day out.

But if you don't have the option of getting a standup desk,

then at least try to switch positions all throughout the day

even if you're sitting down.

So don't just sit in the same stiff pose hour after hour.

Try to maybe put one leg up on top of the other,

or lean to one way and then lean to another way,

or maybe move around or turn sideways,

whatever you need to do to have some kind of freedom

in the way you're sitting will help you move out

and in of different ranges of motion

when it comes to your joints.

Which is what your joints are designed to.

Because they're not made for stability,

they're made for mobility.

And if you don't move around,

well, like the saying goes; "if you don't use it you lose it".

So the first thing that you need to be aware of

is how much are you sitting each day.

There is a reason doctors say sitting is the new smoking.

If you can try to stand up more, try to get a standup desk.

And if that's not possible,

at least vary the positions you're sitting in.

Or just try to sit less.

And trust me, you will notice the difference

in your martial arts skill.

It's like day and night.

After a few months when your ligaments have had time

and your tissues to adapt to your new lifestyle

of less sedentary behavior,

you will be able to kick higher and go to deeper stances

and do everything else

that your newfound mobility freedom allows.

Number two is something that you might have noticed

if you watched a lot of my other videos.

You see I don't wear regular shoes

and I haven't done that for years.

When I'm not barefoot, like when I'm training,

I'm actually using barefoot shoes.

Because shoes are so constricting to your feet

that they basically mean that,

imagine I'm wearing a cast around my arm,

as if it's broken.

That's what you're doing when you force your feet

into tight shoes.

It's like you're walking around

with a cast around your foot.

And this super stiff and constricted environment

for your foot has some upstream negative effects

because your foot affects the next joint,

which affects the next joint.

Because nothing in the body's isolated.

Everything is integrated.

It's kind of like if you're wearing a t-shirt

and you pull the fabric down there,

it affects the fibers up here.

So one thing leads to the other.

And before you know it your whole body

is one biomechanical compensatory mechanism

trying to make up for that stiff shoe

that you forced your foot into.

Because everything starts from the feet.

And if your feet are not right,

then you knees will not be right,

and your lower back will not be right,

your spine, your shoulders, your neck,

and so on and so forth.

Meaning find footwear that does not constrict

the natural range of motion of your foot.

You were not born wearing shoes

and if you look at some indigenous tribes around the world,

their feet look way different compared to our feet.

Because they haven't been stuffing their feet

into tight constrictive shoes, their whole lives.

In fact, researchers noticed that the way kids run

drastically changes around seven or eight years old.

That's when they start doing heel striking

as they plant their foot,

as opposed to planting their foot on the ball of their feet,

which of course affects the rest of their body

in a negative, harmful way.

And so what happens is when you transfer these stiff

and tight feet into a martial arts environment,

you start seeing injuries,

you start seeing biomechanical inefficiencies.

Because you lack the full strength and the range of motion

needed to execute some of these most basic

martial arts moves.

And let's not even get started on flip-flops.

I know, I love flip-flops myself

but they really put your foot

and especially the front part of your ankle

in a stiff and tight position,

because you need to keep that flip-flop in place

as you walk around.

So the solution is either walk more barefoot

or find barefoot mimicking shoes,

for example Vivobarefoot or FiveFingers

or just zero drop shoes like Converse

or what's that other brand...


Any kind of shoe basically that has a flat bottom.

Plus, you wanna have enough space for your toes

to be able to spread out and grip the ground.

The worst shoes are the ones that have a lot of cushioning

and a lot of degrees separating the heel

from the front part of the foot.

Once you make this change you will see drastic differences,

especially if you have tight calves

for your martial arts practice.

If you have problems with your balance

or if you easily injure your ankles.

All of that would be like, poof, disappeared.

As soon as you start changing your footwear

or just walking more barefoot.

Number three and this might be the worst killer right now

for your martial arts skills,

which is this.

I'm talking about this weird neck position

that all of us adapt when we start using our smart phones

or our laptops or just sitting down a lot in general.

Here's the thing for every extra inch,

your head tilts forward, you add about 10 pounds of pressure

to your spine.

And then you walk into your martial arts practice,

looking like this and expecting to perform well.

And suddenly, ah, your shoulders are stiff

and your neck hurts,

and you can't perform as well as you want to.

Because you have adopted this weird mobile phone posture

when in fact you should be having a straight, neutral spine.

And this is such a difficult problem

and I struggle with it myself all the time.

Whenever I look at photos of me,

for example, when I'm competing

or teaching international seminars

or traveling around the world,

I always notice how my neck is not in the optimal position,

even though I figured it out the problem of sitting too much

and walking around with bad shoes.

This is a problem for everybody and it's only getting worse.

And the solution for this is to bring your phone up

towards your face.

Instead of bringing your face down towards the phone.

Because you don't want to have the spinal flexion constantly

when you're using your phone.

Just like we talked about when sitting,

you want to kind of move around more,

and not being at fixed constricted position.

But also like we talked about in the footwear

you want your environment and your tools

to adapt your physiology,

instead of having your physiology adapt to the environment.

In this case; your smart phone or your laptop.

So what I'm trying to say is take a mental note,

next time you're using some digital device.

And see if you can be aware of how your neck is positioned.

Is it straight like it's supposed to be?

Are your ears over your shoulders basically, or not?

Is your chin sticking out or not?

Step one of fixing it, is to be aware of it.

And then constantly reminding ourselves

to have a good straight posture,

especially when it comes to the neck,

even if you're using a phone.

But it shouldn't matter what you're doing.

Because your body doesn't really care what you're doing,

it only cares how it's feeling.

And that sensation is what brings joy and happiness

to all of our lives.

And when you feel good, you do good.

The best martial artists are the ones

that love what they're doing.

And if you're in pain you will have a hard time

loving your martial arts practice.

And you might not even know that the problem is found

in your everyday habitual actions.

Which one of these things; sitting down too much,

wearing footwear or using your phone

is destroying your martial arts skills?

What do you think?

Take a guess.

Leave a comment and let me know.

So maybe I can make a new video

and go deeper into that specific topic

to take your martial arts skills,

health and happiness to the next level.

Thanks for watching, train hard, good luck and have fun.

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