- 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.
I'm Jesse from karatebyjesse.com 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.