View Full Version : Strength and Flexibility Techniques

10-03-2000, 07:17 AM
Hi! I just joined this forum, I study a form of Northern Mantis known as "Long Fist Praying Mantis", and I was wondering if anyone had recommendations for increasing the strength and flexibility in the legs? Specifically for lifting and holding up the legs while fully extended (like a tai chi kick). Thanks!

10-03-2000, 09:04 AM
I was wondering about your lineage, are you associated with the Chang Ch'uan Tang Lang Association of Taiwan?

About flexiblity exercises, just do any of your basic stretches, but then don't forget to do kicking exercises afterwards.

There is a Chinese martial arts saying:
"Zhi ya bu liu-tui bu zhong-yong, zhi liu bu ya ben ru niu."

Only stretch not swing leg not be of use, only swing not stretch dumb as cow.

Literal Translation:
"To only stretch, but not kick is of no use; to only kick but not stretch is dumb as a cow."

Anyway, stretching allows for the muscles to elongate and for the joints to have a greater degree of movement. In contrast, kicking strengthens the muscles; i.e, allowing for greater flexibility, contraction, and power for kicking techniques. Both stretching and kicking should be part of your flexibility regiment - you must not lack either one. If you stretch but not kick, then your kicks have no power, thus "of no use." If you only kick but not stretch, then you won't be able to do some difficult techniques that require a higher range of flexibility with the joints and muscles to kick certain target areas (high or low), thus "dumb as a cow." It is only through paying close attention with stretching and kicking that you will be able to develop your legs and improve your flexibility, speed, and power with your kicks.

By the way, I'm not certain, but western sports performance coaches have a term for certain stretches. I think they are (1)static, (2)dynamic, and (3)ballistic.

Static would be keeping a stretch for a certain amount of time (don't forget to relax and breath); dynamic would be to do repetitive movement of the stretch (much like how aerobics instructors do 1-5 quick repetitions of stretches); and lastly, ballistic is going full speed with the stretches (like how cheerleaders kick). The latter is most prone to injuries if you are not thoroughly warmed up. Start with static and dynamic, then slowly work your way up to ballistic.

To develop a degree of height with their slow rising static kicks, modern wushu Taiji players first wrap weights on their lower legs while practicing these high kicks. It's after gradually developing strength and flexibility with their legs that they take off the weights and thus their legs feel light and they are able to extend their legs in a high, static position. A note of caution: Do not practice ballistic kicks with the weights wrapped around the legs - it will cause injury to your knee joints.

I hope this information has been of help for you. Good luck!

PS: I hope you don't mind me asking who your Longfist Mantis instructor is.

[This message was edited by Gen on 10-04-00 at 02:17 AM.]

10-03-2000, 08:06 PM
Welcome Longfistmantis and greetings to all,

Excellent post by Gen. I just love the quote. Thank you, learn something from you today.

I am a Tai Chi Praying Mantis practitioner. Here is a short program I found helpful to build the lower limbs.

Warm up: light Cradiovascular - Road work, Rope work, shadow boxing, or style specific dymanic exercises.

Very important to work with warm muscle to prevent injury.


Dynamic 3 to 6 times then Static (30 seconds for warm up or 1 - 3 mins for full stretching session). I am of the view that Ballistic can be harmful. Check out Yoga. I would suggest taking a full body approach meaning work on the upper and lower back as well. Kicking involves more than just the limbs. You will next the hip flexers too.


Squats - my favorite is strider do a pyrmid. 10 - 15 - 20 - 25 - 20 -15 - 10

Monkey walk - esscentially a duck walk except that the body has to help straight and the thighs should be more or less paralle to the ground.

and/or plyometrics for speed.


Same as Gen suggested.
some signle ones and some combinations 10 to 15 reps on each leg.

warm down:

stroll and static strecthing (30s).

Just my 2 cents


Contraria Sunt Complementa

10-04-2000, 01:25 AM

I dont mind your question at all. I am new to the group I study with, so i have had some quesitons about the subject as well. I have asked my sifu about the association and direct lineage, so I should have some answers for you soon.

10-06-2000, 08:03 AM
Long Mantis here is some more suggestions to add to the fine suggestions already stated,

1) Do deep knee bends
keep your hands in front of you outstretched
a. do not extend all the way when you come up
b. do a few sets fast, slow and then really slow holding your position when your lower.

2) Kicking Drills; all the kicks that you know numerous times over agin with each leg.


4) Stance Trainnig holding each stance for as long as you can stand it

5) sweeps (forward, reverse and full circle) as low as you can with hands and without. choose a area and increase the distance with time.

6) (Dai Tan Tui)with your fists to your sides or in front of you in a fighting position for stability, raise either leg in front of you, staright and outstretched, bend down on one leg and come up do this until you can increase the reps. and alternate. if you can can't do it completely because lack of leg strengh then hang on to something first until you build up your legs.

7)adding a little weight to your legs will running or doing exercises will also help, just dont do snapping motions with weight on your leg