Sarah Is Healing Herself And So Can You

Resuming Tae Kwon Do lessons at 64
By:Sarah in San Diego
Date: 10 March 2015

I recently re-started taking Tae Kwon Do classes because I feel the need to reclaim and express my personal fighting power (an important part of my reptilian brain) in a more focused and efficient way. I donít need it for self-defense because I rarely put myself in dangerous situations. And I don't need to kick and punch for psychological release because I am no longer an angry woman or an efficiency-crazed yuppie. I do it for the pleasure of feeling the impact of my intent on some aspects of the material world :o)

Being rebellious by nature, I canít stand the discipline involved in learning TKD movements in preparation for getting a higher belt (yellow, green, blue, etc). I adore witnessing and feeling the degree of integration required to do an elegant TKD move but I rebel against the martial-type TKD learning process itself, against the blind obedience to the rules where everybody has to do the same movements the same way, against the sound of Korean words. So, I am happy with my rogue learning process. And my Tae Kwon Do instructor, Luca Pagnottella, black belt third dan in Tae Kwon Do, understands and supports my specific objective which is to make my punch and my kick more focused, faster, stronger, without in the process having to absorb the whole TKD culture.

Surprisingly, 90% of the first 3 one-hour lessons that I had with Luca focused on my cardio, push ups, sit ups, work with a resistance tube, and a lot of stretching: Only the last 10% of the hour was spent learning how to improve my kick and punch. But on our 4th lesson, Luca observed that my punch was becoming stronger because of the exercises I have been doing as homework during the last month. It's all a question of muscles, he told me, muscles in the whole body because a good punch and a good kick require the synergy of all the parts of the body.

So... stronger muscles first.

Here is the advice that Luca is giving me:

In order to master the techniques necessary to excel or be the best you can be in any sport, martial art, or physical activity to which you are committed, one must first master the basics of conditioning, and stretching as well as overall strengthening. This is the foundation and prescription for a limber, fit body that is ready at a momentís notice to meet the demands of the sport, martial art or self≠defense in question.

Based on the information gathered in Sarahís initial consultation, it was determined that her primary objective was to focus on becoming a stronger, more powerful, kicker and puncher. In order to set our sights on accomplishing this mission, we have to strengthen her core, and help her build lean muscle mass.

Sarah is a bicycle rider, and we determined that it would be more beneficial for her to ease up on the uphill riding due to the fact that she was beginning to build more bulky muscle mass in her legs as this, in turn, can hinder progress for a faster, more powerful and focused kick. Martial Arts is considered explosive self≠defense sport, so the faster you execute the moves the more powerful they will be.

Overgrown muscles are counter productive, Luca explained. So, I have to return to the way I was climbing steep hills on my bicycle when I was 12 years old: Standing on the pedals (which involves the whole body) instead of pedalling while sitting on the saddle (which involves only the quadriceps, the muscles of the front of the thigh).

So, in our 4th lesson, we put more time on the technique involved in various types of kicks because I am now strong enough to work on the details.

Luca gave me permission to take photos of him teaching basic strengthening movements for legs and arms. Some involve a simple resistance tube (a stretchy rope) paid $8 at Walmart which replaces $100,000 of gym equipment: Those tubes are wonderful, I highly recommend them to work at home because there are endless ways to use them to strengthen specific muscles without having to drive to a gym, without making any noise, without needing more than a few square feet of space.



Upper body:


And my favorite, the kick (Luca allowed me to copy the wonderful picture below from his website):