Biomechanics of martial arts

When explaining the biomechanics of movement, it is important to understand how the body functions as a unit with multiple systems within the body working together to carry out movement. This is called the kinetic chain and it has three basic systems:

  1. Nervous system
  2. Musculature
  3. skeletal system

By inhibiting the nervous system, the motor chain is broken and requires more effort to carry out the movement. One way to depress the nervous system is to close your eyes. It looks simple but it makes movement very challenging. I’ll give you a quick example, put your foot up and do a front kick for a 3 count. Don’t close your eyes and try again. What happened? You noticed that the kick became more difficult, right? You can use this same app and completely change your training methods. In addition, the kata is designed in a perfect pattern where you must finish the form exactly where you started. Close your eyes throughout the kata and see if you can finish in the same spot. There are three planes of motion in which the body can move:

  1. front plane
  2. Arrow-shaped plane
  3. transverse plane

Let’s look at the three basic technical kicks and how they fit into these levels of movement to increase the level of difficulty. The front kick is performed in the sagittal plane – it is the basic kick and the easiest to perform. Most of the movements occur in the sagittal plane, which makes it easier to learn the front kick. The second kick is the roundhouse kick which is executed in the forward outline. Since this technical kick occurs on the left or right side of the body, it may occur in the frontal plane. Finally, the hardest core kicker is the sidekick. There is a rotation that must occur within the hip joint to the chum chamber, which occurs in the transverse plane.

So how does one train in all planes of movement? In Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do, the student must be able to correctly execute what we call the 9 count kick. The nine kick includes the front kick, the roundhouse kick, the side kick, and the hook kick. All basic kicks must be performed without placing the foot down. Front kick / round / side / hook.

When training the body, there are many training variables that can be manipulated to make progress or retract a movement. Once a student reaches a black belt, it is important to understand that, yes, there is a more challenging curriculum from first to second degrees, but it is also about mastering the basics. How does one challenge the body? Here are some different training variables that can be used:

  1. range of motion
  2. Speed
  3. repetition
  4. Duration
  5. stability
  6. motion planes

This article will focus on increasing the difficulty by understanding the principle of stability. The easiest way to explain the stability principle is by using what we call the support rule. When you stand, both feet touch the ground giving you a wide base of support. Once a student lifts a leg off the ground, they shorten their base making it difficult to balance. Thus, by decreasing your stability, you can make the basic movement more difficult. How can a person reduce his stability while standing on one leg? This is where training tools will come into the picture. Let’s use a dynamic disk for example. Below is a picture of the Dyna disk. The Dyna Disc allows movement in all planes of motion as well as on an unstable surface. Try a front kick on a dyna. What happens? The front kick is now very difficult.

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