Isolating the joints is a great eastern way to warm up, starting from the energetic system!
(Speaking of sports and warming up: checkout the links in this blog to my martial arts tips for sport on YouTube!)
In my class at Dana Farber and in my research class at Tufts Medical Center, I use isolating the joints as the first warm up to ignite and start-up the energetic system. Then, I continue with a three to five minute walk to also gain the benefits of the typical “western” style exercise warm up. This walk gets the heart pumping faster which then increases blood flow to the muscles and the rest of the body. I find that doing the best of both worlds for a warm up before any physical activity is the best.
Since warming up before any physical activity is a must, make sure that when you are about to take a walk, ride a bike, hike, swim, run, or do any kind of physical activity, spend three to five minutes isolating the joint first. Spend about ten seconds on each one. Then run in place or walk for three to five minutes and that should be a great warm-up for whatever activity you are about to do.
Of course, then spending five to ten minutes for some stretches, before and after, is very important as well. Once you have done that, then you are really ready!
Isolating the joints has two outcomes that you can focus on: one is better health, while the other is better martial arts.
For health, isolating the joints leads to better flow. It is like a gentle massage to both the joints and to the soft tissues around the joints. You can think of the gentle movements of the joints like “oiling the joints,” and at the same time reigniting and charging the energetic system. The gentle movements of the ligaments stimulate the energetic system.
Remember, when it comes to health purposes, move the joints with 40% to 60% effort. Move gently, like your hands are in warm water. You will get better, with time and practice, on both isolation of the joints as well as with the movement. Practice makes perfect!
You will also find that moving the joints gently helps tremendously with Arthritis and other chronic pains around the joint areas, and elsewhere. Many of my students were able to reduce inflammation in the joint or in the tendons around the joints with the gentle joint movements.
Also, over time, breathing deep and emptying the mind while practicing the joint will allow you to experience a nice form of moving meditation.
Many times, when doing the movements correctly, I experience a nice warm feeling in the joint area which then spreads into the rest of the body.
For martial arts, and for various sports, moving the joints is done slowly at first, for correct isolation. Over time, the speed increases to improve performance.
The hands joints are important for both individuals that are interested in martial arts, and for those interested in improving their performance in sports activities. In martial arts, the hands are used for blocking, grabbing, and striking.
While the lower body joints are essential for both martial arts and sport activities, in martial arts, the legs are used for kicking and taking down your opponent.
Over time, you will develop both strength and speed in the joints, which will upgrade both your martial arts and sports abilities.
If flexibility is important, both leg and upper body strength are essential.
Remember the art of 40%, 60%, and 80% movements too! Each one has different purposes and goals.
That’s all for this week! Come back next week for another video about isolating the joints while doing Tai Chi and Qi Gong!
Happy stretching, deep breathing, empty your mind, strengthen your energetic system, and evoke your spirit!