When I think of the difference between professional mixed martial artists and traditional martial artists using something like Kung Fu, I think of flexibility. Flexibility in its direct meaning is the absolute range of motion of a joint which can be increased by stretching. When you see traditional martial artists using like Kung Fu or Tae Kwon Do, flexibility is a must have. For them it allows them to kick higher, not get injured, and perform kicks like the spinning hook kick faster and better. I hate to say it but a lot of MMA fighters do not have good flexibility. They kick low(not in a good way), it lowers there take down defense, and they strain there muscles a lot easier than traditional martial artists do. Here's a few pros to having good flexibility in MMA today.
1.Simply Higher Kicks.
If your an into MMA you know one of the primary weapons is obviously kicking. The most potent shot it going for the head and if you cant get there your already putting yourself at a disadvantage. If you can get there already having more flexibility will get you that knockout shot faster. Having more flexibility also gives you more of an arsenal for kicks. It enables you to perform more powerful, unpredictable kicks such as the back kick, or the spinning hook kick, which Edson Barboza so famously did in a UFC bout. So if you want to improve this part of your game, there is only one answer, better flexibility.
2.Speed Your Recovery Time After Injury.
If you have better flexibility you have a better a better circulation of blood. With this the blood flows more freely through your body to bring in needed nutrients and take away waste. This process allows you to heal much quicker and be back to workout or train much faster, giving you an extra edge against your opponent and could in fact create a longer career in MMA.
3. Better Take Down Defense.
Having better flexibility also gives you better take down defense. Look at BJ Penn, he is famous for his take down defense and it is all because of is hip flexibility. Taking down someone involves removing there balance and there base. Doing this becomes a lot harder when your able to be on one leg with your opponent still trying to take you down. Flexibility training also gives better balance by increasing nerve impulse velocity, helping you to stay on your feet just like BJ Penn.
These are only a few of the plus's of having great flexibility, some others include better submissions, submission defense, and more knockout power. It's hard to see MMA fighters such as Rampage Jackson lose because there not mixing it up with the kicks or taken down easily. All this becomes easier with greater flexibility and its the simple answer if you want to become a better martial artist.
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