Proper Biomechanics in TKD

Yeti

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Ive got a question regarding biomechanics in the martial arts - specifically in TKD. I read the interview in Black Belt Magazine with Dr. Laura where she mentioned quitting Taekwondo around the age of 50 to avoid potential damage from the jarring and pounding she was putting her body through. I also read Robert McLains letter to the editor in the January 06 edition of Black Belt in which he responds to Dr. Laura and expounds on Chayon Ryu, or the Natural Way, as taught by GM Kim Soo which stresses proper biomechanics (excellent letter Mr. Mclain I enjoyed reading your response).

This got me to thinking about just what proper biomechanics really entails. I am a TKD-ist in my mid 30s (or as my wife says.WAAAYYY into my 20s), and have experienced some hip and lower back issues that some have attributed to TKD. This has progressed to the point where my back is stiff and sore most of the time and activities like running and/or jumping kicks cause pain upon impact (i.e. landing from a jump spinning hook kick causes pain in my lower back). I truly love TKD, but given past problems, I fear doing some irreparable damage to my hips/back if I dont stop.

Because I am truly ignorant on this subject, I welcome any feedback. I guess my question is, how do I know I am performing a technique the way my body would dictate those techniques be performed height, motion, etc.? Or, more simply put, how do I know I am performing a technique with proper mechanics so that I am not damaging myself? Ive asked my instructors this question, but I havent really been given an answer outside of just pivot your feet. Maybe it really is as simple as that, but it doesnt seem that easy. Like I said, I welcome any feedback or direction that anyone can offer.

Tae Kwon!
 

Brad Dunne

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If you are having physical problems now, they will get worse if you continue doing TKD. Now I must caveat that statement.......If you continue to practice doing the sport aspect of TKD, high kicks and jumping kicks. If you honestly wish to continue with TKD, then you honestly have to refocus on common sense for pushing your body. The older we get, the more we pay for not being nice to our bodies. Regardless of any style that one may study, the constant repetitions that we ask our bodies to accomplish will take it's toll. If I already know how to deliver a specific kick for example, it's not necessary to constantly do a lot of practice on that kick. Reducing the amount of practice reps wil be a first step in saving the body. Moderation and common sense are the real factors in longevity in the arts. Take care........:asian:
 

Marginal

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Yeti said:
Because I am truly ignorant on this subject, I welcome any feedback. I guess my question is, how do I know I am performing a technique the way my body would dictate those techniques be performed – height, motion, etc.? Or, more simply put, how do I know I am performing a technique with proper mechanics so that I am not damaging myself? I’ve asked my instructors this question, but I haven’t really been given an answer outside of “just pivot your feet”. Maybe it really is as simple as that, but it doesn’t seem that easy. Like I said, I welcome any feedback or direction that anyone can offer.

Tae Kwon!

There's a lot of interesting discussion along those lines in this thread:

http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23344

As I read it, basically the most biomechanically efficient path lies forward or directly back. If your hips are over (which is what pivoting the feet is designed to facillitate) you're usually lined up in a decent manner. Can't really pull that off with something like a hook kick tho.
 
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Yeti

Yeti

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Marginal said:
There's a lot of interesting discussion along those lines in this thread:

http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23344

As I read it, basically the most biomechanically efficient path lies forward or directly back. If your hips are over (which is what pivoting the feet is designed to facillitate) you're usually lined up in a decent manner. Can't really pull that off with something like a hook kick tho.

I read that too, and basically came to the same conclusions as you had drawn. However, since the front and back kicks are only two of the many (many) kicks in TKD (axe kick, roundhouse, hook, wheel, etc.) not to mention the jump/spinning forms of all of those, does that then mean that all of those kicks are anti-good mechanics? That's really what prompted my original quesiton. If that is the case, it would seem that after years of performing jump spinning hook kicks, jump spinning round kicks and crescent kicks that the body would eventually start to break down and injuries would be more and more prevalent. However, most of the instructors that I have had are into their 50's and show no signs of such injury. Granted, they probably do not continue to train by performing the various jumping kicks, but it just got me thinking that maybe good mechanics lead to their longevity, whereas poor mechanics could lead to a shortened MA life span.
 

shesulsa

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When I did some informal asking around of physical therapists and doctors, most I talked to were all in favor of focusing on the strength, flexibility and use of the hips, commenting on that they had very few asian patients with knee, hip or lower back problems. But that's ONLY my asking around - nothing formal, mind you, in the least.

I am compelled to think about people who lift weights as their primary exercise (and do little else) for many years. Their bodies are trained to move one way. I can't help but wonder about all those small muscles and ligaments which wrap around and get little work unless one goes a little outside the normal, linear movements.

I think if a person is properly trained with proper biomechanics in mind and practice that injury should not happen as often as it does.

Might you consider seeing a physical therapist before quitting?
 

arnisador

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I hear more and more about hip replacements for high kickers. It's only anecdotal, but...I'd think about it.
 

IcemanSK

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arnisador said:
I hear more and more about hip replacements for high kickers. It's only anecdotal, but...I'd think about it.

Rumor has it that Bill Wallace has had hip replacements. I also heard recently that Chuck Norris has as well. I don't know if it true, however. I train w/ a 7th dan Karate guy now who feels it's due to locking out kicks all the time (ala Van Dam). It would seem to make sense, since Barishnokov has had similiar problems as he's gotten older.

It is food for thought, I think.
 

arnisador

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I think it is true of both Bill Wallace and Chuck Norris, yes. I was thinking especially of the former. But I've also heard it from less well known practitioners.
 

IcemanSK

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arnisador said:
I think it is true of both Bill Wallace and Chuck Norris, yes. I was thinking especially of the former. But I've also heard it from less well known practitioners.

I've been mindful that it might be a need of mine too. (Hopefully, not anytime soon). In "The Complete Idiots guide to Kickboxing" it says something like, "Aikido is a great art to take up after your carreer is over. It's less stressful on your joints." I laughed when I read that, but the older I get, the more I see their point.:uhyeah:
 

arnisador

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I've heard that sort of thing in many contexts--from Tai Chi in the CMA to using Tensho to replace Sanchin in Goju-ryu as one ages.
 

IcemanSK

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I'm not lookin' forward to gettin' older. But, given alternative, I think its a good thing.:)

But as Chuck Norris once said (in a movie) in response to whether or not he wanted to try Tai Chi, "Nah, it's too violent for me."

Boxers have to deal w/ hand problems. TKD-ists have to deal w/ hip & lower back problems.
 

TigerWoman

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IcemanSK said:
I'm not lookin' forward to gettin' older. But, given alternative, I think its a good thing.:) ...

Boxers have to deal w/ hand problems. TKD-ists have to deal w/ hip & lower back problems.

I hear more complaints about knees, ankles/feet and some about hips with women over 40. Men seem to have more back and shoulder problems from breaking least for my experience in class-8 years. I'm 56, stopped jumping although I can, I just pay dearly for it. I see the wear and tear on the hips could come if I continued high kicks also. I started late in TKD at 47 but ran for many years to wear down the knees. The twisting in TKD as well as the repetition plays havoc on unstable knees with hardly any cartilage. So I continue but with caution and common sense... still I would love to have a Tai Chi class in town! TW
 
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Yeti

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shesulsa said:
Might you consider seeing a physical therapist before quitting?

Quit? No way (didnt you see my signatureLOL). I have no intentions of quitting MA I dont think I could even if I wanted to. However, if I have to see a physical therapist just so I can keep doing the things that are causing the pain (high kicking, jumping kicks, etc.), that just sends red flags up all over the place. I may stop TKD, but there are other similar styles that do not place so heavy an emphasis on those techniques that would maybe be a more logical choice (Shorin-Ryu for example). That would keep me doing what I love, but in a more body friendly manner.

TigerWoman said:
still I would love to have a Tai Chi class in town! TW
Sometimes I couldn't agree more - LOL!!
 

terryl965

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Like in any sport you need to keep your body properly streched and condition at all times. Injuries are going to occur and with age it seems to take longer to heel. I would just stay focus and pactice your TKD with proper mechanics and things should be OK for the most part.
Terry
 
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