So how does yoga help with fencing??? In this video you’ll see some of the exercises that I use after workouts to help keep myself pliable throughout the week. It’s also because I’m getting older and the muscle and tendons have taken a beating over the years, I’m sure there are still some scar tissue in area’s i’m unaware of but they will probably rear their head when i’m not expecting it. So how does yoga help with fencing? Well the question you should really be asking is, why haven’t i done this from a young age? I’ve found on a personal level that yoga has improved my fencing capabilities by being more flexible which in turn has allowed my body to be placed into positions that I was unable to perform before. Not only can it be put into those positions but it is so much more equipped to do it at speed, and get back out again without (most of the time) get injuries. So stretching is not just about flexibility it’s also about injury prevention.
There is something else to consider before you write yoga off. Yoga also improved my agility. I’ve put this down to the again the muscles are being stretched out so increasing your range of motion. This means they are able to expand and contract more efficiently. So with training you can control your muscles to a higher degree which if doing isotonic style exercises and plyometrics if you do a particular sport, your body will be able to respond better when in a more intense motion.
So lets back this up with an example, lets say in fencing you want to do a lunge but do not feel confident that you can not only get to that position without your knee, hip, thigh, busting out (or fill in the blank of what muscle you think will fail you), but you would not be able to recover quick enough for again the above reasons, or quite frankly you just don’t feel quick or strong enough to do so.
It really is not enough to just do “Drill work” if you want to get good at something. Drill work has it’s place and time for it. It is also not good enough just using the sword doing cuts, lunges, and again fill in the blank what you feel you training is currently good for you.
It is absolutely vital to improve the bodies mechanics by increasing range of mobility. And of course strength. That being said, I’m sure there will be plenty of professionals, HEMAists, Fencers, Martial Artists out there that will disagree with me, but well.. try it and see for yourself.
Anyway lets have a look at some of the exercises i do to help maintain my body.
All these exercises i tend to hold for 30’s sometimes more depending on the what it is and how i feel. Which is actually something to note. Do how you feel as well. It’s perfectly normal to feel tight on one side rather than the other, and also depending on where you are with your practise, its worth spending a bit more time in a pose just to get the benefits.
So I’ve not been doing yoga for long, probably now for 3-4 years at most. With most of these poses this is where i am with my practice. I’m happy to continue to get better and always improve. The best thing I’ve found with yoga is, if you are where you are at with your practice then that is where you should be right now. You’ll find others will always comment on “your leg is slightly bent here, or your body is not straight enough in that pose” but don’t listen to the negativity of others, if it’s constructive great, but if they are just dumping on you then ignore as best as you can. We are all individuals and where you are is where you are with it. In fact some days I’m not even anywhere near where i was the day before. Plus some times i find i’m much more supple in the evenings than i am in the mornings depending on what I did the day before.
When doing poses try not to do them so they hurt, only do it to the point where you know it’s working.
I also try as much as i can to group my poses so it feels like it’s flowing, although sometimes i do like to use someone who is professional and follow along to what they do. I find this to help relax into it so i don’t have to look at what it is I’m doing, just part of that section of the mind can switch off.
One thing i nearly forgot to mention is a yoga mat. You can pretty much do yoga anywhere but it’s worth investing in one for sure. I’ve got quite a think mat which i’m sure people frown at. Honestly apart from having a more direct connection with the floor with a thinner one, i wouldn’t know why you wouldn’t want one that is robust. I’m not an expert so I’m sure there is a reason for really thin mats. In fact if someone knows, hit the comments section below!
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