Junan Taiso: Stretching Tips

By Fred Feddeck

Stretching should be an important part of your daily training. Being flexible, limber, and relaxed are key components in building good taijutsu. I would like to share a stretching and relaxation routine that was taught to me that you can then take and use for yourself. I do this once a day and about 15 minutes before a training session.

First I focus my awareness on all of the key joints such as my knees, elbows, wrists, and hips, making sure these are nice and limber. From there, I then focus on my shoulders and spine as I try to remove all the tension from them. I finish with my torso and legs.

While I am doing this "routine" I like to pace around the dojo and use that time to clear my mind of all the daily distractions that might interfere with the lessons I am about to be taught. I also use this walking time to try and feel the motion of my muscles and identify any places that might still be tight and need additional stretching. Once I have finished this, I am ready to go.

With this said, I would now like to offer some advice for your own stretching routine. First look at the current state of your body in terms of flexibility and relaxation. What areas are tight? Do you have any injuries that stretching might help? Where does your greatest flexibility lie? Once you have assessed this you can begin to incorporate various stretches into building a routine with methods for yourself and your body type. For more stretching ideas, I recommend the book "Stretching" by Bob Anderson. I hope this article has given you some good jumping off points for improving your training.